Memory Loss - Remember Advanced Memory Clinic

I Keep Forgetting Things, Does That Mean I Have Early Dementia?

No, it doesn’t! To understand why it doesn’t, a basic knowledge of how memory works is required. Memory can be classified into three types: Episodic, Semantic , and Procedural.

Episodic memory describes our recollections of specific events and situations we have experienced. It records autobiographical events- times, places, emotions- the ‘what’, ‘where’ and ‘when’ of our daily lives. Episodic memory declines with normal aging. This leads to occasional forgetfulness, such as misplacing your keys, arriving in a room and forgetting what you were there to get, or forgetting where you parked your car.

Semantic memory is our memory of general facts, meanings, concepts and knowledge about the world. This is not tied to specific experiences. For example, the knowledge that Canberra is the capital of Australia, or that clocks are used to tell the time. Our vocabulary and understanding of language also falls under semantic memory.

Procedural memory is the memory of how to perform particular actions, such as how to drive a car, tie one’s shoelaces. Semantic memory and procedural memory should not deteriorate with normal aging.

With normal aging, occasional memory lapses occur. These do not significantly interfere with daily life, and do not cause much concern by family members.

Dementia is characterized by persistent and progressive memory loss. This affects one’s ability to work or carry out day to day activities such as managing paying the bills, getting dressed or bathing.

Individuals with dementia may be unaware that they have forgotten something, however this is not the case with forgetfulness associated with normal aging.

Other brain functions that decline modestly with the normal aging include:

  • Information processing speed and reaction time
  • Ability to learn something new or to recall new information (e.g. names, dates, events)
  • Ability to do more than one task at a time (multitask) or shift focus between tasks
  • Word finding (“tip of the tongue”) and verbal fluency (takes longer to “get the words out”)

Memory problems beyond what you would normally expect, do not necessarily mean dementia. Memory can also be affected by a variety of reversible factors, such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Infections
  • Medications
  • Poor nutrition
  • Poor sleep
  • Drug abuse
  • Thyroid problems

Remember Is A Comprehensive Memory And Dementia Clinic

Remember Advanced Memory Clinic is a multidisciplinary multidisciplinary specialist medical service which provides expert assessment, treatment, education and support for individuals with cognitive complaints and their carers. The specialist team usually comprises a cognitive neurologist, neuropsychologist, psychologist, neurosurgeon, dietician, exercise physiologist, rehabilitation specialist and psychiatrist.