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Dementia diagnosis?

Lizzie SEN

New member
Mar 29, 2020
6
New to this site, and joining took a lot of thought. My husband is showing signs of dementia - memory, some confusion etc. He is a very proud man and recently has become angry when I remind him of things. I have spoken to my GP about some of my feelings and we discussed whether diagnosis was the next step. She pointed out drug therapy etc., but actually agreed with me that percentage wise this was not all that effective and for a limited time anyway. Also, we discussed how difficult my husband may find living with a diagnosis at the moment.
I would welcome any advice please.
 

Lawson58

Registered User
Aug 1, 2014
2,164
Victoria, Australia
New to this site, and joining took a lot of thought. My husband is showing signs of dementia - memory, some confusion etc. He is a very proud man and recently has become angry when I remind him of things. I have spoken to my GP about some of my feelings and we discussed whether diagnosis was the next step. She pointed out drug therapy etc., but actually agreed with me that percentage wise this was not all that effective and for a limited time anyway. Also, we discussed how difficult my husband may find living with a diagnosis at the moment.
I would welcome any advice please.
There will be others along who will give you some ideas about the value of a diagnosis. I just wanted to suggest that GP's comments about drug therapy not being particularly effective. I think that for some people it may not have any benefits but I think for my husband it has been very helpful.

He is almost six years into his diagnosis and has been taking rivastigmine for five of those years. Until Covid-19 he was still playing bridge four times a week. He is mobile, continent and takes care of his personal hygiene. He is slipping but very slowly but I believe that in general he has done very well. Medication? We don't really know but I am glad that he has been taking it.
 

imthedaughter

Registered User
Apr 3, 2019
523
I think the GP may be jumping the gun a bit here - as far as I understand it, they can't diagnose your husband.

From my experience with my dad, diagnosis is a long road. This may vary depending on where you live.

I would recommend you do ask to get him referred to the memory team if he is having problems with his memory.

Before this happens he'll have to be checked for anything else that could cause it - dad had to be on medication for low levels of iron for a certain amount of time before they would refer him as the GP said the memory team would not see him until it was certain his memory issues were not caused by another factor.

When he was referred, he was first seen by a nurse, then a psychiatrist. He was then diagnosed with dementia (unspecified, pending MRI), then had a MRI scan (fourth time lucky!).

After that the psychiatrist eventually read the scan, and dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, vascular and 'possible other' types - so, mixed dementia.

Dad has been unable to live independently for some time - he is completely disorganised and neglects any self care, although he is not yet incontinent - and has been in residential care for a year. We got the final diagnosis this month. He has also been prescribed some medication following this.

I didn't think he 'needed' a diagnosis 'per se' but as it turned out his lack of organisation has meant he left bills unpaid for months and we are still catching up with them. And he's been unexpectedly sued for non-payment. The diagnosis, will, I hope he useful for combating this. You don't know when something may happen and you may need to 'prove' he is ill. In my experience, people do not believe you without the official diagnosis.
 

Lizzie SEN

New member
Mar 29, 2020
6
There will be others along who will give you some ideas about the value of a diagnosis. I just wanted to suggest that GP's comments about drug therapy not being particularly effective. I think that for some people it may not have any benefits but I think for my husband it has been very helpful.

He is almost six years into his diagnosis and has been taking rivastigmine for five of those years. Until Covid-19 he was still playing bridge four times a week. He is mobile, continent and takes care of his personal hygiene. He is slipping but very slowly but I believe that in general he has done very well. Medication? We don't really know but I am glad that he has been taking it.
 

Lizzie SEN

New member
Mar 29, 2020
6
Lawson58,
Many thanks for your reply andam glad your husband is functioning so well. I will do a bit of research into the drug you mention and speak to my GP. My Mum, sadly suffered from Alzheimers and was given Arricept which didn't seem to help. But who knows how more quickly she would have deteriorated without it.
Best regards, Lizzie
 

Lizzie SEN

New member
Mar 29, 2020
6
I think the GP may be jumping the gun a bit here - as far as I understand it, they can't diagnose your husband.

From my experience with my dad, diagnosis is a long road. This may vary depending on where you live.

I would recommend you do ask to get him referred to the memory team if he is having problems with his memory.

Before this happens he'll have to be checked for anything else that could cause it - dad had to be on medication for low levels of iron for a certain amount of time before they would refer him as the GP said the memory team would not see him until it was certain his memory issues were not caused by another factor.

When he was referred, he was first seen by a nurse, then a psychiatrist. He was then diagnosed with dementia (unspecified, pending MRI), then had a MRI scan (fourth time lucky!).

After that the psychiatrist eventually read the scan, and dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, vascular and 'possible other' types - so, mixed dementia.

Dad has been unable to live independently for some time - he is completely disorganised and neglects any self care, although he is not yet incontinent - and has been in residential care for a year. We got the final diagnosis this month. He has also been prescribed some medication following this.

I didn't think he 'needed' a diagnosis 'per se' but as it turned out his lack of organisation has meant he left bills unpaid for months and we are still catching up with them. And he's been unexpectedly sued for non-payment. The diagnosis, will, I hope he useful for combating this. You don't know when something may happen and you may need to 'prove' he is ill. In my experience, people do not believe you without the official diagnosis.
 

Lizzie SEN

New member
Mar 29, 2020
6
Imthedaughter,
Many thanks for your reply. So sorry to hear about your Father. You have given me a lot to think about as up to now I have been concerned most about John's response to a diagnosis and the day to day memory lapses. No easy answer but obviously I have to think ahead.
Best regards, Lizzie
 

Lawson58

Registered User
Aug 1, 2014
2,164
Victoria, Australia
Lawson58,
Many thanks for your reply andam glad your husband is functioning so well. I will do a bit of research into the drug you mention and speak to my GP. My Mum, sadly suffered from Alzheimers and was given Arricept which didn't seem to help. But who knows how more quickly she would have deteriorated without it.
Best regards, Lizzie
My husband started on Aricept too and it didn't suit him either. The rivastigmine is in the form of patches so is absorbed through the skin and no tummy problems. Hope you can get something sorted that might help.