One thing is for certain in this world: change. What do you think of when you see the word change? How does it make you feel? I think of new opportunities, and it makes me feel hopeful.

Factors Involved

By Teffie Landmann, PAC Team Member.

There are some of you reading this saying yes. Others are saying no, change sucks! Why are there such strong reactions to change?

I’m thinking for folks like me, change can be a good thing. Yeah, it might be hard at first, but it will pay off in the end. Others might think change can be bad and lead to even worse things. It’s the element of uncertainty that excites some folks and scares others.

Think of a time when you made a change. Was it a move to a new house, a new job, or a new relationship? Was it difficult at first, but worked out for the best in the end or did it come with some hidden costs; financially, emotionally, or spiritually?

What happens when the change you notice is cognition? I’m thinking of problem solving, or vocabulary. Take me for example. Let’s say you see me struggling to find the name of a town or street I once lived on. Is that a change in cognition? For me, no I’ve always had a hard time remembering the names of places and people.

Original article by Teepa Snow, MS, ORT/L, FAOTA, with minor updates by Teffie Landmann, PAC Team Member

How about sequencing? Am I forgetting the steps of how to cook some of my favorite dishes? If so, that is a change in cognition for me and a reason to take pause. I don’t cook often, which means when I do cook something, it is a dish I have done many, many times. If I have skipped a step in the sequence, say didn’t put butter on the bread for a grilled cheese sandwich, that would be a change in cognition.

Is that normal aging or not normal aging? Great question. I wish I could say the answer is a simple yes or no. It’s a bit more complicated than that. When you notice a change in someone and their cognition, that is the time to get curious.

What other factors are involved? Was I tired, was I simply out of butter, or did I take the butter out and then put it back not thinking I would need it? One way to help determine what type of change is going on is to engage with the person and see what other things they can do or things they might miss.


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