Menu Close


Contact us today to learn more about Buckner Retirement Services

What Is the Difference Between Dementia and Forgetfulness Due to Aging?

a senior man is trying to remember what else he needed to add to his grocery list and wondering if the differences between dementia vs forgetfulness

Everyone experiences some level of forgetfulness from time to time. However, forgetfulness among seniors isn’t always something to shrug off. It can be a sign of a serious condition like dementia. This can manifest in several ways. Your loved one may have difficulty remembering recent events, or they may forget people’s names. They may also start repeating themselves or get lost in familiar places.

Senior memory care can be a good option for many families when seniors are struggling with memory. Buckner Retirement Services provides leading memory care services for seniors. Contact us today by calling 214.227.7182 to learn more about the differences between dementia vs. forgetfulness.

Difference Between Memory Loss and Forgetfulness

Some people conflate seniors exhibiting signs of forgetfulness with memory loss. However, the two are very different experiences. Forgetfulness generally doesn’t result in any long-term memory loss. Instead, seniors often recover from a short-term lapse in memory.

Memory loss, on the other hand, generally means that seniors forget specific memories or skills they are unlikely to recover or learn. According to medical experts, some level of memory loss can be good because the brain is getting rid of old memories to make space for new information. Memory loss and forgetfulness can be minor, but each experience has unique symptoms.

Forgetfulness vs. Dementia

An increased level of forgetfulness in the later years of life is normal and expected. In addition, stress, health, environmental changes, and other factors can cause seniors to be more forgetful than usual. However, forgetfulness generally does not pose a risk to a senior’s health. It can usually be remedied by minor adjustments like sticky notes, a smart assistant, or phone calls from friends and family.

On the other hand, dementia is a much more severe chronic health condition. Unfortunately, there is no cure for dementia, and symptoms tend to worsen over time. Seniors living with dementia may forget critical things daily, like turning off the stove or locking the door. Generally, it is not safe for seniors with dementia to be living alone. Determining whether a loved one is experiencing forgetfulness vs. dementia can be difficult, but there are a few signs to watch out for.

Signs of Normal Forgetfulness

One must understand the signs of normal forgetfulness in determining whether a loved one is experiencing forgetfulness or dementia. It is perfectly normal for seniors to forget certain stories or occasions that they used to be able to remember. Similarly, it is normal for seniors to forget about things like appointments or other scheduled events occasionally. Forgetfulness does not generally result in serious consequences and is not cause for concern.

Signs of Dementia

Recognizing the difference between dementia vs. forgetfulness is crucial for senior safety. Signs of dementia include:

  • Repeatedly asking the same questions
  • Trouble following directions
  • Getting lost in familiar places
  • Confusion about time or places
  • Lapse in self-care
  • Personality changes
  • Irritability

Knowing when a senior is experiencing forgetfulness or dementia is crucial because their safety is at risk. Seniors with dementia are at a higher risk of experiencing accidents, getting lost, and becoming confused and frustrated. If you notice these signs, you must see a doctor so that they can confirm a diagnosis and your loved one can receive help.

Memory Care at Buckner Retirement Services

The dedicated and compassionate staff at Buckner Retirement Services is trained to spot the differences between dementia vs. forgetfulness and to provide memory care services. Memory care is necessary for older adult health because, as we age, our risk of developing dementia and other cognitive decline increases.

At Buckner Retirement Services, we strive to give every community member opportunities to live their fullest life in a safe and comfortable environment. Our memory care services provide our residents with the best possible quality of life while accommodating their unique needs and preferences. Call us today at 214.227.7182 to learn more about the memory care options at Buckner Retirement Services.