There you are, pacing around your home with your blood pressure rising. For the past 20-minutes, the frustration has been mounting, and you’re about ready to blow when you discover your wallet right where you left it: on top of your toilet. Sure, it should have been in its usual spot by the entrance. But today it wasn’t.
Absentmindedness is totally normal, yet it can cause concern for older folks—and especially their partners or children. But most of the time, it’s an entirely reasonable form of forgetfulness, common in every age demographic. It just might happen a little more as you advance in years, but is little more than a minor inconvenience. As long as it’s not a persistent occurrence, you’re likely okay.
This kind of forgetfulness occurs when you’re simply not paying attention. Your keys were in the bathroom because when you got home, you might have had to get there in a hurry. Perhaps you were distracted when you walked in and never put them back in their normal resting place or were thinking of something else. Regardless of what it was, the information of where you put them simply never registered.
You might be able to avoid this frustration by developing a routine, writing down appointments, and taking a moment to run through a checklist. Taking medications, storing things you need, or setting reminders for commitments can all help limit absentmindedness.
Another common yet generally harmless form of forgetfulness is being unable to recall certain facts or events over time. This is largely attributable to a couple of factors. One is that as you age and acquire more knowledge and experience, your brain needs to make room for it all. More important stuff may stick around while some older, irrelevant ones don’t make the cut.
Memories are also more likely to stick around when they are recalled more frequently. That’s why you and your husband might disagree on the color of your first home, yet you can recall your best friend’s phone number in an instant. Frequency of recall helps burn certain memories in your brain.
Neither of these types of forgetfulness is cause for dementia or Alzheimer’s concern. If they happen to you, don’t be alarmed. If desired, you can take some action like writing things down, engaging in more conversation to charge up your memory, or getting more sleep. There are also several brain-boosting games you can try.