It can be stressful and difficult to care for a person with memory problems. It becomes even more problematic when that person starts to show signs of mild cognitive impairment or memory issues. This can result in worry and denial, with MCI considered an early phase of dementia. It is imperative to state that a person with MCI won’t necessarily have Alzheimer’s or dementia in the future. However, the people that end up having MCI have a higher risk.
This article will serve to educate you on mild cognitive impairment and provide tips to help you or your loved one cope with it.
What is mild cognitive impairment?
MCI is a condition that is between regular memory loss that comes with old age and Alzheimer’s or something similar. Not everybody with MCI will develop dementia. MCI isn’t an illness – just a group of symptoms that shows changes in the way you process information or think.
Friends and family who notice this problem might not show concern due to the early symptoms mimicking regular, age-related changes. Persons with MCI usually know they have some issues but are able to carry out most of their regular activities.
Causes of MCI
- Being 65 years old or more.
- A family history where MCI, Alzheimer’s, or any other form of dementia is prevalent.
- Having medical conditions like stroke, diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure.
- Substance abuse, including alcohol.
- Lack of exercise.
Tips to help cope with MCI
1. Review your or your loved one’s over-the-counter and prescription medications. You will need to meet a specialist who will consider if any of these drugs might be playing a part in their cognitive deficit. It is important to also reassess the requirements of benzodiazepines, narcotics, antihistamines, anticholinergics, and sedatives. You will need to review if they take drugs as prescribed and if pill organizers are in use. It will also be helpful if a caregiver is in charge of medication intake in order to avoid overdoses and under-treatment. This specialist could also suggest a suitable treatment for mild cognitive impairment.
2. Consider medications for Alzheimer’s with a specialist. However, you should know that this treatment outcome is usually modest and sometimes comes with side effects. All these should be discussed with the specialist before therapy is started. If the desired effects have not been attained in twelve weeks, the therapy will have to be adjusted.
3. For a lot of non-Alzheimer’s dementia, there is minimal information concerning the safety and efficacy of medications for cognitive symptoms. There are a handful of exceptions, though, so this should be talked over with the specialist.
3. Behavioral problems should be evaluated to determine if there’s a structured environment or another non-physiological approach that could either substitute or delay the use of antipsychotic medication.
4. The use of antipsychotic drugs for people with dementia should be done with great caution – with regular monitoring for safety and efficacy. This is because there are no medications specifically approved for treating psychotic and behavioral symptoms for people with dementia.