7 Ways To Tell The Difference Between Early-Onset Dementia And Age-Related Memory Loss

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

As you get older, you may find that you forget information more easily, which might send you into a panic. But just because your memory isn't as sharp doesn't necessarily mean there's something wrong with you. There a number of ways to tell the difference between dementia and common memory loss, especially for early-onset dementia. Even if you're having trouble remembering what you did last week, you might just be experiencing some regular spaciness that comes with age.

The term "early-onset dementia" refers to dementia that first occurs when a person is under 65. Most people with young-onset dementia tend to have Alzheimer's disease, and it is often genetic. However, this is still pretty rare, as only about five percent of the more than 5 million Americans with Alzheimer’s have younger-onset, according to the Alzheimer's Association.

"[Age-related memory loss] is differentiated from dementia through careful neurological and/or neuropsychological evaluation," Dr. Richard Durant, director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Caregiver Support Initiative, tells Bustle. "People who are experiencing normal age-related memory loss may sometimes make bad decisions or poor judgments, miss a monthly payment on occasion, forget which day it is and remember it later, sometimes forget which word to use mid-conversation, or lose things from time-to-time. Essentially, the symptoms are not as severe as dementia."

Here are seven ways to tell the difference between early-onset dementia and age-related memory loss.