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Aging and Concerns About Memory & Attention

April 28, 2016|Neuropsychological Testing

It is not uncommon for adults in their 40s and 50s to have concerns about cognitive changes they may be experiencing such as memory loss or attention problems.

Many worry that their growing forgetfulness or other changes might reflect early stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. For others, a growing awareness of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder leads some older adults to wonder if maybe they have suffered with ADHD their entire lives. Although many people raise these concerns with their primary care physicians, it can be difficult to fully addresses concerns and find answers within the time constraints of a primary care appointment.

Neuropsychological evaluation services at Commonwealth Psychology Associates can help to determine whether one’s cognitive concerns are simply the product of normal, age-related cognitive changes or reflect a developing or pre-existing underlying neurological disorder.

Neuropsychological testing can be very useful in distinguishing normal, age-related changes from cognitive abnormalities, underlying neurodegenerative changes, or longstanding neurodevelopmental disorders by identifying cognitive deficits as well as a pattern of cognitive strengths and weaknesses. Importantly, neuropsychological testing can identify non-neurological factors such as mood disorders, anxiety, sleep difficulties, chronic pain, medical conditions (e.g., hypothyroidism, hypertension, sleep apnea) and other behavioral factors that can contribute to cognitive concerns. Neuropsychological testing for cognitive complaints in patients under the age of 65 can be especially useful. Although dementia is rare in this age group, concern about cognition is common, and neuropsychological testing can be reassuring for individuals who have specific concerns (e.g., a family history of dementia.)

At CPA, patients are seen for a diagnostic interview, 3-5 hours of testing, and a feedback session to discuss the results, diagnostic impressions, and recommendations. During the feedback session, our highly trained neuropsychologists discuss all of the factors that contribute to an individual’s cognitive complaints, including cognitive deficits identified during testing as well as other factors (stress, depression, anxiety, poor sleep habits, pain, medication side effects, etc.) that underlie their difficulties, regardless of whether testing results in a formal diagnosis. Clients receive a comprehensive report that summarizes test performances, diagnostic impressions, and recommendations to follow to improve daily functioning. At CPA, we ensure that our patient’s concerns are heard and thoroughly evaluated in order to give them peace of mind that they are receiving the care they require.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call us at (617) 259-1895 or fill out a brief online intake form here.

 

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