1. bodiesgirl

    bodiesgirl Registered User

    Aug 4, 2010
    #1 bodiesgirl, Aug 4, 2010
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2010
    Hello all,
    I've found myself here after googling dementia and I guess it's the kind of thing i've been looking for.

    My mother, who is 75, has been suffering from dementia for a couple of years, although this hasn't been officially diagnosed. My brother and i first noticed a change in her short term memory about 2 1/2yrs ago and decided to keep an eye on her, so to speak, and then two years ago she went through two quite major operations within 3 weeks of each other and since then her memory has deteriorated, it was almost as though the trauma of the operations exacerbated the memory condition. So my father took her to her GP and he referred her to the hospital for a scan, but due to the nature of the scan she couldn't go through with it (she's claustrophobic) and the hospital referred her back to the GP since when we have heard nothing from the GP. It's not in my nature, or my fathers, to be forceful with her GP although he is very good with her other health issues. I think what has prompted me to write here is that today my father (who works all day still, he's only 60) told me he came home yesterday to find that my mother, who is usually so meticulous about folding clothes up and placing them neatly in draws and wardrobes, had filled a suitcase full of screwed up clothes and screwed up other items of clothing in drawers and strewn other items across the bed. When my father asked what she had been doing she replied that someone must have got in the house and done it, or the other reason was that I had been round and done it.

    This, as you can imagine, is quite alarming and is a huge difference in the behaviour we have become accustomed too. I guess I want to know if this is normal with dementia sufferers as the symptoms progress, and do I need to badger her GP for treatment.

    Thanks, any advice would be greatly appreciated
  2. Sandy

    Sandy Registered User

    Mar 23, 2005
    Hi bodiesgirl,

    Welcome to Talking Point (TP).

    You might want to take a look at the factsheet on diagnosis and assessment:


    Now normally the GP makes a referral to a memory clinic and the person with suspected dementia has an initial appointment (with a family member involved) to discuss their symptoms and possibly do a more sophisticated test than the MMSE.

    Sometimes the family member will be taken aside and given a chance to give a more frank and detailed description of the types of changes that they have noticed (I would recommend keeping a diary). Changes in behaviour and performance on some cognitive tests are usually given as much weight as any brain scans.

    My understanding is that the scans are designed to rule other potential causes for symptoms out as anything. They may also be used to assist with a diagnosis as to what the underlying cause of the dementia is likely to be - Alzheimer's vs. vascular dementia, for example.

    I suppose there are several questions that need to be asked:

    1. Is a scan absolutely necessary to arrive at a tentative diagnosis which could lead to treatment with drugs for Alzheimer's?

    2. If the answer to that question is "Yes", then could your mother cope with a scan with the help of a mild sedative? Obviously they want to avoid more heavy sedation - people with dementia do not generally respond well to general anesthetics, for example (that might explain her earlier downturn following the surgeries).

    3. There is another option which is called an 'open' MRI scanner:


    I think this latest episode of packing the suitcase is like a yellow card and you should you it to press the GP or memory clinic for a plan forward to a diagnosis.

    Can I just ask how old your mother is? Sometimes it is harder to get a proper diagnosis for younger people with dementia.

    Take care,
  3. larivy

    larivy Registered User

    Apr 19, 2009
    hi bodiesgirl just wanted to welcome you to TP im sure you will get all the help you need here mum was referred to the memory clinic by our gp perhaps another word with gp will help larivy
  4. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    Hello bodiesgirl

    I believe you should do everything possible to get a proper diagnosis for your mother just to get her into the System. It will also give her access to any medication she might benefit from and cash benefits she would be entitled to.
  5. bodiesgirl

    bodiesgirl Registered User

    Aug 4, 2010
    Thank you for your responses (mum is 75 btw) it's helpful to me, in itself, that there are others going through a similar thing. I'll ring the GP tomorrow.
  6. Clive

    Clive Registered User

    Nov 7, 2004
    Hi bodiesgirl

    Hope all goes well with contacting the GP.

    Whilst you are getting the diagnosis for your mum have you also checked that your mum (and dad) has done a Power of Attorney. Many of us find it makes operating our parents’ affairs much easier when a Power of Attorney has been given

  7. piedwarbler

    piedwarbler Registered User

    Aug 3, 2010
    South Ribble
    Hi bodiesgirl

    Just to say good luck and thinking of you. I am going through the same thing with Mum having asked for a psycho geriatric referral a year ago and still waiting!

    Hope you get some help from the GP x

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