Historically, studies have equated forgetfulness with old age. Indeed, when someone misplaces something like their car keys, people generally refer to it as a "senior moment." But a new survey tells a different story.
A Trending Machine national poll finds that millennials aged 18 to 34 are, in fact, much more likely than those 55 or older to forget what day it is (15 percent vs. seven percent), where they put their keys (14 percent vs. eight percent), forget to bring their lunch (nine percent vs. three percent) or even to take a bath or shower (six percent vs. two percent).
Generally speaking, two-fifths -- or 39 percent -- of Americans have forgotten or misplaced at least one everyday item in the past week. The only thing those 55 and older are significantly more likely to forget? Names (23 percent vs. 16 percent).
So what's behind the phenomenon?
Patricia Gutentag, a family and occupational therapist, pointed the finger at stress in a statement released by The Trending Machine.
"Stress often leads to forgetfulness, depression and poor judgment," she said. “We find higher rates of ADHD diagnoses in young adults. This is a population that has grown up multitasking using technology, often compounded by lack of sleep, all of which results in high levels of forgetfulness.”
When it comes to gender, The Trending Machine found that women are more likely to forget or misplace everyday items compared with men, (43 percent vs. 31 percent). The reason? The stress of work-life balance issues coupled with increased financial responsibilities have taken a toll.
In addition, regional stress differences can be inferred from the higher level of forgetfulness found in the Northeast compared to those reported in the more relaxed West (51 percent vs. 39 percent).
Despite these findings, memory loss remains a common complaint among the elderly. And ageist stereotypes don't seem to help. One recent study found that simply telling older people they are forgetful makes their memory worse.
What do you think? Are millennials more forgetful than seniors? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.