Forgets friends and family members names

  All Alzheimer's Symptoms

When it happens

Begins at earliest stage of dementia and increases in frequency throughout the disease. The person may also have trouble recognizing faces; someone may seem familiar but can't be placed.

It's normal to occasionally misplace a name, especially if the person is seen out of context or hasn't been seen for a long time. With dementia, however, the inability to recall a face or a name increases in frequency and happens even with familiar people in familiar settings.

Why it happens

Retrieving the details (such as a name or relationship) that go with a particular face is becoming a more difficult task for the brain.

What you can do

  • Introduce someone with an association: "Mary from work is here." "Hi, Dad, it's your favorite daughter, Kate."

  • If you see the person struggling to recall a name, supply it. Don't make it a "test" to see whether he or she can remember.

  • Ignore mistakes rather than pointing them out (the person won't remember having made a mistake). Instead, use the correct name in the conversation as if there had been no mistake made.