Forgetfulness - cause for concern or harmless?

We all get into muddles from time to time. You look all over the house for the remote control and it's lying on the sofa table the whole time. Experts say this kind of thing is harmless, but other mental lapses could well be cause for concern. Here you can find out how to distinguish harmless from worrying forgetfulness. You want to call your friend but can't remember the number. Verdict: normal Your memories are like paths in a meadow. The more you use them, the more pronounced they are. Since you probably don't call your friend that often, probably have his number written down or even stored in your phone, it is quite normal that you don't remember this random number. You get lost on your way to work or on another familiar route. Verdict: not normal You have orientation problems in unfamiliar areas, that is no cause for concern. But if you suddenly no longer recognise a familiar route, this may indicate deficiencies in your spatial memory. This could well be a serious symptom. Problems with spatial memory are often early signs of Alzheimer's disease. You cannot find your keys and are therefore late. Verdict: normal This is not really a memory problem, but more of an attention deficit. When you are stressed and have many things on your mind at once, you don't store some things where you can remember them later. So you were simply distracted when you put the key somewhere the day before, so your brain didn't have a chance to remember it. It only comes back to you when you have found the key again. They do not remember going home. Verdict: normal Is this temporary amnesia? Not at all, this is also just a lack of focus. When something becomes routine - like always driving the same route - the brain does it quasi unconsciously and that's why you don't remember it. You may listen to the radio while driving, daydream about something or think about something intensely. In any case, you are not concentrating on the journey itself. So the real danger here is not forgetfulness, but lack of concentration while driving, which prolongs your reaction time. You have no idea where you parked. Verdict: that depends If it only happens occasionally, you don't have to get upset. Just think about how often you park your car somewhere, you can get confused. But if you can't find your car more than once or twice a month, it could indicate spatial memory problems, an early sign of Alzheimer's disease. This is especially true if it has only recently become more frequent. Sudden changes in memory should set off more red warning lights for you than a gradual development. You can't find the right word. Verdict: it depends We all have the experience of having a word on the tip of our tongue but not being able to say it. If you haven't used a term for a while, the convoluted pathways between that detail in your memory and your consciousness may have faded somewhat. When you are stressed, the message is all the more obscured. That's why the words come back to mind later when the pressure is off. However, if you forget the names of everyday things more often, you should talk to your doctor. It could be a verbal memory disorder, which is also considered an early warning sign of Alzheimer's disease. From: M. Numberger: Geistig FIT fürs ganze Leben, Heft 1/2017, FID-Verlag, Bonn