What is Cognitive Impairment? Definition:
Cognitive Impairment is a condition when a person experiences a noticeable decline in their ability to recall information, process new facts, make decisions, and perform familiar tasks. Unlike a sudden illness, it does not show up with obvious symptoms. It is a more gradual change that affects daily life.
Cognitive Impairment lies on the spectrum between the expected cognitive decline of normal aging, and the serious long-term decline associated with conditions like Dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
Symptoms of Cognitive Impairment are varied and range from mild, to moderate, to severe.
Here are a few examples of changes in thinking and behaviors to note:
Testing for Cognitive Impairment
It’s easy to overlook symptoms of Cognitive Impairment as generalized signs of aging. If you notice your loved one consistently exhibiting signs or feel that their normal cognitive state is deteriorating, there are a few simple options for testing.
Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) Testing
There is no specific test to diagnose MCI. Doctors look at your loved one’s mental health, physical health, medical history, neurological exams, and bloodwork to diagnose Mild Cognitive Impairment or MCI.
This includes the following:
Your loved-one’s diagnosis with Mild Cognitive Impairment can be challenging to understand and plan around. On the outside they might seem mostly fine. They can live independently and maintain their usual lifestyle. However, there will be noticeable small changes that are an indication of their changing cognitive state.
The testing will determine the stage of their cognitive impairment and based on this outcome; you will be able to plan accordingly for your loved one’s care.
Stages of Progression
Like any deteriorating condition, the symptoms of Cognitive Impairment can worsen over time without timely intervention and care.
There are currently no medications specifically available to help only for MCI. As a result, most patients’ side effects like depression, anxiety, irritability, high blood pressure are managed with targeted medications under their physician’s care. Diet and lifestyle choices are shown to make an impact at slowing down the rate of Cognitive Impairment with healthy choices like daily physical activity, a low-fat diet, daily mental stimulation through social activities and mental exercises to help improve memory function.
Planning for care can feel tricky in the early stages of Cognitive Impairment. Your instinct is to provide or arrange for regular caregiving. You want to feel reassured that your loved one is not vulnerable as they navigate their condition. It’s a fine line to ensure their well-being while supporting their independence. The good news is that you do not have to find a solution on your own. Experienced companies like Care Mountain have been providing care solutions across the DFW Metroplex for over 17 years and can help you find a personalized solution for your loved one with Cognitive Impairment.
Cognitive Impairment is often characterized by a loss in memory. It can be very concerning when your parent or a loved senior is unaware of their declining mental function and you are put in a position to navigate how to help them. As their family member or caregiver, it is not an easy topic to bring up when they think they are doing just fine.
Working with a doctor and going through the steps for testing as outlined above should help bring you clarity in a difficult situation. It’s important to note and understand these changes and record them for confirmation for both your loved one and their doctor.
At Care Mountain, our tenure in the field of caregiving ensures that we work with a variety of scenarios to support your loved one. Our caregivers are hired based on their experience. They also undergo a thorough interview process and background check. We provide support across the Dallas and Ft. Worth area. We provide care in Frisco, Plano, McKinney, Allen, North Dallas, Highland Park, Preston Hollow, Southlake, Arlington, and many more cities. We know that care is not a one-size fits all solution. We focus on specialized care, that is flexible, affordable and works for your family.
Contact us, when you’re ready, to see how we can provide care to help you and your loved ones.