Memory & Cognitive Changes

Most of us take our memory for granted. People with Parkinson's and early onset Parkinson's can begin to notice memory problems.

Parkinson's disease can affect memory, thinking and many other physical and mental processes. But there are many other situations (i.e., depression, impulsive disorders, medication side effects, etc.) that can lead someone with PD to experience cognitive difficulties. It may be helpful to know that it is not unusual for young people with early symptoms of Parkinson's to notice some changes in their ability to retain and process information, but these changes do not equate to dementia, which has very specific diagnostic criteria.

If you begin to notice trouble with your memory, or start to have problems multi-tasking, forming reasonable plans for accomplishing the day's tasks, or finding your way around familiar places, it is best to tell your doctor right away. In some cases, problems with memory and thinking are easily understood and managed by something as simple as a medication adjustment. Other times, your doctor may feel that a more extensive evaluation by a qualified neuropsychologist is the best course of action.