What is Mild Cognitive Impairment?
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What is Mild Cognitive Impairment?

What Is Mild Cognitive Impairment? 

Mild cognitive impairment, also known as MCI, is a cognitive disorder that is similar to a less severe form of dementia and that can potentially progress into Alzheimer’s disease. People with mild cognitive impairment are still able to go about their daily lives with a significant degree of the independence they have always enjoyed. However, they may begin to forget things and may struggle with tasks that are unfamiliar or that require the use of new information and understanding.

Unlike ordinary forgetfulness or difficulty multitasking, for example, MCI is not an expected part of normal aging. Instead, it is caused by some form of underlying brain disorder, which can only be proven with a medical diagnosis.

What Are the Symptoms of MCI?

The symptoms of MCI generally affect memory and the processing of information. These may include:

  • Failing to remember appointments or short-term plans, or just becoming more forgetful in general
  • Forgetting what one is saying or thinking about in the middle of a conversation
  • Inability to follow events in a narrative, like when someone is describing something that occurred in an everyday conversation, when watching a film or TV show, or when reading a book
  • Getting physically lost in a familiar local area
  • Struggling to follow instructions or to make judgments

Other types of cognitive effects may also be apparent. Crucially, friends and family members may start to notice that something is wrong, providing an outside perspective that can be helpful in early diagnosis.

How does mild cognitive impairment affect people’s lives?

MCI can affect people’s lives in many different ways. While those who experience MCI will still be able to do much of what they always have done, it’s common to feel frustration and annoyance at the loss of memory and loss of ability. Tasks that used to be easy, journeys that used to be simple: these may become difficult on days when MCI symptoms are particularly bad, and this can understandably make individuals feel sad or even scared about their situation.

What Is the Difference Between Dementia and Mild Cognitive Impairment?

Dementia, ordinary aging processes, and MCI are related in that they affect senior citizens, but ultimately they are very different from one another.

In cases of MCI, patients may experience some of the symptoms mentioned above. Dementia, however, is a more severe disorder and may involve personality changes and mobility issues, such as falls, trips, or tremors. While MCI may cause people to forget things or struggle with certain tasks, dementia can cause more profound difficulties, and even common tasks like bathing and preparing food could become challenging.

The key difference is day-to-day life. Individuals with MCI may encounter challenges which they might need assistance to overcome, but will generally be able to live as they normally did before given the right support. People diagnosed with dementia, on the other hand, may begin to find that daily tasks become impossible over time, and they could begin to lose their independence.

The two conditions are different, but they are not wholly separate — dementia is considered to be the next stage of cognitive impairment after MCI, and those diagnosed with MCI may be at a greater risk of developing dementia.

How Town Square Helps Members with MCI

Here at Town Square, we are serious about providing the support our members need in order to live well with MCI. With our strong foundation of adult day care built on our dementia care expertise, we make sure that our members and their loved ones have peace of mind.

Reminiscence therapy is the basis of all of our fun, enriching, and socially engaging activities, and this mode of memory care can have tremendous benefits for people with mild cognitive impairment, helping them better manage their symptoms and providing a consistent framework of support and peer connection.

Reach out to us at Town Square Perry Hall and find out more, or take a tour to see our facilities and experience our services for yourself.

To learn more about how Town Square Sandy Springs offers amazing activities for Atlanta area seniors or to schedule a tour, contact us today.