When Is a Neuropsych Assessment Needed?
Lifetime rate of dementia diagnosis is around 17 percent across the board. It’s higher for women than for men. However, that is only diagnosed cases. There are many more that go undiagnosed as people and family and friends adapt to the changes in an older adult’s ability to manage their affairs and personality changes. In fact, in people age 85 and over, the chance of developing Alzheimer’s or other dementia is as high as 1 in 3.
As we age, it is normal to have changes in your ability to remember things such as appointments and where you place your keys and glasses. We naturally become more easily overwhelmed and take longer to perform daily tasks. So how do you know when you are having more problems than what is expected for someone your age?
Often, it is others who are telling us that they notice changes before we do. Usually, friends will not mention memory problems until it becomes so frequent that they become worried. So, when your friends and family register a concern, you should probably listen to what they are saying.
If you find that you get lost in areas that you have traveled many times, such as to the grocery store or church, there is probably reason for concern. If you have trouble finding the words you want to say or recalling words and familiar people’s names, you should be concerned. If you are falling and don’t know why, this is a reason for concern.
Oftentimes, people use the excuse that memory for long-ago events is sharp, so there is no need for concern. This is a fallacy: Alzheimer’s causes erosion of memories starting with the most recent first and works its way back through a person’s life, with the earliest memories intact even in the later stages of the disease.
While the prospect of being diagnosed with dementia can be life-changing and even terrifying, an accurate diagnosis provides answers and guidance for the next steps to ensure safety and the highest level of independence for optimal quality of life.
Dr. Jennifer Wilson-Binotti
Dr. Wilson-Binotti has worked with the geriatric population since 2012 during her post-doctoral studies. She has experience working with those aged 50+ who have increased anxiety or depression, or a decrease in functional or cognitive (thinking) abilities.
She previously served 20 nursing/rehab/long-term care facilities and was on staff at six suburban hospitals. Currently, she sees patients in the office, at nursing facilities and in private residences when seniors are no longer able to physically leave their homes.
Her relaxed and warm demeanor helps patients feel comfortable and perform their best during neuropsychological testing. Many patients have described their experience with Dr. Wilson-Binotti as “fun,” and some even look forward to coming back!