Why is Assessing Cognitive Impairment in Older Adults Vital?

With the growing prevalence of dementia including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s among geriatric people, the necessity of assessing cognitive impairment in older adults is surging sharply. For instance, as per the World Health Organization (WHO), dementia is presently the seventh leading cause of death among all diseases and one of the major causes of disability among older people across the globe. Moreover, dementia has psychological, economic, social and physical impacts, not only on the people living with the illness but also on their families and caregivers. 

How is Cognitive Impairment Evaluated?

Generally, further evaluation is recommended if a condition or illness is diagnosed by screening. A combination of information from a close friend or a family member of the person who is being evaluated and cognitive testing is adopted for assessing cognitive impairment more effectively. Moreover, a primary care provider may perform an evaluation or refer to a specialist, such as a neurologist, neuropsychologist, geriatric psychiatrist, or geriatrician for a more thorough evaluation. 

Additionally, interviews are conducted with the patient to assess behaviour, memory, and functional status, including complex actions, such as managing money and driving, and mood. Interviews are also scheduled with the person’s family members or close companions to better assess cognitive impairment in the person. In some cases, information is also collected from the person’s interactions with the staff. 

Generally, cognitive impairment in older adults has several possible causes, such as medication side effects, delirium because of illnesses, such as urinary tract infection, dementia and depression, and metabolic and/or endocrine derangements. While some conditions like depression and medication side effects can be reversed or improved with treatment, others, such as Alzheimer’s, cannot be reversed. 

However, their symptoms can be treated for a certain period of time and more importantly, the families of the patients suffering from these conditions can be prepared for predictable changes and the treatment procedure, which may take a while to yield desired results. 

Besides, assessing cognitive impairment and identifying its cause, especially at an early stage, also offers other benefits, such as:

  • Alleviating concerns, especially at that point of time, if no serious illnesses or health conditions are diagnosed

  • Enabling better and more effective management of comorbid conditions

  • Averting potential safety issues

  • Helping the person create or plan long-term care

  • Ensuring the person has a care network and access to support services

  • Referral to a specialist, who may be able to provide more personalized care and better treatment 

Thus, it can be safely concluded that assessing cognitive impairment or decline in geriatric people is necessary for diagnosing Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other forms of dementia early and prescribing personalized, effective and timely treatments. 

If you are looking for Cognitive Impairment Treatment in Kolkata then visit the best neurology hospital in Kolkata where you will get the best facilities and treatment under the supervision of some of the best neurologists in Kolkata.


Dr. Ansu Sen

Consultant - Neurologist

Manipal Hospital Salt Lake


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