Loses track when giving directions
When it happens
Begins in early mild stage; noticeable by the middle of mild stage
Why it happens
Giving directions, like giving a speech or having a conversation, requires paying attention -- and the attention system is often the first casualty of brain changes of dementia, even before memory loss. What's more, giving directions involves a complex set of steps to remember and retell. The teller often loses track of what's been said already.
What you can do
Let the person try, but step in gently with the correct directions once he or she becomes "lost" in the explanation.
Joke away awkwardness or embarrassment: "Sam never did have a compass in his head." "People like us are why GPS systems were invented!"
Assure the person the lapse isn't a big deal. It's not.