How well do you perceive, reason, remember, and judge what’s going on around you? Cognitive impairment that interferes with one’s daily life and usual activities is characterized by:
- Deteriorating intellectual ability that requires increasing supervision for protection of yourself and others;
- Forgetting the recent and distant past;
- Asking the same question frequently or repeating the same story over and over again;
- Failing to recognize familiar people and places;
- Making poor decisions, such as knowing what to do in an emergency;
- Declining concentration to plan and carry out tasks such as following a recipe or keeping track of monthly bills; and
- Learning and processing new information difficulty.
Risk factors that contribute to cognitive impairment include:
- Normal aging;
- Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias;
- Infrequent participation in mentally and socially engaging activities;
- Other medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, elevated cholesterol, and depression; and
- Lifestyle choices including smoking and lack of physical exercise.
Note: Diagnosis of cognitive impairment incorporates an evaluation of one’s medical history, physical condition, neurological, psychological, and/or psychiatric assessment, and lab tests.