by: Jessica Novello, MS, RN, CDP/MEMBER MSRN

Your family is worried that you have memory loss. Your doctor gave you a test where you are asked to recall words, answer questions about a short story, or draw a clock and said that you have “mild cognitive impairment”. You are worried that you may have Alzheimer’s Disease.

Some degree of mental processing slowing with age is expected. It can be normal to sometimes misplace your keys. It is not normal if you forget the function of a key or how to use a key.

Not every memory or thinking concern is caused by cognitive impairment or dementia. A swift and severe cognitive decline- caused by another pressing medical concern- like an infection or injury is classified as delirium. Delirium is a medical emergency and reversible when the cause is determined and treated. Delirium is neither mild cognitive impairment nor dementia.

What is Mild Cognitive Impairment?

Changes in cognitive function (memory, planning, judgment, etc.) that have not produced any functional decline in a person’s life can be called mild cognitive impairment. In mild cognitive impairment (also called MCI) changes in memory, processing, and perception are not severe enough to affect independence, but this diagnosis can still be very stressful. MCI may or may not develop into dementia (about 10-15% of people living with MCI convert to dementia each year). MCI can remain stable or it can revert to normal cognition. If you are concerned about MCI, your doctor can often test your memory and cognition in office. They will likely work you up for other medical conditions or concerns and may refer you to a specialist for additional tests.

What is Dementia?


Article submitted to MSRN BY Jessica Novello, MSRN Member CONTACT JESSICA: