How to Discuss a Potential Dementia Diagnosis with a Doctor


CareWorks Health Services discusses how to talk to your doctor about a potential dementia diagnosis.

Shame. Embarrassment. Fear. The feelings surrounding a potential dementia diagnosis may cause older adults to keep their suspicions to themselves. A newly released AARP survey peeled away a few of the layers of emotion to get to the reason – namely, worry over losing independence and becoming a concern to others. While there is some validity to these concerns, there are also some misconceptions fueling them. For instance, roughly 50% of the participants, who were adults age 40 and over, believe they’re more likely to get dementia as they age. The reality is that just over 10% of seniors over age 65 receive an Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

As a result, it is vital for seniors to talk to their doctors for any realistic, straightforward information they want – particularly if any warning signs of dementia are being noticed, for example:

  • Memory decline which is disruptive to everyday life
  • Planning and/or problem-solving issues
  • Problems with completing once-familiar activities
  • Confusion and disorientation to place and time
  • Vision issues and difficulty identifying color/contrast and judging distance
  • Speaking/writing changes
  • Losing things and leaving them in unusual places
  • A drop in judgment
  • Social withdrawal
  • Mood/personality changes

The following are some suggestions to tackle any reluctance in talking to the doctor about Alzheimer’s and how to make the conversation as successful as you can.

  • Don’t wait. The normal impulse might be to procrastinate bringing up something that could potentially be so life-changing. Nonetheless, time is of the essence in receiving a correct dementia diagnosis along with the most effective treatment.
  • Bring a companion. It’s comforting to have the support of a dependable family member, friend or caregiver at the appointment. If at all possible, this person can provide more information to the doctor along with any concerns being noticed from their perspective.
  • Compare then and now. Share with the doctor the specific changes that are causing concern. For instance, someone you care about might be a retired math teacher who, up until last month, didn’t have to think twice about balancing the checkbook, but recently is experiencing some confusion with the task.

The physician can review prescriptions to see if adverse reactions are generating a problem, and schedule tests and assessments to ascertain the best plan of action.

CareWorks Health Services’ friendly and kind caregiving companions are always on hand to accompany seniors to medical appointments and procedures and to aid in making life easier and more manageable in a number of different ways as well. Contact us online or over the phone at (949) 859-4700 to get more information about our Huntington Beach home health care and care in nearby communities.