Elderly Cognitive Issues – Definition and Symptoms

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 14,020
    Mary Alexander with Home Instead Senior Care talks about cognitive issues that our parents may face and how to cope with them. This video focuses on elderly cognitive issues.

    Senior Cognitive Issues.

    Definition and Symptoms.

    Mary Alexander: Hi! I am Mary Alexander from Home Instead Senior Care, and today I am talking about how to deal with cognitive issues. Now we're going to talk about what cognitive problems are and their symptoms.

    First, let's talk about what cognition is. The definition of the word cognition means the process of knowing and includes aspects such as reasoning, awareness, perception, knowledge, intuition and judgment.

    Cognitive skills are the mental capabilities that a person has which allows them to process all the information they receive from their five senses. These skills are needed for a person to be able to think, talk, learn and read. They are what gives a person the ability to recall things from memory.

    Cognitive skills also are needed to analyze images and sounds. Cognitive problems also referred to as cognitive deficits or dysfunctions occur when a person has difficulties processing information, including mental tasks such as attention, thinking, language, emotional behavior and memory.

    Mild cognitive impairment is the stage between normal forgetfulness due to aging and the development of dementia. In general, these symptoms do not interfere with everyday activities and include forgetting recent events or conversations, difficulty multitasking or solving problems and taking longer to perform more difficult mental activities.

    Another type of cognitive dysfunction is Dementia. Dementia is the loss of cognitive functioning and intellectual reasoning due to changes in the brain caused by the disease. Those with dementia tend to repeat questions, become disoriented in familiar places, neglect personal hygiene or nutrition and get confused about people or time.

    Other symptoms of dementia can include language problems such as trouble finding the name of familiar objects, misplacing items, personality changes and loss of social skills, losing interest in things once enjoyed, a flat mood, difficulty performing tasks that takes some thought, but that used to come easily such as balancing a checkbook, playing games and learning new information or routines.

    Some forms of dementia can progress into Alzheimer's Disease. The symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease may include forgetting details about current events, forgetting events in ones own life history and losing awareness of who you are, change in sleep patterns often waking up at night, increased difficulty reading or writing, poor judgment and loss of the ability to recognize danger, using the wrong word, not pronouncing words correctly or speaking in confusing sentences, withdrawing from social contact, having hallucinations, arguments, striking out and violent behavior, having delusions, depression and agitation, becoming easily upset at home, at work, with friends or in places where they are out of their comfort zone, difficulty doing basic tasks such as preparing meals, choosing proper clothing or driving, incontinence or swallowing problems.

    Certainly, recognizing any of these signs, even the mild ones can be a cause for concern. Getting your parent to see a doctor to determine the cause of your senior loved ones cognitive problem is the best next step.

    Up next, I'll provide some background on the potential causes of cognitive problems.