I’m going to confess something right now. My memory is horrible. If I’m stressed, I’ll forget what I ate a couple of days ago. Yet, that doesn’t mean cognitive decline or dementia. In reality, forgetting things with age is pretty normal.
Everybody experiences short-term memory loss. Sometimes, you forget a phone number. Other times, it’s a lot simpler, like an ingredient you forgot to buy. Plus, a lot of things can cause memory loss. I’ve listed 15 habits, for instance. Likewise, cognitive issues are a symptom of depression.
Now, the question lies in when you should and shouldn’t worry. When do memory issues stop being a nuisance?
Why is forgetting things with age normal?
Our entire bodies deteriorate with age. Everyone knows a 60-year-old can’t exercise like a 20-year-old. The same happens with our memory. In fact, even thinking and learning get slower.
Our brains constantly generate new cells at all ages. Forgetting things with age doesn’t have to do with this. Instead, said brain cells tend to deteriorate if we don’t use them. But, aging doesn’t affect all mental abilities.
For instance, you should still be able to recall wisdom and knowledge. Common sense, reasoning, and judging are the same. Forgetting names, appointments, and details is normal. The same goes for forgetting where you left stuff.
That’s because the hippocampus, hormones, and proteins deteriorate with age. Similarly, blood flow to the brain also decreases.
What’s the difference between that and dementia?
So, how do you differentiate normal cognitive issues and dementia? Dementia is very different from mild memory loss. Dementia takes it to a much more disrupting and deteriorating level. In other words, it compromises your ability to function.
Most people will experience age-associated memory impairment. It’s memory difficulties that don’t disrupt your life and functioning. Worse cognitive decline results in mild cognitive impairment. However, it’s still not enough to worsen your quality of life.
On the other hand, dementia is a lot more severe. It affects your ability to stick to routines and complete tasks. You’ll have trouble learning and remembering virtually anything. The most common dementia signs are:
- Inability to recall recent memories, details, and names.
- Frequent and consistent forgetfulness, especially recent events.
- Constant difficulty finding words.
- Lack of self-awareness, yet worried comments from friends and family.
When to draw the line for forgetting things with age
As I mentioned, trouble comes when your quality of life suffers. With typical memory issues, you mostly experience annoyance. You might take longer to get ready because you can’t find your keys. Maybe, a friend gets mad because you forgot their birthday.
That said, you need to know when to see a doctor. Thus, pay attention to the following signs:
- Needing clarification and asking questions repeatedly.
- Getting lost in locations you used to know well.
- Having trouble following directions, recipes, and instructions.
- Generalized confusion about time, events, locations, and people.
- Poor self-care, including bad eating and hygiene habits.
In summary, the line lies in your quality of life. You should see a doctor as soon as your memory becomes a hindrance.
The reason you shouldn’t worry too much about forgetting things
Yes, forgetting things with age can be incredibly annoying and frustrating. But, it doesn’t always point toward dementia. I’m still relatively young. Yet, I forget things almost daily. Luckily, it doesn’t go beyond delaying me by a few seconds now and then.
Moreover, emotional problems can be the real cause. Stress, depression, and anxiety can take a toll on your cognition. And, you might mistake these signs for cognitive impairment and dementia. However, these issues are only temporary.
Overall, your memory will worsen a bit. You’ll forget dates, movie and song names, and even what day it is. All of this is normal. Therefore, don’t get too stressed—unless your quality of life declines.
The holistic takeaway
Overall, forgetting things with age is highly common. Many of you reading this will experience it. In fact, many might experience it right now. For instance, I’ve been struggling trying to remember a song for a week now.
None of that means you’ll develop dementia—or even mild cognitive impairment. It simply means your brain changes, just like our bodies.
If you’re worried about it, you could try ProMind Complex. It’s a science-backed formula to boost your cognition. It can help you offset these signs of aging. And, it can boost your memory, focus, and learning.