Until now, screening for dementia has been harder than ever. If you have a mild cognitive defecit, it’s usually hard to find a general practitioner that will spend the time to do a thorough screening. You can see a neurologist, but that can take months, and a thorough cognitive screening may not be done on the initial visit.
That’s why the best way to screen for dementia or cognitve impairement is by booking an appointment with an occupational therapist. These therapists often have the expertise and certification to do a proper cognitive screening.
In this post, I’ll discuss the best ways screen for cognition, and why it may be better than seeing your doctor.
Why skip your visit to the doctor
A doctor can properly diagnosis dementia or cognitive impairment, but they don’t always go about it the right way.
Most general practitioners don’t have the time to do a cognitive screening and few use a proper cognitive assessment.
They may send you to a neurologist, but that can take months to get an appointment, and it can be expensive especially if they do imaging.
Doctors may also not have all the proper resources to help after your receive a diagnosis, and that may be even more valuable than a diagnosis. For example, a screening tool can help you understand what areas of cognition are impaired and how that may impact your daily activities.
How an occupational therapist can help with cognition
An occupational therapist can help people with cognitive decline discover activities that can actually improve cognitive functioning. They can also help you identify recources in your local community that can make a difference. This can include caregiver support, adult day care, driver assistance programs, meal prep services, and much more.
An OT can also use an assessment tool to understand what areas of cognition are challenging. This can be helpful when deciding what kind of help is needed and required to be able to be safe at home and in the community.
How to get started with cognition testing
The easiesty way to test your cognition is book an appointment with an OT who specializes in cognition. This can be done by a simple phone call or video call to make the process easy. Most cognitive assessments can be done in under 10 minutes.
You may have thought about taking an online quize, but most of them are not evidence-based. They also don’t have a human element and can’t provide you with the recources you may need. If you’re interested in a cognitive asessment, get started by booking a cognitive assessment here.
Dealing with dementia or another cognitive defecits can be a lot of work for the person suffering from the problem or the caregiver. Finding help isn’t easy, and the process can be expensive and take months to discover results.
Many doctors don’t have the time or recources to assist changes in cognition. An occupational therapist who specializes in cognition can be a valuable asset and help point you in the right direction by performing a thorough assessment and provide resources.
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David is the lead editor of OT Focus. He has been practicing as an Occupational Therapist since 2013. He specializes in acute care, hand therapy, and ergonomics.