Dear Donna:

I am heading home to mid-Michigan to visit my mom for the holidays. When I was there this summer, I was a little concerned that she might be developing Alzheimer’s disease. I saw small changes in her that have kept me wondering and worrying. Especially with regard to her memory. She has gotten to be so forgetful!

How do I know if these are normal signs of aging or something more serious?

Kind Regards,


Is This Normal Aging or Something More?

Dear Tim:

What a great question! Small memory lapses happen to all of us. As we age, they may happen more frequently. It often leads families to become concerned that it is an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease.

Although memory loss isn’t always an issue for seniors, it often is. But there are signs that can indicate the problem is more serious than just age-related forgetfulness.

Signs of Memory Loss Related to Alzheimer’s Disease

First, it’s important to understand that there is a difference between forgetting where you put your keys and forgetting how to drive your car to the grocery store. If your mom is struggling to perform activities she’s done countless times before, it’s time to speak to a doctor about her symptoms.

Here are other common signs of Alzheimer’s-related memory loss:

  • Feeling disoriented, even in familiar places, can be a concern
  • Repeating words or sharing the same stories during the a conversation
  • Unable to keep up with the flow of conversation
  • Using the wrong words or garbling words (Note: this can also be a sign a person is having a stroke)
  • Forgetting how to behave in social situations
  • Making poor decisions or having lapses in judgment

Another common sign of Alzheimer’s is being unable to remember something you’ve forgotten later. So if your mom not only forgot to go to her doctor’s appointment, but forgot she even had an appointment, it might be a warning sign of something more than normal aging.

While Alzheimer’s is irreversible, getting your mom to her physician early in the process may allow for interventions that can help slow the progression of the disease.

I hope this information is helpful, Tina! If you have more questions about Alzheimer’s, please feel free to call the Heritage Senior Community nearest to your mom’s home in Michigan. Our team will be happy to help!