Name Confusion-Normal or Dementia?


Do you ever get confused and call Bill’s room John’s?

Sometimes, our memories get all mixed up, especially in homes we have lived in for a long time and children have switched rooms.

Do you say: “Susie, I mean Mary, I mean Joanie, dinner is ready.” “Oh, what’s your name?”

Don’t be concerned, this is normal behavior. The names we use most frequently are the ones we generally mix up. Neurologist Richard Isaacson, director of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Clinic at Weill Cornell Medicine and New York-Presbyterian Hospital explained that it is generally a matter of storage and retrieval. He says that the brain works like a library and people close to you, like family members, are grouped together for ease of accessibility. Sometimes you just inadvertently grab the wrong one.

Another neurologist, Liana Apostolova of the Indiana University School of Medicine, tells us that age is another factor, that brain cells are connected with pipe-like projections; with age the pipes clog a bit. She states: “Retrieval also slows when you’re tired, stressed, sleep deprived and/or multitasking.”

Her advice is to take care of yourself and slow down because a relaxed brain works better.

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