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Forgetfulness and aging: What’s normal and what’s not?

Forgetfulness and aging: What’s normal and what’s not?

Wednesday, February 9, 2022


Everybody forgets things once in a while, but if you notice it happening more frequently, is it cause to worry? According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there is growing evidence you can reduce the decline in cognitive skills, which include the process of remembering, reacting and understanding, with lifestyle habits such as:

  • Regular cardiovascular exercise that elevates your heart rate
  • Formal education, at any stage of life, helps your mind
  • Stop smoking
  • A healthy diet, one low in fat and high in fruits and vegetables
  • Plenty of sleep
  • Involvement in social activities that are meaningful to you
  • Activities that challenge your mind, like games, puzzles or a building project


What’s the difference between normal, age-related forgetfulness and a serious memory problem? There are signs to help determine the difference. Typical age-related changes include: 

  • Sometimes forgetting names or appointments but remembering them later. 
  • Sometimes having difficulty finding the right word.
  • Misplacing things from time to time and retracing steps to find them. 

Signs to watch for that might go beyond the typical age-related changes include: 

  • Memory loss that disrupts daily life and repeating the same questions. 
  • Having trouble naming a familiar object, joining a conversation or repeating words. 
  • Placing items in unusual places or go so far as to accuse others of stealing, especially as the disease progresses. 


If you, a family member or friend has problems remembering recent events or thinking clearly, talk with a doctor. He or she may suggest a thorough checkup to see what might be causing the symptoms.