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Verbal Memory.
julielarson
Posted: Tuesday, November 1, 2016 5:44 AM
Joined: 9/30/2015
Posts: 1155


What kinds of things are affected by verbal memory? I have received news that I scored lower on my verbal memory than the last time I was tested.
llee08032
Posted: Tuesday, November 1, 2016 8:14 AM
Joined: 5/20/2014
Posts: 4408


Julie,

There are different types of memory and verbal memory has to do with language and word use. Problems with verbal memory indicate impairment on the left side of the brain.


Mimi S.
Posted: Tuesday, November 1, 2016 8:55 AM
Joined: 11/29/2011
Posts: 7027


Julie,

Practically, it means that will rely on notes. Sticky notes and/or a small notebook will be your best friend.

Every time I think I don't need to write something down because I'm sure I'll remember,     you know what happens.


julielarson
Posted: Tuesday, November 1, 2016 10:04 AM
Joined: 9/30/2015
Posts: 1155


The psychologist is recommending I go to a speech therapist for a few sessions to better learn how to compensate for the changes in my brain.
julielarson
Posted: Tuesday, November 1, 2016 4:03 PM
Joined: 9/30/2015
Posts: 1155


I am feeling off kilter with this news that I got yesterday... I have put in a call to my neurologist for her to call me about what she thinks about the results.
julielarson
Posted: Tuesday, November 1, 2016 7:18 PM
Joined: 9/30/2015
Posts: 1155


Does this mean a progression?
Mimi S.
Posted: Tuesday, November 1, 2016 8:33 PM
Joined: 11/29/2011
Posts: 7027


Julie, Friends with the disease have profited from speech therapy.  

Other friends have profited from sessions with a social worker .  Do call your local Alzheimer's chapter for some names.  You absolutely need some one who understands dementia.

How did you feel about the results compared to the previous test?  You should have been given this comparison at your final interview.  

Ideally the test or should be able to show you results. in a dogleg graph using different colors for each set.

You already mentioned that auditory memory is poor.

You need to know where your strengths are.   That's what you'll be using.


The_Sun_Still_Rises
Posted: Tuesday, November 1, 2016 10:11 PM
Joined: 7/24/2015
Posts: 3020


You could always call you neuropsychologist and ask if that means decline.  You can be upfront about that, and say that you are wondering if you have dementia...and they should give you a straight forward answer. 

By the by, the new DSM5 for dementia is "Major Neurocognitive Disorder"...so if the report states that, then yes you have it. 

Speech therapy - that is good!  However, you will want go somewhere that is good also, and understands dementia.  There was a time that they did not help or treat us, much less give us therapies...I am GLAD see them coming along! 

I think, you look for whether the IQ went down.  Certain numbers do not change with age alone.

Language going is one of the first signs, particularly for us younger folk.  We may no notice is...or notice only that we struggle more frequently find right words.  Verbal Memory was the tests asking you name things. 

How you holding up???  Hopefully you taking it easy and allowing it slowly digest in.  It took me a few weeks really get a handle on my second one. 

Hang in there.

<3

 


julielarson
Posted: Wednesday, November 2, 2016 9:07 AM
Joined: 9/30/2015
Posts: 1155


Hi Sun, the psychologist said she is not going to make a diagnosis but leave it up to the neurologist to do that because she knows me better. So I wait until she calls me to give me her impression.. It should be today. I am holding up pretty well but I did call the ALZ number and got some really good advice.
ghostdog
Posted: Wednesday, November 2, 2016 11:11 AM
Joined: 2/9/2015
Posts: 547


Julie -

I've dealt with speech therapy issues related to cognitive changes in two contexts, my own mild traumatic brain injury and my mother's moderately severe dementia with aphasia.

I think the referral to speech therapy is great --  but not all speech therapists "get it." You may need to be an aggressive advocate about what kind of support you need.  It is easier to get someone's attention re compensation or assistance strategies before any progression becomes more pronounced.  You can also make those compensation strategies more rote the earlier you start. A speech therapist will also have a good feel for which areas of your life a verbal memory deficit is going to effect.

Verbal memory is words, one general strategy for compensating for reduced memory of "words" is to try and convert the desired memory to visual or some other sensory memory. Simple example you might not remember a word sequence - cat dog bird -- but you might remember cat image, followed by dog image, followed by bird. That may not be practical for all verbal issues, but it's a nice tool to have in your pocket.


julielarson
Posted: Wednesday, November 2, 2016 11:14 AM
Joined: 9/30/2015
Posts: 1155


Thank you for your input.
alz+
Posted: Wednesday, November 2, 2016 12:46 PM
Joined: 9/12/2013
Posts: 3608


JULIE!

M imi said "find out what your strengths, that's what you'll be using"

brilliant - yes, do that!

because this disease or condition eventually ends in death the medical people look at changes as 'losses' or call it a 'decline'.

*that is optional to me. 

**this is what I did when i first got diagnosed: went to Walgreen's and got big thrift size pack of adult diapers and some bedsore cream.  3 years later I used the diapers for packing material and the cream, "calmoseptine", has zinc in it and I used it for all kinds of other stuff.

I prepared for a tragic scene that did not happen. so consider your 'losses" as something to work around, like living with a broken ankle.

 I chose to not believe each change was a loss and my initial neurologist said compensation makes up for more than you imagine possible.

what does not function one day may function again in a week, do not trust the Fatal Decline narrative. you are going to live your life, make choices, find new things you enjoy and give up some stuff that is too hard. you might use notes, rearrange your environment/life a little - but remember you are living your future with a challenge and plan for a life that you love.  

when you get scared call on your friends here too. you are doing so good, you will always do good. you can handle this,  to prove them wrong is always fun. 

speech therapist - might be a fun person who is very helpful. will you get ssdi? check all your finances with someone, take care of all the serious business and make your life enjoyable.

love and courage


julielarson
Posted: Wednesday, November 2, 2016 12:56 PM
Joined: 9/30/2015
Posts: 1155



 Alz, I get SSI and have for several years.. I had to quit my job due to the MCI and have spent the last year in a very good place.. My house is easy to clean and not messy at all due to the lay out and our lack of things.. LOL.. I live a very simple life now.. I walk every day and I have two friends here and so I have places to go to visit with them. I have a kitten we got about 4 months ago and I love him to bits. He is my substitute baby. Right now he is sleeping in his new bed along side of the computer. I just want to know if it is a progression from the MCI diagnosis was. I will live my life like I have so far.. In peace and love.. Thank you for reminding me of what I have to be so very glad for.
julielarson
Posted: Thursday, November 3, 2016 12:42 PM
Joined: 9/30/2015
Posts: 1155


Hi everyone, I called the Psychologist again and I talked to her and she said it is a pretty significant decline in verbal memory but that I tested at or above all the other memory tests. She said she is calling it MCI still so that is good. They still think it is medication related, but I have my doubts. She said I do not struggle with paying my bills and cooking but she has no idea of what it takes to get those things done for me even after telling her about it and the struggles I go through. All I know is life has gotten awfully hard these days. I feel like I am in a bubble. I hope that makes sense.. LOL!
julielarson
Posted: Thursday, November 3, 2016 12:59 PM
Joined: 9/30/2015
Posts: 1155


Apparently I am too young to have dementia as well. My neurologist does not like the medication I am on and so this should be an interesting appointment with her on Monday.
julielarson
Posted: Thursday, November 3, 2016 4:00 PM
Joined: 9/30/2015
Posts: 1155


I do not know why I am so frustrated with them and their ....It is your mood stabilizer causing this except for the fact that I was told if there was a progression we could rule it out as being the cause. I know my neuro and she is going to be all over this like a dog with a bone. I am thinking of getting a second opinion.
Iris L.
Posted: Thursday, November 3, 2016 7:11 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 18362


Hi, Julie.  You can check your own medication for memory loss side effects by checking with www.rxlist.com.  Also, check the Beers list of medications that can be detrimental to geriatric patients due to side effects.  Older adults do not metabolize drugs as readily as younger adults, and what might have been safe in your younger days may be less safe in your older years.


Your lifestyle already seems to be following Best Practices, which we do to help our functioning.  You are already stepping in the right direction.  Keep it up!


Mimi is always reminding us to look at our strengths.  This is an often overlooked area that we need to focus on, because we do have strengths.


If you do see a speech therapist, look for one who is competent in cognitive rehabilitation therapy.  This is an area that helps with cognitive issues such as might be found in patients after a stroke or brain injury.  I underwent about six months of cognitive rehabilitation therapy.  I can't say that it helped that much.  I learned more from Memory Club.


At Memory Club this morning, the talk was about brain fitness and what we can do to stimulate our brains.  We talked about neuroplasticity, which is how the brain grows new neurons to enable us to learn.  Neurplasticity is present even in people with dementia.  The facilitator stressed exercise, saying that it has been proven to promote new neurons.


In addition to the common things we think of, such as learning a new language, learning a craft or skill, we can do the same things but in different ways.  For instance, we can brush our teeth with our non-dominant hand, or eat or write with our non-dominant hand.  This will help produce new neurons.

It is important to reduce or eliminate distractions, and to avoid multitasking.  Focus on what you are doing.

All of these steps will help with neuroplasticity and help us compensate for areas in which we may have deficits.


Iris L.


julielarson
Posted: Thursday, November 3, 2016 7:59 PM
Joined: 9/30/2015
Posts: 1155


Thank you Iris and Mimi, I looked up my risperidone and it does not say anything about MCI being a side effect. It does warn not to give it to someone with dementia. I called the Alz number and they are sending me in my email some information on the effect of the drug  on people and if MCI is a side effect.
The_Sun_Still_Rises
Posted: Thursday, November 3, 2016 9:59 PM
Joined: 7/24/2015
Posts: 3020


Oh my gosh!  Even for MCI you should have Aricept!  I think, and this is just my opinion, it is time for a new dr.  Ugg, how frustrating. 

Ask for the full report.  All the ones I have seen, show a diagnostic code on the back. 

On the up side, drs are hesitant dx dementia...because it fatal and they feel there is nothing they can do...so they simply don't want give up on you yet...which can be seen as a good thing.  And they really have rule everything else out first. 

Medications can cause problems like that...so that is good check out (after all, it would be nice for those problems simply go away if they could). 

Other things that can cause...are depression (and depression from low thyroid). Drs often fail test the full thyroid panel when they test it (they usually test only TSH which is the pituitary request for thyroid).  You may want get your full panel (because again, that an easy fix).  The full panel includes: TSH; T4; T3; and RT3.  Also checking B12 might help as well.  Low B12 can real mess with people's brain power. 

An alternative, is getting some B12 and trying it...if you get significant improvement...then that might have been the issue. 

That exhausts what I know you can do for yourself.  I am just no sure WHY it is sooo hard for women get dx'd.  And I categorically would leave any doctor that says you cannot get it while young...there are children who have it, a 20 year old who have it...and a number of people in their 30s who have it...and a huge population in their 40s. 

Maybe try an integrative doctor.  I find them much more willing take your whole picture in and find out what is going on for you...and I find them much more helpful.  Again, that is just my experience. 

I am so sorry. 

The other possibility is wait a year and repeat the test.  Remember dementia is often very slow progressing.  There is a fine line between Minor Neurocognitive Disorder (MCI) and Major Neurocognitive Disorder (Dementia)...and, if they are not-calling it these things - then they not using the DSM5...and they have not updated their education.  Always a sign of a bad doctor.

By the by, if you want a funny...I had a neurologist ask me once "what's the DSM?"  LOL, no kidding!  They can be so high and mighty...and oh so stupid at the same time. 

Also, anytime a doctor does not take YOUR concerns seriously...and treat them with respect...they do not deserve you money (or Medicare's). 

So love you self, and carry on...you have all our support. 

<3


julielarson
Posted: Tuesday, November 15, 2016 12:58 PM
Joined: 9/30/2015
Posts: 1155


Ok so there is a disconnect between the neuro nurse practitioner and the psychologist because I called the psychologist and asked her to send me the results from my testing and I told her of the Nurse practitioner telling me it is not verbal memory that I have more trouble with but instead she said it was executive function that is lower this time. She did not say much about it but she wonders how the Nurse practitioner could get it wrong from what she saw. I am seriously thinking of getting a second opinion on the mater. I do not know if my insurance will cover it but I may see.
Iris L.
Posted: Tuesday, November 15, 2016 7:20 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 18362


Julie, is the neuro nurse practitioner supervised by a neurologist?  Usually that's how it works.  You should have the benefit of an experienced dementia specialist on your case.


You are not on medication such as Aricept or Exelon patch, correct?  Medication may help you.  If you have already had a three month trial of a suitable antidepressant, then you should be offered Aricept or Exelon patch to see what your response is.  

 

You wonder if you are experiencing progression.  What do you think?  Do you feel that you are getting worse?  Keep a written record of how you are doing.  Keep in mind that the doctors are basically clueless as to how dementia affects us.  Also, and this is an important point, they are clueless as to the dividing line between cognitive impairment and dementia.  They can only say in hindsight that a person with advanced symptoms has dementia.  

 

I believe that we on this board are here to keep ourselves stabililized where we are now, whether the diagnosis is dementia or cognitive impairment.  You already receive SSI.  Did you mean to write SSDI?  Are you receiving a Disability pension?  


I think some PWDs have high expectations of the medical field, which unfortunately, will not be realized.  The doctors are necessary to diagnose dementia, to search for treatable conditions that mimic dementia, and to prescribe appropriate medication.  Other than that, they do not help much in our day to day lives or in matters of progression, because they are not with us for hours and hours, and they don't really know what is happening with us. 


 There is a lot that we have to figure out on our own.  I believe PWDs (including those with MCI) can get caught up going around in circles looking for answers from professionals.  They just don't know that much about dementia or about us.


In your case, I believe you should get your written report of your neurocognitive testing, and review the findings.  Ask the neuropsychologist for explanations of what you don't understand.  If you want a trial of medication, discuss this with your neurologist.  And I think you should be followed by a neurologist, not only a nurse practitioner.  My neurologist works with two nurse practitioners, but I see him at every visit.


Another thought that may help is that we have a long way to go.  Anxiety will make our journey more difficult.  We should do as much as we can to allay our own anxiety and worry about the shortcomings in the medical field as they pertain to dementia care and diagnosis, since they will not change in the near future.   We have to figure out what works for us, and do it.  The professionals are not going to do it for us.


I am a professional myself in the medical field, and I see the gaps and lapses regarding PWDs.  What I have to say is my opinion as a patient and as a professional.  This is why I call us Dementia Pioneers.  We are the first generation who are pro-active in our own care.  We can't rely totally on the professionals.  It's scary, but this is what we have to do.  This is why I am so thankful for this message board, and the wonderful advice, support and encouragement I have received here over the years.  I wouldn't be where I am today without the members here!


Iris L.






julielarson
Posted: Tuesday, November 15, 2016 7:46 PM
Joined: 9/30/2015
Posts: 1155


Hello Iris, I take donepazel.. I only take a half a pill though because it was effecting my sleep even with taking it during the morning. Here in Oregon nurse practitioners do not have to work under a doctor at least that is my understanding in another context with a different nurse practitioner. Thank you for your post it makes a lot of sense even though I wish some of it were not true. I think I am going to go to a neurologist in a town closer to me to have him look over my case and see what he has to say. There does not seem to be an understanding between the Nurse practitioner and the psychologist and it makes me wonder what could possibly be going on. I go and see the Neurology Nurse practitioner tomorrow and I will tell her I spoke to the psychologist today and she said the same thing to me about it being verbal memory that I am worse in at this time.
julielarson
Posted: Tuesday, November 15, 2016 7:48 PM
Joined: 9/30/2015
Posts: 1155


Oh and yes I do think I am doing worse in some areas these days..
julielarson
Posted: Wednesday, November 16, 2016 2:15 PM
Joined: 9/30/2015
Posts: 1155


Hi All, I just got home from the neurology nurse practitioners office and I do not have to go back for 6 months now. We agreed to disagree with the outcome of the testing.. She read right rom her notes that it is executive function that is the problem. I am laughing right now.. I will get the report from the psychologist and make a determination as to weather I want a second opinion. I told her all about you all here and she is impressed, especially with Iris calling us all dementia pioneers. Over all it was a good appointment. I go to occupational therapy tomorrow. I am to tell them to write down their instructions to me, so I can access the information.
Iris L.
Posted: Wednesday, November 16, 2016 5:19 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 18362


It's very easy for us and for the professionals to get confused about what is going on with us.  Personally, I find I have more trouble with executive function impairments than with memory lapses.   I don't think too many professionals are aware of our message board and our group support.  I hope the OT visit will be beneficial for you.  Please let us know how that works out, Julie.


Iris L.


llee08032
Posted: Wednesday, November 16, 2016 9:25 PM
Joined: 5/20/2014
Posts: 4408


I told both neurologist and neuropsychologist about the board here and what a great source of support it has been and that they should be recommending the board to their PWD patients. Not sure if they got the point that the board has been more helpful than they have been!