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  1. #1

    How to get dementia diagnosed when suffered doesn't see it

    I (as well as other members of the family) are pretty sure my Grandad has some form of dementia - he has memory problems, easily confused, delusional etc - and it is now at the point where he cannot leave the house alone and if he is left in the house for even a short time he usually has some sort of fall (although this doesn't happen if someone is home). He is very stubborn and doesn't like hospitals etc. He has a number of other illnesses and so visits the GP and nurses regularly but can come across as 'normal' when there. He refuses to accept that he has any problems.

    We're not sure what to do to get him diagnosed and some help. He lives with my Granny who is not in the best of health herself and so cannot care for him, especially not if he gets worse. If a family member phones his GP and raises these concerns will they take notice even if the sufferer does not see any problems?

  2. #2
    Registered User
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    Hi samclare and welcome to Talking Point.

    The doctor should pay attention to what is said to them even if, for confidentiality reasons, they don't tell you much back.

    The family or your Granny might find it easier to write the doctor a letter listing all the things that 'aren't right'. Your Granny might be best if she is happy to do that - she is closest to him and seeing him all the time so she is the one most likely to notice changes. The family could keep a diary over a week or so of things he does/doesn't do or say that are different to before and included that with the letter.

    With any luck the next time Grandad is in to see the doctor they will ask some extra questions and go a bit deeper to check up on things.

    Other people have found a diary useful for all sorts of appointments as it is much more specific than 'we are sure something is wrong'. It can also help in the future to see if there are any triggers like time of day for some problem and can also be used to track ongoing changes. The other benefit of writing is that you can make sure a doctor has information ahead of an appointment without having to talk about what your relative can/can't do in front of them.

    Good luck getting things sorted out to help your Gran.

  3. #3
    Thanks, we'll give that a try

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by samclare View Post
    Thanks, we'll give that a try
    My mum comes across as normal sometimes, but when the mental health nurse comes to see her they can tell all is not well, my mother is struggling to admit she has a problem, as far as she is concerned she has'nt got any.
    From my experience so far I would suggest that you contact your local 'mental health team for older adults', this is what they specialise in, helping to diagnose older people with memory problems. They normally visit you at home and run through memory tests, my mum was offered a CT scan as routine and she happilly went along with this.
    What I have found out since my mum was told she has AD & vasD is that there is no definitive diagnosis of these diseases until after death, so not sure what use the CT scan was really.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bodensee View Post
    What I have found out since my mum was told she has AD & vasD is that there is no definitive diagnosis of these diseases until after death, so not sure what use the CT scan was really.
    In my case, and probably most the CT scan and MRI were obviously done to rule out any obvious treatable cause e.g. brain tumour - because this wasn't the case it's obviously 'all in my mind' - how much we all, including the medical profession are yet to learn.

  6. #6
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    HOow I did it

    Quote Originally Posted by samclare View Post
    I (as well as other members of the family) are pretty sure my Grandad has some form of dementia - he has memory problems, easily confused, delusional etc - and it is now at the point where he cannot leave the house alone and if he is left in the house for even a short time he usually has some sort of fall (although this doesn't happen if someone is home). He is very stubborn and doesn't like hospitals etc. He has a number of other illnesses and so visits the GP and nurses regularly but can come across as 'normal' when there. He refuses to accept that he has any problems.

    We're not sure what to do to get him diagnosed and some help. He lives with my Granny who is not in the best of health herself and so cannot care for him, especially not if he gets worse. If a family member phones his GP and raises these concerns will they take notice even if the sufferer does not see any problems?
    I went to see my dads GP and said I thought dad had some memory problems etc, he asked me to bring him in, he did some tests, and agreed there was a problem and nothing else happened for a while. After a crisis, and dad having to be rehoused, the GP requested a formal diagnosis, and we had a nurse assigned to dad, a Community Psychiatric Nurse (CPN), and then we had a formal diagnosis from a Psychiatrist who actually came out to assess dad in his own home. From there we got the diagnosis of vascular dementia not altzheimers. We did have input from social worker also. Hope this helps. Good luck

 

 

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