Forgetful Father


Registered User
Mar 31, 2004
Over the last two years my father's memory has deteriated considerably. At Xmas he had the quick home examination organised by the local GP. They said there was nothing wrong, but he cannot for example remember where the lawn mower is kept, what is a plant or weed (he was an expert gardner) but can however remember meeting a firend's parents 25 years ago

He thinks it's just old age is he correct ?? is there any thing we can do ???.


Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
near London
Hi Bernie!
the key thing to remember at this stage [of whatever it is] is that the family will certainly know more than the doctor, especially a GP. I found that Jan's first memory test was pretty inconclusive; by the time we came to the second, she couldn't do any of it.

Old age takes its toll and gets the blame invariably, at first. But age does not generally make one forget where the mower is, at least in my experience.

One thing that may help is to keep notes of the sorts of things that happen day to day. It is always better to work on the basis of solid information [but hey, you'll know that already won't you!] and I have found it most helpful to be able to refer back to things - especially when talking to medical folk.

It may be that, at this stage, all you can do is watch and wait. Doesn't sound very helpful, but there's something else you can do - enjoy your time with him now.

John Bottomley

Registered User
Apr 7, 2004
Memory loss

Memory loss is common, as time takes a toll.

Heck, go in to a classroom in an infant's school and see what's left lying around in a break, and how much they've forgotten to pick up/take, and it's heartening to see that a poor attention span/concentration and poor memory's not just hitting the older adult!

As an adult with difficult memory that's not as bad as to be dementia, a term Mild Congitive Impairement (MCI) is used as a catch all for people with milder problems (and not severe enough to meet criteria for dementia).

Good news is that people with MCI often get better. In fact, most of them do. A study (by Ritchie, 2001) showed that overall 7 to 17% of people with MCI will still have it in a year's time. He showed if you've Parkinson's Disease too, then about 1 in 8 (12%) will develop dementia in the next year . . . but although 12% get worse and 7% to 17% stay the same, the remaining 71% to 81% get better.

In the absense of high risk factors like Parkinson's Disease, a study (Peterson, 1999) showed that only 0.5% of 70 year olds with MCI go on to develop dementia in the next year, rising to 3.9% of 85 year olds.

Bottom line is, having mild memory problems ain't that gloomy at all, and so often (in fact, almost always) will be 'old age' rather than a progressive dementia.


Registered User
Apr 1, 2003
Hi Bernier,

Xmas was a while back. If you still have concerns, my advice would be to get your father re-assessed either by another GP at the practice or a second opinion somewhere else. If you father has some form of dementia you may be able to get some help.

Kind Regards


Registered User
Mar 27, 2004
Forgetfull Father

Hello Bernie
When Margaret started to forget things such as where she had put items, or what had occured at The Mothers Union Committee meetings, I tended to put it down to ageing, although at the time she was only 68. Everyone in the family and among out friends seemed to think I was making a fuss over nothing.

When I mentioned it to our GP he too dismissed it as natural ageing. I started to keep a record of things she lost? or forgot, and as time went on disorientation. I then typed them up double spaced (easier to read) and took the ensuing document, three pages of A4, to the doctor. This was over a period of about two years. This seem to make a greater impression than just speaking to him, (he referred Margaret to a specialist) and besides you sometimes forget things you intended to say in a conversation.

The point I am trying to make is that the sooner you get a definite diagnosis (either way) the better for all concerned, if it turns out to be MCI, and I hope it does, all will be well, and if it turns out to be some form of dementia the sooner you find out the better. So keep on pushing the medical people, who (I agree with Brucie) tend not to know as much about dementia as you would expect.
Best of luck