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Symptoms aren't always what they seem Jenny Wallis | Sat, Feb 04 2012 12:00 PM

Dear Jenny,

I thought for sure my aunt had dementia, seemed like all of the signs were there.  But then when I took her to a physician, the physician diagnosed her with MCI.  What is that and what is the difference between the two?

MCI is the abbreviation for Mild Cognitive Impairment.  MCI is not dementia and it is defined as a noted problem with cognition or brain processing. When looking at dementia and the actual definition, there are many different issues seen in a number of areas of the brain and the way it functions,  while MCI is only cognitive functioning that is impaired.  Another major difference between Mild Cognitive Impairment and dementia is that many of the symptoms that are seen in MCI do not cause any interference with the person’s daily level of activities.  When dementia symptoms have been seen, there are quality of life disruptions, usually these disruptions are already in place.  
A way that MCI and dementia match each other is the fact that the cause of the syndrome is unknown.  Yet the medical community feels that it could be triggered by stress or illness.  Many physicians and researchers feel that MCI can be viewed as regular aging.  It is sort of the fine line between regular aging and dementia.  There have been studies done that prove 10 to 15 percent of all MCI cases seem to develop into some form of dementia. 
Mild Cognitive Impairment and dementia do have a relationship.  If ever you suspect that you or a loved one has some cognitive concerns that are more than just usual forgetfulness, take the time to have it checked out.  Usual forgetfulness is when you walk into a room to make a phone call and at the moment you pick up the phone, you forget who you were going to call.  However, if you walked into a room to make a phone call and forget which order you should do things, dial first, hang up first.  That is Cognitive Impairment. 
If you have questions about senior care or helping an elderly loved one, contact Jenny Wallis, Community Marketing Director at Villa Bonita Senior Living at 619-739-4400 or by e-mail at villabonitamkg2@islllc.com.   Villa Bonita Senior Living is an Assisted Living Community licensed by the California Department of Social Services, located at 3434 Bonita Road, Chula Vista, CA  91910.  You can also visit Villa Bonita online at www.villabonitaseniorliving.com.

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