The brain retains small bits of newly acquired knowledge in short-term memory. Short-term memory is extremely limited as they only last for seconds when they are not actively maintained or practiced. In relation to this, a person experiences memory loss when they forget what they just recently did, saw, or heard. A memory impairment makes a person fail to retain information that they just took in.
Although short-term memory loss is common in aging, some cases of this impairment are signs of a more serious issue like a brain injury, dementia, or a mental health problem. So, when a person forgets information frequently that affects their life, it is best to ask a healthcare professional for help.
Common indications of short-term memory loss include forgetting recent events and where things are placed. Repeatedly asking similar questions might also be a symptom of this impairment.
Short-term memory loss can be caused by various factors, including health conditions, recent events, and even aging. Read more of the causes of short-term memory loss below.
According to research, short-term memory loss is an unavoidable phase anyone will go through while aging. As people age, their brains will gradually change, making them forgetful. These occasional short-term memory lapses are normal for most people going through aging rather than an indication of dementia or Alzheimer’s, or severe mental deterioration.
Forgetting where everyday things are placed, like keys, glasses, and smartphones, are not signs of dementia. Another symptom of aging-related short-term memory loss is difficulty in remembering information.
The main distinction between dementia and age-related memory loss is that the latter doesn’t cause functional limitations. The memory gaps only significantly affect how well the person operates on a daily basis or how well they can accomplish their goals. Meanwhile, dementia is characterized by a steady loss of two or more intellectual capacities, like language, abstract thought, judgment, and memory.
A person may be exhibiting the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease if their memory loss becomes so prevalent and severe that it interferes with their interests, daily activities, social interactions, and relationships. It may also be a condition that mimics dementia or another illness that develops dementia.