Normal Aging

Is It a Senior Moment or Something More?

It’s common to experience more instances of forgetfulness or memory lapses as we age. The question frequently asked is: Are we having a “senior moment,” or is this the much-feared start of dementia?

A senior moment, a non-medical term, is a popular way of describing such things as forgetting names, birthdays, where we parked the car at the shopping mall, or where we placed our glasses, keys, or phones. These kinds of memory lapses can occur at any age but are most associated with growing older. They can also be a result of hormonal changes, especially for women going through perimenopause. Illness, such as long Covid, may also result in forgetfulness or “brain fog.”

Dementia is not a normal part of aging and differs from senior moments in the following ways:

  • People with dementia are often unaware they are struggling to remember things. Senior moments, unlike dementia, are remembered and often joked about with others.
  • Dementia interferes with a person’s ability to perform daily activities and effectively manage affairs, whereas—though they are frustrating—senior moments are temporary.
  • As we age, there is an increased need to establish reminders for appointments. Keep in mind that with dementia, even reminders do not help a person remember important events.
  • Disorientation to person, place, and time is not a part of normal aging.
  • Though “tip-of-the-tongue” instances of trying to remember a name or fact are normal in aging, the inability to come up with the right words in conversation is not.

Dementia is mysterious, and there is no cure yet. Healthy habits seem to reduce, or at least slow down, some of its effects. If some of the following suggestions seem daunting, give yourself grace and try doing just one small thing for your health every day. The following are what most doctors recommend:

  • Exercise and stay active by remaining sociable and engaged. If this sounds challenging, try marching in place as you watch a television show. Greet your letter carrier or another “familiar stranger.”
  • Maintain a healthy diet and sleep well. If you’re a night owl who loves chips, challenge yourself to eat lightly buttered popcorn and go to bed 15 minutes earlier than usual.
  • Try to manage stress. This is easier said than done. If meditation and massages aren’t for you, try a line-a-day journal and write just one sentence about what’s on your mind each night.
  • Maintain a routine. For instance, if you always put your phone or glasses down in the same place, you’ll be more likely to find them.
  • Concentrate on the task at hand and avoid distractions. Visualize putting blinders on yourself or setting an alarm for 20 minutes before doing a task or chore. Keep working until the alarm sounds.
  • See your healthcare provider regularly, especially if you are concerned about symptoms. It’s okay to advocate for yourself and ask for routine blood tests. Keeping a written list of symptoms and bringing someone with you to healthcare appointments signals that you are taking your condition seriously.

If you believe your forgetfulness could be caused by dementia, give Kemper Cognitive Wellness a call! Kemper Cognitive works to identify the root causes of memory loss and other related health issues. Utilizing a precision medicine approach, they create a personalized, comprehensive plan and provide extensive guidance so you can prevent, reable, and live well. 

The Kemper family founded Kemper Cognitive Wellness to spread hope, give guidance, and find solutions.


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