What impact do cognitive changes have on aspects of aging
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1. Cognitive decline is the gradual deterioration of mental faculties due to a neurological and/or psychological disturbance such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, depression, or substance abuse. Dementia is a decline or loss of reasoning, memory, and other mental abilities (the cognitive functions such as judgment, thinking, behavior, and language). This decline eventually impairs the ability to carry out everyday activities such as driving; household chores; and even personal care such as bathing, dressing, and feeding (often called activities of daily living, or ADLs). Dementia is most common in elderly people; it used to be called senility and was considered a normal part of aging. We now know that dementia is not a normal part of aging but is caused by a number of underlying medical conditions that can occur in both elderly and younger persons.
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2. Cognitive changes have profound effects on people who are experiencing cognitive decline or loss, which also impacts their families, friends, and caregivers. At first, with an early diagnosis, mild cognitive impairment (MCI) can be treated with medications to help slow the rate of digression. This can help the person who is affected to function better, keep anxiety lowered, and help with fear, depression and feelings of inadequacy . As cognitive changes continue to progress, other changes start to take effect besides forgetfulness. Those changes include trouble multitasking, life management issues, like keeping the financials straight and bills paid on time, and managing their own medications. This can also include meal planning and preparation. As cognition continues to decline, patients can become incapable to changing their own clothes, effectively managing their own bowels and bladder, have behavior or personality changes, and eventually become incapable of self care, reasoning, and adaptability. This can often lead to feelings of fear, anxiety, and depression. Although there is a general pattern of decline in patients with cognitive impairment, these symptoms and feelings can occur in any order depending on which part of the brain is effected quantitatively. Health care practitioners use a multitude of scales and tools to diagnose and stage the several different stages of MCI, Alzheimer’s, and Dementia in general. (“Stages Of Alzheimer’s & Dementia: Durations & Scales Used To Measure Progression: Gds, Fast & Cdr”, 2018).
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