Family, close friends, and caregivers, those who most frequently interact with your senior loved one, often are the first to notice cognitive changes. While other influences may cause these symptoms, a change in cognitive functioning could signal Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) and deserves immediate attention. Let's take a look at MCI and what symptoms you should look for in your loved one.
MCI produces a small but definite and measurable decline in cognitive abilities that is noticeable but not severe enough to interfere with everyday life or self-sufficiency. Other ailments and conditions, even medications, often cause symptoms of MCI, leading to misdiagnosis, but these symptoms can indicate the onset of dementia or Alzheimer's disease. For these reasons, people with symptoms should seek diagnosis and possible treatment as soon as possible.
1. Memory Lapses
A person with MCI often begins to forget things that they usually recall, such as appointments, conversations, or recent events.
2. Changes in Speech Patterns
Mispronouncing, misusing, using words out of context, and not being able to find the correct word is an unmistakable sign that something is going on.
3. Manual Dexterity
A sudden difficulty performing simple tasks such as tying a shoelace, opening a can or other jobs that require fine motor skills is a possible sign of MCI.
4. Personality Changes
The Alzheimer’s Association reports that personality changes, such as depression, anxiety, and irritability, are symptoms that many people exhibit in the early stages of MCI.
While any one of these symptoms, or combination, does not definitively mean the beginning of MCI, they are pressing and require prompt, professional care. To learn more about early symptoms of Alzheimer's or dementia, refer to our Family Caregiver's Guide to Alzheimer's & Dementia.