Cognitive disorders are those which often affects elderly people especially those who are above the age of 65. In this kind of a disorder there is a significant change in the manner an individual behaves and functions. The function of the brain is impacted in cognitive disorders and hence this may have severe impact on the physical and mental functioning of an individual affected by such ailment.
Impact of cognitive disorders on the elderly
Elderly people suffering from cognitive disorders like dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and the like are increasingly dependent on another person. This may lead to severe stress on the part of the caregiver. Another impact is that those people having severe forms of cognitive diseases may need to be admitted to an institution or may require hospitalization. Some other impact of cognitive diseases on the elderly may be recognized by showing increased signs of restlessness, aggression, not being able to recognize friends and relatives, improper sexual behaviour and wandering away on their own. These people take frequent siestas in the day and display signs of increased restlessness in the night (Comer, 2011). Another impact is that their mortality is considerably declined due to the presence of cognitive disorders (Aguero – Torres et al. 2002).
A major impact is that cognitive diseases lead to the inability of the elderly to perform activities of daily living (ADL) and this is displayed most by people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and other demented illnesses (World Health Organization, 2012). Elderly people affected by cognitive disorders also display relatively lower health complains (Landi et al. 1998). There is an increased fear that individuals having a family history of suffering from Alzheimer’s disease may pass it on to the next generation. Researchers are trying to find a cure to this disease so that it may be controlled (ScienceCentral.com, 2005). An elderly person suffering in the later stages of AD loses sense of relationships and the manner in which one can express oneself. It is a tremendous drain on the society as such people are long term users of medicines, hospice and long term carer service (Alzheimer’s Association, 2011).
Thus from the above it can be observed that cognitive disorders commonly affect the elderly and make them partially or totally dependent on a caregiver as such individuals are unable to carry out daily activities. Hence, such persons need greater care and attention.
Aguero – Torres, H., Thomas, V.S., Wimblad, B. & Fratiglioni, L. (2002). The impact of somatic and cognitive disorders on the functional status of the elderly. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 55, 1007 – 1012.
Alzheimer’s Association (2011). Alzheimer’s disease. Retrieved October 10, 2012 from http://www.alz.org/national/documents/topicsheet_alzdisease.pdf
Comer, R. (2011). Fundamentals of abnormal psychology (6th ed.). New York: Worth Publishers
Landi, F., Gambassi, G., Lapane, K.L., Sgadari, A., Gifford, D., Mor, V., Bernabei, R. (1998). Comorbidity and drug use in cognitively impaired elderly living in long-term care. Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders,9, 347–56.
Sciencecentral.com (2005). Alzheimer’s switch. Retrieved October 10, 2012 from http://www.sciencentral.com/articles/view.php3?article_id=218392652
World Health Organization, (2012). The ICD-10 Classification of Mental and Behavioural Disorders. Retrieved October 10, 2012 from http://www.who.int/classifications/icd/en/bluebook.pdf