Are the memory problems your loved one is experiencing just “a normal part of aging”?  What is causing these memory problems?  Can anything be done about it?

These are some of the questions that a neuropsychological evaluation can answer.  Memory problems may be caused by a variety of medical or psychological conditions.  A correct diagnosis is important for determining a treatment plan.  Although many people may assume an older loved one’s memory problems are due to Alzheimer’s Disease, 50% are actually caused by other issues that may be treatable.  Even those with Alzheimer’s Disease can have a better quality of life if they are connected with the appropriate resources.

Problems with memory and other areas of thinking, including language, visual processing, attention, and organization, may be seen in a number of disorders other than Alzheimer’s Disease.  Here is a partial list:

  • Vascular Disease, also sometimes described as “mini-strokes”
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Huntington’s Disease
  • HIV / AIDS
  • Frontotemporal Degeneration, including Pick’s Disease
  • Mild Cognitive Impairment

A neuropsychological evaluation can aid with diagnosis (if that has not been done already), prognosis, and treatment planning.  Depending on what is causing the memory problems, treatment options may include anything from medication to therapy to maintaining an active lifestyle both physically and mentally.

Resources

What If It’s Not Alzheimer’s: A Caregiver’s Guide to Dementia This book provides a wealth of information on what to expect from your family member, how to cope, and how to plan ahead whether your loved one has Alzheimer’s Disease or another memory disorder.

Dementia Caregivers Share Their Stories: A Support Group in a Book Caregiver support is one of the most effective tools to improving quality of life for everyone in the family.  If you don’t care for yourself, you won’t be able to care for your loved one!

Alzheimer’s Association An excellent resource for information and caregiver support.

Alzheimer’s Foundation of America

Family Caregiver Alliance supports and sustains the important work of families nationwide caring for loved ones with chronic, disabling health conditions.

Brain exercises delay mental declineThe science behind the fact that using your brain will help maintain your memory for longer.