These conditions can strongly influence the choice of a senior care facility for you or a loved one, or a change in residence of any kind. There are facilities that offer independent living, assisted living and memory care. Visit, learn and research.
Mild cognitive impairment is a condition that falls between normal aging and dementia. As we get older, we all tend to forget things such as names or phone numbers. I find myself writing down errands to do for the day and hoping to remember where I put my list! MCI can also impair more demanding mental activities such as working on difficult crossword puzzles and memorizing material for a test. No matter how low-level and short-term you consider this memory loss, it should be monitored for symptoms of dementia.
Dementia involves the loss of intellectual functions, including remembering, reasoning and making decisions, and is characterized by a group of symptoms involving mood, behavior and personality changes. These symptoms can be reversed if they’re caused by alcohol, drugs, depression, hormone or vitamin imbalances – as opposed to the natural aging process. The inability to function on a daily basis without assistance is a warning sign of dementia. Consult your doctor if you feel you might be showing signs of this condition.
As Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of aging, not everyone in a state of dementia contracts Alzheimer’s. Among the factors that increase the risk of Alzheimer’s are genetics and environment. The first signs of Alzheimer’s can include increased memory loss and agitation. As these progress, the symptoms multiply: severe anxiety, emotional behavior and personality change plus the inability to recall basics such as language, location and perception.
A skilled doctor can perform tests for these conditions. Although no absolute cure exists, your doctor can prescribe medications to help and put your “Beautiful Mind” at ease.
Marla Luckhardt is a Discovery Bay resident and member of the East Contra Costa Senior Coalition. She works with several local senior care and advocacy groups. To contact her, e-mail email@example.com.