The diagnosis of dementia can take 6 to 8 weeks to finally get. So you will need to be patient. If you do not have the suggested tools below, the diagnosis can take up to a year.
Here are over ten other causes of memory loss, and so the doctor must make sure that these are eliminated first before he or she can make a dementia diagnosis. This takes time.
Not only are you using the free cheat sheet below in order to evaluate and watch for strange or bad, odd behaviors. But I have also written a book for you that takes a deeper dive into what to expect at the doctor’s office and how you can move this process along a lot faster. This book is used by health professionals all over the world. When you come in with this book filled out, the doctors will be able to move ahead with light year speed.
There are over 10 other causes of memory loss and some can imitate a dementia diagnosis.
So what you should expect in the Physicians office? Here are some possible orders the doctor may give your loved one:
- Blood tests or labs
- MRI if the head
- reading tests
- memory tests
- a referral to another specialist
- urine test
- interviews with other family members
- a home health nurse to evaluate your loved one’s home
- a physical therapist
Every time you go to the doctor’s appointment with your loved one, do not expect a diagnosis yet. There may be more tests and studies that have to be done. Bring your updated journal with you.
Every doctor has their own way of getting to the diagnosis. Keep a checklist of things the doctor has done to evaluate for one of these diseases.
CAUTION: If the doctor says, “oh, it’s normal aging.” and does not pursue more testing, seek a second opinion immediately. Why? Because all dementias progress and if your loved one is not diagnosed correctly or quickly, precious time is wasted. This precious time could be treatment plans to slow the disease.
Once you finally do get the diagnosis of dementia, your doctor will then look for the type of disease causing this dementia. The doctor may ask for more information and give you some homework. This is very common and good. Medical providers, especially geriatricians, are going to work very closely with you and all your family members.
CAUTION (AGAIN): if your doctor tells you “It’s dementia.” but does not pursue the TYPE of disease causing it, then ask for a referral to a geriatrician. They have a whole team ready to welcome you and work with you. You will feel so much relief when you walk into their office. The feeling of loneliness will slip off your shoulders. They are there to help because they understand. You will actually start to feel “human” again.
Notice that most of the work doctors do depends on you.
1. Doctors will always check medications. If you are a member of the Caregiver’s Freedom Club, then you have done the medication review for the doctor. First and foremost, doctors always look to medications for causing a mental status change. This includes vitamins, minerals, and supplements. Then he or she may ask about drugs and drinking.
2. There are tests the doctor can do in the office. If these tests are done well, the doctor can evaluate your loved one for thinking and reasoning, and memory abilities. They ask your loved one a few questions.
3.*(If your loved one does not perform well, they may say things like, “I was tired.” Or “These questions were stupid.”, giving multiple excuses to you and the doctor. Don’t worry. The doctor knows these are just excuses and has heard them all before. He or she knows better. As you roll your eyes, he or she will look at you and smile.
4. Your loved one’s doctor may ask you to return in 6-8 weeks with another journal. He or she may ask you to write down more specific things you see and give more examples. The reason they do not diagnose dementia quickly is because of the legal, financial, emotional, and mental ramifications it has on both your senior and the family. We all know that upon a diagnosis, everyone we call to share this new diagnosis with goes straight to Google for more information and more misinformation.
5. Driving is another big issue which we will address at another time. Doctors do not do driving tests. Therefore, if your loved one will not give up the keys and you are worried about it, slip the doctor a note letting them know you would like this addressed. Doctors can say things to your senior you can’t. And the senior usually listens to the doctor. You are not violating any laws by giving information to the doctor. But the doctor cannot give YOU any information without permission from your loved one. That’s a violation of HIPAA.
Again, click below for the FREE book, HOW DO I GET MY LOVE ONE DIAGNOSED so the doctor can speed up the process.
Do not waste any more time getting a dementia diagnosis.
If you have been watching the odd or strange behaviors for over 6 months you are already late for treatment and diagnosis. Get the book and start today. Hand the book to the doctor at your loved one’s next appointment.
6. Checking for other causes of thinking and decision-making impairments. Doctors will look for infections, such as a urinary tract infection. He or she will look over the medication list to see what other diagnoses your loved one has. Depression can look like dementia and low Vitamin B and sometimes D can change the thought processes. Many folks can have depression and dementia so having depression does not rule out dementia.
7. Other specialists. You must know other specialists your loved one has seen over the years. If they have ever been hospitalized for a mental illness. Many mental illnesses such as depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar all have an effect on a person’s reasoning, cognitive and mental skills. It is best to have your loved one evaluated by a specialist. A geriatrician knows the aging patient best. They are better prepared to evaluate your loved one completely and to give you a correct diagnosis, especially if they have to separate previous mental illness from new-onset mental illnesses, like dementia.
Again remember these 3 things.
1 – If you start to see odd behaviors or any of the symptoms of dementia, run, don’t walk to your loved one’s doctor, and hand over your journal of these behaviors and dysfunctions. Get the FREE guide book below, COULD IT BE DEMENTIA? And for a deeper dive into the behaviors the doctor needs to test, stay tuned for my new lesson, HOW DO I GET DEMENTIA DIAGNOSED?
2 – Again, remember that if you get a diagnosis of dementia, you must know the underlying disease most likely causing the symptoms known as dementia.
3 – if you are told by the doctor that it is a common aging issue without any further workup, labs, or tests, run, don’t walk, to the closest specialist for a second opinion.
I know. I know. It’s a lot but start early and get the right medical providers on board.