OBJECTIVES: To investigate the prevalence and potential clinical implications of self-reported memory impairment among elderly patients in general practice. METHODS: This was a cross-sectional study in 17 general practices serving 40,865 patients, of whom 2934 were 65 years of age or older. Outcome measures were self-reported memory impairment, health-related quality of life, and cognition. RESULTS: In total, 177 (23.4%) out of 758 elderly patients consulting their physician reported impaired memory. Only 33 (18.6%) had consulted their physician for memory problems. The only independent predictor for impaired memory was a lower quality-of-life score: scores on the EuroQoL-5D-VAS of 0 to 49 and 50-74 points both correlated with memory complaints (odds ratios=4.8 and 4.1, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: Memory impairment is a common complaint among elderly patients in general practice, but many patients will not present with these symptoms. It may be useful for general practitioners to ask about memory problems in order to identify potentially frail patients. Prospective trials are warranted.