Dementia Care Site Map
Mild Cognitive Impairment


Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) impacts the cognitive abilities or thinking functions of the brain.  MCI impacts on functions in a way greater than expected for a person's age but does not significantly interfere with daily life and is not severe enough to warrant a diagnosis of dementia.


People with MCI have more memory or other thinking problems than would be expected from someone at a similar age, and show some decline in their cognitive skills.  While they may experience some increased difficulty in daily activities, people with MCI are mostly able to function independently.


People with MCI tend to retain critical thinking and reasoning skills but experience significant short-term memory loss.


The person may experience trouble remembering the names of people they meet or following the flow of a conversation. There also may be an increased tendency to misplace things.


While there may be more reliance on a calendar, notes and lists, the person can still manage their daily activities. Because the problems do not interfere with daily activities, the person does not meet the criteria for being diagnosed with dementia.


Mild cognitive impairment and dementia

Research has shown that individuals with MCI have an increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease over the next few years, especially when their main problem is memory. Not everyone diagnosed with MCI goes on to develop Alzheimer's disease.


Currently, there is no specific treatment for MCI. Studies are in progress to investigate treatments used for Alzheimer's disease, such as cholinesterase inhibitors and vitamin E, to prevent cognitive deterioration in people with MCI.


If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of mild cognitive impairment, it is important to seek medical advice. Your doctor will assess your needs and seek to rule out conditions that can cause similar symptoms, such as depression, nutritional deficiency and reactions to certain medicines. Your doctor will be able to advise you on the best treatment, if dementia has been diagnosed.


Our website also lists a number of things you can do to do help maintain a healthy brain.