Seniors largely ignore cognitive checkups, putting themselves at risk

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Seniors largely ignore cognitive checkups, putting themselves at risk

Source: The San Diego Union-Tribune

Just one out of seven of seniors take part in assessments for cognitive problems, according to a new report from the Alzheimer’s Association. But much higher numbers get regular screenings for ailments like heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

The disconnect means that millions of seniors with early cognitive problems aren’t getting medical attention early, when it can be most helpful, said the report, issued on Tuesday.

Problems with cognition can have many causes, said Katie Croskrey, executive director of the association’s chapter for San Diego and Imperial counties. These include dehydration, stress, side effects of medication and poor blood circulation to the brain, Alzheimer’s, or a mixture of causes. These issues can be detected early on with a variety of cognitive tests.

One of the most popular cognitive screens is the Montreal Cognitive Assessment. It’s usually given in person and takes about 15 minutes, said Ana Seda, the chapter’s director of programs. These include such tasks as drawing the hands of an analog clock, counting backward in a sequence, and repeating sentences exactly as given.

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