Stopping Cognitive Decline

About 5% of American adults experience mild cognitive impairment at some point in their lives. The incidence rate rises for older adults to about 20% by 70 and around 30% by 90. The onset of impairment is difficult to detect since it can come gradually and at any age. A common scenario is a decline in productivity, missed deadlines, and quality control issues. Lifestyle changes, medications, and therapies can help reverse, slow, or stop mental decline. Consider the following strategies to help co-workers, family, or friends who display symptoms of cognitive impairment. To implement the strategies, consult the articles, books, videos, and websites listed at the end of this post.

Approach – use an indirect approach to avoid alarming the person suspected of cognitive impairment.
Causes – become familiar with causes of impairment like Alzheimer's, medications, Parkingson's and substance abuse.
Denial – stay calm and compassionate since denial is a coping mechanism.
Diagnosis suggest names of healthcare professionals that can provide diagnosis and treatment.
Family – approach the impaired’s spouse or trusted friend to make them aware of the situation.
Lifestyle – note that healthy diet, exercise, and sleep habits may prevent or reverse cognitive decline.
Reporting - file an ethics complaint for impairment that causes a failure of competence.
Resources – connect the impaired person and their family with bar, community, and financial resources.
Symptoms – stay vigilant to symptoms like late filings, missed appointments, and poor judgment.
Storytelling start the conversation with a story about successful treatment of a personal healthcare problem.
Workstyle - discuss work/life alternatives like reduced hours, leaves of absence, and retirement.

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