Forget someone’s name? Misplace the car keys? Missed an appointment? Memory lapses happen to everyone, but there are times we wonder whether these slips are normal. Memory is defined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary as, “the power or process of reproducing or recalling what has been learned and retained.” Our ability to remember and to recall past events links us to our families, our friends, and our community.

According to the National Institute on Aging (NIH), forgetfulness can be a normal part of aging. We worry the forgetfulness is a sign of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.  Forgetting a name or the car keys is within normal range – but if memory issues begin to impair relationships or functions of daily life, it may be time to take a closer look. What are the differences between normal aging and Alzheimer’s disease?

The NIH suggests a few differences between normal aging and Alzheimer’s disease:

Normal aging could be forgetting which day of the week it is, or missing a monthly payment, or even losing things from time to time.   Someone with Alzheimer’s may have trouble with carrying a conversation, challenges in planning and problem solving, mood and personality changes, and memory loss that disrupts daily life.

With our aging population and the increase in memory loss among older Americans, it is important for families to understand the differences between normal aging and Alzheimer’s disease.


Definition of MEMORY [Internet]. [cited 2021 Aug 20]. Available from:

Do memory problems always mean Alzheimer’s disease? [Internet]. [cited 2021 Aug 20]. Available from: