Mild cognitive impairment

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a term used to describe early memory and thinking problems in older people. It is not a disease in itself.

The symptoms of MCI do not normally affect daily life very much. This means that someone with MCI, or those around them, may not notice the signs at first.

These symptoms may include:

  • Memory – Misplacing items or having trouble remembering recent conversations.
  • Attention – Finding it difficult to concentrate, e.g. following the story of a TV programme, or working on a hobby.
  • Disorientation – Confusion about time and place.
  • Thinking skills – Problems with planning, reasoning or completing tasks, e.g. managing money, or cooking a balanced meal.
  • Language – Problems finding the right words.
  • Mood and behaviour – Some people become irritable or low in mood.

This information was written in January 2018 and is due to be reviewed in November 2019. Please contact us if you would like a version with references.

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