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Memory clinic

jknight

Registered User
Oct 23, 2015
786
Hampshire
Hiya! I've mentioned this in a couple of different threads.
On Friday I will be taking mum for her first appointment at the memory clinic. She knows something isn't quite right but denies being forgetful ( she has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's but she doesn't know - the words 'Alzheimer's' or 'dementia' would send her into a tail spin) On the entrance door it says 'Older Person's Mental Health'.) I know we need the appointment but I am so scared of how she will react. Any advice/tips/reassurance etc very gratefully received!!
 

fizzie

Registered User
Jul 20, 2011
2,730
I would be very inclined to distract her as we arrived at the door and if she has glasses on remove them before you get there. How inconsiderate are these professionals!! I am sure others will come up with more creative solutions. My Ma would have gone bonkers and I wouldn't have got her through the door but I would have been able to distract her with a difficult sweet wrapper or a mark on the sleeve of my coat which I needed help with. If necessary I would have told her that this was the whatever it was I'd made up and they have clearly left the wrong notice on as that was the department that moved to timbucktoo several weeks ago!!! Anything! Good luck
 

Bod

Registered User
Aug 30, 2013
1,235
Stick with the truth.
The Memory Clinic, need to know how good she really is!

Simples
Bod
 

nae sporran

Volunteer Host
Oct 29, 2014
6,793
Bristol
I have to agree with you Jknight. OH would not like the idea of being either an elderly person or having any suggestion of mental health problems.
Not sure what to advise. I was toying with the idea of being honest and presenting it as a blessing in disguise, but not sure if I would put my OH through anything difficult just to get help. Others have said their spouse or parent put on a good performance, but he memory clinic do need to get an accurate assessment of her abilities and needs.
OH still denied having dementia even after the diagnosis and hated the tests, but it did get us some of the extra help we needed.
 
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jknight

Registered User
Oct 23, 2015
786
Hampshire
I would be very inclined to distract her as we arrived at the door and if she has glasses on remove them before you get there. How inconsiderate are these professionals!! I am sure others will come up with more creative solutions. My Ma would have gone bonkers and I wouldn't have got her through the door but I would have been able to distract her with a difficult sweet wrapper or a mark on the sleeve of my coat which I needed help with. If necessary I would have told her that this was the whatever it was I'd made up and they have clearly left the wrong notice on as that was the department that moved to timbucktoo several weeks ago!!! Anything! Good luck
Thanks Fizzie! Good advice x
 

Kevinl

Registered User
Aug 24, 2013
4,771
Salford
I've just go back from the mental health unit my wife's currently in and I have noticed that there's very few signs and no mention of what the place is at all.
There are "assessment units" and "areas" but there's no mention of memory, az, older people, mental health or anything anywhere I've seen.
Sorry that doesn't help with your question but in this age signs like that seem a bit insensitive, might be worth a mention to them.
K
 

jknight

Registered User
Oct 23, 2015
786
Hampshire
I have to agree with you Jknight. OH would not like the idea of being either an elderly person or having any suggestion of mental health problems.

Not sure what to advise. I was toying with the idea of being honest and presenting it as a blessing in disguise, but not sure if I would put my OH through anything difficult just to get help. Others have said their spouse or parent put on a good performance, but he memory clinic do need to get an accurate assessment of her abilities and needs.
OH still denied having dementia even after the diagnosis and hated the tests, but it did get us some of the extra help we needed.
Thanks! Mum has been assessed at home and has had a CT scan and a PET CT scan. She has deteriorated since. Still keeping the house nice, doing her hair and putting on make up. Short-term memory shot to bits and not eating well
 

jknight

Registered User
Oct 23, 2015
786
Hampshire
I would be very inclined to distract her as we arrived at the door and if she has glasses on remove them before you get there. How inconsiderate are these professionals!! I am sure others will come up with more creative solutions. My Ma would have gone bonkers and I wouldn't have got her through the door but I would have been able to distract her with a difficult sweet wrapper or a mark on the sleeve of my coat which I needed help with. If necessary I would have told her that this was the whatever it was I'd made up and they have clearly left the wrong notice on as that was the department that moved to timbucktoo several weeks ago!!! Anything! Good luck
Thanks Fizzie! Good suggestions! I will try the distraction technique! Still feeling sick at the thought of taking her x
 

jknight

Registered User
Oct 23, 2015
786
Hampshire
I've just go back from the mental health unit my wife's currently in and I have noticed that there's very few signs and no mention of what the place is at all.
There are "assessment units" and "areas" but there's no mention of memory, az, older people, mental health or anything anywhere I've seen.
Sorry that doesn't help with your question but in this age signs like that seem a bit insensitive, might be worth a mention to them.
K
The signs are my main worry! Thank you for your kind response x
 

Amy in the US

Registered User
Feb 28, 2015
4,617
USA
Hi jknight, and I'm sorry you are so worried about the appointment on Friday. I hope it goes as well as possible.

It is possible that, especially with distraction, your mother might not notice the sign at all. Even though her eyesight is fine, there is a lot my mother just doesn't "see" these days, although it varies.

So you might have something to hand to distract her with as you approach/pass the signage, such as a sweet, or a tactic, such as dropping your keys, or just keeping up a running conversation that doesn't mention the signs.

If she does notice them, she might not be upset.

If she does notice them and is upset, then I'd be ready with a story about how bad the NHS is at updating their signs and that's the clinic that used to be there, but today we're just going for a regular checkup, or something to that effect.

Remember that if you seem upset or nervous, she may pick up on that, so get all your nerves out now, with us, so that on the day you can be calm, cool, and collected...at least on the surface. My mother misses so much these days but has a laser-like ability to instantly pick up on any sort of body language or tone of voice that is anything other than utterly calm and pleasant.

And remember: it could be okay!

I'll be thinking of you on Friday and looking forward to hearing an update.
 

jknight

Registered User
Oct 23, 2015
786
Hampshire
Hi jknight, and I'm sorry you are so worried about the appointment on Friday. I hope it goes as well as possible.

It is possible that, especially with distraction, your mother might not notice the sign at all. Even though her eyesight is fine, there is a lot my mother just doesn't "see" these days, although it varies.

So you might have something to hand to distract her with as you approach/pass the signage, such as a sweet, or a tactic, such as dropping your keys, or just keeping up a running conversation that doesn't mention the signs.

If she does notice them, she might not be upset.

If she does notice them and is upset, then I'd be ready with a story about how bad the NHS is at updating their signs and that's the clinic that used to be there, but today we're just going for a regular checkup, or something to that effect.

Remember that if you seem upset or nervous, she may pick up on that, so get all your nerves out now, with us, so that on the day you can be calm, cool, and collected...at least on the surface. My mother misses so much these days but has a laser-like ability to instantly pick up on any sort of body language or tone of voice that is anything other than utterly calm and pleasant.

And remember: it could be okay!

I'll be thinking of you on Friday and looking forward to hearing an update.
Thank you, Amy! You guys on TP have been such a support! I usually have a panic and am then fine on the day. Great distraction ideas! Will post an update. Again, thank you x
 

fizzie

Registered User
Jul 20, 2011
2,730
Stick with the truth.
The Memory Clinic, need to know how good she really is!

Simples
Bod
It's the signs Bod - if it said memory clinic it would be ok but 'older peoples mental health' which century are they living in?
 

rhubarbtree

Registered User
Jan 7, 2015
494
North West
Hi JKnight. Wonder if you're in the same area as me because that is what our memory clinic is called. When I phoned to make the appointment I asked what department to look for and only really heard "mental health". Ashamed to say I let out an involuntary embarrassed laugh. A lot of learning has gone on since then.

Anyway on the day, what with the fuss of parking etc. I navigated us to the clinic and OH didn't notice or mention the department name. I think myself as carer invested more into these visits than the patient, reading and rereading the letter and literature. Once inside the staff were professional and friendly so MY fear evaporated. And of course, it's just a diagnosis, prescription and on your way. Hope your visit is ok.
 

Bod

Registered User
Aug 30, 2013
1,235
JK
Would it be possible, for you to have a quick visit before hand, to see whats there?

Bod
 

jknight

Registered User
Oct 23, 2015
786
Hampshire
Hi JKnight. Wonder if you're in the same area as me because that is what our memory clinic is called. When I phoned to make the appointment I asked what department to look for and only really heard "mental health". Ashamed to say I let out an involuntary embarrassed laugh. A lot of learning has gone on since then.

Anyway on the day, what with the fuss of parking etc. I navigated us to the clinic and OH didn't notice or mention the department name. I think myself as carer invested more into these visits than the patient, reading and rereading the letter and literature. Once inside the staff were professional and friendly so MY fear evaporated. And of course, it's just a diagnosis, prescription and on your way. Hope your visit is ok.
Hello! I am on the south coast. Thank you for your support. This forum is making such a difference to me x
 

DMac

Registered User
Jul 18, 2015
535
Surrey, UK
I had similar worries when I took my MiL for her first assessment a few months back. The place itself wasn't a problem - there were no distressing signs. The waiting room was more like someone's living room with bookcases full of books, and colourful comfy furnishings.

The appointment started off really well, as the CMH nurse was really kind and sympathetic. However, things got into a tailspin during the memory testing. It was unfortunate that this could not be avoided, as the nurse needed the test to be done to get the information needed to write his report. MiL was very aware that she was not performing well on the test. Her distress meant that she was unable to complete the test, and the appointment had to be cut short.

However, she did get the diagnosis of Alzheimer's at a follow-up meeting with the consultant a few weeks later. From this, she has been given increased dose of Donepezil, which I'm sure is helping her. She has also been referred for social services for further support. In a sense, then, some good has come from the process, though it was hard for her. At the time, the only thing I could think of to help her was to prepare a nice lunch for her.

She was quite tearful during the drive home and when we got back home for a while, but she did cheer up when I brought out her nice lunch.

Sorry this probably isn't much help, but it's all I can think of. I guess the main thing is to be there as a shoulder to cry on and help to pick up the pieces.
 

jknight

Registered User
Oct 23, 2015
786
Hampshire
I had similar worries when I took my MiL for her first assessment a few months back. The place itself wasn't a problem - there were no distressing signs. The waiting room was more like someone's living room with bookcases full of books, and colourful comfy furnishings.

The appointment started off really well, as the CMH nurse was really kind and sympathetic. However, things got into a tailspin during the memory testing. It was unfortunate that this could not be avoided, as the nurse needed the test to be done to get the information needed to write his report. MiL was very aware that she was not performing well on the test. Her distress meant that she was unable to complete the test, and the appointment had to be cut short.

However, she did get the diagnosis of Alzheimer's at a follow-up meeting with the consultant a few weeks later. From this, she has been given increased dose of Donepezil, which I'm sure is helping her. She has also been referred for social services for further support. In a sense, then, some good has come from the process, though it was hard for her. At the time, the only thing I could think of to help her was to prepare a nice lunch for her.

She was quite tearful during the drive home and when we got back home for a while, but she did cheer up when I brought out her nice lunch.

Sorry this probably isn't much help, but it's all I can think of. I guess the main thing is to be there as a shoulder to cry on and help to pick up the pieces.
Thanks DMac! I am so grateful for any response! Felt so alone before joining TP x
 

Amy in the US

Registered User
Feb 28, 2015
4,617
USA
TP is such a great place to remind us that we're not alone, and there are (unfortunately) many others out there who understand what we are experiencing. While it may not solve any problems, it definitely helps to feel a bit less alone and isolated, which I think is all too common. I know I sometimes feel that I'm the only one trapped on Planet Dementia!