How To Tell the Difference between Normal Forgetfulness and Dementia

Becoming more forgetful is not an uncommon part of ageing. Forgetting the odd thing here or there shouldn’t generally be a cause for concern. After all, no matter our age, we all have trouble remembering things at some point. But if you’re finding this is happening to you more and more, you might be wondering whether it’s just age, or if there’s something else going on. So how can you tell the difference between normal forgetfulness and the signs of dementia?

Forgetting important Information

Everyone forgets where they place their items every once in a while, like car keys or reading glasses. Even forgetting an appointment can happen to anyone. But, forgetting more significant information, such as names of family members and friends, could be a sign of dementia.

Difficulty with familiar tasks

We’ve all forgotten to add an ingredient to a recipe at some stage in our lives. Perhaps you’ve even left something to burn in the oven after forgetting about it. This can be normal forgetful behaviour. People with dementia may forget they have even been cooking altogether. They may also forget to serve the food they’ve been busy preparing. If your memory is seriously impacting your ability to go about everyday tasks, like cooking, it might be time to see a doctor.


It’s common to have moments where the word we want just seems out of reach. We may feel like our mind has gone temporarily blank. But a person with dementia may have trouble remembering very simple word. They may even substitute the word with something completely different instead. Conversations with someone with dementia may jump from topic to topic very quickly without warning, or be difficult to resume after interruption.


It’s easy to forget the date. You may even be temporarily confused about which day of the week it is. But forgetting where you are, or how to get home from somewhere close by (on your own street for example) can be frightening. This type of disorientation can be another symptom of a more serious memory issue. People with dementia may become disorientated in new, unfamiliar settings.

Personality changes

Dementia doesn’t always present itself as forgetfulness. Another sign may be significant changes in mood. This can include aggressive behaviour, rapid mood swings, impulsiveness and paranoia. If you’ve noticed a shift in your loved one’s behaviour and moods recently, you may be concerned about dementia. However, there could be other health-related reasons that may cause dementia-like symptoms. It’s best to avoid making assumptions before you have a professional opinion.

If you’re concerned that you or a loved one may be experiencing dementia symptoms, please consult a doctor as soon as possible.

If you care for a loved one with dementia and need some help, ask us about our respite care, or other home care services.

Simply Helping Difference Between Forgetfulness and Dementia