FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE HEALTHY AGING ASSESSMENT
A healthy aging assessment systematically evaluates different aspects of thinking, such as attention, processing speed, language abilities, visual spatial processing, and memory. These aspects of thinking naturally change with age. If compromised beyond the natural process of aging, these changes can directly impact work and daily life functions.
The outcome of these assessments will help individuals understand their own strengths and weaknesses. Treatment recommendations will be tailored to each individual to help to protect their memory abilities. Individuals will be exposed to techniques that have been proven to maintain and enhance memory, so that each person feels confident in their own abilities and in control of their memory changes as they age.
Aging is a process that involves change. Although complaints of memory difficulties among adults are common, many worry that their memory changes are indicative of dementia. In fact, due to increased cultural awareness and media attention on Alzheimer's disease, many healthy middle-aged adults fear that their memory concerns are early symptoms of dementia. Taking a comprehensive examination into their memory and other aspects of thinking will help individuals, their family members, and their physicians, determine whether the complaints represent healthy, normal aging.
- How long will the assessment take?
A specific “core” of tests will be administered with additional tests being performed depending on the compromises seen. The tests will identify the areas of strengths and weaknesses and will allow for specific treatment planning.
Generally, the testing session will last approximately four hours, with time given for breaks as needed (with approximately an hour for lunch). A clinical interview prior to the testing is necessary in order to gather information about the individual's presenting complaints and discuss relevant background information. In addition, interviews with significant others, i.e., spouses, adult children, may be obtained given the individual's approval.
- What do I need to bring to the first testing session?
Please bring any copies of reports from previous assessments, and neurological/psychiatric records for background information review purposes. Remember to bring glasses and hearing aids if these are applicable. Also, we suggest that you eat breakfast prior to the time of the assessment and wear comfortable clothes. Breaks are provided during the testing session(s) and approximately an hour for lunch is taken.
- What happens before the assessment?
An intake with the patient or someone who knows the patient well is done by the office manager, Scott Mellor. He will obtain a "thumbnail sketch" of what is of concern with the patient. He will then explain the testing process. Any questions concerning insurance, etc., can be answered by Mr. Mellor. At that point, an appointment can be scheduled for the assessment. He will then send you a packet by email, fax or letter confirming the appointment. This confirmation package will have directions to the office, the consent form, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) form, and the office policies form for you to read, sign, and return to us.
- The process of the healthy aging assessment:
The neuropsychologist will interview the patient, and any significant others that the patient would like to be present, concerning the patient's current memory concerns as well as relevant background information (i.e., medical history, educational and occupational history). Medical records can be mailed, faxed, or emailed to the office before the final analysis is completed.
- What should I do if I have more questions?
Please feel free to contact Scott Mellor if you have any questions at (805) 379-4939 or (818) 518-1057.