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Memory Lapse vs. Dementia: Key Differences

Sep 7, 2023 | Featured, Health & Wellness, Memory Care | 0 comments

Many seniors regularly experience memory lapses – such as forgetting to pay a bill, misplacing items like keys, and forgetting a friend’s birthday. Minor memory lapses are a normal part of aging and shouldn’t be worried about. However, because forgetfulness is a common sign of dementia, many don’t know the difference between age-related memory lapses and the early signs of dementia. Learn the key differences below.

Key Differences

Normal: Occasionally misplacing your reading glasses or keys.

Not normal: Not being able to find missing items or placing items in odd spots (i.e., placing the TV remote in the refrigerator).


Normal: Having trouble reading small-print text.

Not normal: Forgetting common words when speaking or mixing words up, such as saying “couch” instead of “kitchen.” Your handwriting looks shaky or increasingly indecipherable.


Normal: Occasional confusion in unfamiliar situations.

Not normal: Asking the same questions or repeating the same stories consecutively.


Normal: Forgetting a friend’s birthday.

Not normal: Losing track of dates, months, seasons, or time completely.


Normal: Needing to use a map or GPS when going somewhere unfamiliar.

Not normal: Getting confused or lost when walking or driving to a familiar place, like the grocery store.


Normal: Occasionally skipping chores.

Not normal: Not caring for yourself, i.e., not bathing, eating poorly, or behaving unsafely.


Normal: Forgetting a small step in a recipe.

Not normal: Being unable to follow a recipe – or anything else with step-by-step directions.


When to Seek Help

Talk to your doctor immediately if you or a loved one have experienced any of the above symptoms. Since it will require more than a one-time memory test to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, it’s best to schedule an appointment with a memory care expert.

Tips to Improve Memory

When experiencing normal memory lapses, follow these tips to help keep your day on track:

  • Place your wallet, phone, and keys in the same place (such as a table next to your front door).
  • Create a daily to-do list to ensure you complete all chores and errands.
  • Use memory tools like calendars or sticky notes to remind you of important dates.

How Grand Oaks Can Help

When you or your loved one lives with Alzheimer’s or other memory-related disorders, you deserve a residence specializing in memory care. The Oasis Neighborhood at Grand Oaks offers an experienced staff that provides attentive support grounded in respect and compassion and personalized care routines as unique as the person receiving them.

Early Warning Signs of Dementia

Learn what symptoms to look out for.


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