Ask for a Cognitive Evaluation at Your Next Annual Visit

patient speaks with doctor

by Cassidy Doyle and Britney Veal for NCOA

Are you interested in having your cognition assessed? You are not alone—AARP found that over half of US adults have indicated wanting a baseline cognitive screening, but many have never requested one. Below are some resources to help you get started on requesting a cognitive screening at your Annual Wellness Visit.

What is an Annual Wellness Visit?

The Annual Wellness Visit is a yearly visit with your primary care provider (PCP) that is covered if you have Medicare Part B. You qualify for an Annual Wellness Visit if you have had Medicare Part B for over 12 months and have not received an Annual Wellness Visit within the last year.

What is a cognitive assessment?

Our brains perform different functions like thinking, remembering, learning, communicating, and making decisions. Collectively, these functions are known as ‘cognition.’ Cognitive evaluations are a way for health care professionals to measure your brain’s functioning and cognition to address any issues that you may be experiencing.

The good news is that some cognitive evaluations take only a few minutes and have no risks associated with them.

How do I know if I should request a cognitive evaluation?

If any of the following applies to you, consider asking for a cognitive evaluation at your visit:

  • You are interested in having a baseline evaluation
  • You live alone
  • You or your loved ones are concerned about any changes in your memory or are thinking about your cognitive symptoms
  • You notice daily tasks start to feel challenging
  • You notice disruptions in your daily routine
  • You take several medications every day
  • You currently smoke or consider yourself a former smoker
  • You have a history of depression
  • You have a history of traumatic brain injuries
  • You or your family have a history of stroke or other cardiovascular issues (e.g., high blood pressure)
  • You have untreated hearing loss
  • You notice changes in your vision
  • You have a family history of dementia

For a more extensive list, visit the CDC website.

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