It’s normal to experience a degree of forgetfulness as we age, and you may even have joked about it in passing to your loved ones. However, what some older adults worry about is that mild cognitive impairment (MCI) can develop into dementia over time. Read on to find out about the differences between MCI and dementia!
Understanding Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)
Did you know that up to 20% of older adults above 65 experience mild cognitive impairment (MCI)? Symptoms can be something as simple as forgetting a name or taking longer to recall specific details. Other non-memory related symptoms include having difficulty multitasking or having trouble coming up with the right word to use in a conversation, which is also experienced in the early stages of dementia.
However, what’s important to remember about mild cognitive impairment is that this should not affect your ability to live independently, or should only affect it to a small extent. Mild cognitive impairment can make it harder to complete daily tasks, but it doesn’t always lead to a diagnosis of dementia. In some cases, however, it can be the transitory stage between normal age-related forgetfulness and dementia.
The most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, accounting for more than half of all dementia patients. As a progressive condition that affects an individual’s ability to live independently, many older adults diagnosed with dementia will require memory care to retain and improve their quality of life. You can expect your ability to complete daily tasks to decline over time.
Keeping this in mind, the diagnosis is not all bleak, especially if caught early. Plenty can be done to improve outcomes for these older adults, allowing them to retain and rebuild the skills their afflictions will take away with time.
Diagnosing and Treating Mild Cognitive Impairment
If you or your loved one are experiencing signs of memory loss that concern you, the best course of action is to consult your doctor. From there, they will carry out blood tests to rule out any underlying conditions and identify biomarkers for dementia. They will also ask you some questions about your ability to carry out tasks in daily life, including managing money, running errands, meal preparation, and more.
When mild cognitive impairment is caused by medication, stress, or anxiety, it can go away once the underlying condition is resolved. However, there are currently no medications for treating mild cognitive impairment, and some can go on to progress to dementia. Making the move to a residential memory care community can be in your best interests when that’s the case.
Consider Your Long-Term Care Options
Regardless of whether you are living with mild cognitive impairment, dementia, or are relatively healthy, it can help to think about the long-term care options available to you. From independent senior living to respite care, making the move to a warm and welcoming community where you are surrounded by socialization opportunities can appeal to you. At our retirement community, you can find all the services and amenities you will need to lead a happy and healthy life, regardless of which lifestyle option will best suit you!