You Probably Are Not Totally Losing It When You Lose Things

Hester Hill Schnipper, LICSW, OSW-C Program Manager, Oncology Social Work

APRIL 18, 2017

I know that this topic is not strictly cancer-related, but I also know it is a common worry. Not only is it totally frustrating to lose keys or a library book or a half-full coffee cup, but it often sets off panic about dementia. Remember the old cliche about normal memory issues vs. dementia. It is not dementia if you lose your keys; it might be dementia if you have it in your hand and don't know what to do with it.

Some years ago I read a book about a woman developing early Alzheimer's Disease. One of her images that has stayed with me was a moment when she stood in her hall and wondered how a large hole had developed in the floor. It wasn't a hole; it was a rug. I find that reassuring when I can't remember why I came out to the kitchen.

The best trick I know about remembering the task that took you to the kitchen is to say it aloud as you walk there: "I am going to the kitchen to find the scissors." And that is a neat bridge to this helpful article from The New York Times about finding things. Here is the start and then a link to read more:

How to Find Your Missing Keys and Stop
Losing Other Things


You were sure you left the keys right there on the counter, and now they are
nowhere to be found.
Where could they be?
Misplacing objects is an everyday occurrence, but finding them can be like
going on a treasure hunt without a map.
Here are some recommendations from experts to help you recover what is lost.
(Consider printing this out and putting it someplace you can easily find it.)
Stay calm and search on
One of the biggest mistakes people make is becoming panicked or angry,
which leads to frantic, unfocused searching, said Michael Solomon, who wrote the
book “How to Find Lost Objects.”
One of the axioms of his book is: “There are no missing objects. Only unsystematic
Look for the item where it’s supposed to be. Sometimes objects undergo
“domestic drift” in which they were left wherever they were last used, Mr. Solomon
“Objects are apt to wander,” he wrote in his book. “I have found, though, that
they tend to travel no more than 18 inches from their original location.”

Read more:

Above content provided by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.
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