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  1. #1
    New User
    Join Date
    Mar 2012

    Diagnosing without causing undue distress?


    I'm not sure I'm posting in the right place, as we've not even attempted a diagnosis, but that is the point and I'm not really sure where we stand.
    My nan has lived with us for about ten years, and has always been a bit "vague", and my mum says she's been that way all her life. So when she started mixing up names and forgetting things, we didn't worry too much. However, recently it seems to be getting worse. She constantly asks the same questions, she pieces random bits of information together, she often says the wrong words. Last summer, we went on holiday, and left her in the care of her d.i.l and when we arrived back she was very distressed and apparently had been for the duration. When her d.i.l left, she had to ask us who she was. She's cancelled her phone line, and re-registered with another company, and then when the bills have arrived she's had no recollection of doing it, and we've had to piece together whats happened. She also thought a student doctor had rang, and was coming to see her and so had got ready only to wait all day in vain.

    I am home the most with her, as I work nights and so I am the one who is pushing for a diagnosis and help the most. But my worry is taking her to the doctors, she finds it very distressing to leave the house she and talks very poorly when she is in the doctors surgery as she finds it stressful. My dad has inquired about getting a gp involved and the gp insists that she has to come in and discuss it in the surgery. I think at this point, its more important to keep my nan in good spirits, as opposed to fitting into some nhs guidelines. Is there an actual protocol to getting someone to discuss her confusion with her, or can we request someone (a gp) to look at her in a discreet way?

    I'm worried that the whole saga of seeing a gp about it will be too distressing for everyone, and that by pushing for this, I'll end up causing more hassle than I'll be helping.

    Any advice is appreciated!

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2012


    Do not know if I will be any help or if I have even handled things the right way with my parents but with my late mom I discreetly passed on my concerns in a note put into docs surgery because I did not want Mom to know she had dementia. I was told she would be assessed by a geriatric psychiatrist in her own home and I wrote and told him of all my concerns and Moms behaviors. When he arrived at her house he thanked me for letter and said how helpful it was and asked did I have any qualifications in that field( I didn't, just that really strong feeling you know they have dementia) she was then diagnosed with mixed dementia and later capgras syndrome (horrendous) and as she was quite far advanced never knew she had dementia. She said once " I haven't got that Alzheimers thing have I?" and I was too sad to ever admit it to her.

    Up to date now my Dad diagnosed 3 weeks ago with Alzhimers, again I knew, from sad experience and again I don't want him to know . It was so obvious to me so on a regular GP appointment I put a note in the day before hand outlining my concerns, the GP asked him 2 memory questions, turned to me with a know all smile and said " no dementia there!" Just after that my Dad in hospital and I asked a doctor can someone humor me and do a full lMMSE on Dad. She agreed they were concerned also and did brain scan that showed he had it. I have still not told him and to be honest im not sure if its the right way to go. I have a recent post on here " carers withdrawing after 10 days" I am having massive problems.

    Bottom line is you wont always get a diagnosis to start with, you can ask them to be discreet like I did but I would say you know the person FAR better than they do so stick with your gut instincts if you get fobbed off like I did

    Hope I may have been a little help.
    Last edited by babypie; 27-03-2012 at 03:00 PM.

  3. #3
    New User
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    My dad had his diagnosis yesterday. His psychiatrist has spent 6 months trying to convince me his problems were down to depression but i was *sure* it was more than that. His CT scan has confirmed a stroke and vascular dementia.
    My dad now looks terrified. I wish he didn't know but I don't think I had the right to keep it from him. He's well enough to know what this means and it's been a life-long fear for him.
    I'm not sure where to go now. Should he be seen by a neurologist? He is already on aspirin but that is obviously not stopping the clots, I asked if he should be on warfarin and the psychiatrist just said he didn't know....
    Feel like we are being left to find out for ourselves.
    It would be really good to share experiences/advice.


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