Understanding the Signs and Symptoms of Cognitive Decline

Seniors Staying Mentally Active

Have you ever heard older adults and senior citizens say that their memory is “slipping”? Often times the elderly can remember, in perfect detail, events that occurred decades earlier, but they have a hard time remembering something which happened just the day before. This is a symptom of what the Oxford Journal of Medicine and Health and other respected health organizations call cognitive decline.

The medical community at large considers this a natural symptom of aging. It can also be marked by poor judgment and the inability to process seemingly normal input and information. While diminished mental capacities, as well as physical health problems, do seem to be related to old age, most honest doctors and scientists will admit that the true causes for cognitive decline and diminished mental capacity are not fully understood.

Cognitive decline is referred to as Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) in medical terms. Unfortunately, the individual suffering from this weakened mental state is not always aware of the problem. MCI can often times give way to Alzheimer’s. Fortunately, there are some signs and symptoms that let you know if a loved one is experiencing some level of cognitive diminishment.

  • Forgetting important personal information
  • The inability to remember if they have eaten that day
  • Pronounced ability to recall detailed events as many as 40, 50 and 60 years ago
  • Drastically weakened visual perception
  • Inability to judge eye hand coordination, fine motor skills and time/distance relationships
  • Forgetting familiar words and names
  • Unable to recall where everyday items are located
  • Forgetting something that was just read or experienced
  • Easily misplacing, or even losing, valuable objects
  • Problems organizing and planning

If you notice 2 or more of the above signs in a loved one, sit down and have a candid conversation with them. In many cases, strong-willed, independent senior citizens will be in denial of their weakened mental state. As mentioned earlier, this is also a sign of possible cognitive decline. Get the opinion of other family members and friends, and try to arrange an appointment with a doctor or health professional to get an expert opinion.

Controlling cardiovascular health is a great way to keep MCI and other forms of mental decline at bay for as long as possible. This includes exercise on a regular basis. Participating in stimulating social and mental activities has also been proven to help prevent, and treat, cognitive decline. Once you hit your 50s, go out of your way to challenge your mind, exercise regularly, get lots of sleep and stay socially engaged. This helps keep your mind as fit as it can be for as long as possible.

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