Our Senior Director of Programs and Services, Melissa Katz, Quoted in Long Island Press - Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center

Our Senior Director of Programs and Services, Melissa Katz, Quoted in Long Island Press

As you get older, you may notice you’re becoming more forgetful. You may misplace your keys or your glasses, or you may occasionally forget the word you wanted to use in a sentence or the name of someone you used to know.

Some people worry that their forgetfulness could signal a dementia disorder, which includes Alzheimer’s disease and other less common disorders that are characterized by progressive memory loss and cognitive impairment that interfere with daily life. Alzheimer’s disease impacts about 1 in 9 people ages 65 and older, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. 


But some degree of incremental forgetfulness is a normal part of the aging process.

“What’s helpful to know is that change in all of our organ systems is expected and normal as we get older,” says Marzena Gieniusz, M.D., a geriatrician who is the medical director of the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care Program at Northwell Health in New Hyde Park. “Just as our kidney function and heart function decline and our skin becomes thinner and more fragile over time, brain function changes as well.”

According to Dr. Gieniusz, older adults generally do not remember information as well as they did when they were younger, and they process information at a slower speed. This may make it more difficult for people to multitask or learn new information, such as a new language, as they get older. 

Forgetting things occasionally is completely normal, even for younger people. 

“Missing a bill here or there or forgetting about an appointment can happen to anyone,” Dr. Gieniusz says. “Usually, when we forget something as part of the normal aging process, we eventually remember that information. But for patients with dementia, recall of the forgotten information is less likely.” 

It’s also important to note that normal age-related forgetfulness does not disrupt someone’s life in a significant way.

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