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Why the family doc shouldn’t assess your parent’s memory loss – II

  |   Alzheimer's & Dementia, Dementia, Memory assessment, Memory Loss

In a previous blog post, I suggested that you may wish to bring a senior with signs of early dementia to a health care provider who can do an assessment. I also suggested that a stop at his regular family doctor’s office may not be the best approach.

Let me tell you why by sharing an anecdote. A client shared the following story with me and I received permission to share it with you here.

When my mother turned 60, I made an appointment for her at a memory clinic. This created a lot (understatement) of drama and stress, because her own mother, my grandmother, had experienced cognitive disorders that were never clearly diagnosed. Hence, my mother was worried that by getting a test, it would reveal that she had inherited the same potential issues.

Thus, I chose a doctor that my mother’s health care was not dependent upon. I felt that if something came up, she could choose to blame that doctor, and never would have to visit him again if she did not want to without compromising her general healthcare.

Indeed, this daughter took a wise approach based on my experience working with families. I’ve seen cases where a senior stopped seeing his or her family physician after a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or dementia because the patient denied the diagnosis and felt very upset about it. Clearly, the senior is now no longer receiving regular health care or support for his dementia.

Thus, if you feel your parent could benefit from a memory assessment, ask your doctor to recommend a colleague to do the tests. It can avoid a lot of problems down the road.