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While the statistics don’t lie, we should not be fearful or jump to conclusions when we find ourselves occasionally forgetting things. Most of us are probably experiencing normal changes in the brain.
While a true assessment can only be done by a neurologist or other clinician, we do wonder whether our memory problems are normal or whether we are showing symptoms of something more serious. Here are some tips to help make a personal assessment:
Missing a monthly payment occasionally, forgetting what day it is but remembering it later, or misplacing things and then finding them are typical of age-related changes in the brain and nothing to be worried about.
Losing things and being unable to find them, confusion with time, place, or season, difficulty having a conversation and inability to keep finances straight and manage money are red flags.
If your brain is healthy and you misplace your car keys, when you find them, you know that you need them to start your car. People with dementia might lose the keys, put them in an inappropriate place like a refrigerator and then have no idea why they are there and what they are supposed to be used for.
Many of us may not have a perfect sense of direction, but people with early symptoms of Alzheimer’s get confused. They might not find familiar places like grocery stores and get lost trying to find the way home.
We may tell the same stories to friends once in a while, but those with the disease may repeat themselves over and over again in a short time span.