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Dementia assessment

(7 Posts)
WipsGlitter Thu 30-Mar-17 13:26:33

Just looking for some advice.

FiL has been having memory problems and acting erratically. We got him an assessment with the GP and he "passed". His score was 26.

He's now cross that we did this and says there's nothing wrong with him.

Had this happened to anyone else? Any advice?

TotallyEclipsed Thu 30-Mar-17 21:42:05

Humour him. Agree there's nothing wrong and say it's good to know that the medics agree.

If he's got no insight that there's anything wrong it's utterly fruitless trying to pursuade him otherwise.

hatgirl Sat 01-Apr-17 09:12:29

If it's the test I think it is (Mini Mental State Examination a score of 26 is pretty good. It's out of 30 though so it does still indicate some slight memory issues.

It also depends on the skill of the GP in administering it though and which questions they got 'wrong'. The test looks at long, short and working memory. These tests are notoriously not a hard and fast way of assessing dementia as they assume a certain level of knowledge/education and don't really account for any differentials on this, although they are good for initially identifying if there are general memory concerns.

TotallyEclipsed is right, all you can really do at the moment is watch and wait. If there is a further decline the memory test can be repeated and now you have a benchmark of 26 for him to be measured against in the future.

He is probably aware on some level that his memory is going, he may be in denial, he is probably scared of what it means for his future. I can recommend 'contented dementia' to read. Although it doesn't sound like he is at that stage yet (and not all memory loss results in dementia either) it's worth being aware of strategies before you need them.

WipsGlitter Sat 01-Apr-17 14:14:37

Thanks both. Yes, I do think on some level he knows something is wrong. He has to keep coming to our house to get my DH to go to his house and put the tv on for him.

We will keep a watch and see how things go.


Needmoresleep Sat 01-Apr-17 23:26:23

My mother was able to use her intelligence to cover for her lack of memory. Indeed still can. She came very close to a normal score yet could not use a boiler, oven or washing machine, nor shop effectively.

I needed her to fail, so drove her to the memory clinic for the longer test and had a deliberate furious row with her in the car so she arrived very unsettled, and less able to concentrate. I then sat through the test and was able to challenge her confident assertions, further winding her up. For example as part of the general chat she was asked her grandchildrens names, so randomly made up a few.

Even with all of this she almost passed. Apparently the first patient they had seen who drew a clock face using Roman numerals. And possibly the first who started her list of animals with gnu.

I was very impressed by her consultant who started with what seemed like some polite questions 'who is with you today?'. Obviously the fact she was not sure I was her daughter provided a quick confirmation of diagnosis. But not many medical professionals have this level of skill and experience.

With a particular nod to the vein specialist four years later, who twice was determined to ignore the GPS urgent referral because my mother said she was fine. My mother in fact thought they wanted to remove her appendix, her big childhood experience of hospitals, so was keen to tell them it was unnecessary.

ineedaholidaynow Sat 01-Apr-17 23:38:44

Just been through this with DF. Has started to have memory issues, forgetting names of things but eventually remembering them. Also struggling with technology.

He is aware of having slight memory issues and reluctantly agreed to see GP. He did basic test with him and then referred him for blood tests and brain scan. Saw the consultant a few weeks ago. DM and I were convinced he was going to be diagnosed with early stage Alzheimer's, but he passed and was told it was just old age memory loss. Was told to come back if it detiorated.

He is also becoming very moody which is hard for DM. I live too far away to be of much help. DF also has cancer so we do wonder whether some of the cancer drugs have had an impact too. DF is in his 80s.

After seeing the consultant he now says there is nothing wrong with him. Not that we wanted him to have Alzheimer's or Dementia but assumed if he had been diagnosed we might have got some help and possibly some medication that would help, but as there is nothing wrong DM and DF have to muddle on.

BoboChic Sun 02-Apr-17 08:55:01

My aunt (now 84) had her first round of dementia testing about 8 years ago. My mother, her younger sister, took her to the appointments as she was my aunt's family member who saw her most regularly. My mother was adamant that my aunt's memory problems were very bad but my aunt did not receive a dementia diagnosis at that point.

TBH, with hindsight, I am pretty sure that my mother's memory was a bit dodgy and that she used to project some of her own memory lapses and confusion onto my aunt. However, my mother lived with my father, whose mind was in excellent shape, and my sister and I were much more involved with our parents' lives than my cousins were with my widowed aunt's life. Older people can be sheltered from their failing memory by regular contact with people whose mental functioning is fully intact. This is why diagnoses from professionals can throw up unexpected results.

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