Normal, healthy cognitive aging impacts most people causing some changes. It may include:
- Occasional memory lapses that don't interrupt typical life activities
- Instances of forgetfulness with the ability to recall and recognize when this has happened
- Occasional difficulty finding words, though without trouble holding a conversation
- Retained decision-making ability
Cognitive decline that extends beyond normal aging could be a sign of a memory disorder, such as dementia. Estimates suggest 50 million people are living with dementia worldwide.
Symptoms of Memory Disorders
- Memory difficulties that interfere with ability to complete daily tasks (e.g., manage medications, bills, etc.)
- Getting lost, even in familiar locations, with difficulty following directions
- Confusion with time
- Frequently misplacing objects
- Difficulty finding/recalling words
- Repeating phrases, questions and stories in conversation
- Reduced judgment
- Poor problem solving
- Limited awareness or recall of memory and cognitive difficulties
WakeMed Memory Assessment
Clinical neuropsychology is a sub-type of psychology that provides assessment of thinking skills, behaviors and emotions that can change due to a variety of medical factors. Our providers are licensed clinicians with doctorates in clinical psychology with expert training and experience in memory and cognitive assessment. WakeMed’s neuropsychological assessment services are available with a physician referral. Evaluation typically includes an interview with patient and family members and formal cognitive testing, including intellectual functioning, memory, language, visuospatial abilities, motor skills, complex thinking skills and attention. Such evaluations can determine if thinking skills fall within or below expectations for the patient’s given age and help diagnose the potential cause of cognitive decline. With an appropriate diagnosis through memory assessment, WakeMed neuropsychologists assist referring providers in developing a treatment plan for the patient.
- Initiation of medications prescribed by the referring provider to target cognitive function
- Management of medical risk factors for cognitive decline
- Eating a healthy diet, engaging in exercise, and taking medications appropriately
- Utilization of compensatory strategies
- Increasing organization, using reminders and cues, writing down important information, reducing distractions, etc.
- Implementation of increased cognitive, social and physical engagement
- Reading, completing crossword puzzles, learning a new hobby/skill, etc.
- Joining a club or volunteering
- Engaging in 30 minutes of exercise five days per week
- Optimization of sleep by way of sleep hygiene techniques
- Setting a regular sleep and wake time, reducing caffeine intake, eliminating stimulating devices and activity from the bedroom, etc.
- Addressing mood concerns that may be present
Contact WakeMed Neuropsychology
If you think you or someone you know may benefit from a neuropsychological evaluation, a physician’s order can be faxed to 919-350-7130. For more information, you are welcome to contact us directly at 919-350-7878.