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I know this reveals how ignorant I am, but my dad's doctor wants a ‘psych eval for memory loss’ done on my dad. He has had blood work, which revealed the epitome of health, has had MRI, which we should get results from today, and I am to set up for the eval next. Anyone know what we are talking about here? How long? How in depth?

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My wife was diagnosed with Alzheimer's/Dementia and I read all I could about it. What I read was disturbing it said folks can suffer from this for 15 years or more. I just thought she/us have to suffer for that long? Well she passed away about one year later from other problems.
The main reason I am writing this is, I don't think there is one fit all answer. When you see one Alzheimer's person you have seen ONE. What my wife went through your loved one may never go through. There are general symptoms but just so many other things that take place unique to that person. Now I am not a doctor or professional but just someone that lived through it. It's was not easy or fun.
Good luck and may God bless.
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Reply to knownukes13
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Is your father being referred to a geriatric psychiatrist, neuropsychologist?

My mom's neurocognitive assessment was conducted by a neurologist, a neuroosychologist and a psychiatric nurse. Testing and evaluation was accomplished over two sessions,., each lasted about 3 hours, so 6 hours in total.

It was very thorough and we got a lot of very useful information.

Most useful was having a professional tell my brother and SIL that mom was not "fine" and not "doing this to herself".
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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Longhaul Aug 8, 2018
That’s the thing BarbBrooklyn, it’s his regular PCP (who due to his terrific physical health, sees once yearly for physicals : he’s 84 and on NO meds) is the one requesting the orders. I reached out to a geriatric specialist in our area that has high recommendations, and I was told my dads PCP is on the “right path” so they suggested he maintain with his PCP. They told me to set up the psych exam...... I have no clue what I’m doing. The insurance provider gave me a list of psychiatrists and a list of neurologists. Where do I go from here??
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My Dad had this done last year when doubts about his cognitive functions were raised.
It is an extensive test that begins early in the morning lasting all day. They said to plan for 8 hours, we were there about 6. There are 2 breaks as well as lunch.
This extensive testing, done by a neuropsychologist, was invaluable because of two siblings who live out of state who believe Dad only has short term memory issues. It has also been helpful when needing additional care for him to have that test as 'proof' of the level of his dementia.
A PCP can perform minimal in office testing that may give a general idea of what cognitive issues are present. However, this test is above and well beyond giving in depth and definitive diagnosis for those who doubt, both family and other practitioners.
The neuropsychologist who performed my Dad's tests was amazing. He spent 45 minutes in a phone consult with me to go over the results, offering me a wealth of information and what to do next. He answered my list of questions and didn't rush me like I've felt with others through this painful journey.
I encourage you to pursue this test if you are facing resistance from anyone. It is irrefutable information and will save you time and effort in explaining symptoms and seeking proper care for your loved one.
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Reply to LHarvey
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When my mom was living with me, I saw before anyone else did the memory loss, the irritability, the difficulty replying to questions, etc. Her doctor at the time performed mini mental status exams , which she passed, each time she saw him so he refused to prescribe any medication to slow the progress of the dementia. Then, we were referred by him to a gerontologist, who sees her a few times a year. It was she who convinced me that mom needed 24/7 care.
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Reply to lablover64
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Longhaul, call back the PcP and say " I'm sorry, but I have no idea what you mean by a "psych exam" for my dad. Can you give me some direction as to what kind of doctor I need to make an appointment with and what I tell that doc what you are looking for?".

You might also just speak to the receptionist because the recomme ration is likely in the chart.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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Longhaul Aug 10, 2018
BarbBrooklyn, I did just that. Thank you! I was able to speak with his nurse, the wheels are rolling now...
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My mom's situation was similar to others who've responded. It took a year of persuasion to get her to her PCP for a complete physical. At about age 83 all her physical tests, blood work, etc. were fine, but we were seeing lots of signs. Short term memory loss, difficulty finding words, not remembering people's names, repeating the same story multiple times in a 10 minute phone call.

The PCP advised we get an assessment from a neurologist or the local "Center for Healthy Aging". We did both. There was a 2 month wait to see the neurologist and 4 months for the other.

The neurologist did some type of brain scan (CT?, not MRI) and spent about an hour with her. The Center for Healthy did a much more extensive assessment which took about 4 hours. They watched her walk and move then gave her oral and written exams. She was seen by 3 or 4 professionals led by a gerontologist and given a very thorough evaluation. Then they met with her and family members a couple of weeks later.

Mom's diagnosis was mild-to-moderate cognitive impairment. With no evidence of any other specific cause they said it was likely to be Alzheimer's. That was three years ago and it's clear they were correct.

I encourage you to proceed with the most thorough analysis you can find in your area. They can distinguish between general age-related memory loss and Alzheimer's or some other specific forms of dementia.

Best wishes as you head down this path.
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Reply to middleson
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Interesting how different all these answers are! We went through two psych evals, both with the same neuropsychologist (the only one in town, as it is with many types of specialized medicine in my area). My mom’s interview and 3 hours of testing resulted in a diagnosis of dementia of unknown type, and she is still in about the same state now as she was then, maybe declined by 15%-20% over the past several years. My dad’s, a few years later, unfortunately resulted in a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. Over the past 5 years his mental status has worsened considerably, but his diagnosis has opened treatment, housing and assistance doors for our family that have been invaluable. I’m a little envious of those who report getting a full analysis over two days by a coordinated team. We had to use separate appointments with a neurologist, a neuropsychologist, and a psychiatrist (for meds), as well as the social worker at their PCP’s office and the Area Agency on Aging, and there was a lot of exhaustion and confusion along the way. Personally if I had it to do over again I’d start with the AAA, just because their housing/caregiver issues turned out to be paramount in the end.
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Reply to HelperMom
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If your doctor is looking for an evaluation done by a Neuropsychologist it can take up to 2 hours. There is also another program called Geriatric Assessment with a team of Geriatrician and Social Worker which can can take up to 1-1/2 hrs. Both are very in depth which is what you want when dealing with memory loss. When setting up the appointment ask how long and what is involved. The more information you can supply regarding the memory loss, symptoms and onset the better. it's like putting together the pieces of a puzzle. Good luck
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Reply to APGEldercare
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Good morning long haul. Several years ago my father had a psychological exam. He was diagnosed with dementia before the exam based upon th clock test and The Who’s the President, etc test. The clock test is commonly used to diagnose dementia. At the time my dad was having short term memory issues bout minor.

The psychological test was very detailed and time consuming. They asked me questions for about 15 minutes and then they asked me to leave. My guess is it took a couple of hours. My dad felt like he was in a college exam on a subject he knew nothing about, did not study for and probably didn’t do well.

i received a report which was lengthy, overly wordy and concluded my dad had serious psychological problems. The Dr never mentioned the report and neither did I and my dad did not even recall it.

I guess i would would say make sure your Dr explains in layman’s terms why he is ordering the test, how long it will take, how will it affect the treatment and what would be the affect of refusing the test, i.e. what if he said no. Find out what u can by googling. For me, a bit traumatizing with no benefit as far as treatment results for early dementia.

Goid luck, Pam
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Reply to Nolapam
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I'm assuming this isn't the mini mental health evaluation, which is about ten questions and can be administered by PCP or neurologist. There is also a 6-7 hr verbal/written neuro-psycholgical exam, usually given by a PhD psychologist. This longer exam can identify the likely type of dementia and rule out others. My late husband got a diagnosis of "moderate dementia, probably vascular, with results not consistent with Alzheimer's". Of course he grabbed onto that "not consistent with Alzheimer's" and totally ignored the "dementia, probably vascular" part. But the information I got was very valuable in making plans to move closer to our family in another city. I was told that he was at extremely high risk of a major stroke, and indeed within 15 months he had a stroke that killed him--in spite of taking meds to prevent it.
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