Is It Normal? Or a Warning Sign?
Nervous laughter over age-related mental slips often masks fear over what they could portend. But every minor mix-up is not symptomatic of impending loss of cognition, say mental health experts. Here's how the Alzheimer's Association distinguishes between normal forgetfulness and warning signs of dementia that warrant a doctorÝs attention.
|Memory||You occasionally forget names or appointments.||You can't recall recently learned information.|
|Familiar Tasks||You occasionally forget why you came into a room or what you were going to say.||You find it hard to plan or complete everyday tasks. You lose track of the steps to prepare a meal, place a call or play a game.|
|Language||You sometimes have trouble finding the right word.||You forget simple words or use unusual words, like "that thing for my mouth" instead of "toothbrush."|
|Orientation to time and place||You sometimes lose track of what day of the week it is or where you were going.||You get lost in your own neighborhood, or forget where you are or how you got there.|
|Judgment||You sometimes make questionable decisions.||You give away large sums of money to strangers or wear multiple layers of clothing on a warm day.|
|Abstract thinking||You sometimes find it difficult to balance your checkbook.||You forget what numbers are or how they are used.|
|Misplacing things||You sometimes forget where you put your keys or important papers.||You put an iron in the freezer or a watch in the sugar bowl.|
|Personality and mood||Your personality changes somewhat with age. Sometimes you feel moody or sad.||You undergo a dramatic change in
personality, with rapid mood swings. You
become suspicious, confused or highly
|Initiative||You sometimes feel tired of work or social obligations.||You become extremely passive, sleep more than usual and withdraw from socializing.|
The Washington Post