Some cognitive decline is normal with aging. People often refer to those little memory slips as “senior moments.” However, when memory problems seem to be worse than normal, many people fear a diagnosis of dementia. In some cases, though, older adults have a less serious form of cognitive impairment, referred to as mild cognitive impairment. According to the Mayo Clinic, mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is “the stage between the expected cognitive decline of normal aging and the more serious decline of dementia.” But, what does that mean for your aging relative?
Symptoms of Mild Cognitive Impairment
The cause of MCI is unknown. Some medical experts believe it happens because of some of the same brain changes that lead to Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, for some people, MCI can progress into severe dementia or Alzheimer’s. Yet, for others, the condition can remain stable for a long time and sometimes even get better.
Having MCI means that the usual forgetfulness of old age is more consistent and may interfere with daily life. Signs of MCI include:
- Forgetting things more often than usual.
- Not remembering important events, including appointments or social events.
- Being unable to follow the plot of a book or movie or losing the thread of conversations.
- Having difficulty finding their way around in familiar environments.
- Increased impulsiveness and poor judgement.
People with MCI also frequently experience mental health issues, such as:
Risk Factors for Mild Cognitive Impairment
Although the cause of MCI has not been determined, doctors have identified certain risk factors that increase the likelihood of a person having the condition. Risk factors for MCI include:
- High blood pressure.
- High cholesterol.
- Lack of exercise.
- Seldom participating in social activities or mental stimulation.
Although there are currently no medications for treating MCI, getting a proper diagnosis is still important. When a senior has been diagnosed for MCI, doctors can keep a closer eye on their memory to determine if they are progressing into dementia.
In addition to better monitoring, knowing that your aging relative has MCI allows you to get them the help they need to live independently with less worry. Home care is an excellent option for people with MCI. A home care provider can visit the older adult’s home as often as necessary to make certain they are alright and have everything they need. While there, a home care provider can assist them with tasks they may find a bit more difficult due to MCI, such as following a recipe or other things that require multiple steps. Home care providers can also remind the senior to take medications prescribed for other conditions they may have.
If you or an aging loved-one is considering Home Care in Galt, CA please contact the caring staff at Aging Assistant today. (916) 897-4752