3 Reasons to Talk With Your Doctor About Brain Changes — and 3 More That Are No Big Deal

A man sitting in a home and thinking
JGI/Jamie Grill/Getty Images

Like your outward appearance, your brain goes through changes as you age. While some changes are perfectly normal, others are not. That’s why it’s important to know what’s par for the course and what may be a sign of something more serious.

Here’s an example: If you get lost on your way to a place you’ve never been before, there’s no reason to be alarmed. On the other hand, if you’ve started getting lost on your way to places you always go, such as church or the grocery store, it may be more than a simple “senior moment.”

These three issues may be cause for concern:

  1. Routine tasks — like writing a shopping list, following a recipe or using your smartphone — are now too difficult. Maybe you can’t stay focused long enough or you just can’t remember how.
  2. You get lost in places that should be familiar to you.
  3. You repeat the same stories or questions, or so you’ve been told.

Find out more about Your Brain Health at Any Age on Staying Sharp

These three brain changes and little slipups are likely no big deal:

  1. You’re no longer able to gab on the phone while following a recipe. It means you need to devote your full attention to individual tasks.
  2. It takes you a beat, or a few minutes, to recall a word or a name, but you do eventually remember it.
  3. You sometimes forget things — an appointment, your friend’s grandchild’s name, where you parked your car — but it doesn’t happen all the time.

See the full article about brain changes and when to consider talking to your doctor — and when not to worry — in "Dementia: What’s Cause for Worry and What."

This content is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide any expert, professional or specialty advice or recommendations. Readers are urged to consult with their medical providers for all questions.

Search AARP Blogs