As your senior loved ages, you may eventually notice that there are memory or other cognitive difficulties that confront them. How do you know if it is a normal level of forgetfulness or if there are issues that need to be addressed with a physician?
Detecting Alzheimer’s or dementia symptoms can be confusing. Thankfully, navigating health issues doesn’t have to be a maze in the area of cognitive functions. The SAGE test, which stands for Self-Administered Gerocognitive Exam, can help determine whether your senior loved one needs further evaluation.
There are four forms of the SAGE test, however, it doesn’t matter which version is completed. The four versions are all equally useful for identifying individuals that require additional consideration in relation to cognitive functions.
While the test is self-administered, the scoring is not. Once your loved one has completed the evaluation, the results must be taken to your physician for scoring. The doctor will be able to evaluate the results and determine whether additional consideration for treatment is needed.
When your loved one takes the SAGE test, they need only a pen and paper to complete it. They do not need to set a timer or watch a clock while they take the test. You might reassure your loved one that it’s normal to become a little more forgetful as you age. The evaluation will simply identify issues that indicate an abnormal pattern of cognitive problems or an unusually steep change in memory.
It may also reassure your loved one to consider that not only are gradual memory and cognitive decline normal, but many conditions that cause these symptoms are treatable. In many cases, patients begin to experience memory problems or other cognitive challenges and then wait several years before letting their doctor know about it.
Once your senior loved one has completed your SAGE test, bring it to your doctor’s office. They will evaluate it in the office, and if necessary, refer you to the appropriate treatment. If the test confirms that the symptoms you have witnessed are simply normal memory problems for seniors, your doctor can keep the SAGE results. It can be used as a baseline to evaluate cognitive function in the future.
It’s important to keep in mind that the SAGE test will not diagnose any particular condition. It is not a tool designed to determine whether your loved one has dementia, Alzheimer’s, mini-strokes or any other condition. However, it will provide the physician with the information they need to help connect you with the right place to start for treatment, should any be required.
Life as a senior can be a rich, rewarding period in a person’s life, despite typical memory and cognitive function issues. However, if you feel that your senior loved one’s quality of life is being impacted by unusual memory problems, take time to do the SAGE test. If you need additional information, contact us at Freudenthal Home Health.