Is It Forgetfulness or a Sign of Alzheimer’s?

Posted: 9/18/2019 8:00 AM by Interim HealthCare

We’ve all misplaced our keys from time to time, or have gone into a room and forgotten why we went in there in the first place. Sure, forgetfulness from time to time can be a normal sign of aging (and can happen to most of us at any age!). Forgetfulness can also be caused by stress, sleep deprivation, medications or other health problems. But sometimes, forgetfulness is indicative of a more serious issue. 


If you’ve noticed Mom or Dad seems more forgetful as of late, or if you are simply concerned due to a family history of Alzheimer’s or other memory disorders, it can be incredibly worrying for your family. 


While you should always raise health concerns with your loved one’s doctor, in this post, let’s take a closer look at some common types of forgetfulness that could potentially signal Alzheimer’s disease:

Long-term memory problems

As we age, our brains can have some normal difficulty recalling memories from our long-term storage. Just think of all the memories our brains have to store as we get older!  With normal aging; however, we should be able to recall memories with some gentle prodding, perhaps with an old photograph, or someone starting off the story. 


Those who are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease will have difficulty recalling memories even with these cues. Any sign of this (or any concerning) symptom should be addressed with a doctor. 

Short-term memory problems

As mentioned previously, forgetting where you set your keys or what you went into the room to pick up is common for many of us, at any age. As we get older, short-term memory problems are also common. As with long-term memory issues; however, prompting should help us recall the forgotten location or item. 


With Alzheimer’s disease; however, patients are unable to recall recent items despite prompting. To test that out,tell Mom or Dad a short list of items. Perhaps three TV shows that are on tonight. Let’s say I Love Lucy, The Honeymooners and Mr. Ed. Then after two or three minutes, ask your loved one to recall one of those shows. If Mom or Dad cannot recall the shows, even after a prompt -- for example, “One stars a redhead” or “One has a horse,” it could be a sign of Alzeheimer’s. 

Trouble following recipes

Difficulty focusing or concentrating can happen to all of us as we age; however, they are especially pronounced in Alzheimer’s patients. One common sign of larger trouble is an inability to follow recipes. If Mom or Dad shares with you that recipes had too much of one ingredient or not enough of another, or if you see your loved one struggling to prepare recipes (particularly recipes that your loved one has made for many years), it can be a sign of Alzheimer’s disease. 

Difficulty during conversations

Sometimes it’s normal to struggle to find the right word; however, with some prompting (or even just a minute to think about it), we’re able to come up with our intended choice. For Alzheimer’s patients, carrying on conversations can be especially difficult. Struggling to find the right words can happen throughout, without the ability to ever draw upon those missing words. 


As a result, Alzheimer’s patients frequently become frustrated or angry during conversations, which may catch you off guard. You may not realize that Mom or Dad is having trouble recalling words, only that he or she seems to get angry during phone calls or visits. If you notice a pattern of anger or frustration during conversations, it’s worth mentioning to a doctor. 

Be sure to review memory concerns with a doctor

Addressing any memory concerns with Mom or Dad’s doctor is essential for early intervention and treatment for a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. If your loved one does receive a diagnosis, Interim HealthCare can help you provide exceptional care. Our patient-centered dementia care program provides cutting-edge treatment to keep Mom or Dad happy and healthy at home as long as possible.

To learn more about services in your area,
contact your nearest Interim HealthCare location.