Difference Between Age-Related Memory Loss and Dementia

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Published on February 15, 2019

Difference Between Age-Related Memory Loss and Dementia

Photo of older woman looking out a window

Photo of older woman looking out a windowAs we get older, some form of memory loss is common and expected. In fact, almost 40% of people over the age of 65 experience memory loss which is known as “age-associated memory impairment.”

Does memory loss mean dementia? No, dementia is a brain disease and it’s different from age-related memory loss. Here are some examples of differences between age-associated memory impairment and dementia.

Normal Aging


Not being able to remember details of conversations or events that took place a year ago

Not being able to remember details of recent conversations or events

Not being able to remember names of acquaintances

Not recognizing or knowing names of family members

Forgetting things and events occasionally

Forgetting things or events more frequently

Occasional difficulty finding words

Frequent pauses and substitutions when finding words

You are worried about your memory but your relatives are not

Your relatives are worried about your memory but you are not aware of the problem

These tips may help you cope with normal age-related memory loss:

  • Maintain a daily/weekly/monthly routine
  • Use a calendar or day planner
  • Put items, such as keys and glasses, in the same spot
  • Repeat information when meeting new people
  • Run through the alphabet in your head when trying to remember a word
  • Relate new information to things you already know
  • Teach others or tell them stories

Should you notice any signs of dementia listed above, don’t wait to schedule an appointment with your doctor. Early detection is vital to finding relief from symptoms and to stall further memory loss.

“If you are worried about memory loss, especially if it’s affecting your daily activities, talk to your doctor,” said Sy Oang MD, internist at PIH Health Whittwood Medical Office Building. “There are exams and tests to check your memory and to determine treatment options, if needed.”

If you’re searching for a highly qualified primary care physician, visit PIHHealth.org/Find-a-Doctor

The information in Healthy Living Online is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.  The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation, or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.