Why have a memory assessment done?
There are important reasons for a thorough neurocognitive assessment and a memory evaluation. These include:
- To identify and treat a potentially reversible cause of the memory problems. This would include such things as a thyroid disorder, a vitamin deficiency, anemia, sleep apnea, or medication side-effects, to name just a few.
- To establish a baseline for future reference to determine if there is a decline over time or if a medication is helping to stabilize a progressive decline.
- If a cognitive disorder is confirmed through testing, to begin medical treatment with medications currently available.
- To assess the severity of cognitive deficits or a cognitive disorder to help determine if the person is still able to live alone and function independently, needs assistance in the home or needs to move into an assisted living facility. Testing can also assess if a person is weak or impaired in those cognitive abilities related to driving.
- If a cognitive disorder is confirmed through testing, the person may want to consider entry into a clinical trial designed to test the effectiveness of new drugs developed to treat progressive memory disorders.
- If a cognitive disorder such as MCI is confirmed through testing, to provide incentive for the person to make lifestyle changes, which may include a healthier diet, regular physical exercise, more social interaction, reducing stress, improving sleep, and engaging in cognitively stimulating activities, to name just a few, to help maintain brain health.
- For the protection of the person with the cognitive disorder from harm. The areas of concern would be driving, properly taking medications, managing bills and finances, preparing adequate meals, setting up and getting to doctors’ appointments, and being able to live alone and function independently. The other less obvious area of concern is the person’s vulnerability to being scammed and victimized physically, emotionally, and financially. The safety and welfare of the person with a significant cognitive disorder is paramount.