When we’re over 60, we can jump to conclusions about our health when we become forgetful. We can get panicked and think it’s the beginning of dementia but tend to forget that memory loss is completely normal, albeit sad and confronting.
So how do you know if your memory lapses are normal or something more serious? Well, there are some simple ways to tell and we have found 5 memory problems that are very normal for anyone.
You might not realise but you probably have been exhibiting signs of absentmindedness from a young age. Teenagers especially are great at this! If you forgot where you left your keys, it may have been because you didn’t think about where you put it initially, i.e. you were running on autopilot. You may absentmindedly forget to do something you do regularly.
Causes: lack of sleep, stress, low in vitamin B12
Have you ever been asked a question and know the answer deep down but can’t put your finger on it? It’s right on the tip of your tongue but can’t reach it. This is called blocking and is the temporary inability to retrieve a memory. Younger people suffer this too and it is completely normal. You may notice it more as you age when you can’t remember names – sadly it’s just part of life!
Causes: lack of sleep, age
Over time, we can tend to forget facts or events, and sometimes even information that’s quite new to us. Memory works in an interesting way, and works on a use-it or lose-it basis. Think of your brain as a pathway to your memories. Every time you think about something from your past or even from the last few days, you strengthen that pathway. This is why you might have very fond memories of being a child or of the first few years of your child’s life – they tend to be the memories you’ve thought about a lot. This isn’t a memory problem to worry about – your brain is just clearing itself of unused memories, so you can store new ones.
Causes: lack of brain stimulation, lack of sleep, stress, depression
Have you ever been talking to someone and find yourself telling a story and they pull you up on some details? This is called misattribution and is what happens when you remember half of something accurately, but falsely remember the other parts, sort of like joining two stories or memories. Like other memory lapses, this type is more common with age.
Causes: age, lack of concentration
Even if you think you have a great memory, bias can be something you cannot help. You can recall situations as you’ve perceived them, only to be told by someone else that’s not at all how it happened. The story’s right but your memory of how you felt or acted is affected by your own bias.
When memory loss may be serious
If you are very worried about your memory, ask yourself these three questions:
1. Has your memory loss ever scared you or your family members?
2. Are people that care about you expressing concern?
3. Do you struggle to make simple decisions every day?
Tell us, do you find yourself forgetting more as you get older?