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Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is the middle ground between normal, age-appropriate memory impairment, and dementia. Whereas patients with MCI are able to cope with the memory deficit, those with dementia are not: Their memory impairment and other cognitive deficits are of sufficient magnitude to interfere with the patients’ ability to cope independently with daily activities. In both MCI and dementia, there is evidence of declining cognitive functions from a previously higher level of functioning. In both the conditions, there is also an evidence of dysfunction in one or more cognitive domains. There are two subtypes of MCI depending on whether memory is predominantly affected: amnestic type and nonamnestic/behavioral type. Not all patients with MCI transition to dementia, some recover. In this case scenario, we present a 68-year-old man with MCI who lives with his wife. They are getting ready to host dinner. His wife asks him to vacuum the dining room while she runs an urgent errand. We describe how this simple task vacuuming a room ended in a catastrophe with the patient spending the night in jail and his wife hospitalized. We discuss what went wrong in the patient/wife interaction and how the catastrophic ending could have been avoided.

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© The Author(s) 2018. This document was originally published in Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine.

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License