With this information, you can identify emerging cognitive deficits and possible causes, following up with treatment for what may be a reversible health condition. Or, if Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia is suspected, you can help patients and their caregivers prepare for the future.
Why is an assessment for cognitive impairment and dementia so important? It is because an early diagnosis means early access to support, information and medication. There is no single definitive test for diagnosing dementia.
Cognitive assessment (or intelligence testing) is used to determine an individual’s general thinking and reasoning abilities, also known as intellectual functioning or IQ. Intelligence testing can assess various domains of your child’s cognitive capacity.
Early recognition allows for diagnosis and appropriate treatment, education, psychosocial support, and engagement in shared decision-making regarding life planning, health care, involvement in research, and financial matters.
Cognitive aging also helps older adults become more optimistic and emotionally resilient, as I explain later in the article. By better understanding cognitive aging, you’ll be better equipped to understand the older adults in your life, whether that is yourself or an older loved one.
It consists of a three-item recall test for memory and a scored clock-drawing test. The results are evaluated by a health provider to determine if a full-diagnostic assessment is needed. The Geriatric Depression Scale is brief survey instrument that can be used to initially assess depression in older adults.
Cognitive tests are designed to determine whether you may have any issues with cognition, also known as cognitive impairment. These tests don’t diagnose cognitive problems. Instead, they help your provider determine if you need to take more tests or if there are any cognitive issues you need to address.
Suggest regular physical activity, a healthy diet, social activity, hobbies, and intellectual stimulation, which may help slow cognitive decline. Refer the person and caregiver to national and community resources, including support groups. It is important that the caregiver learns about and uses respite care.
Here are free examples of the ten most frequently used cognitive tests:
Mental status testing shows a mild level of impairment for your age and education level. Doctors often assess mental performance with a brief test such as the Short Test of Mental Status, the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) or the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE).
Getting a diagnosis gives you and your family the best chance to prepare for the future. With treatment and support from healthcare professionals, family, and friends, many people are able to lead active, fulfilling lives with dementia.
Importance of recording possible signs or symptoms of dementia, e.g. to highlight risk, pattern, improvement or worsening of symptoms.
An early Alzheimer’s diagnosis provides you with a better chance of benefiting from treatment. An opportunity to participate in clinical trials: An early diagnosis makes individuals eligible for a wider variety of clinical trials, which advance research and may provide medical benefits.
Cognitive impairment is when a person has trouble remembering, learning new things, concentrating, or making decisions that affect their everyday life. Cognitive impairment ranges from mild to severe.
Cognitive decline in older adults refers to the concern of or difficulty with a person’s thinking, memory, concentration, and other brain functions beyond what is typically expected due to aging.
Cognitive impairment in older adults has a variety of possible causes, including medication side effects; metabolic and/or endocrine derangements; delirium due to illness (such as a urinary tract or COVID-19 infection); depression; and dementia, with Alzheimer’s dementia being most common.