Collaborate Psychology Service | info@collaboratepsychology.co.uk  | 07379 806 356                                    ©2017 by Collaborate Psychology Service

COGNITION & MEMORY 

WHAT DO WE MEAN BY 'COGNITION'?

'Cognition' refers to our thinking skills and abilities, including:

  • Our intellectual ability and skills in learning and assimilating new information

  • Our ability to recognise and recall information

  • Our ability to hold different pieces of information in mind and manipulate this

  • Our ability to concentrate and attend to information

  • Our ability to use and understand language

  • Our ability to plan, organise, judge, and inhibit or initiate behaviour

  • Our ability to process information and the speed at which we do this

  • Our ability to regulate or manage our emotions

WHY UNDERGO A COGNITIVE ASSESSMENT?

Regardless of your age or ability, if you've noticed some changes in your cognition then you may benefit from a cognitive assessment (also known as a 'neuropsychological assessment'). A cognitive assessment can help us to understand what the underlying cause might be for the changes in your cognition, for example, whether it's a result of normal ageing, related to stress or changes in mood, or whether there could be an underlying condition which could benefit from further investigation. Whatever the cause for these changes, seeking advice early on is key to ensure you get the support or treatment you need to help improve your functioning and quality of life.

 

Cognitive assessments vary depending on the person's presenting symptoms. Most assessments will involve meeting for between  3 to 5 hours (across 2 or more sessions) where we aim to establish a clearer picture of your main difficulties and symptoms, obtain a detailed history, and complete a series of pen and paper tasks looking at different areas of cognition. Following the assessment, you would receive a detailed report of the findings, as well as a one hour feedback session to discuss the findings along with any recommendations. 

 

Because we want you to feel as comfortable as possible during the assessment, we would be happy to see you in your own home.

Symptoms of cognitive impairment

  •  Difficulty remembering recent or past events

  • Short attention span or easily losing focus

  • Problems with planning, organising, meeting deadlines

  • Feeling confused or anxious in new or novel situations

  • Finding activities more challenging than they were previously

  • Difficulties with language e.g. with naming objects or finding the right word

  • Trouble with calculations or managing money

  • Changes in behaviour and personality

  • Feeling more anxious or more agitated than you used to

MILD COGNITIVE IMPAIRMENT & DEMENTIA

At Collaborate, we also offer expert assessment, advice and psychosocial interventions for people with mild cognitive impairment and dementia. We also offer evidence based talking therapies for family members and carers of people with dementia.

MILD COGNITIVE IMPAIRMENT

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a relatively common condition in older age. It's often diagnosed when your cognition in one or more area is perhaps not as good as it once was, and this is more than normal, age-related change. It could be the case that you (or your family or friends) have noticed that your memory and other thinking skills are not quite as good as they once were, but that it generally doesn't interfere with your life or your ability to carry out everyday activities.

A diagnosis of MCI may increase your risk of developing dementia later on. Many causes of MCI are reversible, especially when they are detected and treated early. Some people with a diagnosis of MCI, therefore, remain stable, and some eventually improve. A cognitive assessment, therefore, can help you to receive a prompt and accurate diagnosis, as well as any advice or treatment you might need. 

DEMENTIA

The word ‘dementia’ is used to describe a set of symptoms which often include memory loss, problems with planning, organisation and problem solving, and changes in language (for example, difficulty with naming objects or finding the right words). People with dementia may also experience changes in their mood or personality. Over time, these symptoms become significant enough that they start to interfere with the person's life and daily activities.  

Dementia is caused when the brain becomes damaged, for example, through a series of strokes or from disease. There are many different causes of dementia, with Alzheimer's Disease being the most common cause. The symptoms that a person with dementia experiences will depend on which part of the brain has been affected, and the type of disease which is causing the dementia. 

Whilst dementia is not a natural part of ageing, it is more prevalent in people aged over 65, with 1 in 14 affected by the condition. Whilst there is currently no cure for dementia, treatments are available which can help slow down the progression of the disease and improve quality of life. An early diagnosis through cognitive assessment is the first step towards accessing the necessary treatment and support to maximise your brain health.

 

At Collaborate, we understand that there can often be a lot of worry around receiving a diagnosis of dementia, and a cognitive assessment can therefore feel quite daunting. Because of our experience in working with people with dementia, you can be confident that we will use a compassionate, honest and collaborative approach to your assessment, so that you and your family feel supported throughout the process.

SUPPORT FOR INDIVIDUALS, FAMILIES AND CARERS

Whether you have a new or existing diagnosis of dementia, we are here to help. We offer advice to individuals and their families around how to live well with dementia, as well as talking therapies for individuals with early-stage dementia to help process and adjust to living with a memory problem.

We recognise that a diagnosis of dementia, and the effects of this, can extend beyond the person diagnosed. A large part of the work we do, therefore, is with the family members or carers of people with dementia. We offer evidence based talking therapies for relatives and family carers of people with dementia to help understand and manage some of the psychological and behavioural symptoms of dementia. We recognise that caring for someone with dementia can be challenging at times, so we can also support family carers to manage their own emotional well-being whilst caring for their loved one.