Memory Loss/Dementia affects a large portion of the elderly population. Although forgetting can be a normal part of life, and some loss of memory is expected as we age, progressive memory problems and a decline in cognitive skills can be a warning sign of a serious problem, such as Alzheimer’s. Dementia is an umbrella term for degenerative brain diseases that can affect important brain functions such as memory, cognitive abilities as well as personality and behavior change. A decline in memory can be caused by many reasons, at Nelmar Health Centers, we are able to help you identify the underlying causes and develop a treatment program individualized to your needs.
Symptoms of Memory Loss/Dementia
Memory Loss/Dementia can manifest itself in different ways and severity levels, with common symptoms being memory loss, difficulty performing familiar tasks, repeating questions, confusion, impairments in judgment, difficulty with verbal expression, and getting lost in familiar areas, amongst others. Because it can manifest in different symptoms for different people, a proper evaluation is essential in properly understanding a client’s struggles with memory.
Diagnosing of Memory Loss/Dementia
According to the Alzheimer's Association, the number of Americans living with Alzheimer's is growing fast. More than 6 million Americans of all ages have Alzheimer's. An estimated 6.2 million Americans age 65 and older will be living with Alzheimer's dementia in 2021. Seventy-two percent are age 75 or older. In addition, between 2000 and 2019, the number of deaths caused by Alzheimer's has increased 145%. At Nelmar Health Centers, we take these statistics very seriously and work diligently to increase our client's awareness about the different causes of memory loss and current research on how memory loss can be prevented. We are proud to offer free memory screening to every individual concerned with their memory despite their age. The Nelmar Health Centers' team is dedicated to the fight against debilitating memory disorders because we trust that many of them can be prevented if appropriate steps are taken early enough. Many factors can interfere with our memory or cause loss of memory. Medications, nutritional deficiencies, sleep deprivation, emotional problems, stress, head injuries, and many others are among the causes. For instance, prescription and over-the-counter medications have been found to significantly affect memory functions, with some of them being among the risk factors for developing dementia. Possible culprits include antidepressants, antihistamines, anti-anxiety medications, muscle relaxants, tranquilizers, sleeping pills, and pain medications. Similarly, a lack of particular food groups, vitamins, minerals, and physical activities also contribute to the overall problems with memory function. However, most causes can be minimized or prevented with proper knowledge, management, and lifestyle changes. At Nelmar Health Centers, we put an enormous significance on the diagnostic process. Since many problems may manifest themselves as memory impairment, establishing the exact areas of deficiencies, connecting them with clinical and behavioral presentations, and carefully considering provisional and differential diagnoses before reaching the final diagnosis are steps that are imperative for each client. At Nelmar Health Centers, no treatment plan can be designed before a thorough assessment is complete and a multidisciplinary team is involved in each step of the diagnostic process. We start with comprehensive neuropsychological testing that aims to assess the main cognitive domains of functioning. We also use a qEEG brain scan as a supplemental measure to examine the areas of the brain that are functionally out of balance. Understanding the underlying physiology helps us establish the factors contributing to the clinical and behavioral problems and design the most appropriate treatment. In addition, we conduct a whole-body diagnostic assessment that looks at a client's nutrition and lifestyle habits, medications they are taking, and a thorough review of family and medical history to explore all the factors contributing to a client's symptoms. Our multidisciplinary team then uses this information to create a treatment plan that is tailored to every client's unique situation. The treatment plan is then discussed with the client and finalized with the client's ultimate corroboration and agreement.
Treatment of Memory Loss/Dementia
Because there are a multitude of factors that can contribute to memory loss, after completing all steps of the diagnostic process and gaining a significant understanding of the problems at hand, a holistic approach to treatment is designed. The treatment program includes sessions with our holistic health practitioner and exercise expert. They educate you on how diets filled with processed foods and exposure to environmental toxins can contribute to increased inflammation, which can cause an increase in memory-related symptoms and may make recommendations for dietary and lifestyle changes to help you reduce any inflammation. An essential part of the treatment plan is neurofeedback, where we work directly on the brain using neuroplasticity to reorganize neural networks to facilitate healing. Cognitive rehabilitation based on the level of memory deficits is also a significant part of our treatment program. Our clients can work directly with our professionals trained in cognitive rehabilitation and/or utilize the cognitive rehabilitation software. In addition, our counselors will support these interventions with cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques to teach you the skills you need to complete the body and mind cycle and support your efforts toward achieving your goals. Family and group therapy are excellent treatment modalities during which we provide psychoeducation about memory disorders and increase knowledge and immediate support. Finally, our treatment-informed weekend meditation and yoga classes are a great way to promote a healthier lifestyle, enhance your treatment plan, maintain the gains you have achieved, and be a part of our small community where you can meet friends and find understanding and social support. Our professional trained in prescription medication carefully evaluates the psychoactive medications utilized by the client. As a result, drugs that directly contribute to individuals' cognitive problems are gradually eliminated or significantly reduced. This approach also ensures a healthy brain and strong body and freedom from dependence on multiple drugs leading to debilitating side effects. At Nelmar Health Centers, we believe in the research showing that the healing and maintenance of well-being are best achieved with cognitive, behavioral, environmental, and lifestyle changes strengthened with ongoing social support. While undergoing treatment, each client receives continued qEEg and neuropsychological/memory testing to monitor progress and provide psychoeducation to ensure understanding of where they are in their healing at every step of the treatment process. We regularly modify the neurofeedback protocol and the overall treatment plan based on this information. Every change in the treatment plan is made after a thorough review by each multidisciplinary team member and approved by the client. For clients that may need more rigorous treatment interventions, we also offer an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) and a Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP).