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How can you tell if your memory loss is normal?

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Here’s a checklist to help you tell if your memory loss is normal or if there's cause for concern:

Normal: You forget daily appointments but remember them later.

Cause for concern: You ask friends and family for details over and over again, or need them to do tasks that you used to do yourself.

Normal: You make a mistake balancing your checkbook.

Cause for concern: You have trouble planning or solving problems that used to be easy. It’s hard to do things that involve numbers, like follow a recipe or pay monthly bills.

Normal: You need help once in a while with the microwave settings or a TV remote.

Cause for concern: You can’t work the stove or drive to a familiar spot.

Normal: You forget what day of the week it is but remember later.

Cause for concern: You find yourself in a place and don’t know how you got there.

Normal: You have age-related vision changes. You get a cataract, for instance.

Cause for concern: You have problems with distance, color, or perception. You pass a mirror and don’t know your own reflection.

Normal: You can’t find the right word immediately.

Cause for concern: You call things by the wrong names. You stop in the middle of a sentence and have no idea what you were saying.

Normal: You misplace your glasses or the remote from time to time.

Cause for concern: You put things in weird places, and you can’t retrace your steps to find them. Or, you accuse others of stealing.

Normal: You make a bad decision from time to time.

Cause for concern: You make bad choices with money often. You don’t groom or keep yourself clean.

Normal: You feel tired of work, family, and social demands sometimes.

Cause for concern: You can’t keep up with the teams or hobbies you like. You try not to spend time with others because of the changes you’ve been through.

Normal: You have your ways of doing things and get grumpy when you’re derailed.

Cause for concern: You get upset easily when your routine changes, or when you’re out of your comfort zone. You’re often confused, anxious, suspicious, depressed, or afraid.

From: Is It Alzheimer’s or Normal Aging? WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

Alzheimer’s Association: "Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia," "Know the 10 Signs."

Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral Center: “Alzheimer’s Disease Fact Sheet.”

Mayo Clinic: “Memory Loss: 7 tips to improve your memory,” “Memory Loss: When to Seek Help,” “Reversible Causes of Memory Loss.”

National Institute on Aging: “About Alzheimer’s."

Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson on December 16, 2016

SOURCES:

Alzheimer’s Association: "Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia," "Know the 10 Signs."

Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral Center: “Alzheimer’s Disease Fact Sheet.”

Mayo Clinic: “Memory Loss: 7 tips to improve your memory,” “Memory Loss: When to Seek Help,” “Reversible Causes of Memory Loss.”

National Institute on Aging: “About Alzheimer’s."

Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson on December 16, 2016

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