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
NIA Alzheimer’s and related Dementias Education and Referral (ADEAR) Center
The National Institute on Aging’s ADEAR Center offers information and free print publications about Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias for families, caregivers, and health professionals. ADEAR Center staff answer telephone, email, and written requests and make referrals to local and national resources.
Explore the Alzheimers.gov portal for information and resources on Alzheimer’s and related dementias from across the federal government.
This content is provided by the NIH National Institute on Aging (NIA). NIA scientists and other experts review this content to ensure it is accurate and up to date.
May 17, 2017