Skip to main content

Health library

Back to health library

Learn if memory problems might be Alzheimer's

We can expect to be a little forgetful as we get older. But serious memory problems may signal Alzheimer's disease—a brain disorder that has serious effects on memory, thinking and reasoning, and only gets worse over time.

Reviewed 3/10/2023


Is it Alzheimer's?

Watch for red flags

Normal forgetfulness


  • Occasionally overlooking a bill.
  • Misplacing things, like a phone or a set of keys, from time to time.
  • Forgetting what day it is but remembering later.
  • Sometimes struggling to remember a word.

Possible Alzheimer's disease


  • Trouble with basic tasks like paying for a purchase or counting change.
  • Putting things away in an odd place, like keys in the freezer.
  • Losing track of the date or time of year.
  • Trouble having a conversation.

If you’re concerned about changes in memory, talk to a doctor. The problem may be caused by something other than Alzheimer's, and the right care could improve or reverse it.

Sources: Alzheimer's Association; National Institute on Aging

Related stories

The information found in the Health Library is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice nor does it represent the views or position of WHMC. Readers should always consult with their healthcare provider for diagnosis and treatment, including for specific medical needs.