As seniors age, they are likely to experience a few changes in their memory and thinking skills, which is completely normal. However, if the changes in your ageing loved one’s cognitive abilities are becoming a little more noticeable, he or she may have mild cognitive impairment. The North Coast senior care professionals at Home Care Assistance discuss some facts about this condition and offer tips to help your loved one prevent it.
The Prevalence of Mild Cognitive Impairment
Approximately 5 to 20 percent of adults over age 65 have minor problems with memory or thinking, also known as mild cognitive impairment (MCI). These problems may include becoming distracted easily, difficulty remembering recent events, and experiencing issues with problem solving. These issues, while more severe than you might expect in an otherwise healthy senior, do not necessarily interfere with daily life and are not considered symptoms of dementia. Most people with MCI can compensate for their symptoms by maintaining a structured routine and using calendars, electronic devices, and other memory aids.
The Causes of MCI
A number of different factors can contribute to MCI, and current evidence suggests MCI develops due to lesser degrees of the same types of brain damage found in dementia. Some of these causes are easily treated, while others are not. Once the underlying cause is treated, seniors often experience enhancements in their cognition.
The Link Between MCI and Dementia
Between 10 and 15 percent of people with MCI go on to develop Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. Seniors whose memory loss started gradually are the most likely to experience further cognitive decline, including dementia. In these seniors, the cognitive decline is a sign the disease process leading to dementia has already started. Though this process itself is not reversible, the timeline for the progression of the symptoms can vary from person to person.
Reducing the Risk of MCI
The first step in preventing MCI is to treat conditions that can affect vascular and neurological health, including hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and high cholesterol. A healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise, a balanced diet, not smoking, and drinking only in moderation can preserve cognitive function. Keeping socially active and engaging in leisure activities that challenge the brain can also delay the onset of MCI.
There are many ways to keep a senior’s mind healthy, and participating in brain-boosting activities is often a successful strategy. At Home Care Assistance, we offer a revolutionary program called the Cognitive Therapeutics Method (CTM), which uses activities to help slow cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia. In addition to the Alzheimer’s care North Coast, NSW, seniors rely on, we also offer specialised Parkinson’s and post-stroke care. For more information on CTM and our other aged care services, call one of our qualified Care Managers at (02) 6646 3527 to schedule a no-obligation consultation.