The aging brain undergoes many changes. A lot of these are completely normal. Increased forgetfulness and impaired thinking can be worrisome. Knowing what’s normal and what’s not is a challenge for many.

Do you sometimes have a harder time learning new things than you used to? You possibly have forgotten where you put your glasses or keys on occasion. Often, these moments of mild forgetfulness are normal for the aging brain. Although they are frustrating, they are not usually a sign of dementia or Alzheimer’s. This National Institute on Aging article tells us about some of the differences.

Forgetfulness and serious memory problems like Alzheimer’s or dementia are very different. There is a condition called Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), which means that a person has more problems with memory than most. People with MCI do not have enough impairments to classify as a serious disease. Sometimes people with MCI can go on to develop Alzheimer’s. Yet there is no clear correlation.

Sometimes a person will begin to have difficulty following instructions. They could also start getting lost in familiar places. At this point, it is time to consult a doctor. That way other medical issues that are causing confusion can be ruled out like an urinary tract infection. Being confused about time, places, and people are often a sign of a more serious issue. In addition, memory problems are not the only sign of Alzheimer’s or dementia. Behavior problems are another symptom. When you notice behavioral or emotional changes, it is often not normal.

The aging process consists of forgetfulness, mild confusion, and trouble learning new things. However, there is no need to panic unless you or your loved ones notice serious impairments. Cognitive difficulties can sometimes be a side effect of medications. In addition, cognitive difficulties can even be a symptom of depression or anxiety. However, consulting with your doctor is never a bad idea. And for additional support, consult with a Neurologist or a Neuro-Psychologist. It will likely give you peace of mind knowing what is normal and what is not.