independent living for seniors

Testing for Memory Loss in Adults: How is it Done?

The world’s population has been fighting a silent battle against memory loss for many years now. In the United States alone, at least 5.8 million Americans aged 65 and older are living with Alzheimer’s dementia this year and that number is expected to increase further as more Americans enter their late adulthood years and move into memory assisted living.


Occasional forgetfulness is a part of the aging process, but when you experience difficulty in language, memory, thinking and judgment consistently, you could be having memory loss that could easily led to Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia if not addressed right away.


But how does a doctor test for memory loss in adults?


Neurological test

  • The first step that doctors usually take when testing for memory loss is to evaluate your five senses, reflexes, speech and spatial skills. You may be asked to follow some verbal and written commands, draw some shapes, name objects and do things that will help the doctor look for signs of neurological issues.


Neuropsychological test

  • After the initial neurological evaluation, the doctor may also perform a neuropsychological test to further assess your ability to focus, remember and identify people, time and place. This will be done through a series of questions that are related to your mood and behavior to determine how memory loss affects your daily activities.


Cognitive test

  • Cognitive evaluation means checking for your memory, concentration and sense of time and place through a series of questions about your personal life, especially about your daily activities. The doctor may also talk to your family members or caregiver to ask about any changes that they’ve observed since you first manifested memory loss.


Psychometric test

  • The more specific psychometric test measures the speed, quality and accuracy of different mental processes by letting you take a written test where you will be given different challenges that will determine how you make decisions, use language, organize, remember details, solve problems and focus on activities.


  • If a doctor still needs more definitive signs that you are experiencing memory loss or worse, if it’s progressing to dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, he may order additional tests like an MRI scan and PET scan.


    • An MRI is a non-invasive scan where radio frequency pulses and magnetic fields are utilized to produce detailed images of bones, organs and even soft tissues. Doctors usually order an MRI scan to rule out other medical conditions such as tumors that may be causing your memory loss.


    • A PET scan, on the other hand, is another imaging test that will give doctors a better picture of how your organs and tissues are functioning inside your body.


At the end of the day, it’s very important to have yourself tested from the moment you start experiencing consistent memory loss. This will not only allow you the opportunity to have an early diagnosis but also give you the best quality of life, whether you need to move to memory assisted living or not.

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