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Health A-Z

Dementia: Is there anything I can do?

I am a lady of 62. My problem is my personal pronouns. If I talk about a man, I call him her, and a woman, I call her him. Even when I write it down, I get it wrong. If there are theirs, yours, I get them the wrong way round. If there are several in a sentence, I am confused. It used to be now and again, but now I do it all the time. I also find stringing sentences together difficult. At the beginning, I realised I was saying it wrong, but now I don't realise it. I don't want to live my life in dementia. Is there anything I can do?

Dr Fred Kavalier answers your health question:

I have consulted two international experts in speech and language disorders. They agree that the problem sounds like a form of progressive aphasia. Aphasia is the technical term for an impairment in the ability to use or comprehend words. Strokes and other brain injuries are the commonest causes of aphasia. But the cause of progressive aphasias is often difficult to define. Because it is such a serious problem which seems to be getting worse, it is important that you see a specialist. Ask your GP for a referral to a neuropsychologist, who specialises in speech disorders, or to a memory clinic that is run by a neurologist. Unfortunately, these problems do seem to get worse with time, and there is no simple cure. But the first step to getting help must be an expert diagnosis.

Please mail your questions for Dr Fred to health@independent.co.uk. He regrets that he is unable to respond personally to questions.