Is this a sign of dementia or just the usual forgetfulness? -

Is this a sign of dementia or just the usual forgetfulness?


How do you distinguish between a plain incident of forgetfulness or early signs of dementia? Dad lost some important papers today, or at least he discovered that they were lost today. When I asked where he last saw the papers and if he brought them out of the house, he couldn’t remember. Now, there have been some incidents in the past where he would forget things — not remembering to close the tap, where he put his hearing aid, etc. But in general, his memory was still fine. Today’s incident struck me as odd, because he didn’t seem to have any recollection of what happened during the last week. Should I be worried?



As my dad developed dementia he started having mild memory issues. At the time I wrote it off as just old age. But pretty soon his reasoning was clearly failing. Everything was always JUST FINE. The carpet didn’t need cleaning, they had just had it done.........15 years ago.....
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Windyridge

Thank you all for your answers! I am quite new to this and your replies gave me additional information that I didn't know about. Will be sure to continue observing and taking notes to bring to the doctor.

And thank God, we finally found the papers! Yey! :)
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to JasmineB

If the papers are very important, you can be worried about where they've got to. But just on the basis of your father not being able to remember what was going on last week, bearing in mind that when you asked him he was probably preoccupied and annoyed by not being able to find the papers in the first place, no I wouldn't think this a sign of dementia. More a sign of Raymond Briggs's "the Cussedness of Inanimate Objects."

I bet the little beasts are hiding in plain sight somewhere. I couldn't sympathise more deeply.

When do you yourself reckon they would have been last seen?
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Reply to Countrymouse

My 66 yo DH has the worst memory for the "minutiae" of life. Where did he leave his glasses, the remotes, the keys, his work ID, anything small that can be set down and forgotten--he loses, He lost 3 pairs of $800 sunglasses in one summer--probably in the rental car or the hotel---yet if someone calls from work and has a problem, he can remember details of a jobsite he's not been on for 20 years---but Mother's Day? Our neighbor's phone number? Where he parked the car? Nada.

I don't know if it's selective memory or early onset dementia--I think it's that he simply doesn't care, and he knows I can find anything, so he has come to rely on me to be his "finder".

He has so much wrong with him--I don't WANT to know if he has dementia. I'm sure he will get worse and worse in the memory dept. It's a family curse.
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Reply to Midkid58

wondering how old is your dad?
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Reply to wally003

It's impossible for us to determine if your dad is experiencing mild cognitive impairment as opposed to full blown dementia.

You can keep an eye on your dad for other "odd" incidents. You can get him to a neurologist and have him tested for dementia.

Does your dad have absolutely no memory of anything during the last week? That would be cause for concern and perhaps warrant a trip to the ER.

But it's not up to you to determine between a "senior moment", a bout of forgetfulness based on lurking dementia, or something more acute and serious. That's what doctor's are for.
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Reply to Eyerishlass

I think a lot of us have put something somewhere and forgot where. I would keep and eye on him. Write down what you notice and what time of the day. Sundowners can start early in Dementia. See if his forgetfulness starts around sundown. My husband puts his hearing aide in the same place everynight. Did ur Dad and he doesn't now. Not being able to handle a checkbook anymore. My Mom admitted she couldn't add and subtract anymore. Using the phone and remote became hard to use.
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Reply to JoAnn29