Thursday, February 14, 2013

Are symptoms of Cognitive Impairment indicators of Dementia?

For anyone with an elderly parent, especially one in a Senior Facility, the fear of Dementia is always looming.  As your parent grows older, you may begin to notice changes in their memory and I’m sure your first assumption is it is a sign of Dementia.  To give you a little insight, we turn to our guest blogger who is a co-owner and chief medical officer of several Assisted Living Facilities in Florida.

Are symptoms of Cognitive Impairment indicators of Dementia?

By Cynthia K. Klinowski, RN, MSN

It is currently estimated that over five million Americans have some form of dementia, and that number will grow to 16 million by 2050, unless a cure or prevention can be found.  Older adults and others often assume if a person has changes in memory that they have Dementia.  This is not necessarily true but is often a prominent indicator.  Each year, in the United States, more than 500,000 adults are newly diagnosed with a chronic brain disorder, most of which affects cognition and behaviors.  So what is cognition and cognitive abilities?  Cognitive Abilities are those that allow individuals to make sense of their surroundings and think rationally. These are the processes that allow people to experience and interact with others.  They are:
Dementia is not a natural part of growing old
Dementia is not a natural part of growing old (Photo credit: The Prime Minister's Office)

·         Memory
·         Reasoning
·         Orientation
·         Perception
·         Attention

Cognitive Symptoms are the difficulty in word finding, remembering, and understanding.  So Cognitive Impairment may cause confusion because people are unable to understand their environment and lead to difficult behaviors and challenges in communication.  Despite the lack of a vaccine to prevent, or a medication to stop or cure the process, the management of Dementia can improve quality of life for individuals and their caregivers.  Included in this is management of other conditions that interfere with cognitive functioning, such as hearing, vision, pain and depression.  Cognitive problems are far too complex for family members or the individual to diagnose.  When consistent and persistent memory problems are evident, when there is a significant decline in short term memory, and difficulty learning new materials, there is a need for intervention when these problems are noticed by friends, family, and possibly co-workers it is time to consult a physician.

Dementia - The causes of dementia
Dementia - The causes of dementia (Photo credit: The Prime Minister's Office)
If you have concerns about your elderly parent’s memory or cognitive abilities, consult with the care providers at the senior facility as well as with your parent’s doctor.  Try not to over react as your parent may be experiencing other types of issues that do not necessarily indicate Dementia.   As our gue
st blogger indicated, if your parent does have issues with early stages of Dementia, management of Deme
ntia can improve your parent’s quality of life.  Today, many Assisted Living Facilities have Memory Care Units that may allow your parent to remain in their facility without having to move to a higher level of care such as provided by a Nursing Home.

If you find you need an Assisted Living Facility, Nursing Home or any other type of Senior Facility, I hope you will consider      
If you would like to contribute your thoughts and ideas, please leave them in our comment section. We want to hear them. Helping people care for themselves or their loved ones is what we care about. 

We look forward to reading yours.

Bob Gregory is an advocate for Seniors and is one of the founders of At, we are dedicated to helping families get the Elder Care help they need without having to provide their personal information! If find you need an assisted living facility or other type of senior facility, please consider

Enhanced by Zemanta

No comments:

Post a Comment