How do you know when to worry or talk to your primary physician about your family member?
There are a number of assessments tools, but the simplest to take is called the SAGE Test.*
The benefits of this test is that SAGE can be a tool for measuring someone’s thinking ability over several years. The first time the test is taken could be considered a “baseline,” or the standard to be compared to when it’s taken again later. If scores on the test are worse two years later, this might indicate something’s wrong. Dementia diseases are progressive, worsening over time, and SAGE can help chart the progression.
Also, peace of mind can be huge. If you are stressed or exhausted (perhaps from caregiving for your loved one), then focus and memory might suffer. A person with a healthy brain may become worried that they’re showing signs of dementia. Taking a SAGE might reassure you that rather than developing an incurable brain disease, you just need more sleep.Doing this test at home is a solid marker.
More information helps doctors make a better diagnosis. The questions on SAGE are diverse, asking someone to remember the date, do simple math problems, recall the names of objects or animals, and more. Because different types of dementias affect the brain differently, this is helpful for determining what’s wrong. Someone with Frontotemporal dementia, for instance, would have difficulty coming up with the right words, but less problems with memory.
Catching cognition problems early equals better treatment. Dementia cannot be cured, but its symptoms can be managed. The sooner management begins, the easier a person’s life with Alzheimer’s disease or related illness will be. If you or a loved one shows signs of developing dementia, you can better prepare for the future, including understanding what might be required of caregivers.
*SAGE stands for Self-Administered Gerocognitive Test.