Memory loss is an affliction that affects more than 40% of people over 65. That translates to millions of older adults who deal with memory loss each year. However, not all types of forgetfulness are signs of dementia. Keep reading to learn how to distinguish between the two and how Medicare will help you do it.

Identifying Normal Forgetfulness

Increasing forgetfulness is a normal part of getting older. It doesn’t necessarily mean that an older adult is starting to experience dementia. The key distinction to draw is whether the memory loss is starting to impact the older adult’s ability to function.

For example, these types of forgetfulness are considered normal parts of the aging process and not signs of dementia:

  • Getting distracted easily or struggling to remember the details of recent conversations
  • Forgetting where things like keys and glasses have been left
  • Forgetting an acquaintance’s name or calling them by another one
  • Occasionally forgetting why you entered a room

Symptoms of Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)

Think of MCI as the step between normal forgetfulness in older adults and dementia. Unfortunately, it can be somewhat difficult to identify whether the older adult in your life has MCI or is just experiencing the natural effects of aging. The difference between the two is often a matter of degrees rather than independent sets of distinct symptoms.

For example, an older adult may be experiencing MCI if they:

  • Frequently lose or misplace things
  • Frequently forget appointments, events, and conversations
  • Regularly struggle to remember names

When to See a Doctor

Since the symptoms of MCI can be difficult to distinguish, it’s worth visiting the doctor if you’re starting to grow concerned about your memory loss. Being proactive will ensure you get the medical attention you need before your forgetfulness turns into a more serious condition.

Memory Loss and Medicare

If you’re ready to see a doctor for memory loss, your Medicare health insurance may cover the costs of doing so. Patients who have had Medicare Part B for more than 12 months are entitled to one free wellness visit per year.

Your wellness visit is the perfect opportunity to ask your doctor to check for signs of MCI and early dementia. They can provide you with a cognitive impairment assessment, which will give you clarity about the severity of your forgetfulness. Your physician can also provide you with advice on what you can do moving forward to limit the effects of your memory loss.

It’s important for older adults to be proactive about memory loss. Using your Medicare coverage is one of the most effective ways to do that. However, you may still be unsure about how your Medicare health insurance can support your efforts to combat memory loss.

If you’d like to learn more, consider reaching out to Time for 65’s partnered licensed agents. They’re standing by to offer you personalized information about your coverage and how you can use it. Get in touch with us by filling out this form or giving us a call. We look forward to hearing from you.