I remember an admonition from my childhood: Don’t hide your light under a bushel! I thought of that this week when I read an article about the value of testing the cognitive ability of everyone 65 and older when they have an encounter with a neurologist. In the UK, since 2017, they evaluate cognition on this population with every health encounter. The reasons for this practice are clear and worth remembering. If cognition is tracked over time, many interventions can be put in place to improve cognitive decline and/or reduce the burden of the decline. We all believe in preventive medicine for so many conditions and the ability to think, reason, communicate, remember should be added to the list of conditions we can address.
As healthcare professionals, knowing this is true, i.e. early detection of cognitive decline is good and can benefit the patient, we have an opportunity to address this with our own family or friends who are either older or caregivers for older relatives. Help them to see that any declines they are seeing should be evaluated so everyday measures can be instituted to preserve, stabilize, or ease the burden of cognitive difficulties. They may not ask for your advise, like they do for a skin condition or a cough, so if you notice changes you can “let your light shine” at least to let them know you are there and can help.
The article that inspired this blog is linked here:
Alicia Lasek, September 19, 2019