Growing older can come with its own sets of challenges because, well, that's life. There are a number of conditions that you're more likely to get when you're older than you are when you're younger. Things like stroke, heart disease, and dementia are more commonly associated with older age, but they're not things that you can only experience as an older person. Younger adults in their 30s, 40s, 50s, and beyond can also experience dementia. And if you can't remember these things, you have a higher risk of getting dementia, because forgetting or misunderstanding these sorts of things are some of the very early signs that someone might be developing some sort of dementia.
Forgetting things, generally, doesn't necessarily have anything to do with your chances of developing any form of dementia currently or later on in life, as an article from Grandparents.com that was republished on HuffPost noted. Sometimes you just forget things, like where you left that particular pair of shoes that you wanted to wear or, in a frazzled moment, forget that your sunglasses are on your head. So when those kinds of things happen, you don't necessarily have to worry that it's linked to dementia. But there are some more specific situations and forgetfulness that could potentially indicate that there's something more worrisome going on. If you recognize them in yourself or in someone close to you, talking to a doctor and getting their opinion on what's going on might be helpful.
1. What You're Supposed To Do With A Key
Everyone misplaces their keys from time to time and though many people think that that can be something about which they should be concerned, it's not necessarily a serious sign of anything. In an interview with the aforementioned article from Grandparents.com, Dr. George Perry, PhD, an expert on Alzheimer's disease and neurobiology, said that forgetting how or why to use a particular object is more concerning.
2. How To Get Around A Neighborhood
A study conducted by researchers at Washington University in St. Louis found that people with pre-clinical forms of dementia had a more difficult time with directions than those who didn't, as Men's Health reported. The study was small and the group did a better job the second time around, but it's still something of which people might want to be aware and might be something you want to bring up with your doctor if you notice that this sort of thing is happening to you.
3. Forgetting The Meaning Of Words You Know Or Struggling To Recall Words
Struggling to recall words that you know or forgetting the meaning of words can also potentially indicate that you might have a higher risk of getting dementia, Mayo Clinic noted. Though many people experience these sorts of things from time to time, if it's happening frequently, you may want to chat with your doctor about it.
4. Forgetting Where Something Goes In Your House Or On Your Desk
In the previously-mentioned article from Grandparents.com, Perry noted that forgetting where something, such as dirty dishes, should go in your house is another sign that something might not be right. This sort of confusion can be indicative of something far more serious, so if it's happening to you, speak with your doctor or another medical professional.
5. Forgetting A Major Conversation With A Family Member Or Friend
You might not remember absolutely every single conversation that you've ever had with a family member or close friend, but chances are you remember quite a few of them. Reader's Digest noted that forgetting important conversations, however, is worrisome. In an interview for the aforementioned Reader's Digest article, Dr. Reisa Sperling, MD, a researcher that focuses on Alzheimer's disease, said that if you can't remember that you forgot something, that's more concerning than if you later remember that you forgot. So if other people are needing to remind you that you've forgotten these major conversations, that might mean you need to chat with your doctor.
6. You Forget What You Need To Do If You Do Them Out Of Order
If your routine isn't exactly just a convenience, but is a full-on necessity, that could be an indication that you might be more likely to develop dementia. In an interview with Bustle, Dr. Scott Schreiber said that being unable or unwilling to switch things up might mean that you're dealing with some changes to your memory. Talking to your doctor can be a good idea.
7. Forgetting How To Understand Sarcasm
Understanding sarcasm is something that you might not have thought would be something that you need to remember, but it's something that, if you forget or lose the ability, can tell you something about your memory. A 2009 study published in the journal Neuroimage found that if you can't recognize and interpret sarcasm when you're chatting with someone in person, it might be a very early sign of dementia.
Dementia can be a scary condition, but recognizing potential early signs and chatting with your doctor about it can help you get to the bottom of things and help them determine whether or not it might have something to do with dementia, is a symptom of something else, or isn't actually as concerning as you may have thought.