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Athena Care
Memory Assessment Services & Testing in Tennessee

Memory Assessment Services & Testing in Tennessee

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What is a Memory Assessment?

A memory assessment is a medical service designed to identify cognitive decline and dementia or to rule it out as a diagnosis. A thorough memory assessment can detect cognitive impairment and the precise type of memory loss you are experiencing, resulting in specialized treatment options.1 Typically, memory assessments are conducted by medical professionals such as primary care doctors, nurses, psychologists, occupational therapists, and dementia support staff.

Disorders That Impact Memory

In older adults, memory loss can be brought on by various disorders, not just Alzheimer’s disease.2 These disorders that impact memory include:

  • Dementia
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)
  • Amnesia
  • Alcoholism
  • Medications
  • Sleep apnea
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Emotional disorders like depression or anxiety
  • Vitamin B-12 deficiency

Symptoms of Impaired Memory or Cognitive Decline

One of the first and more obvious symptoms is memory loss, which interferes with daily life. Additional warning indicators could be:

  • Repeatedly asking the same questions
  • Misusing common terms when speaking
  • Using the wrong word, like saying “couch” instead of “table”
  • Taking longer to complete routine tasks, like following a recipe
  • Putting things where they shouldn’t be, like keys in the refrigerator
  • Getting lost when driving or walking in familiar places
  • Mood swings or changes in behavior for no reason
  • Not taking care of oneself—eating poorly, not bathing, or demonstrating risky behavior

What to Expect During a Memory Assessment

Your doctor will probably use several memory screening tests and assessment tools to evaluate your cognitive functioning. The evaluation could occur across multiple visits to a memory assessment clinic, allowing enough time to collect data that pinpoints the root of your worries and rules out alternative explanations.

Knowing what to expect during a memory assessment and the type and purpose of the tests your doctor or doctors may prescribe can empower and reduce anxiety.3

They’ll begin with a medical history and a physical exam. Your doctor may:

  • Request details about your history and present health issues and concerns to help with the diagnosis
  • Examine all of the drugs you now take as well as those you’ve previously used
  • Inquire about your diet and alcohol consumption
  • Inquire about the illnesses that run in your family

The doctor may also consult with your family members with your permission to get more information that will aid in making a diagnosis and treatment plan.

Your doctor will likely check the following:

  • Blood pressure, temperature, and pulse during a physical examination
  • Carry out additional procedures to evaluate your general health

In addition, your doctor may order various lab tests, including bloodwork and a urinalysis. In some circumstances, the doctor may request an investigation of the proteins in a cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analysis. A spinal tap is used to get a CSF sample. Finally, you may be referred to a specialist.

Memory Tools & Tests

  • Depression Screening: Because depression can lead to memory and thinking issues, your doctor may ask questions to determine whether you are experiencing any of its symptoms.
  • Mental Cognitive Status Tests: These exams assess memory, problem-solving, and other cognitive abilities. Some only last a few minutes and can involve recalling the date and time, a short list of words, or performing basic mathematics. Other exams may take more time and require challenging problem-solving. For example, a neuropsychological exam may be requested, which employs many tests and assesses various cognitive domains, including executive function, judgment, attention, and language.
  • Computed Tomography (CT) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): The brain’s structure is seen through these scans, which can reveal brain atrophy. A brain tumor, aneurysm, a stroke, or bleeding in the brain are just a few of the disorders that they can rule out as potential causes of symptoms similar to those of Alzheimer’s disease but that require different treatments. An MRI scan takes a bit longer than a CT scan but produces images with higher resolution. CT scan abnormalities may prompt your doctor to request an MRI scan to gather more details.
  • Positron emission tomography (PET) and single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT): The brain’s function is evaluated using these scans. Both procedures include injecting a radioactive tracer (radiopharmaceutical) into the patient’s blood. The clinician can assess processes like blood flow through the brain or glucose uptake by analyzing the tracer’s movement.
  • General Practitioner Assessment of Cognition (GPCOG):4 The GPCOG is a screening tool instead of a diagnostic procedure. Although it is brief, it is also quite sensitive to the presence of cognitive impairment.
  • Short Informant Questionnaire on Cognitive Decline in the Elderly (IQCODE): an informant questionnaire used to screen for dementia and cognitive decline.
  • Mini-Mental State Exam (MMSE): An MMSE is a cognitive assessment consisting of a sequence of questions to measure standard cognitive abilities. The MMSE allows for a maximum score of 30. Less than 12 points denote severe dementia, 20 to 24 indicate mild dementia, and 13 to 20 indicate moderate dementia. On average, a person with Alzheimer’s loses two to four points on the MMSE exam per year.
  • Mini Cog test: A person is required to accomplish two tasks during the Mini Cog:
    • Remember three everyday things and repeat those three things a short while later
    • Create a clock face with all 12 digits in their proper locations, along with the examiner’s specified time
  • Genetic Testing: Researchers have discovered uncommon “deterministic” genes that directly cause Alzheimer disease, as well as specific genes that raise the likelihood of developing it. Although there are genetic tests for some of these genes, doctors do not currently advise routine genetic testing for Alzheimer’s.

Memory Assessment Costs & Insurance Coverage

Insurance may be able to help cover the cost your mental health assessments. Find out if your insurance provider can help with the costs by filling in our confidential insurance verification form below.

Filling out our free and confidential online insurance verification form is the best method to determine the specifics of your memory assessment coverage.

In addition, you’ll find a list of experienced psychologists organized by city, their background, and their specialties here. After completing the form, a care coordinator will review your policy and thoroughly explain your options for obtaining a memory assessment in Tennessee. Rest assured, all submitted or discussed information is private.

Most insurance companies won’t pay for the price of custodial care when it comes to long-term care. Custodial care is non-medical care, like cleaning, cooking, and daily living tasks like dressing and bathing. For persons with dementia, it may also involve companionship or supervision to prevent wandering. However, insurance companies frequently pay for a portion of medical expenses.

In addition, after receiving an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, a person is not eligible to apply for long-term care insurance. If long-term care insurance was already in place at the time of diagnosis, it’s critical to review the policy carefully.5

Tennessee’s average monthly price for memory care is $5,131, which is less than the $5,625 national average but higher than what residents pay in many of its bordering states, including North Carolina ($5,013).6 But, of course, the actual cost of what you’ll pay depends on many factors, including what city you reside in and the memory testing center in which you’re receiving psychological and cognitive testing.

These costs climb if a diagnosis is made and further care is required. For example, it costs $28 per hour and $1,113 per week to hire a non-medical home health assistant, working forty hours a week.[vii]

Our Mental Health Treatment Clinics in Tennessee

Athena Care can help with your memory assessment and therapy treatment needs. In addition, you can be sure that a knowledgeable staff member will manage your mental health concerns because we work with a comprehensive team of caring professionals, including doctors, psychiatric nurses, licensed psychologists, and therapists.

In addition to being a memory testing center, Athena Care provides many other services, including but not limited to immigration consulting, family counseling, medication management, and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS).

For convenience, we have clinics in Nashville, Franklin, Murfreesboro, Hendersonville, and Clarksville, Tennessee. They are open Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. We can be reached via our contact form or by calling (615) 320-1155.

See below for more information on our multiple mental health clinics in Tennessee:

Sources

  1. “Diagnostic Memory Assessment.” USF Health. health.usf.edu/care/byrd/services-specialties/memory-assessment. Accessed 24 Oct. 2022.
  2. “Memory Loss: When to Seek Help.” Mayo Clinic, 7 May 2022, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/alzheimers-disease/in-depth/memory-loss/art-20046326.
  3. Evaluating Memory and Thinking Problems: What to Expect. Alzheimer’s Association. alz.org/evaluating-memory/thinking/?_gl=1*1jukywg*_ga*MTA2ODEyOTU5Mi4xNjY2NjM2MTY2*_ga_QSFTKCEH7C*MTY2NjYzOTc4OC4yLjAuMTY2NjYzOTc4OC4wLjAuMA..*_ga_9JTEWVX24V*MTY2NjYzOTc4OC4yLjAuMTY2NjYzOTc4OC42MC4wLjA. Accessed 24 Oct. 2022.
  4. “Cognitive Assessment.” Alzheimer’s Association, www.alz.org/professionals/health-systems-medical-professionals/cognitive-assessment. Accessed 24 Oct. 2022.
  5. “Insurance.” Alzheimer’s Association, www.alz.org/help-support/caregiving/financial-legal-planning/insurance. Accessed 24 Oct. 2022.
  6. “Memory Care in Tennessee.” MemoryCare.com, 14 May 2022, www.memorycare.com/memory-care-in-tennessee.
  7. “Planning for Care Costs.” Alzheimer’s Association, www.alz.org/help-support/caregiving/financial-legal-planning/planning-for-care-costs. Accessed 24 Oct. 2022.

If you suspect that you or someone you love suffers from mental health disorders, contact Athena Care today.

One of our friendly associates will help you get the help you need. Take this first step to feel better and take control. 

(615) 320-1155