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5 Ways to Tell If a Senior Has Mild Cognitive Impairment

By Jennifer Thompson, 9:00 am on

Many seniors face some form of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) as they age. This form of cognitive decline can cause some issues, but it is not typically as damaging as dementia. It might seem worrisome, but noticing the warning signs and taking some proactive steps can prevent the condition from worsening. If you are caring for your senior loved one, try to keep an eye out for these five signs of MCI.

1. Difficulty Remembering New Information

The memory loss associated with MCI typically affects new memories. Seniors remember facts or skills they learned years ago, but they may find it difficult to retain new memories. For example, your loved one might have difficulty remembering appointments or names of new acquaintances or find it challenging to learn how to use modern technology. 

Mild cognitive impairment is one of the many health conditions that can make it difficult for seniors to manage everyday activities. If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a home care provider Nashville, TN, families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

2. Lack of Focus

Seniors with MCI often have difficulty focusing on their current activities or surroundings. They might lose their train of thought during a conversation or stop a task in the middle of completing it. These are signs the brain is not functioning at an optimal level. Regularly exercising and eating healthy omega-3 fatty acids may be able to sustain your loved one’s current level of mental functioning.

3. Poor Judgment Skills

MCI often affects the impulse control regions of the brain, so seniors with this condition become more impulsive. They may make unwise decisions, befriend unsavory people, or fall prey to scams. Of course, this may just be a personality trait for some people, but you may need to speak to a doctor if you notice your formerly cautious loved one is now experiencing poor judgment. Once diagnosed with MCI, your loved one can take steps to prevent cognitive decline by lowering his or her blood pressure or taking cholinesterase inhibitors.

In addition to taking their medications, seniors can slow cognitive decline and delay memory loss by making healthy lifestyle choices. In Nashville, Tennessee, home care agencies can be a great boon to seniors. With the help of the caregivers at Home Care Assistance, your aging loved one can lead a happier and healthier life. We offer a revolutionary program called the Balanced Care Method, which encourages seniors to eat nutritious foods, exercise and socialize regularly, and focus on other lifestyle factors that increase life expectancy.

4. Impaired Language Ability

Cognitive impairment can make it difficult to recall words. You may notice your loved one is no longer conversing like he or she used to. He or she may begin using simpler words, repeating phrases, or pausing frequently while talking. In some cases, medication can cause mild cognitive impairment, so you should talk to the doctor about any medications your loved one is taking if you notice this symptom. Stopping medications that cause cognitive impairment can reverse the symptoms.

5. Difficulty Completing Complicated Actions

Though most seniors with MCI can still take care of themselves, they may have difficulty thinking logically about the steps needed to complete complex tasks. Seniors may find it challenging to follow recipes, put together model kits, or balance a budget. Some doctors suggest seniors with MCI should perform mentally stimulating activities like jigsaw puzzles or Sudoku games. These types of pastimes help seniors maintain brain function by boosting their memory and logical thinking skills.

Consider hiring a professional caregiver if your senior loved one needs help managing the symptoms of MCI or another form of cognitive decline. For many seniors in Nashville, Tennessee, live-in care is an essential component of aging in place safely and comfortably. However, it’s important for them to have caregivers they can trust and rely on. At Home Care Assistance, we extensively screen all of our live-in and 24-hour caregivers and only hire those who have experience in the senior home care industry. Our strict requirements ensure seniors can remain in the comfort of home with a reduced risk of injury or serious illness. To learn about our revolutionary in-home care plans and high-quality senior care services, call us at (615) 656-4999 today.