Homewatch CareGivers In-Home Care and Senior Support recognizes the importance in looking for early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s/dementia. Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) is a potential precursor to Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Changes that are mild, but noticeable to the thought process to the affected person, family members, and friends is a mild cognitive impairment. “Approximately 15-20 % of people age 65 or older have MCI. People with MCI, especially MCI involving memory problems, are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s or other dementias than people without MCI” (Brent Fulton, PH.D., 10). MCI is a condition in which an individual is still able to carry out everyday activities.
Studies have found that among individuals with MCI who were tracked for 5 years or longer, 41 studies found an average of 38% had developed dementia. Identifying which individuals with MCI are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s or other dementia’s is a major goal of current research. The Alzheimer’s Association has identified 10 specific warning signs and symptoms of dementia which can be found at www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/10_signs.
There is no single test for Alzheimer’s dementia. Physicians will often seek the help of specialists, obtain a family/medical history, obtain family input about changes in thinking skills and behavior, and a magnitude of cognitive tests, physical/neurological will be conducted. At some point, some doctors may have individuals complete blood tests and brain imaging to rule out other causes of dementia. Several days or weeks may be needed to diagnose or determine if dementia is present. It is important for families to understand it is a lengthy comprehensive medical evaluation. MCI can develop for reasons other than dementia and MCI does not always lead to dementia.
There have been many cases where mild cognitive impairments have reverted to normal or remained stable. It is even often mistakenly misdiagnosed. That means it is even more crucial for families to seek medical advice when they believe family members are experiencing any type of cognitive impairment and to be patient with the process. Per the 2018 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures, guidelines have been revised since 1984 that identify three stages of Alzheimer’s. In 1984 the criteria used to be solely based on a doctor’s clinical judgement about an individual’s symptoms. The criteria that is considered now is much more extensive. Reports from the individual, family, and friends are reviewed by the doctor. Cognitive and neurological tests are also included in the doctor’s clinical judgement. The same guidelines are followed for a diagnosis, but biomarker tests are now incorporated.
For more detailed information on these stages and Homewatch CareGivers dementia services, click the following link for our extensive support provided for individuals with dementia. www.DementiaHelpers.com