Why the family doctor shouldn’t assess parent’s memory lapses – II

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 stopping at their 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 my grandmother’s mother had experienced cognitive disorders that were never clearly diagnosed. Hence, my mother was worried that getting a test 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 revisit him 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 their 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 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.