My Mom has been referred to a neuropsychologist for an extended memory test. What should I expect? - AgingCare.com

My Mom has been referred to a neuropsychologist for an extended memory test. What should I expect?

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I'm looking for feedback from others who have had a loved one go through this process and what to expect.

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My Mom was diagnosed with Memory issues over 6 years ago but showed slight memory problems couple years before that; had an MRI which showed brain shrinkage and has had a mild stroke. She in currently living at a Memory home. She takes Aricept & Namenda. Never had the extensive 4 hr testing done for what type of memory loss she has. She is 81 now and doesn't seem to be progressing much in her memory loss - just keeps asking if my Dad is alive (dead 5 years) and where she's at/when she's going to go home. She's been there little over a year and still keeps packing up her things to leave. Tried two different daycare places; one was very nice - she fought me the whole drive their, but was happy when I picked her up, but was kinda far away. Would have liked to keep her at home with someone coming in during the day while I'm at work, but she fought it. Not extremely happy with where she is for the cost of it, but I couldn't handle the stress of caregiving at home, she lived in split level home and had a hard time on steps.
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We've never taken the 2-4 hour battery of tests because my father denies that he has a problem and I'm not sure he has the stamina for that much testing. I'm sympathetic since I didn't have the stamina for my graduate exams, but most of these posts don't indicate the person being tested got tired. In the shorter tests administered by a social worker at the gerontologist's office, he was asked to count backwards by 7 (which I have trouble doing) and spell something backward (which I also consider difficult). The thing that keeps throws him off the most is when they ask him date, day of the week, and season because, frankly, he's retired and doesn't keep track of that stuff unless he has an appointment or it comes up in conversation. I wonder if medical professionals - on the clock - can relate to this. The best medicine for him is small inclusive social situations in which he can keep track of the conversational flow.
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My mom is the same way; recently, she was in the hospital and the nurse wrote her "fall risk" number on the white board in her room. Mom kept pointing to the board and crying. After reading everything on the board, my brother said "58 mom? Are you worried about the 58?" Yes, yes indeed she was. She thought she was failing something. Oy
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Sunny, keep explaining to your mother that it isn't the kind of test where there are right or wrong answers - she'll get a gold star no matter what. My mother doesn't get nervous about that, exactly, but she can get so scared she won't 'do well' that she doesn't want to answer questions at all. Schooling has a lot to answer for, sometimes!
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Sunnygirl: short answer is yes, at least they SHOULD and USUALLY do. Let them know in advance she's a nervous Nellie, and maybe give her the examiner's picture in advance with a little positive hype. We have to get kids to separate from parents for these sometimes, and they can usually do it - in fact they make a note on how easy or difficult it is.
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I'm learning a lot about this type of examination on this thread.

My cousin is scheduled to have one with a Neuropsychologist very soon. I'm afraid she will get overly anxious, start crying and have a melt down in the room without me. She lives in AL, but I attend all doctor appointments with her. She's very insistent on that as she is very insecure and easily frightened of new situations. She also hates tests and never did very well in school. I'm afraid she will feel like she's back in school and shutdown. Do they know how to handle people like that?
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Truffles, I like the way you think, and I agree with you 100%. I would urge every caregiver who is caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's to read "The Myth of Alzheimer's" by one of the leading neurologists in the country. My daughter asked me to check it out at the library, and I am so glad I did. There will never be a cure for Alzheimer's, and you need to read this book to find out why. In the meantime, the pharmaceuticals are raking in billions of dollars!
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This is a fairly "new" field in the medical profession and there are some doctors who really aren't qualified. The first neurologist I took my mom to just didn't get it. However, we were more fortunate later on in that after finding a wonderful gerontologist, she referred us to a neuropsychiatrist, and both of these doctors just nailed it all the way. Fortunately, we were referred to these doctors by others who had had much success, success meaning finding out what exactly is going on.
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ba8alou, you will recall this doctor was a THIRD opinion, and it was my decision to see this particular physician, who ran a battery of tests on him. The neurologist, to whom our primary physician sent us, who diagnosed him as having Alzheimer's, asked him to name the months of the year backwards, and my husband wasn't able to remember beyond September. Based on THAT test, this "neurologist" ascertained that he had Alzheimer's. The gerontologist had him respond to many questions, both oral and written. I did the right thing; no regrets since he had already seen our primary physician and subsequently a neurologist.
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OK I do not think that normal old age needs to be medicated however when that person is miserable because they are "seeing" animals and attacking caregivers it is time for medication.
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