Registered User
Mar 29, 2008
I wrote here a few months ago following concerns regarding my mother and her forgetfulness.
I have just returned from visiting her and have got her to see a Doctor. My sister had spoken to the Doctor to advise that she was forgetting things and she has been having dizzy spells. My mum was adamant that she would not see the Dr but I got her there and she is having some blood tests next week. I live about 200 miles away, I have a brother that lives near her and he is going to take her for the blood tests. One of her friends told us she has been having these dizzy spells for about a year. I have only seen her have this once. She denies ever having them and was really peed off that the Dr mentioned them to her.
Are dizzy spells common? Why the blood tests? I supposed it was a case of ruling everything elseout but couldnt speak to the Dr myself as it had been such a drama to get her there that I kept telling myself that this was just the 1st step and didnt want to arouse her suspiscions that we were all ganging up on her by seeing the Dr myself.
What sort of things should we be asking for from the Dr, I dont want her to just have some blood tests and for them to be fine and the Dr to say there is nothing wrong. I dont know if that is what he is going to do but it seems sometimes from the other posts I have read here that you really need to keep at it when trying to get a diagnosis.
Also my mum drives, I have been in the car with her a few times in the last week and her driving was fine yet yesterday she didnt know what day it was. She is 65. Should we stop her driving. Can people be in the early stages of dementia and continue to drive.

Margaret W

Registered User
Apr 28, 2007
North Derbyshire
HI Jon

In theory, you aren't entitled to any information from the GP on your mother at all, it is all confidential, though I have yet to find a GP that isn't prepared to keep a caring relative informed.

As regards driving, you'd be best advised to consult your mum's insurance policy or talk to the insurance company. Not a clue how it would affect things. I would imagine there are lots of people in the early stages of the disease still capable of driving well, and it would be a shame to take that freedom away from her if not necessary.

Much love



Registered User
Apr 18, 2008
The Borders, Scotland
Hello Jon
I had a similar situation with my mum in March and finally got her to the Dr. It was a fair walk to the Dr's room and my mum told me to go on ahead and leave her to hobble slowly (arthritic knee) - I wouldn't normally but this time I bounded down the corridor and had 40 seconds to alert Doc that we had come about severe memory problems NOT the dodgy knee. He was great and ordered blood and urine tests to check it wasn't anything else. But he also did a mini mental state test (questions about what day it is, carrying out simple instructions etc) and mum did very badly. Luckily I had got mum to sign a short note to the dr explaining that I helped her with prescriptions and health issues and that he could contact me about these sorts of things. He looked relieved to have that for his file and he has phoned me with the odd progress report. He referred Mum to a psychiatric consultant for the elderly. Like you I live 200 miles away. The consultant and a female colleague visited mum at home for an hour and a half and called in a social work team to assess Mum's needs. In a way it is good as Mum doesn't see it as something I have organised or imposed. somehow the psychiatric nurse persuaded mum to attend for a brain scan - I would have got a resounding no. The scan has enabled the Consultant to prescribe medication which may help. slowly the SW team are trying to win mum over into accepting help. Fingers crossed. hope this might help you. Dizzy spells could mean diabetic so the tests would pick that up. Hope things go well. Sooner rather than as late as I was is best - as often the medication have a better chance of arresting things for a better quality of life.


Registered User
Jun 7, 2008
Hi jon
my reply is simalar to pebbles. I too got my aunt to sign a letter of agreement for her gp etc to talk to me. You end up in a catch 22 situation otherwise. She has a similar thing re being dizzy. She also complains about her knees, this is normally on bad memory days when she needs an excuse not to leave the house as she is frightened she might not know how to come home. Her knees are never bad when she stays with me and we bomb about in my little sports car, even although its pretty difficult to get in and out of.
We too are currently going down the testing stage, Im afraid we have to fib a bit to get her to accept any help, but I just think we have her interest at heart.
Tell you what, Im so glad I found this site, I sure dont feel alone anymore!
all the best


Registered User
Aug 9, 2007
Hi Jon

I missed this one earlier, sorry.

A number of things can cause dizzy spells in the elderly and although your Mum is not that old the GP will start by ruling out the most common things eg anaemia, diabetes, thyroid problems etc.

A certain level of forgetfulness comes with age (and I am aware of this in my mid forties) and again the GP will want to ensure that this is an abnormal level.

Once all the tests are done then the GP will make a diagnosis or an onward referral. If you feel that the GP has not made a correct diagnosis or uses something as the reason for the forgetfulness but after treatment things don't improve, or you feel that there is more to it, drop a line to the GP, giving illustrations and anecdotal evidence to enable the GP to understand better. The confidentiality is a hard one for a GP and once you have a dementia diagnosis it is easier to get them to speak to you, but that doesn't mean you cannot speak to them about your concerns.

Dizziness could also indicate TIAs, wee strokes or something as common as low blood pressure.

The driving will have to re-assessed in the light of any diagnosis made by the GP and your Mum's current abilities.

It is a hard road to travel but the TP'ers will provide support should it be necessary.



Registered User
Mar 29, 2008
Thanks for all the advice everyone. It certainly helps to know that there are other people going through the same thing.
Mum had her blood tests and went on her own for it. My 2 uncles spoke to her before she went and it is good that they are on board. I think it made a difference hearing it from her peers rather than just her kids. Spoke to her today and she said the whole thing was bull****, her words!. It is this that I find so hard to deal with. I know that previously if my mum had something wrong with her she would have been straight to the doctor. Her refusal to do this is what scares me and gets the alarm bells ringing.
Read an article in the daily mail which scared the life out of me. It made it sound like no help is out there. Was it alarmist or is this really what its going to be like? Dont know if anyone else read it?

Thanks Jon


Registered User
Mar 6, 2007
Wigan, Lancs
Hi Jon,

I hadn't seen the article but have just read it. This is the link

I wish I could say it is scare-mongering, but a lot of it is our experience too.

Firstly no one tells you what help is available and then once you crack that one you have to shout and scream to get, whether you are able to fund it yourself or not. We need to shout and scream as one in the hope that we will be heard. Articles like this will hopefully change the public's perception of dementia and they will start to shout with us.

On the plus side there is a lot of help, both here on TP where people's first hand experience is invaluable, and also from the main AS website.


Registered User
Mar 29, 2008
I was afraid it might be!
My grandmother had alzheimers and she was cared for at home by my grandad. My mum was there every day for her. I was at uni so pretty sheltered from the reality of it all.
I live miles away from my mum and she is divorced. I have a brother who lives nearby and my sister is coming back from Austarlia for a year or so.
I cant move back to wales, I havent lived there for 20 yrs. Feel really guilty for even writing that last bit down, especially as my mum was there for my gran.