Source: National Institute on Aging – Related MedlinePlus Pages: Mild Cognitive Impairment
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.
Tips for Dealing with Forgetfulness
People with some forgetfulness can use a variety of techniques that may help them stay healthy and deal with changes in their memory and mental skills. Here are some tips:
- Learn a new skill.
- Stay involved in activities that can help both the mind and body.
- Volunteer in your community, at a school, or at your place of worship.
- Spend time with friends and family.
- Use memory tools such as big calendars, to-do lists, and notes to yourself.
- Put your wallet or purse, keys, and glasses in the same place each day.
- Get lots of rest.
- Exercise and eat well.
- Don’t drink a lot of alcohol.
- Get help if you feel depressed for weeks at a time.
Learn more about Alzheimer’s disease from MedlinePlus.
For More Information About Dealing with Memory Loss