Services for Patients and Caregivers
Alzheimer’s disease is one type of progressive dementia that will worsen over time and that does not have a cure. This affects a person’s ability to remember things and can affect language and problem-solving skills. It often begins slowly and can be difficult to detect at early stages. Some people may blame their forgetfulness on old age; however, over time, their memory problems worsen and interfere with taking care of themselves.
Pay attention to these warning signs:
- Memory loss that disrupts daily activities
- Challenges with planning or solving problems
- Confusion with time and place or understanding of visual images
- Withdrawal from work or other social activities
- Changes in mood or personality
- Difficulty with speech and/or writing
If you or someone you know thinks your forgetfulness is getting in the way of your daily routine, or if you are concerned about your memory and whether what concerns you is “normal aging,” talk to your doctor. Many primary care doctors and most neurologists know how to perform simple, but effective, tests of your memory, counting and language skills. They may also be able to determine if your problems are being caused by medical causes, medicines you take or because you are depressed or feeling exceptionally anxious.
If your doctor thinks you should have a more intensive examination, you may be referred to Montefiore’s Center for the Aging Brain. There you will be seen by a team of doctors with different specialties, including geriatrics, neurology and neuropsychology, over several appointments.
Because of the pandemic, these visits can be done virtually, on a secure telemedicine connection. You’ll get a full medical evaluation, including a review of you past health history and the medicines you are taking; an assessment of how well you complete certain tasks; a cognitive assessment (“thinking exercises”) to measure how well you remember and recall information, how good your reasoning is and how well you can follow directions; and a psychosocial assessment of how you are feeling emotionally and mentally. You may also be asked to have some blood tests and, perhaps, get an MRI or a CT scan.
Because caregivers are a vital part of a patient’s care team, their needs and concerns are discussed as well. We encourage family members to attend appointments in person or on video or provide information to the team in advance. They can help describe any changes you may be experiencing, and they can help you understand what the doctors are saying.
When all the exams and tests are done, the doctors will prepare a complete report and make recommendations for further care if needed. This care plan will be shared with your primary care physician or the specialist who referred you to the center. But first, the team will meet with you and your caregiver to go over the care plan and provide information on services in the community that can help you and your caregivers. You will also learn of the newest research studies that you may be eligible to participate in if you are interested. There will also be periodic follow-ups either by phone or secure video or in the office to see how you are doing and to determine if adjustments should be made to your care plan.
To schedule an appointment or request a telehealth visit or to find a doctor closer to your home, call 914-375-4880.
The CEAD and organizations it works with also offer programs for individuals with Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias and their caregivers.
Click here for information about the CEAD’s caregivers’ support group.
Click here for information about support services offered by the Alzheimer’s Association of the Hudson Valley.
Click here for information about support services offered by CaringKind.
Click here for information about support services offered by the Lewy Body Dementia Resource Center.