Detecting possible cognitive impairment is the first step in determining whether or not a patient needs dementia screening and evaluation.

Dementia is one of the most common medical conditions seen in older adults ranging from mild cognitive impairment to severe dementia. Dementia is also a leading cause of death in older adults.

People who should be screened for dementia include individuals with memory concerns, cognitive complaints, personality changes, signs of depression, any kind of deterioration of chronic disease without explanation, recurrent falls and balance issues.

People can also be screened if the individual’s caregiver reports of cognitive decline. Sometimes dementia screening is also done as part of annual wellness visits for Medicare beneficiaries.

The benefits of early detection of dementia in older adults include early treatment intervention, more time to plan for the future, lessen anxieties, increase chances of participating in clinical studies, time to develop a relationship with their doctors and caregivers and access to Karen support devices making it easier for the family to manage the changes that come with the dementia.

Some common screening tools for dementia include Miniā€“Cog, MMSE test, Montreal cognitive assessment test or MoCA test. These tests can be administered by your physician during a clinic visit and can help with screening for dementia.

Anyone who would like to ask me a medical question relating to the health of older adults can email me at questions@apexmedicalgroup.org. I hope to provide a helpful answer in a future issue of this newspaper.

Disclaimer: The information shared in this column is based on current practice guidelines but is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your healthcare provider with any questions regarding a medical condition.

Dr. Arvind Mohanaselvan, M.D., is a physician board certified in internal medicine, with a subspecialty in geriatrics. He currently works at Apex Medical Group as a primary care and geriatric medicine provider. Email questions for Paging the Doctor on Call to questions@apexmedicalgroup.org

Arvind M. Selvan M.D.