Noticing Memory Problems? What to Do Next
We’ve all forgotten a name, where we put our keys, or if we locked the front door. It’s normal to forget things once in a while. But serious memory problems make it hard to do everyday things. Forgetting how to make change, use the telephone, or find your way home may be signs of a more serious memory problem.
For some older people, memory problems are a sign of mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s disease, or a related dementia. People who are worried about memory problems should see a doctor. Signs that it might be time to talk to a doctor include:
- Asking the same questions over and over again
- Getting lost in places a person knows well
- Not being able to follow directions
- Becoming more confused about time, people, and places
- Not taking care of oneself—eating poorly, not bathing, or being unsafe
People with memory complaints should make a follow-up appointment to check their memory after 6 months to a year. They can ask a family member, friend, or the doctor’s office to remind them if they’re worried they’ll forget.
Learn more about Alzheimer's disease from MedlinePlus.
For More Information About Dealing with Memory Loss
This content is provided by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health. NIA scientists and other experts review this content to ensure that it is accurate, authoritative, and up to date.
Content reviewed: May 17, 2017