Concerned It Might Be Dementia? Here’s How to Bring It Up to the Doctor.
Distress. Embarrassment. Fear. If you’re concerned it might be dementia, the feelings surrounding a potential diagnosis can force you to keep your suspicions to yourself. An AARP survey peeled away some of the layers of emotion to find the reason – namely, worry over losing independence and becoming a burden to others.
While there is some truth to these worries, there are also some misconceptions fueling them. As an example, roughly 1/2 of the participants, who were adults age 40 and over, believe they’re likely to get dementia as they grow older. The truth is that just over 10% of older adults over age 65 are identified as having Alzheimer’s disease.
Because of this, it’s critical for older adults to communicate with their doctors for any practical, straightforward information they want – especially if any warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease are being observed, such as:
- Memory decline which is disruptive to every day life
- Planning/problem-solving issues
- Issues with completing once-familiar activities
- Disorientation and confusion to place and time
- Vision problems and difficulty identifying color/contrast and judging distance
- Writing/speaking changes
- Losing items and leaving them in unusual areas
- A decline in judgment
- Social withdrawal
- Mood/personality differences
What’s the Best Way to Address a Possible Dementia Diagnosis With the Doctor?
Below are a few ideas to manage any reluctance in speaking with the doctor about dementia, and how to help make the conversation as productive as you possibly can.
- Don’t delay. The natural impulse may be to procrastinate bringing up something that could potentially be so life-changing. Nonetheless, time is of the essence in receiving a proper diagnosis as well as the most effective treatment.
- Bring a companion. It’s reassuring to have the support of a dependable family member, friend, or caregiver during the appointment. If at all possible, this person can offer additional information to the doctor such as any concerns being noticed from their perspective.
- Compare then and now. Share with the physician the particular changes that are causing concern. For example, a retired math teacher who, up until last month, did not have to think twice about balancing the checkbook, but recently is experiencing some difficulty with the task.
The physician can review medications to see if side effects are generating an issue, and schedule assessments and tests to determine the best course of action.
Hired Hands Homecare’s friendly and kind caregiving companions are always on hand to accompany older adults to medical appointments and procedures, and also to aid in making life easier and more manageable in a variety of other ways as well. Contact us at (866) 940-4343 to learn more about our home care in Marin, Sonoma, Napa counties and the Tri-Valley.