Mild Cognitive Impairment/Dementia
MCI stands for “mild cognitive impairment,” a diagnosis considered to be an indicator to help warn of possible future Alzheimer’s or dementia. This diagnosis is made when someone has deficits in memory but does not experience difficulties with functional abilities and does not meet criteria for a specific dementia. Some research has suggested that as many as 15% of adults diagnosed with MCI will go on to develop dementia within a year.
After one’s medical doctor has ruled out any physical causes of one’s cognitive complaints, a comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation is used to provide a proper diagnosis and recommendations for treatment. While MCI may indicate that someone is vulnerable to eventual development of dementia, there are other psychological issues that can impact cognition and mimic MCI. These include treatable issues, such as depression, anxiety, and stress- to name a few. A neuropsychologist can distinguish between MCI and these others factors.
Although there is no cure for MCI or dementia, there are things that can be done (such as drug trials or cognitive skills training or neurobics) that may slow the progression, and they are more effective if done at an early stage. Therefore, it is essential to be evaluated as soon as one notice any cognitive changes (e.g., forgetfulness, longer time to perform tasks, difficulty with multi-tasking) in order to be proactive.
When one’s cognitive complaints hinder one from performing normal daily activities, the diagnosis of dementia may be suspected. Contrary to the stereotype, dementia is not just about changes in memory- it can actually affect a range of cognitive, emotional, and behavioral processes and have significant effects on family and social relationships. Dementia is most commonly diagnosed in those 65 years and older, although early onset dementia does occur in those younger than 65.
When assessing for dementia, it is important to distinguish between normal aging (i.e. expected decline given a person’s age) and abnormal changes in ability.
Since there are many different types of dementia and each has a unique course and prognosis associated with it, it is important to have an accurate diagnosis so that the best course of treatment can be implemented. A comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation by a qualified neuropsychologist should be sought to determine one’s current abilities, diagnosis, and develop a treatment plan to help one and one’s family adjust to the changes in one’s abilities. An evaluation report can also aid in preparing a power of attorney and a legal guardianship. Furthermore, a neuropsychological evaluation can determine one’s capacity for decision making and independent living.
Caring for individuals with dementia is challenging. We offer several services that assess, target, and identify MCI/dementia diagnoses that will help you or your loved one receive appropriate treatment and make plans for the future.
We do not believe in a one-size-fits-all approach, and understand that every person may require a slightly different approach to diagnosis, testing, and treatment. For this reason, we offer the three options at our Chicago offices, as you will see outlined below. In doing this, it is our hope to make services affordable, understandable, and directly applicable to each client’s individual needs.
The Center for Personal Development in Chicago can help you and your family.
To learn more about our neuropsychological evaluation services, please contact us.
We would love to provide you with more information and answer any questions you may have.
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Did you know?
Dementia symptoms can sometimes be confused for delerium, a temporary condition that is treated differently. Delerium can be caused by medications, malnutrition, alcohol use, and even depression. It's important to know the difference.