Cognition is our ability to interact with the world around us. It includes functions such as:
- learning and memory - our ability to remember conversations and events or learn new information
- language - reading, writing, speaking and understanding
- visual and spatial function – how we navigate around our environment
- executive function - how we make decisions, solve problems and organize our life
- social function - how we interact appropriately with our family, friends, and colleagues
If certain areas of the brain become damaged, one or more of these cognitive functions may be weakened. When cognitive function is weakened to the point that it impairs a person’s ability to function independently day-to-day, then they have developed dementia.
Learn the answers to the following questions:
What is dementia?
What is cognition and why does it matter?
What are the most common causes of dementia?
What are other causes of dementia-like symptoms?
How is dementia treated?
Here are some other resources about this topic that you may find helpful after completing this lesson.
Alzheimer's, Dementia and Mild Cognitive Impairment: An Overview
This 20-minute video features a neuropsychologist from Washington State University, giving an overview of dementia and mild cognitive impairment including diagnosis of, tests for, impact on cognition and red flags for what may not be normal aging.Watch Video
A Handbook for Care
This comprehensive handbook for caregivers provides an overview of dementia and guidance for how to care for someone with dementia and also how to care for one's self.Download PDF
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