Alzheimer's and Dementia

Memory Loss and the 15 Minute Reset

By Rick Law of Law Elder Law, LLP. One good way to help determine if a loved one has diminished mental capacity is to observe the “15-minute reset.” Look at a watch to note the beginning of a conversation with a person suspected of being affected by Alzheimer’s or a related disorder. Often, people with excellent social skills (still common in women in their 80s and 90s) are able to hold a conversation that includes all the correct words and head nods. They are so adept at making conversation that it seems certain that there is nothing wrong with them. However, after about 13 or 14 minutes, they will start the conversation over again, almost as if they were playing a tape. Once again, they are so masterful with the skill that it makes people question their own memory of the conversation—as if they might have misremembered—or at the very least it makes people look around to see if someone else has entered the room to create the “reset.” In addition to the “15-minute reset,” even when the person has excellent “small talk” skills and what seem to be appropriate interactive skills, they may neither understand nor remember anything that you have said, either then or during any subsequent conversations. Seemingly appropriate questions and head nodding may imply understanding, but do not expect actual understanding on the part of people with disability or impairment. They often do not understand, and even if they do, they do not remember what was said. In reality, they have difficulty remembering new information and/or retrieving that information later. If your loved one has memory problems and you’re afraid of the consequences that may bring, give our office a call today at 800-310-3100 or 630-585-5200.  Your first consultation is absolutely free.  We’ll let you know what steps you need to take, right now, to protect yourself and your family.  Call now. Sincerely, Rick L. Law, Attorney, Estate Planner for Retirees. Rick was named the #1 Illinois elder law estate planning attorney for 3 years in a row by Leading Lawyer Magazine. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, AARP Magazine,, and numerous newspapers and articles. Rick is the lead attorney for Law Elder Law, LLP, focusing in Estate Planning, Guardianship, and Nursing Home Solutions. His goal is to give retirees an informed edge when it comes to dealing with an uncertain future.  Get flexible retirement strategies that work during good times and bad, plus information on how you can save your home and assets from being used to pay for long term care.