Is there is anything positive about MCI? It never occurred to me the answer might be yes —until I visited Baycrest in Toronto, where they run one of the leading programs for people with mild cognitive impairment. They taught me there are positives to be found in having MCI, and that finding them can help you live more effectively with this frightening, maddening condition.
Interested in getting the book “Living with Mild Cognitive Impairment?” It’s available here: https://www.amazon.com/Living-Mild-Cognitive-Impairment-Maximizing/dp/0199764824
Here’s the full transcript of today’s video
Is there any way, any way at all, that you have found having mild cognitive impairment to be a positive your life?
Only you can answer that question. But I will tell you this.
Based on what I’ve just learned from some of the world’s leading experts on mild cognitive impairment, if your answer is yes, or if your answer could be yes, that can greatly improve your ability to live with mild cognitive impairment.
Hi, I’m Tony Dearing, of GoCogno.com, the website for people with mild cognitive impairment.
Last month, I went to Toronto to visit Baycrest, which runs one of the leading programs in the world for mild cognitive impairment.
What they are doing at Baycrest is amazing, and life-changing. As one of the women with MCI told me, “I had no hope. Now I have hope, and a plan.”
I gained so much knowledge, and so many insights, from their pioneering work, and my goal over the next few months is to share as much of that as I possibly can with you.
I begin today with a notion that never, ever occurred to me. It’s the idea that there could possibly be anything positive about having MCI.
MCI is a frightening, frustrating, maddening condition.
So I was completely unprepared to hear the authors of the book say that one of the things they’ve learned over the past 20 years is that there are people who think there are ways that MCI has had a positive impact on their life.
That is not looking at MCI through rose-colored glasses. These people have all of the challenges and frustration and anxieties that come with living with MCI. And dealing with those things can really get you down.
The authors of the book talk a lot about that. They say: “Negative mood symptoms are prevalent in people with MCI, and they can affect memory and promote progression to dementia.”
But they go on to ask a question that has stuck with me more than any other single passage that I read in their book. They say:
“If negative mood symptoms can cause all these problems for you, then what can positive attitudes do?”
And the answer is, it can really help. They say: “Many studies have been conducted attesting to the benefits of a positive attitude on your cognition.”
That does not, in any way, mean MCI is a wonderful thing.
But it is good reason to try to find something positive in it and to try take as positive of an approach as you can toward living with it.
“We are not suggesting that you need to feel happy all the time,” the authors of the book write. “We are suggesting that you pay attention to any negative thoughts and emotions and deal with them. Don’t just wait for them to go away. Take action to engage in activities that you find enjoyable and that make you feel good about yourself.”
They go on to say that there are three particular types of activities that are good for that:
Activities that you find personally meaningful, that give you some purpose in life
Activities that involve interacting with other people
Activities that involve being physically active
I hope you find this helpful. And after you’ve had time to reflect on it, if you find there’s something positive you can say about living with MCI, let me know. Leave a comment or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope to hear from you and I hope to see you again next week. Until then, as always, be kind to your mind.
(Editor’s note: When I posted this video, I invited people with MCI to tell me one positive thing they’ve found about having it. And boy did they respond. Their answers were amazing and inspiring. After you watch the video below, I invite you to come back here and use this link to read those responses.)