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A 75-year-old presents with his wife noting that he is getting very forgetful. Why?

NursingSKL clinical tip

By NursingSKL
November 14, 2023
iStock/ajr_images; NursingSKL

In any patient with memory loss, it is important for a nurse to do the following two things:

  1. Perform a history to determine a progressive pattern of memory loss and changes in thinking patterns.
  2. Establish secondary causes of memory loss.

Secondary causes of memory loss include:

  • Thyroid-related issues: Ask if there are any other symptoms suggestive of thyroid dysfunction, including weight loss, alterations in energy levels, excessive fatigue, and changes in skin and hair.
  • Recent changes in medication: This is extremely important in elderly patients who are on multiple medications.
  • History of psychiatric disorders: Ask if there have been recent changes in mood.

This patient was assessed by having thorough cognitive testing, which revealed significant reductions in cognition. In addition, an MRI showed shrinkage in the hippocampus. The patient was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and started on a disease-modifying agent.


In this video, you will learn the correlation between various brain functions and defects that can be detected on cognitive testing.

This clinical tip was provided by NursingSKL, a collaborative initiative between leading doctors and nurses to improve nurses’ clinical skills. Go to to find out more, meet the faculty, and try our free Practicum on Diabetes Care.
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