Memory slips. What’s normal? What’s not?

iStock_000007949668XSmallWhere did I park the car?

Did I leave my phone in the basement again?

What is that woman’s name?

These are common examples of the memory loss that many of us experience as we age. We wonder which memory slips are part of normal, healthy aging and which are signs that something more serious is going on.

So what is normal, and what’s not?

  • It is normal to get stuck for an acquaintance’s name, but it is not normal to get stuck more than momentarily for the name of a loved one;
  • It is normal to get lost in unfamiliar places, but it is not normal to get lost in a place that you go to frequently;
  • It is normal to get home from the store and realize that you forgot to buy an item or two, but it is not normal to get home and forget that you even went to the store;
  • It is normal not to know the exact date (to be off by a day or two), but it is not normal to be completely disoriented in time (e.g., think it is 1944).

Adults experiencing memory problems often delay going to their family doctor because they are unsure whether they have a problem worth investigating. Even a couple of years’ delay can waste precious time in diagnosing a brain disease, such as Alzheimer’s, at its earliest stage when treatments are most effective. We’ve developed an online test to help you determine if you should see your family doctor about memory concerns. It’s free, takes just twenty minutes and is scientifically validated for those between ages 50-79. Take the Cogniciti test.


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