Home > Alzheimer's Disease, Dementia & Brain Health > Simple Tests Undertaken By Assisted Living Facilities For Determining Cognitive Impairment Among Seniors

Simple Tests Undertaken By Assisted Living Facilities For Determining Cognitive Impairment Among Seniors

Dementia refers to a cluster of symptoms caused by changes in brain function. Memory loss is the earmark of demen­tia but personality and behavior changes are also common. Nearly everyone experiences memory lapses as they age, but Dementia inter­feres with a person’s ability to carry out daily activities. The risks increase with age. According to statistics they increase by 5% after the age of 65 and by 20% after age 80. New technologies in brain imaging represent significant advances in Alzheimer’s research and diagnosis. Other decidedly, low-tech screening tests may offer a quick and inexpensive snapshot of a person’s cognitive health. Whether any of these tests is accurate enough to be widely used for screening remains uncertain, but taking one or several tests may be useful on an individual basis. Many assisted living facilities are specifically designed for the care of Alzheimer and Dementia patients. These Assisted Living Facilities conduct regular tests on their patients to apprehend their cognitive ability and the progress of their conditions.

Diagnosing the many forms of Dementia is a process of differentiating between age associated memory impairment and Dementia due to a medical condition and involves a process of systematic elimination. Doctors often start by looking at conditions that are correct­able. Patients may have physical or psychological conditions, such as a high fever, urinary tract infections, depression, minor head injuries and dehydration that can affect their mental conditions. Many times their mental conditions can be cured by treating their physical issues. Most serious forms of dementia are not reversible. If physical problems of the patient are addressed and mental conditions of the patients continue, then more serious, irreversible dementias such as Alzheimer’s disease are likely.  A few standard tests are undertaken to measure cognitive impairment of the patient.

Thought Process by ~Cazacan on deviantART

Clock Drawing Test

The Clock Drawing Test is the most well known of the screening tests for dementia. Patients are asked to draw a clock with the hands pointing to a specified time—for example, 2:45. The most complete, well-organized, accurate, and spatially correct drawing is rated a “10,” and the least represen­tative is rated a “1.” The more distorted and inaccurate the drawings are, the more likely the person is suffering from a serious form of Dementia.

Time Test

This test measures the ability to tell time. The patient is given 60 seconds to read the time on a clock and are given 2 attempts to get it right.

Making Change/Simple Math Test

In the change test, the person is given three quarters, seven dimes, and seven nickels and asked to make change for a dollar. The change test has a 3 minute limit, with 2 attempts allowed.

Sniff Test

Researchers have known for some time that loss of the sense of smell can be an early warning sign of Alzheimer’s disease. The beta-amyloid plaques that ultimately destroy memory and other cognitive abilities accumulate first in areas of the brain that are responsible for percep­tion of odors. In a paper presented at a recent meeting of the American College of Neuropsy­chopharmacology, people with mild cognitive impairment were given a 10 item sniff test. The odors were lemon, strawberry, pineapple, lilac, clove, menthol, smoke, natural gas, soap, and leather. Those who participated in the study and misidentified more than 2 of the odors were 5 times more likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s disease than those who performed better on the test.

Important Note:  The tests described are for screening purposes as opposed to diagnostic testing. The tests were designed to be administered and interpreted by a healthcare professional. Poor results are an indication of probable cognitive impairment, but more sophisticated testing is necessary to make a diagnosis of any type of dementia. Assisted Living Facilities regularly perform tests to diagnose dementia among their senior patients. Accordingly medical care is provided for their patients to deal with their specific conditions.

800Seniors.com is a leading referral system in the Elderly Healthcare industry. We are located on 5400 Atlantis Court, Moorpark, California 93021. 800Seniors.com provides the perfect match between seniors searching for health care provisions such as Home Care, Home Health, Skilled Nursing, Hospice Care, Medical Supplies, as well as a variety of Assisted Living Phoenix and Care Homes nationwide. Take the confusion and hassle out of the search. For more information call 1-800-768-8221, visit http://800seniors.com or fax us your details at (805)517-1623.

About The Author: Gloria Ha’o Schneider is an expert in senior citizen and baby boomer issues. Her topics revolve around Senior Living and Healthcare to provide the latest information to this demographic as well as their families and loved ones.

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