Skip to content

Signs You're Developing Dementia, According to the CDC

These warning signs can mean you are developing dementia, says the CDC.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

"Your body undergoes many changes with aging," say the experts at the CDC. "As adults age, some may experience normal age-related changes in memory and thinking. Dementia, or severe memory loss that interferes with daily life, is not part of the normal aging process. Learn what's healthy aging and what's not." Read on for the warning signs that you're "not aging normally"—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You May Have Already Had COVID.


You Need Help With Everyday Tasks

Senior Hispanic Man Suffering With Dementia Trying To Dress

"Dementia is a term for a collection of symptoms of cognitive decline including disruptions in language, memory, attention, recognition, problem solving, and decision-making that interferes with daily activities" and "needing help with everyday tasks can be a sign of dementia," says the CDC. "Although 5.8 million people in the U.S. have dementia, it is not normal aging of the brain." You might also find yourself "not being able to complete tasks independently." 


You Might Have Difficulty Finding the Name for Things

Moody aged man feeling unhappy.

The CDC says "difficulty with naming items or close family members" can be a sign of dementia. "Normal aging may mean slower processing speeds and more difficulty with multitasking, but routine memory, skills, and knowledge are stable and may even improve with age."

RELATED: How to Reverse Aging, Say Studies


You May Forget the Function of Items

Bunch of keys lies on a wooden table.

"It's normal to occasionally forget recent events such as where the keys were last placed or the name of the person you just met," says the CDC. But if you can't remember what your car keys are for, it can be a sign of dementia.

RELATED: Over 50? Signs Your Health is in Danger


You Might Repeat Questions

Senior Man Having Serious Conversation Adult Son

"A person with Alzheimer's may do or say something over and over — like repeating a word, question or activity — or undo something that has just been finished. In most cases, he or she is probably looking for comfort, security and familiarity," says the Alzheimer's Association.

​​RELATED: Simple Ways to Avoid Dementia, According to Doctors


You Might Be Unable to Retrace Your Steps of Get Lost

Portrait of a worried mature woman having problems with her finances

"Losing track of what season it is, for example, or forgetting where you are (or how you got there) are red flags you should talk to your doctor about, as these are seen more often with Alzheimer's disease," geriatrician Ronan Factora, MD, tells the Cleveland Clinic.

RELATED: Sure Signs You Have Ovarian Cancer


Everything Might Take Much Longer

African woman wearing disposable medical mask and gloves shopping in supermarket during coronavirus pandemia outbreak

Your "customary tasks" may take "much longer to complete" if you're developing dementia, says the CDC. "Memory concerns shouldn't affect your ability to remain independent or perform your daily life activities. Forgetfulness should definitely be looked into by your doctor when it starts to alter your day-to-day life," Dr. Factora tells the Cleveland Clinic. "They'll want to take a closer look to see if you're able to do common tasks as easily as you did before to make sure there aren't deeper problems," he says.

RELATED: One Major Effect of Taking Zinc, Study Says


You Might Misplace Items Frequently

bad memory

Again, losing your car keys happens to the best of us. But if it's happening often to you—and you also can't find a variety of other every day items, this can be cause for concern. If you experience this or the other symptoms on this list, contact your doctor to discuss. And to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Alek Korab
Alek Korab is a Co-Founder and Managing Editor of the ETNT Health channel on Eat This, Not That! Read more about Alek