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Memory Clinic

Gill M

New member
Oct 30, 2020
4
My 86 yr. husband really doesn't want to go to a memory clinic - since his stroke 20 years ago he can't speak, read or write but is a happy and contented soul most of the time. His memory and comprehension have declined immensely over the last 2 to 3 years and the doctor has confirmed dementia. He would like to refer my husband to a memory clinic but I wonder for whose benefit these tests take place. Dementia cannot be reversed and the future looks somewhat bleak at the moment. What would happen if he declines to go to a clinic?
 

Jaded'n'faded

Registered User
Jan 23, 2019
1,010
High Peak
Nothing will happen whether he goes or not, nothing will change. As you say, what's to be gained?

Sometimes in the early stages, drugs can be prescribed which can slow the symptoms somewhat, sometimes, though most have side effects. (And only work for certain types of dementia). As your husband had a stroke 20 years ago and is 86, I doubt such things would help much now.

Probably better to concentrate on getting all the legal stuff in place (wills, POA, plus claiming attendance allowance, council tax disregard, etc.) if you haven't already done so. And - most importantly - getting help for YOU so you're not doing everything yourself. If you don't need it now, you will, so it's good to look into things for the future.
 

lemonbalm

Registered User
May 21, 2018
881
Hello @Gill M . My mum never went to a memory clinic. I think she would have been distraught by the process and life was hard enough as it was. It would have seemed unkind.

If your husband really doesn't want to go, I can't see the point of putting him, or you, through it, particularly as the doctor has confirmed dementia already. I expect other members may have different take on it. Perhaps it opens doors which I am not aware of.

I'm sorry that your husband's stroke had such an impact on life but pleased to see that he is happy and contented most of the time. That is a definite bonus. I hope that you are able to take time to look after yourself as well as your husband and wish you all the best.
 

Philbo

Registered User
Feb 28, 2017
844
Kent
My dear late wife was diagnosed with Dementia at the memory clinic initially, which was useful in that the scans etc enabled them to identify what type she had. She subsequently went every 6 months but after 2 years, they discharged her back to her GP.

I agree with Jaded'n'faded that if the GP has already confirmed dementia, I wouldn't worry if your husband doesn't want to go. If he's happy and contented, not worth stressing him out?

Kind regards
Phil
 

Whisperer

Registered User
Mar 27, 2017
231
Dear @Gill M

I will try and answer your question by relating my own situation. I will assume your husband retains capacity so his decision will be accepted. Please be clear this is only my personal experience. I only relate it to you in case your husband refuses to attend and you then end up wondering what to do for the best. I got into that situation and had months wondering what to do.

Mum attended the Memory Clinic in 2015 and was diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment. Since then her memory has become really bad, I am confused at times as being her dad, mother or her deceased husband (my dad). Other matters are slowly becoming apparent, without a doubt mum has Dementia, as yet officially undiagnosed. Despite the best efforts of our GP mum refuses to go back to the Memory Clinic. “If I am going dolally I do not want to know” was screamed at me in the car in the GP car park.

Mum has a history of high blood pressure, heart disease and had major heart surgery in the past. I had many months worried I should pressure mum to attend the Memory Clinic, was she missing out on treatments, etc. In the end I made peace with myself after a chat with the GP and a counsellor at the carers group, I attended before lockdown without mum. Be clear there are no guarantees I am right, but I had to accept certain basic points.

Firstly mum’s heart problems and high blood pressure meant she is most likely suffering from developing Vascular Dementia. There are no treatments available except trying to control her blood pressure. Mum had capacity when stating the above. Likely now fluctuating capacity, but her wish is unchanged though I now no longer raise the matter.

Secondly even if she had say Alzheimer’s the treatments available do not work for everyone, for those they do the effects vary and reduce over time. My mum relies on me as her carer. She trusts me, I work full time to give her reassurance, deal with the problems of memory loss, arrange and get her to all appointments, ensure she eats well and drinks adequate fluids. On relationship of mutual love and trust is mum’s best defence in the fight against her Dementia. I could not risk destroying that forcing her back to the Memory Clinic, when the potential upside was little if anything. I gave up work early to help mum. I had to accept I could only help her fully if for now we face her Dementia together how she wants to.

Thirdly I do not need a diagnosis of Dementia to be able to claim Attendance Allowance when that time arrives. It would have helped get us into a day centre but since Covid19 they are gone, as is the carers group, who kindly let me attend without my mum, who would never have agreed to go.

So personally I believe (as best I can) not going back to the Memory Clinic has not seriously impacted on my mum. I have respected her wishes, long held before the signs of Dementia showed, I am not totally happy even now but I love my mum, I will do her Dementia journey the way she wishes to. I can only speak for my own situation and I have tried to be honest. If your husband has say Alzheimers, going to the Memory Clinic could open up some medication, which might do some good for a period of time. What I am trying to say is if he refused to go, your love and relationship with him would still be in place and those factors are the most important in determining how his future goes. I am genuinely happy that there are medications available that work for some people. However I did an Internet course with the University of Tasmania, which went into some detail on the effectiveness of such drugs, it made sobering reading. As said earlier they only work for some, to varying degrees and for varying amounts of time.

If your husband agrees to attend the Memory Clinic it can do him no harm. If he is diagnosed with Vascular Dementia I do not believe there will be any new treatment available, just an emphasis on controlling the blood pressure. If he has another type of Dementia then any treatment offered would be a plus but as you say not a cure. If he refuses to go his previous history of stroke would indicate (though not guarantee) he has Vascular Dementia, which means very little would have been lost.

I only replied to you to attempt to answer your question and try and give you some reassurance if your husband refuses to go. Dementia throws up a number of potentially no win situations. Carers have to try and do their best with what is available at any moment in time. I close in wishing you well for the future.
 

Sarasa

Registered User
Apr 13, 2018
2,035
Hi @Gill M, my mother also refused to attend the memory clinic though she was finally diagnosed with vascular dementia when a psychiatrist visited her at home after an incident in her GP's waiting room. In the early days when I was exploring what potential help there was available I contacted the local dementia support hub. They said they couldn't give us any support without an official diagnosis, so I guess if you will be looking for that sort of support that is a reason to go. However there are other forms of support out there, and if it is going to distress your husband I don't see the point of putting through a visit to the memory clinic.
 

Gill M

New member
Oct 30, 2020
4
Nothing will happen whether he goes or not, nothing will change. As you say, what's to be gained?

Sometimes in the early stages, drugs can be prescribed which can slow the symptoms somewhat, sometimes, though most have side effects. (And only work for certain types of dementia). As your husband had a stroke 20 years ago and is 86, I doubt such things would help much now.

Probably better to concentrate on getting all the legal stuff in place (wills, POA, plus claiming attendance allowance, council tax disregard, etc.) if you haven't already done so. And - most importantly - getting help for YOU so you're not doing everything yourself. If you don't need it now, you will, so it's good to look into things for the future.
Thank you so much
 

Gill M

New member
Oct 30, 2020
4
Nothing will happen whether he goes or not, nothing will change. As you say, what's to be gained?

Sometimes in the early stages, drugs can be prescribed which can slow the symptoms somewhat, sometimes, though most have side effects. (And only work for certain types of dementia). As your husband had a stroke 20 years ago and is 86, I doubt such things would help much now.

Probably better to concentrate on getting all the legal stuff in place (wills, POA, plus claiming attendance allowance, council tax disregard, etc.) if you haven't already done so. And - most importantly - getting help for YOU so you're not doing everything yourself. If you don't need it now, you will, so it's good to look into things for the future.
Thank you s
Hi @Gill M, my mother also refused to attend the memory clinic though she was finally diagnosed with vascular dementia when a psychiatrist visited her at home after an incident in her GP's waiting room. In the early days when I was exploring what potential help there was available I contacted the local dementia support hub. They said they couldn't give us any support without an official diagnosis, so I guess if you will be looking for that sort of support that is a reason to go. However there are other forms of support out there, and if it is going to distress your husband I don't see the point of putting through a visit to the memory clinic.
tha
Hi @Gill M, my mother also refused to attend the memory clinic though she was finally diagnosed with vascular dementia when a psychiatrist visited her at home after an incident in her GP's waiting room. In the early days when I was exploring what potential help there was available I contacted the local dementia support hub. They said they couldn't give us any support without an official diagnosis, so I guess if you will be looking for that sort of support that is a reason to go. However there are other forms of support out there, and if it is going to distress your husband I don't see the point of putting through a visit to the memory clinic.
 

Wishing20

Registered User
Feb 27, 2020
39
My Mum was diagnosed at a Memory Clinic, yes she found that humiliating, she was prescribed medication and that was it. No further appointments or support, apparently due to lack of funding. The monitoring of her condition was non existent, I pushed regularly for support of some kind, it wasnt forthcoming. She had an annual review at her Doctors, it was more a physical health check, nothing to do with her mental deterioration. To be frank, I was completely shocked by the lack of support out there. There’s plenty of phone numbers and leaflets given out, but nothing that ever helped me.
 

Gill M

New member
Oct 30, 2020
4
Dear @Gill M

I will try and answer your question by relating my own situation. I will assume your husband retains capacity so his decision will be accepted. Please be clear this is only my personal experience. I only relate it to you in case your husband refuses to attend and you then end up wondering what to do for the best. I got into that situation and had months wondering what to do.

Mum attended the Memory Clinic in 2015 and was diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment. Since then her memory has become really bad, I am confused at times as being her dad, mother or her deceased husband (my dad). Other matters are slowly becoming apparent, without a doubt mum has Dementia, as yet officially undiagnosed. Despite the best efforts of our GP mum refuses to go back to the Memory Clinic. “If I am going dolally I do not want to know” was screamed at me in the car in the GP car park.

Mum has a history of high blood pressure, heart disease and had major heart surgery in the past. I had many months worried I should pressure mum to attend the Memory Clinic, was she missing out on treatments, etc. In the end I made peace with myself after a chat with the GP and a counsellor at the carers group, I attended before lockdown without mum. Be clear there are no guarantees I am right, but I had to accept certain basic points.

Firstly mum’s heart problems and high blood pressure meant she is most likely suffering from developing Vascular Dementia. There are no treatments available except trying to control her blood pressure. Mum had capacity when stating the above. Likely now fluctuating capacity, but her wish is unchanged though I now no longer raise the matter.

Secondly even if she had say Alzheimer’s the treatments available do not work for everyone, for those they do the effects vary and reduce over time. My mum relies on me as her carer. She trusts me, I work full time to give her reassurance, deal with the problems of memory loss, arrange and get her to all appointments, ensure she eats well and drinks adequate fluids. On relationship of mutual love and trust is mum’s best defence in the fight against her Dementia. I could not risk destroying that forcing her back to the Memory Clinic, when the potential upside was little if anything. I gave up work early to help mum. I had to accept I could only help her fully if for now we face her Dementia together how she wants to.

Thirdly I do not need a diagnosis of Dementia to be able to claim Attendance Allowance when that time arrives. It would have helped get us into a day centre but since Covid19 they are gone, as is the carers group, who kindly let me attend without my mum, who would never have agreed to go.

So personally I believe (as best I can) not going back to the Memory Clinic has not seriously impacted on my mum. I have respected her wishes, long held before the signs of Dementia showed, I am not totally happy even now but I love my mum, I will do her Dementia journey the way she wishes to. I can only speak for my own situation and I have tried to be honest. If your husband has say Alzheimers, going to the Memory Clinic could open up some medication, which might do some good for a period of time. What I am trying to say is if he refused to go, your love and relationship with him would still be in place and those factors are the most important in determining how his future goes. I am genuinely happy that there are medications available that work for some people. However I did an Internet course with the University of Tasmania, which went into some detail on the effectiveness of such drugs, it made sobering reading. As said earlier they only work for some, to varying degrees and for varying amounts of time.

If your husband agrees to attend the Memory Clinic it can do him no harm. If he is diagnosed with Vascular Dementia I do not believe there will be any new treatment available, just an emphasis on controlling the blood pressure. If he has another type of Dementia then any treatment offered would be a plus but as you say not a cure. If he refuses to go his previous history of stroke would indicate (though not guarantee) he has Vascular Dementia, which means very little would have been lost.

I only replied to you to attempt to answer your question and try and give you some reassurance if your husband refuses to go. Dementia throws up a number of potentially no win situations. Carers have to try and do their best with what is available at any moment in time. I close in wishing you well for the future.
Thank you so much for a lot of insight into this problem. I now also understand why my husband is suddenly always, always with me! I feel, with hindsight, that I have been in a situation that's gone from breezy, to windy, now gale with a storm and a hurricane forecast. Thanks indeed for your reply.