Estate Planning For Peace Of Mind

What are the 4 levels of age-related cognitive impairment?

On Behalf of | Apr 18, 2024 | Elder Law |

As we grow older, our bodies undergo radical changes. Cognitive function is one area where this transformation often becomes particularly noticeable.

When interacting with elderly people, it is important to be aware of the different types and levels of age-related cognitive impairment. The four levels of age-related cognitive impairment are as follows.

No cognitive impairment (NCI)

At this stage, the individual demonstrates typical cognitive abilities for their age group with no significant impairment in memory, attention, language or other cognitive domains. They can perform daily tasks independently and without difficulty, and their cognitive function is consistent with what is expected for their age.

Subjective cognitive impairment (SCI)

In this stage, there is noticeable cognitive decline beyond what is considered normal for aging, but it is not severe enough to interfere significantly with daily functioning. Memory problems may become more apparent, along with difficulties in other cognitive areas such as language, executive function and visuospatial skills. Despite these challenges, individuals with SCI can still manage most daily activities independently although they may require additional support and accommodations.

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI)

At this level, cognitive decline becomes more pronounced significantly impacting daily activities and independent living. Memory loss and other cognitive deficits worsen affecting communication, problem-solving, decision-making and social interactions. Individuals may struggle to perform routine tasks and require more assistance with activities of daily living.

Severe cognitive impairment (Dementia)

This stage is characterized by profound cognitive decline that interferes severely with daily functioning. Memory loss is profound, and individuals may struggle with basic activities of daily living such as dressing, eating and personal hygiene. Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease and other related conditions is often diagnosed at this stage.

Cognitive impairment may result in a need for support and care from family members, caregivers or healthcare professionals. If you have a loved one who shows signs of cognitive decline, consider consulting a geriatric specialist for an evaluation and guidance on managing their condition. If/when necessary, consulting a legal team experienced in elder law can help you to advocate for their interests effectively.