• Prevention

    The risk of cognitive impairment increases with age. The tools and resources in this section can be implemented throughout the physician-patient relationship as you engage in regular conversations about maintaining cognitive health.

    These resources represent current best practices and clinically relevant information. Work is actively being done to create resources that better account for cultural background, social determinants of health, and other factors that can help prevent cognitive impairment.

    Suggested Physician Resources

    Talking With Your Older Patient: A Clinician’s Handbook
    From the National Institute on Aging, this handbook offers techniques and approaches to help clinicians with diagnosis, promote treatment adherence, and improve patient and provider satisfaction. The handbook is available to print or order online. Consider looking at the section “Talking with Patients with Cognitive Problems”.

    Modifiable Risk Factors for Alzheimer Disease and Related Dementias Among Adults Aged ≥45 Years
    This Centers for Disease Control article reviews risk factors for cognitive decline and describes goals to reduce the risks of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. 

    Evidence-based Prevention of Alzheimer's Disease
    This article reviews evidence and guidance for Alzheimer’s disease prevention. Suggestions include targeting 19 factors:

    • Level A (strong evidence): education, cognitive activity, high body mass index in late life, hyperhomocysteinaemia, depression, stress, diabetes, head trauma, hypertension in midlife and orthostatic hypotension
    • Level B (weaker evidence): obesity in midlife, weight loss in late life, physical exercise, smoking, sleep, cerebrovascular disease, frailty, atrial fibrillation, and vitamin C.

    Patient, Family, and Caregiver Resources

    Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease: What Do We Know?
    The National Institute on Aging developed a resource on preventing Alzheimer’s disease that can be downloaded for the patient, family, and other caregivers. The booklet provides the background on risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease, offers preventive strategies, and ways to navigate treatments.

    Talking With Your Doctor: A Guide for Older People
    This booklet from the National Institute on Aging is a patient’s guide to the physician-patient relationship, encouraging an active patient role in their care. Proper treatment and the physician-patient relationship are equally important to health care. Patients often do not know what questions they should ask, or how to make sure they are getting all the information they need during their visits. 

    Safe Use of Medicines
    The National Institute on Aging provides a resource for patients, families, and caregivers to help with safe use of medicines. This website provides tips to help older adults plan at home for the safe use of medicines, including keeping a list of all medicines, discussing medicines with the pharmacist, and asking the right questions of your doctor.

    Making Healthy Lifestyle Choices May Reduce Your Risk of Dementia
    This National Institute on Aging Infographic can help patients learn more about health lifestyle changes to prevent dementia.