Forgetfulness: It's Not Always What You Think
Advice for Today
Scientists are working to develop new drugs that someday may slow, reverse,
or prevent the damage caused by Alzheimer's disease and multi infarct dementia.
In the meantime, people who have no dementia symptoms can try to keep their
Some suggestions include developing interests or hobbies and staying
involved in activities that stimulate both the mind and body. Giving careful
attention to physical fitness and exercise also may go a long way toward
keeping a healthy state of mind. Limiting the use of alcoholic beverages is
important, because heavy drinking over time can cause permanent brain
Many people find it useful to plan tasks; make "things to do" lists;
and use notes, calendars, and other memory aids. They also may remember things
better by mentally connecting them to other meaningful things, such as a
familiar name, song, or lines from a poem.
Stress, anxiety, or depression can make a person more forgetful.
Forgetfulness caused by these emotions usually is temporary and goes away when
the feelings fade. However, if these feelings last for a long period of time,
getting help from a professional is important. Treatment may include counseling
or medication, or a combination of both.
Some physical and mental changes occur with age in healthy people. However,
much pain and suffering can be avoided if older people, their families, and
their doctors recognize dementia as a disease, not part of normal aging.
For More Information
The Alzheimer's Disease Education and Referral (ADEAR) Center is a service
of the National Institute on Aging, part of the Federal Government's National
Institutes of Health. The Center provides information to health professionals,
patients and their families, and the public. Contact:
P.O. Box 8250
Silver Spring, MD 20907 8250
The Alzheimer's Association is a nonprofit organization supporting AD
research and offering information and support services to people with AD and
their families. Contact:
225 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 1700
Chicago, IL 60601-7633
Information about community resources is available from State and Area
Agencies on Aging. Contact:
For more information on health and aging, contact:
National Institute on Aging Information Center
P.O. Box 8057
Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8057
1-800-222-4225 (TTY toll-free)
To order publications (in English or Spanish) online, visit: www.niapublications.org.
Visit NIHSeniorHealth.gov (www.NIHseniorhealth.gov ),
a senior-friendly website from the National Institute on Aging and the National
Library of Medicine. This simple-to-use website features popular health topics
for older adults. It has large type and a 'talking' function that reads the
text out loud.
National Institute on Aging
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Public Health Service
National Institutes of Health
August 2005 Web page last updated: December 29, 2005