Mild Cognitive Impairment

Talk to your doctor if you or someone close to you has symptoms of mild cognitive impairment.

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) causes slight but noticeable and measurable cognitive changes. These changes can be measured by a cognitive assessment.

Most changes are not severe enough to impact activities of daily life, therefore they do not meet the diagnostic criteria for dementia. People living with mild cognitive impairment may either return to normal, remain stable or progress to dementia.

A person with MCI is at an increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease or another type of dementia.


Mood and behaviour changes like depression, apathy, anxiety, irritability, and agitation. Hallucinations and loss of inhibition are less common.

Memory problems like forgetting important information the person previously would have recalled easily. For example, appointments, conversations, or recent events.

Problems with thinking skills like the ability to:

  • Make decisions
  • Judge the time needed to complete a task
  • Decide on the sequence of steps needed for a task
  • Visually perceive things correctly

Risk factors

The risk factors most strongly linked to MCI are the same as those for dementia, including:

  • advancing age
  • family history of Alzheimer's disease or another dementia
  • stroke or cardiovascular disease
  • medication side effects

Other risk factors include:

  • traumatic brain injury
  • sleep deprivation
  • anxiety and depression