Issues of Aging
Aging is a natural and inevitable biological process that occurs in all living organisms, including humans. As people age, they experience various physical, psychological, and cognitive changes. One of the most noticeable effects of aging on cognition is a decline in cognitive abilities, which refers to the mental processes involved in acquiring, processing, and using information.
Some key aspects of the decrease in cognition with aging include:
Processing Speed: As people age, the speed at which they can process information tends to slow down. This means that tasks that require quick thinking and response times may become more challenging.
Memory: A decline in memory is a common cognitive change associated with aging. Both short-term memory (the ability to hold and recall information temporarily) and long-term memory (the ability to recall information from the past) may be affected.
Attention: Older individuals may find it more difficult to sustain attention on tasks or to switch attention between different tasks, leading to increased distractibility.
Executive Functions: These cognitive processes are responsible for tasks such as planning, decision-making, problem-solving, and organizing.
Fluid Intelligence: This refers to the ability to reason and solve new problems without relying on previously acquired knowledge. This type of intelligence tends to decline with age.
While aging is a natural part of life, there are ways to promote healthy aging and potentially mitigate some of the cognitive decline. Engaging in regular physical exercise, maintaining a healthy diet, staying socially active, and engaging in mentally stimulating activities are among the lifestyle choices that may help support cognitive health as one ages.
What to expect from a neuropsychological evaluation for issues of aging
The evaluation process typically consists of the following steps:
1. Phone Consultation
When an individual or family member calls our office, they are immediately given a time to have a brief phone consultation free of charge to help determine whether NSW is the clinic best suited to meet their needs or those of a loved one. Following this conversation, an intake appointment can be scheduled.
2. Intake Appointment
The intake is designed to discuss what issues of aging are currently most relevant in the person’s life. (These consultation appointments are 45 minutes in length.)
The testing is conducted over the course of two days. This brief evaluation includes assessing fluid intelligence, immediate and delayed memory, language, and visual-spatial skills, as well as measures evaluating the person's emotional state that can layer cognitive change. Once the evaluation is complete, the office staff will then schedule one 45-minute feedback session within 2-3 weeks of the evaluation.
4. Feedback Session
During this in-person appointment with the client and usually a family member, we will review test results, diagnostic impressions, and recommendations and weave together a plan. After the feedback session, we will provide a written evaluation report describing treatment and/or management recommendations in greater detail, integrating information gleaned during the session. We are also happy to provide feedback to other providers.