What Can a Neuropsychological Evaluation Do for Your Aging Parents?
Have you heard the word, “sandwich generation?” It refers to a generation of people who care for their aging parents while supporting their own children. Today, 1 of every 8 Americans aged 40 to 60 is a part of the sandwich generation. Although each case is unique and different, according to a 2009 report by AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving, a profile of a typical caregiver is a 48-year-old woman, married, works full-time outside of the home, and devotes an average of 20 hours per week to caregiving.
While we would all agree that it is important to start care planning with our aging parents when they are still healthy, it is often difficult to bring up such subject. Aging parents may not be willing to talk about their need for care and preferences (e.g., living and legal arrangements, care options, etc.). They may try to minimize or hide their cognitive and physical challenges. Furthermore, caregiving can introduce issues into a relationship that evoke complex and often unexpected emotional responses such as unresolved issues with your parent, sibling conflicts, codependency, and dysfunctional family dynamics.
A neuropsychological evaluation is a great place to start care planning for your elderly family member. Our specialized neuropsychological evaluation services can determine:
- Whether cognitive challenges of your elderly family member are beyond what is expected of the normal aging process
- Whether the senior meets the criteria of dementia (sometimes seniors’ memory issues are related to depression or other psychological issues that are different from dementia)
- The stage and specific type of the senior’s dementia (e. g., Alzheimer’s type, Vascular type, Parkinson’s disease etc.)
- The senior’s capacities in making financial, medical, and social/interpersonal decisions
- The senior’s capacity for independent living
- The senior’s need for specific care
- The senior’s capacity to drive a motor vehicle safely
- Recommendations and treatment options
In addition, a neuropsychological evaluation can help you and your elderly family member prepare and organize legal documents such as will, power of attorney, and living will.
Remember, it is TOO LATE to start care planning after a crisis occurs. In addition, while there is no cure for dementia, drug treatment can be effective in slowing down its progression if started early. Therefore, it is imperative to be evaluated at an early stage. If you would like to schedule an evaluation appointment for your elderly family member, click here.