Individuals experiencing the early symptoms of dementia are often referred to by the medical community as having Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). MCI is the stage between forgetfulness associated with normal aging and Alzheimer’s disease, marked by progressive memory loss.
Living in silent anxiety, these seniors are often mistakenly viewed as being able to maintain their daily needs at home alone. Additionally, many individuals with mild memory loss live in “traditional” assisted living and senior housing communities yet are not receiving specialized memory care. In Massachusetts, for example, over 40% of seniors living in “traditional” assisted living apartments have a medical diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or related dementia.*
In reality, without specialized treatment for the symptoms of their memory loss, anxiety increases and cognitive function declines more rapidly. Often, individuals suffer from increased isolation and depression.
How do you recognize someone who might have MCI? Look for these early symptoms:
- Forgetting to take medications as prescribed by the physician
- Difficulty maintaining a proper nutritionally balanced diet
- Increased difficulty with executive functioning, which includes losing or forgetting to pay bills, not being able to balance the checkbook, missing appointments, difficulty with decision making, and poor judgment in emergency situations
- Forgetting names and places and getting names of relatives confused (such as mixing up mothers and daughters)
- Increased anxiety
- Losing short-term memory, which often is noticed by repetitious stories
Senior Living Residences’ communities provide a supportive nurturing environment for individuals experiencing a wide range of memory issues with programming that actually treats the symptoms of their memory loss. Our innovative and extensive treatment program includes a specialized brain-healthy diet, a curriculum-based learning program designed specifically for individuals with memory loss, extensive staff training and resident case review by a Boston University School of Medicine Alzheimer’s clinician, and more.
The latest research is suggesting that treatment interventions, such as ours, may actually slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, minimizing the cognitive decline of seniors.
*According to Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs 2015 data, over 40% of seniors living in “traditional” assisted living apartments in our state have a medical diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or related dementia. EOEA, 2015 Annual Report, Assisted Living Resident Aggregate Information