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Know the Differences: Forgetfulness vs. Alzheimer's or Dementia

Have you ever forgotten where you placed your keys or missed a doctor’s appointment because it wasn’t written on your calendar? Most of us will admit that our busy schedules and everyday distractions have caused us to forget certain things. At what point should these occurrences be considered signs of Alzheimer’s or dementia? Learn the differences between normal forgetfulness and serious memory loss so you can know when it is time to seek assistance.

What is forgetfulness?

Many people worry that forgetfulness is the first sign of Alzheimer’s or dementia. There are many causes for forgetfulness and memory loss that are not serious or permanent. Some types of medication, stress and anxiety, or emotional distress can cause intermittent forgetfulness. Speaking with a doctor about your medications and mental health can help you improve your focus and memory.

If you forget an acquaintance’s name, misplace your cell phone, or cannot remember the name of a popular actor, don’t fret. This type of forgetfulness is common and does not necessarily indicate Alzheimer’s or dementia symptoms. Managing stress in a healthy way as well as limiting alcohol intake can make everyday forgetfulness less common.

When does memory loss become serious?

When signs of Alzheimer’s or dementia present in seniors, it can be hard to distinguish the difference between a serious mental disease and everyday forgetfulness. Only a doctor can confirm a dementia-related diagnosis. If you observe a senior loved one with these symptoms, it may be time to seek assistance:

  1. Unable to remember things, recognize family members or follow directions
  2. Asking the same question or telling the same story repeatedly
  3. Becoming lost in familiar places
  4. Neglecting personal hygiene and nutrition

The signs of Alzheimer’s or dementia are more severe and constant than everyday forgetfulness. Being able to recognize these signs as abnormal helps you seek out professional assistance. Always consult a doctor if you are concerned about a loved one’s memory loss.

There are many programs, support groups, and assisted living communities for seniors with memory loss issues. Sometimes the care required cannot be provided by family members alone. When you or a loved one are facing an Alzheimer’s or dementia diagnosis, know that you have many options for support and assistance.


ComfortCare Homes of Wichita, KS provides memory care services to the following cities and neighborhoods: Wichita, Derby, Augusta, El Dorado, Newton, Hutchinson, Pretty Prairie, Kingman, Norwich, Conway Springs, Belle Plaine, and the surrounding areas of Kansas.

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