Today, more than 5 million people in the United States are living with Alzheimer’s disease. Not only will this number continue to rise to almost 14 million by 2050, almost 30 million Baby Boomers will develop Alzheimer’s disease in the next 35 years. It is crucial that cognitive decline is identified early and accurately. Impaired cognition due to causes such as depression, side effects of medication, excessive alcohol consumption, thyroid problems, vitamin deficiencies, and sleep deprivation are reversible. Moreover, early detection of even progressive, fatal diseases such as Alzheimer’s allows for future planning of issues pertaining to legal and financial affairs and end-of-life care.
Care providers in nursing homes and assisted living facilities should regularly assess their patients’ cognitive functioning in order to ensure that they are provided the appropriate care to enhance their cognitive well-being as they age.