As many as 18% of Americans over age 60 experience mild cognitive impairment (MCI), a condition involving memory issues or loss of cognitive ability beyond normal age-related changes but not significant enough to interfere with the tasks of daily living.
While these changes can be alarming, many people with MCI continue to lead normal and healthy lives without progressing to dementia. Although there’s no cure for MCI, there are ways to manage its symptoms.
The Marcann Group is a leader in MCI management for people in Glendale and Phoenix, Arizona, offering an advanced memory care program aimed at helping patients and their loved ones cope and thrive. If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with MCI, these five management tips can help.
Also called cognitive rehabilitation therapy or CRT, cognitive training uses a series of exercises and techniques to help people improve memory, reasoning, judgment, and other aspects of cognition. These exercises can include brain teasers, logic puzzles, and memory exercises that gradually progress in complexity.
CRT is based on the concept of neuroplasticity — the ability of the brain to form new neural connections and reorganize its structure and function over time. Cognitive training encompasses a wide variety of exercises, so therapy can be adjusted to focus on each person’s unique needs.
To date, there are no medicines known to improve or reverse MCI. However, some medications may be helpful in managing its symptoms.
These include antidepressant medicines and some medications used to treat Alzheimer’s disease. If you have an underlying medical problem contributing to your symptoms, like high blood pressure or high cholesterol, medications may help control those diseases, as well.
Based on the popular Mediterranean and DASH diets, the MIND diet is specifically designed to target the aging brain. This diet includes foods like whole grains, berries, nuts, green leafy vegetables, beans, fish, poultry, and olive oil. Red meat, sweets, fried foods, and unhealthy fats are limited.
In addition to supporting brain function, healthy eating helps manage weight and reduces your risk of other medical issues. And, of course, optimizing dietary choices play an essential role in managing underlying problems, like hypertension and high cholesterol, that can also affect your brain.
Being physically active isn’t just essential for your physical health — it’s important for your brain’s health and function, too. In fact, a recent study found that regular exercise improves memory and cognitive function. People who exercise more have a 31% reduced risk of developing dementia.
Exercise is essential because it boosts circulation, meaning your brain gets more oxygen and nutrients it needs to stay healthy. Improved circulation can also help remove wastes and toxins that could lead to cognitive decline.
Our team is skilled in multiple types of therapy aimed at helping people improve their cognitive processes and learn new memory skills. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) focuses on ways to learn new thought patterns and behaviors.
Therapy can also help people with MCI manage feelings of depression or anxiety that can go hand-in-hand with their diagnosis. Our team works closely with each patient to optimize therapies for long-term benefits.
A diagnosis of MCI does not mean you have dementia, nor does it mean you’ll go on to develop dementia. What it does mean is that your brain needs some extra support to maintain normal and healthy function. That’s where our team can help.