Mild cognitive impairment describes a situation when your memory and thinking problems are more severe than other people your age but not as severe as dementia symptoms. Normal aging might cause you to learn things a little slower, forget a name now and then or misplace items occasionally. Mild cognitive impairment goes beyond those normal age-related memory issues. Despite the cognitive issues, people with mild cognitive impairment are typically self-sufficient and can live independently. It doesn't usually interfere with routine daily activities.
If you're experiencing this condition, you might notice that your memory isn't what it should be. It's possible your family members and other people who are close to you might notice the memory and thinking changes as well. Some things you might notice include:
It can also cause changes to your mood or behavior, and you might feel depressed or anxious. Other people lose interest in activities or develop a short temper.
Mild cognitive impairment doesn't usually interfere with your day-to-day life as much as dementia does. The memory issues could make life a little more challenging, but you can typically take care of yourself and not put yourself in dangerous situations.
Dementia causes more severe changes to your memory and thought processes and often makes it difficult to take care of yourself safely. It may cause people to get lost, have difficulty paying bills and put themselves in dangerous situations. People with dementia might also have hallucinations or paranoia. As dementia progresses, it's usually necessary to have an in-home caregiver or live in a memory care community to ensure safety.
People who experience mild cognitive impairment have a higher risk of eventually developing dementia. Approximately 10% to 15% progress from mild cognitive impairment to dementia, versus 1% to 3% of adults in general who develop dementia, including Alzheimer's and other forms. It doesn't always lead to dementia, though. Some people remain stable with no additional decline, while others actually experience improved cognitive functioning. Every person's journey is unique.
It's important to seek a medical opinion if you think your memory is worse than other people your age. Testing can determine the severity of your cognitive impairment and may identify a treatable cause of the memory issues. For instance, high blood pressure can affect blood vessels in the brain and impact your memory. Keeping your blood pressure under control could ease your memory problems. Your doctor can also monitor your cognitive health to watch for additional decline that could indicate dementia.
Taking care of your physical and mental health should help you manage your cognitive impairment. This includes eating a healthy, balanced diet and keeping yourself active. You might also incorporate activities that keep your mind active and engaged. Examples include reading, playing an instrument and playing games that challenge your brain.
There are also ways to overcome your memory issues to make life a little easier. Here are some options:
Mild cognitive impairment might cause noticeable changes to how your brain works, but you'll typically be able to live independently. You might consider looking into memory care when cognitive functioning starts to interfere with routine activities and safety.
At Autumn View Gardens in Ellisville, we offer assisted living and memory care options. If you have mild cognitive impairment and don't need memory care, you might consider assisted living to receive support with your personal care. If your cognitive functioning declines, you can transition into our memory care program in a familiar setting. No matter which type of care you choose, our caring staff provides a person-centered approach in a faith-based setting.
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