I’ve been busy lately learning more about “mild cognitive impairment” (MCI) and dementia for myself, my mom and my brother. I was diagnosed in August with MCI by taking a two hour test from a Licensed Clinical Psychologist. This means that compared to others my age, I show some signs of cognitive impairment in a few different areas, mostly in short-term memory. These findings did not surprise me a bit considering my long history with TBI and concussions. In fact I wondered why I bothered with the tests afterwards, because they were so exhausting!
Then a few weeks ago my brother John started complaining of terrible brain fog. He could barely function some days, but it usually became less difficult as the day went on. He ended up sleeping a lot because he couldn’t do much else. I got so worried about him that I called our local hospice people. They were kind enough to come over and speak to John this week. They said he was doing OK and not ready for hospice assistance.
I saw an article in Science Daily recently that says:
“In the first nationally representative study of cognitive impairment prevalence in more than 20 years, Columbia University researchers have found almost 10% of U.S. adults ages 65 and older have dementia, while another 22% have mild cognitive impairment.” in the article:
“One in 10 older Americans has dementia” in Science News, October 24, 2022
Apparently John and I are not alone. In fact I have learned:
“Americans born between 1948 and 1965 are more likely than the generations that preceded them to have multiple health problems as they age. Many develop two or more health conditions up to 20 years sooner than folks from other generations…” according to the article “Cohort Trends in the Burden of Multiple Chronic Conditions Among Aging U.S. Adults” in the June 2022 issue of The Journals of Gerontology
Basically just about everyone in my direct family is dealing with some version of memory loss or MCI, and I am including my 14 year old dog Rasta. None of us are in great shape at the moment. We survive by reminding each other of appointments, etc. My Mom refused memory testing, but her ability to remember has been fading quickly since my Dad died in 2020.
One thing I did learn from my psychologist is that there is now a saliva test to detect the presence of the genetic APOE4 variant, which is associated with increased risk of late-onset (age >60-65) Alzheimer’s disease.
Of course the next question is, do I really want to know?