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If I tell our GP that I think dh may have early-onset dementia, what will happen next?

(10 Posts)
zillyzilly Thu 19-Nov-15 05:58:17

I'm concerned about setting a ball rolling which could lead to him losing his job and his driving licence. But I don't feel I should carry this burden of worry without saying something to a HCP. Any advice or experience, please?

SevenSeconds Thu 19-Nov-15 06:47:46

I haven't been through this so I can't advise, but I would suggest going to have a confidential chat with your GP and talking about the options. I don't think this will 'set a ball rolling', as the GP can't do anything without your husband making the choice to come and see him / her.

flowers for you, what a very sad position to be in sad

SoDiana Thu 19-Nov-15 06:51:31

Why do you think he has this? Is he a danger when driving?

florentina1 Thu 19-Nov-15 09:31:15

I would begin by keeping a diary for a week of the things that make you feel it is Early Dementia. The doctor may see that there is some underlying medical reason for his behaviours.

I would definitely talk to the Doctor and agree that he will take no action without your OH consent.

Pebbles601 Thu 19-Nov-15 09:46:14

This is a difficult position you are in. However, if you have serious concerns then it would be best for him not to be driving etc, putting himself & others in danger. That being said, it may be cognitive decline due to age? The GP would send him to a memory clinic as they call it here, specialists who would be able to test his cognition. They would be then able to rate what level of memory loss he has. Dementia comes in steps and stairs and people can try very hard to hide it. It is a very scary situation to be in, you both can get support (social services can help) and also Alzheimer's society.

sadie9 Thu 19-Nov-15 10:32:09

It's difficult for you. Getting support for yourself is the first step anyhow. It helps if the person can notice any unusual stuff they are doing. However, people with dementia don't notice their mistakes, and that kind of is part of the diagnosis. If I suddenly forget how to use the cooker or what a chequebook is for, I would notice that that is a problem. I compare myself to when I did know.
There could be another underlying cause for cognitive or behavioural changes in a person, or sudden unusual mood swings or outbursts.
If you can persuade your DH it is a good idea to visit the GP that'd be the best way to do it. If a family member tells the GP, the GP may tell the person that a family member was concerned and would they consent to a test. Having said that if you have a close relationship with a GP you could ring them and say you are very concerned about a family member and what process would the GP go through to help. And kind of both of you will know you are talking about someone but you are not saying the name so the GP won't have to tell the person. The GP can't act on someone's behalf without their consent unless the person thinks there is an immediate threat to someone's life.
The driving may not be that affected. A person can forget the way somewhere, or forget where the car is parked but the actual driving may be ok. People with an official diagnosis of dementia can still be cleared for driving. And people can't be fired for having an illness.

unweavedrainbow Thu 19-Nov-15 10:39:29

It depends on how old he is, really. If he is quite young (say 50 or younger) there are other explanations that the GP might go to first that can cause unexplained memory loss or bizarre behaviour in younger adults. These range from depression through to more serious MH problems to neurological conditions or even a brain tumour. If it is bad then the GP will likely want to do lots of tests.
Does your DH think anything is wrong? Does he have any other health problems? Even things like stress can cause cognitive problems if left unmanaged for too long.

Bumblesquat Thu 19-Nov-15 13:42:50

Do speak to your GP or the Alzheimer's society (England and Wales) or Alzheimer's Scotland or Alzheimer's society of Ireland (all three are affiliated and deal with all varieties of dementia, not just Alzheimer's). A Dementia diagnosis is time consuming to get, because it basically relies on deterioration, so the faster you can get the GP to take a baseline the faster your husband will get the relevant diagnosis (dementia or otherwise) and appropriate treatment. Depending on his situation and how he is managing day to day, he will not necessarily lose his driving licence, and shouldn't lose his job before significant provisions have been made to help him by his employers. At the very least, speak to your GP or the above charities and get support for yourself. Living with someone with dementia type problems is exhausting and isolating, so please take the time to worry at least a little bit about yourself too flowers

zillyzilly Tue 24-Nov-15 10:37:00

Thank you. I'm very grateful for your comments. I'm seeing the GP for myself tomorrow.

florentina1 Tue 24-Nov-15 11:32:21

I believe that most GPs become aware of a patients Dementia problems via a relative. The patient is often not aware of what is happening to them or is scared to get checked.

Hope you get on OK tomorrow.

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