At your last wellness visit, did your doctor conduct a cognitive assessment to screen for dementia or Alzheimer’s? If not, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, many seniors don’t receive regular cognitive tests for dementia during routine doctor visits, according to a recent report from the Alzheimer’s Association.
Only a mere 16 percent of older adults surveyed said they receive regular cognitive assessments during routine doctor visit. This is alarming, because it means that many seniors are diagnosed in the later stages of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, making it a challenge to explore early treatment options and make plans for the future. With an early diagnosis, appropriate treatment can help slow the progression of the disease.
If you notice any warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, it’s important to talk to your doctor and request a cognitive test as soon as possible. While some age-related memory loss is normal as we get older, forgetfulness can be a sign of something more serious. Early screenings and diagnosis offer several benefits for seniors and their families:
A cognitive screening can reveal whether the symptoms you’re experiencing are caused by Alzheimer’s or another condition that is reversible or can be treated. Either way, receiving early diagnosis and treatment for these conditions can reduce or eliminate your symptoms and improve brain function. It’s important to know exactly what you’re dealing with so you can receive the best care available as soon as possible.
Although there is no current cure for Alzheimer’s disease, there are therapeutic treatments and medications that have been shown to stop or slow the rate of cognitive decline. Treatment of Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia are the most effective when started at the onset of the disease. With an early diagnosis, seniors can participate in clinical trials that may be medically beneficial and help advance medical research to find a cure.
With an early diagnosis, you and your family have the opportunity to plan for the future. Although there is no clear path to follow after diagnosis, you’ll have time to learn more about the disease and get a clear picture about what to expect moving forward. You may need to consider available treatment options, such as sensory therapy for memory disorders. Or, it might be time to consider a long-term care option, such as a senior living community with a full range of healthcare options, including skilled nursing and memory care services. Preparing for the future will help reduce stress and lessen any feelings of uncertainty moving forward.
At The Frank and Laura Smock Memory Enhancement Center, we offer specialized and attentive memory care for your loved one with Alzheimer’s, dementia and other memory disorders. In our newly remodeled memory care neighborhood at Evergreen Park, you’ll find a homelike design that surrounds residents with familiar settings to help them feel more comfortable and at ease.
Our specially trained staff is skilled at interacting and engaging with seniors with memory loss, and offers personal assistance with activities of daily living, therapies, medication management and more. Memory care residents enjoy a variety of life-enhancing features and services, including: