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In Caregivers,Dementia,Disease,Health Care,Parents,Planning

Choosing a Doctor for Cognitive Decline and Dementia

Cognitive decline, including dementia is a condition that is not considered a normal part of aging. According to the World Health Organization, over 50 million people worldwide have dementia and there are almost 10 million new cases every year. Different from general memory loss, cognitive decline and dementia are degenerative diseases that will gradually worsen over time. For most people, symptoms start out subtly and may only be noticeable to the person experiencing them. If you find that you or a loved one are having a hard time completing everyday activities, or have any behavior or thinking issues, it might be time to see a healthcare professional. Choosing the right healthcare professional is important if you’re concerned that you or a loved one are experiencing these symptoms. Make an appointment with one of the healthcare providers below to discuss your concerns.

Primary Care Physician. Making an appointment with your primary care physician is the first step in receiving all-inclusive care. The primary care provider can get a complete medical history, family history, and a current medication list. During a visit, the doctor can do a physical exam and administer a full cognitive assessment. This physician may also ask for lab tests or refer you to a dementia specialist for further testing.

Geriatrician. A geriatrician is a family care doctor who specialized in complex conditions within older adults and can provide care for all their medical needs. A geriatric psychiatrist specializes in the emotional and mental needs of seniors. They can help by evaluating memory, mood, sleep, and thinking and are skilled in evaluating memory problems associated with stress, anxiety, and depression.

Neurologist. A neurologist is a medical doctor trained in diagnosing, managing, and treating disorders of the brain and nervous system. Some are more specialized in cognitive decline than others, so it is important to ask your primary care doctor and do research to ensure you’re referred to the most appropriate specialist.

Psychologist or Social Worker. Often, people struggle upon receiving a diagnosis of cognitive decline or dementia. A psychologist or social worker can provide support and help address behavioral issues as well as supporting the family.  ElderServe’s Care Management can help in these areas, too.

If you suspect you or your loved one is experiencing the symptoms or cognitive decline or dementia, these healthcare providers will provide care and support to help manage this disease.

ElderServe’s Adult Day Health Center provides care for individuals experiencing health issues, including dementia while engaging them with social and recreational activities. If you are interested in learning more, contact our Adult Day Health Center Director, Tracy at 502.776.3066.

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