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Memory of Recent Events | Common Signs

  • Forgets the details of a recent event (e.g. remembers a visitor but not their conversation)
  • Forgets that recent events occurred (e.g. forgets that there was a visitor)
  • Forgets everyday events but retains more novel or important information
  • Forgets someone's name shortly after being introduced
  • Forgets conversations shortly after they occur (e.g. within the hour)
  • Forgets the original topic of conversation
  • Forgets information shortly after reading it
  • Forgets how she or he arrived somewhere
  • Cannot remember if a task was performed (e.g. whether teeth were brushed)
  • Cannot follow through on a task, forgets what she or he already did (e.g. forgets which ingredients have already been added in a recipe)
  • Cannot remember asking a question and repeats it
  • Cannot remember telling a story and repeats it
Memory of Recent Events | General Description

Loss of memory is one of the earliest signs of Alzheimer's disease , and of many other dementias. As the memory impairment progresses, it comes to affect almost every aspect of everyday life. To speak in conversation, a person requires the ability to keep in mind the subject and the entire discussion in order to understand and respond. It is your short term memory which allows you to do this. As Alzheimer's disease develops, recent/short term memory is one of the first abilities to decline. Problems with recent memory can cause the person you care for to forget the topic of a conversation, repeat themselves, or to forget someone's name after introduction. The inability to remember events which have just happened or which are still occurring, also can affect the actions of the person you care for. They may not be able to remember how they arrived somewhere, or may leave a task incomplete because they have forgotten what they were doing. However, it is important to note that as a person ages, memory problems are common, and may not necessarily be a sign of Alzheimer's disease.

A notable exception to the "memory first" presentation of dementia is Frontotemporal dementia . This tends, instead, to present with behavioural problems, which can be confusing to others. The person's behaviour is bad, yet they seem to remember well enough - including their bad behaviour. This makes the idea of dementia seem suspect to others, especially if the person with Frontotemporal dementia remains oriented and is able to keep track of recent events.

The first step in taking a more active role in symptom management is understanding how a symptom is affecting everyday life; the next step is communicating this knowledge to the care planning team and family members. SymptomGuideTM is designed with these goals in mind.

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See Also:
About Dementia > Alzheimer's Disease > Memory
Symptom Library > Memory & Language > Memory for Names and Faces
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Last updated January 15, 2019
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