• Cindy Davis

Knowing, Understanding, and Doing

Knowing and understanding what’s happening and taking proper action is the sixth activity of daily living (“ADL”).


#6 ADL - Knowing and Understanding What's Happening and Taking Proper Action

How well do you perceive, reason, remember, and judge what’s going on around you?


Cognitive impairment that interferes with one’s daily life and usual activities is characterized by:

  • Deteriorating intellectual ability that requires increasing supervision for protection of yourself and others,

  • Forgetting the recent and distant past,

  • Asking the same question frequently or repeating the same story over and over again,

  • Failing to recognize familiar people and places,

  • Making poor decisions, such as knowing what to do in an emergency,

  • Declining concentration to plan and carry out tasks such as following a recipe or keeping track of monthly bills, and

  • Learning and processing new information difficulty.

Risk factors that contribute to cognitive impairment include:

  • Normal aging,

  • Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias,

  • Infrequent participation in mentally and socially engaging activities,

  • Other medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, elevated cholesterol, and depression, and

  • Lifestyle choices including smoking and lack of physical exercise.

Note: Diagnosis of cognitive impairment incorporates an evaluation of one’s medical history, physical condition, neurological, psychological, and/or psychiatric assessment, and lab tests.