How Dementia Differs From Normal Ageing

Written by Active Minds on Friday the 11th of August 2017.


As we get older, our memory often worsens, it is, unfortunately, a natural part of the aging process. In fact, for people over the age of 65, almost 40% of them will experience some form of memory loss, known as ‘age-associated memory impairment’. However, how do we know when ‘normal’ memory loss becomes a problem? In other words, how can we tell if we have started to develop dementia?


The main difference is in the type of memory loss you are experiencing. Is it occasional lapses of memory that have very little impact on your day? Or a more fundamental, debilitating memory loss that disrupts your work, hobbies and relationships? Similarly, age-related memory loss doesn’t tend to get that much worse over time, whilst dementia will continue to worsen over months and years.

What are the signs of memory loss relating to aging?

  • Not being able to remember details of events or conversations that happened a year ago.
  • Occasionally forgetting appointments.
  • Trouble recalling the name of an acquaintance.
  • Occasionally forgetting where you left things you use regularly, like car keys.
  • Sometimes struggling to find a word/s (having it on the ‘tip of your tongue’).
  • You worry about your memory but your friends and family do not.
  • Walking into a room and forgetting why you entered.

What are the signs of memory loss relating to dementia?

  • Not able to recall details of recent events or conversations.
  • Not recognizing or knowing the names of close friends and family.
  • Forgetting things and events frequently.
  • Frequent pauses when trying to find words, or regular substitution of words.
  • Your relatives are worried about your memory loss but you are unware of any memory loss issues.

If you believe that you or a loved one are experiencing any serious memory loss then book an appointment with your GP to discuss your concerns as soon as possible.