Harvard Women's Health Watch

Are you experiencing normal memory loss or dementia?

How to tell the difference between typical forgetfulness and something more serious, and when to see a specialist.

Do you walk into a room only to forget what brought you there? Have you ever run into someone you know and his or her name slipped your mind? Do you often engage in a frantic search for misplaced car keys, glasses, or other everyday items?

For many of us, these types of memory blips become more common as we get older. Our brains are forming fewer connections now, so our memory is not as strong as it used to be. It may take us longer to remember basic information, such as names, dates, or where we left our car keys. "As we get older, the processing speed of our brain slows down, so we can't recall information as quickly as we used to," explains Dr. Anne Fabiny, chief of geriatrics at Cambridge Health Alliance and assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

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