Lost keys. Not remembering where you put your glasses. Missing an appointment. Everyone's guilty of forgetfulness now and again. But when your mind plays tricks on you, it can be hard to tell if it is simply age-related or a sign of something more serious.

Age-related memory loss

Forgetfulness is a normal symptom associated with aging and often is not a sign of serious memory problems. Typical signs of mild forgetfulness include difficulty learning new things, decreased ability to retain information and occasionally misplacing items like your keys.

Other reasons for memory loss

There are various health-related causes for memory loss that are usually treatable. Often, memory loss can be a side effect of certain medications or related to vitamin deficiencies. More serious health conditions, such as tumors, brain infections, blood clots, and certain thyroid or kidney disorders, can also trigger memory failure. These conditions are serious health issues and require immediate attention.

Memory loss can also be related to emotional problems like anxiety, depression or stress. Dealing with major life changes such as retirement or the loss of loved one can cause feelings of confusion and trigger forgetfulness as well.

Improve your memory

Mild forgetfulness may be a sign of age, but there are things you can do to keep your brain active and your memory sharp, including:

  • Exercise often and eat well
  • Challenge your brain: do crossword puzzles, read and learn new skills
  • Use tools like notes and to-do lists to trigger memory
  • Get adequate rest
  • Avoid consuming too much alcohol

It is important to remember that mild forgetfulness is often a common sign of age — not dementia. If you are concerned your absentmindedness is something more serious, speak with your health care provider.

To find a doctor, call Riverside Community Hospital at (951) 788-3463 today.

Sources: MedlinePlus.gov, NIH.gov