How normal ageing can affect memory

Still complete storage

Each new experience is stored as a memory.
This process does not change as we get older;
facts and feelings continue being stored in the same way.
We may not see or hear as well as we did years ago,
so the memories stored most recently may not have as much detail as the older ones.

Slower retrieval

As our brains age, it takes us longer to recover these stored memories.
Sometimes, by the time we find the ones we want,
it’s too late for them to be of any use.
This makes it harder to keep up with everything that is going on.
But that’s not dementia, it’s just normal ageing.

Older people already have these age-related memory problems to cope with.
Dementia affects memory in a new and very different way, so it adds an extra challenge.
Younger people can have dementia too (known as Young Onset Dementia), but that is less common.
Most people with a diagnosis of dementia are over 65 years old.