Although older people are quite often forgetful, ageing itself may not be the cause. Memory can also be affected by medications, illness (particularly Alzheimer's disease), alcohol, depression, stress or isolation. If you or an older relative become increasingly forgetful, go to a doctor to see if there is a physical cause and if it can be remedied.
You can make life easier for someone whose memory is failing by organising the household:
Label cupboard doors and drawer fronts with lists of their contents.
Paint hot-water taps with red nail polish.
Hang a list of emergency numbers in large type by the phone. Or buy a phone with a memory.
Place an oversize hook next to the door for keys.
Put up a big wall calendar and mark it with reminders of important dates.
Talk about forthcoming events just before they occur.