What is cognition? How does cognition checked? Who can do a cognitive test? Why is cognition a basic for all Comprehensive Geriatric care?
Cognition is defined in the dictionary: the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience and the senses.
Cognition is the essence of aging. Cognition loss is not normal part of aging. Cognition can affect and in turn be affected by many factors internal and external. Cognition can tell us… the life story of a senior or the decline of a senior in advance. Cognition is and cannot be brought back to baseline in many circumstances ….
My father cannot find simple things at home? My parents always seem to tell me everything is right, but I find bottles of medications not used or they give me excuses about a chore not done? My elderly senior neighbor an avid gardener seems to have lost interest in gardening? My senior aunt is missing her appointments with her doctor or my grandfather who lives alone is not paying bills on time.
Not all cognition is reversible and some may be permanently irreversible or a manifestation of a neurological condition, disease or mental health problem.
I recall a lady who was getting forgetful rapidly in a very short span of time, it was neither Delirium, Dementia nor Depression, and instead a brain tumor affecting one half of her brain, she went onto make a complete recovery, though she did lose some cognition in the process.
Hence assessing cognitive disabilities:
1. Must be done by a qualified professional , with tests, and after ruling out causes that could mimic it
2. May be irreversible or rarely reversible to original level, hence seeking health care consultation is necessary
3. They do not mean a death sentence, as research, proper treatment, care can help sustain life to certain extent
4. Supportive services, quality of care, future planning is must that should be presented to the senior and/or the family
5. Following some of the steps outlined in our other blogs can be useful to prevent unnecessary decline due to extraneous factors.
Remember the 3 D’s when you think of cognition: Delirium (reasons many, waxing and waning of consciousness), Depression (medical mental health condition), Dementia (mental health disorder with poor reasoning, impaired thought processes, personality changes, and impairment of memory).
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