Cognitive impairment is when a person has trouble remembering, learning new things, concentrating, or making decisions that affect their everyday life.
It will also affect what the person can understand, and how they relate to others and interpret the environment.
Cognitive impairment ranges from mild to severe and can be temporary or permanent.
For further information: A guide for people with cognitive impairment
Common conditions associated with cognitive impairment
Dementia causes progressive cognitive impairment, affecting memory, judgement, language, and the ability to perform everyday tasks. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia. Dementia is predominately a disorder related to age but can affect younger people younger than 65 years old. This is known as younger onset dementia.
Delirium is a state of mental confusion.
Delirium is a common medical problem that is characterised by changes in mental functioning.
Illness, surgery and medications can all cause delirium. It always starts suddenly, but usually lifts when the condition causing it gets better.
It can be frightening – not only for the person who is unwell – but also those around him or her.
Delirium is a serious medical emergency and statistics suggest that the prevalence of delirium in people having surgery is about 10 – 50%.
People who develop delirium may need to be hospitalised, and have more complications with increased incidence of falls and pressure areas. They may also require admission to long term care.
Delirium is a recognised problem in older people, that is frequently overlooked or misdiagnosed, and is very distressing to individuals and to their families and carers.
More information can be found on these brochures: