Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) can be a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease. If your dad has been diagnosed with MCI, you can take steps to help him age in place, like starting in-home care as soon as possible. Learn more about MCI and how it can impact your parent’s abilities now and in the future.
What Is MCI?
Upwards of 20% of adults 60 or older have MCI. It’s a condition where memory skills have gotten slightly worse than they should at that age. However, it’s not Alzheimer’s or dementia, and some people have MCI and never develop dementia. People who have had a stroke, diabetes, or depression are more at risk.
When you have MCI, you’re still able to complete activities of daily living and instrumental activities of daily living. Your memory isn’t that bad. Mainly, you might forget that you had an appointment. You might lose your keys and not recall the steps you took earlier that day.
Suppose your dad is at work and has been running the same machine for decades. He knows the steps to start the machine, run his product, change settings, and close the machine down at the night’s end. He starts forgetting the steps, and his boss issues multiple warnings.
That’s an example of MCI. He can still do his work, but he forgets steps along the way. It might be simple aging, but you worry that it’s the first sign of Alzheimer’s. It’s time to talk to an expert for guidance.
If you suspect your dad has MCI, you should take him to a doctor. It’s best to have his cognitive skills checked every six months to see if it’s progressing. If it does progress, the diagnosis shifts into dementia. Don’t let your dad stress too much about this. Only 10% to 20% of MCI cases progress to Alzheimer’s.
Talk About In-Home Care Now
What happens if it’s MCI, but there is suspicion it might be progressing? It’s important to stay calm. Your dad is likely scared, but you need to make sure he knows he has your support. Do this by coming up with a list of his goals for aging in place. See what he wants to happen.
Would he want to downsize or stay in his home? Does he want to have a family member move in, or would he feel that would intrude on his desire for privacy? Caregivers can stop by and offer the help he needs with housekeeping, meals, transportation, organization, personal care, etc.
In-home care services are ideally arranged before dementia worsens. In the latter stages of Alzheimer’s, your dad will not remember faces and names. Help him get acquainted with caregivers in the early stages.
By doing so, your dad has had time to adjust to having in-home care services. A familiar bond is formed with the caregivers that come to help out. Call an in-home care specialist to learn more.