Cognitive Health in Later Life

Subject: Healthcare Research
Pages: 2
Words: 542
Reading time:
2 min
Study level: College

It is no secret that the brain’s cognitive abilities deteriorate over time. As awful as this may seem, the problems of advanced age are incurable, and all that can be done in such a situation is to support the person. The most widespread disease associated with aging and deteriorating brain capacity is dementia. There are several psychological tests to measure it, which help establish the extent of brain damage and determine further actions.

The most prevalent disease associated with dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. It destroys the brain’s neural connections and prevents it from functioning to its full potential. Unfortunately, this disease is growing at an incredible rate. According to Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI), the rate of developing this syndrome will double or more in the last few decades.

However, before the manifestation of the disease itself, there is some intermediate stage which allows the tendency for the brain to deteriorate to be identified and therefore significantly slow the process down (Prince, 2018). It is called mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and its detection is the most critical task in treating dementia. MCI usually occurs between 45 and 49 and is detected using various tools such as test tasks.

The problem, however, can be the fact that to measure cognitive impairment, a person must have primary education. Unfortunately, there are still illiterate people in the world, and it is difficult to determine the final scores by which cognitive ability deviations from average can be assessed. The latest figures show that there are more than 750 million illiterate people globally, which makes it impossible to objectively evaluate their cognitive abilities (Prince, 2018). In addition, the disadvantage of such diagnostic methods is abstract thinking, which also exists and can be mistaken for cognitive distortion of the brain.

Talking about the life experiences of these people and their families, one cannot help the fact that this is a horrifying phenomenon. Many feel terrible stress seeing their parents no longer recognize their children. Psychologically it is challenging to cope with and painful to see a family member change into a complete stranger who is unaware of their actions. An example of this situation is the film Father, starring Anthony Hopkins. It tells the story of the life of a simple girl who looks after her own father. However, a particular feature of the film is the viewer’s perspective, when it is presented from the eyes of the older man himself, and the viewer is lost, becoming in the sick man’s place, which makes one wonder how these people feel with their illness. It is a visual example to see the feelings of these people, their loss, and, at the same time, normality, because in a couple of hours, for people with dementia, this situation will not exist. They will forget it, but not forget the people who are close to them.

It is impossible to fully evaluate how practical these tests are due to different demographic conditions and the overall level of scientific development. Another type of test should be devised to assess people with high levels of illiteracy, taking into account different types of thinking and the person’s general condition throughout life. All people are unique and cannot be unified only by the number of points scored.


Prince, M. (2018). World Alzheimer Report 2010: the global economic impact of dementia. Alzheimer’s Disease International.