How to Document Signs of Cognitive Decline
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How to Document Signs of Cognitive Decline

Caregivers in North Miami Beach, Florida, with relatives at risk for cognitive decline conditions like Alzheimer's, dementia, and similar situations, can feel overwhelmed when minor changes happen. Discuss how to report changes to physicians and ask for evaluations to determine if the slight differences are from new cognitive conditions, dehydration, or an illness. When you begin to be concerned about the small changes in older individuals' actions and behavior, you need to start making notes to discuss with the physician.

Create a Journal

As concerns about older people's health grow, the most significant thing a caregiver can do is create a file or folder that has all the patient's information. This documentation should include a notepad or journal in which any caregiver or family can record strange changes or occurrences. When you look at an older person's activities, you may notice an increase in possible clues and symptoms of cognitive impairment.

Establishing Early Signs and Symptoms of Cognitive Decline

Most people have forgotten an item, such as their keys or shoes, as they hurry out the door. Stress, sickness, and a hectic lifestyle can all contribute to weariness and occasional forgetfulness, especially when combined with a deterioration in sleep habits. When does this indicate cognitive decline? When tiny adjustments begin to occur more regularly.

For example, an older adult receiving in-home adult care may grow more nervous when answering the door. They may forget the names and faces of friends more frequently and have difficulty finding objects they recently held. Keep track of the frequency and activity and any questions you may have to discuss at the next physician's visit.

Advancing Cognitive Decline

Minor changes may not be concerning initially, but advancing signs of cognitive decline can become hazardous when the symptoms advance. As a decrease in cognitive abilities becomes more apparent, documentation in frequency, severity, time, and date can help caregivers give physicians a chronological timeline of changes.

Changes happen slowly but seem to become more apparent as a caregiver pays more attention. Concerns increase as older adults begin displaying modifications like:

  • Forgetting the time or date
  • Forgetting appointments
  • Financial irresponsibility
  • Forgetting items in the oven or stove while cooking
  • Failing to do or forgetting how to do daily care tasks

While there are more signs and symptoms, each individual will differ. New symptoms may show up slowly or in a quick progression. The main thing as a caregiver is to remain calm, document occurrences, and ask questions of physicians.

Tools That Help in Documentation

A few cognitive tests can help you determine if there is a slight decline in an older adult's cognitive function. For instance, you can say three random words and ask them to remember them. Then, after some conversation, request the words back a few minutes later. If they can complete the task, the test went well. Ask your consulting physician for weekly or monthly tests that can be documented in your medical journal to help gauge the advancement of cognitive decline.

Senior Helpers Can Assist in Documentation

The risk of advancing cognitive decline can place any family in a stressful situation. Thankfully, you do not have to do it alone here in North Miami Beach. In-home senior caregivers are here to help, even if it is just being a companion to an older adult that might need slight re-direction. Contact us today for more information about how our program can help you and your loved ones.