Assessment For Dementia Usually Includes The Following:
The doctor usually spends some time discussing your medical history and gathering information about your changes in memory and thinking.
Physical examination and laboratory tests
The symptoms of dementia can be due to a number of other possible causes, such as vitamin deficiency, infection, metabolic disorders and side effects from drugs.
These other causes are often easily treated.
Therefore, an early step in diagnosing dementia is to rule out these causes through a physical examination, blood tests and urine tests.;
Routine laboratory tests used in the diagnosis of dementia include:
- Blood tests to investigate:
- Drug interactions and dosing problems
Cognitive tests are used to measure and evaluate cognitive, or thinking, functions such as memory, concentration, visual-spatial awareness, problem solving, counting and language skills.;
Most doctors use short cognitive screening tests when assessing these functions. If more detailed testing is required you will be referred to a neuropsychologist a psychologist specialising in the assessment and measurement of cognitive function.;
Cognitive tests are vital in the diagnosis of dementia and are often used to differentiate between types of dementia. They can also be used to assess mood and may help diagnose depression, which can cause symptoms similar to those of dementia.;
Can A Primary Care Physician Diagnose You
Yes. A primary care physician needs to be able to diagnose Alzheimers particularly when theres not a neurologist practice nearby. Perhaps in some of the rural areas of the country.
But that diagnosis of Alzheimers from that PCP may be considered a preliminary diagnosis. Oftentimes the PCP will refer you to a neurologist to confirm their suspicions.
Early Signs Of Dementia Checklist
Signs of early onset dementia usually affect people in their 50s and early 60s. But is it really a dementia sign or is it just a something we do as we get older?
|Signs of Dementia/Alzheimers:|
|Making a bad decision once in a while|
|Inability to manage a budget||Missing a monthly payment|
|Losing track of the date or the season||Forgetting what day it is and remembering later|
|Difficulty having a conversation||Sometimes forgetting which word to use|
|Misplacing things and being unable to retrace steps to find them||Losing things from time to time|
As dementia is a progressive neurological disorder, there are many stages and dementia symptoms. The changes are gradual, and this may give your parent time to receive an early diagnosis and to slow down or prevent the disease from progressing.
Fortunately, the first signs of dementia can be spotted before the symptoms make a big impact on day-to-day living and overall quality of life. ;For more information on the various stages of dementia, download our free and comprehensive dementia guide.
Sometimes dementia diagnosis can be difficult as there is no one simple test to carry out and early symptoms can be similar to the age-related changes listed above.;;Here are 10 early signs of Dementia to look out for.
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Becoming Confused In Familiar Surroundings
This is different to: getting confused about the day of the week but working it out later.
Your parent may forget where they are and how they got there.; Along with losing track of dates, seasons and the time this is one of the most tell-tale signs of early onset dementia.
They may also struggle to understand something if its not happening immediately. This is because the mind of someone with dementia is mostly situated in the present and they find it difficult to comprehend the passage of time.
For example, your mum may tell you shes missed you because she thinks she hasnt seen you in a long time, but in reality you visited her last week. ;Another example includes time passing very slowly in a general sense: ten minutes might seem like an hour, an hour might seem like a day and so on.
Spend Time With Your Partner And Children
Caring for someone with dementia can quickly become the focus of attention for the household. Young children and spouses can feel excluded and left behind. Take time to schedule activities for just the family. A family member or professional caregiver can stay with your loved one and bring special activities so it is a fun evening for him or her as well.
- Create a family calendar. This should include not just appointments, but fun activities centered on togetherness.
- Find a support system. Being the primary caregiver doesnt mean one has to be the only caregiver. Create a tag team and let other family members get involved.
- Talk things through. Shine a light on the factors that may stress relationships by holding a family meeting.
How The Test Works
You don’t need any fancy equipment. Just pen, paper, and access to a computer so you can download the questions. It takes 15 minutes to finish.
Some sample questions you might see on the test:
- How many nickels are in 60 cents?
- You are buying $13.45 of groceries. How much change would you receive back from a $20 bill?
- Write down the names of 12 different animals.
- Draw a large face of a clock and place in the numbers.Position the hands for 10 minutes after 11 o’clock. On your clock, label “L” for the long hand and “S” for the short hand.
When you’re done, take your answer sheet to your doctor so they can score it and talk to you about the results. Depending on your score, they may order follow-up tests or simply keep it on file so they can see if there are any changes down the road.
Dementia Care At Home: A Step
As the disease progresses, so will the needs of your loved one. You can care for the physical needs of your loved one by closely coordinating care with his or her physician. Just as important is your ability to remain a caregiver for the long term. Having a strong care team by your side can make this easier.
Read Also: Senile Dementia Of Alzheimer’s Type
Lack Of Available Counseling
The AHST is not the only do-it-yourself test for a serious medical illness. Since 1996 at-home testing for human immunodeficiency virus infection has been available in the United States . This test, however, differs from the AHST in many important ways. Home HIV testing is done via mailing a sample to a laboratory, where the sample is tested by trained personnel. The AHST test and its results are not reviewed by any professional; the user scores the test and interprets the results.
The most critical difference, however, is the lack of available counseling, the third and most troubling aspect with the AHST. The Food and Drug Agency approval of home HIV testing was not without controversy, mainly because of the issue of counseling . Home HIV tests incorporate a method by where the user calls a phone number for test results, and, if the result is positive, an option for counseling is given . The AHST offers no phone number to call for counseling. In surveying users of the HIV home test, Branson found that 65% of those testing HIV positive accepted referrals for medical and psychosocial services, 7% of users expressed shock and dismay at their positive result, and 5% hung up after finding out the test came back positive for HIV. One caller expressed suicidal ideation. Concerns over lack of counseling led to the HIV home test being banned and/or restricted for use in many countries .
Can Dementia Be Inappropriately Diagnosed In A Single Visit
Sadly, yes. Although its common for doctors to never diagnose dementia at all in people who have it, I have also come across several instances of busy doctors rattling off a dementia diagnosis, without adequately documenting how they reached this conclusion.
Now, often these doctors are right. Dementia becomes common as people age, so if a family complains of memory problems and paranoia in an 89 year old, chances are quite high that;the older person has dementia.
But sometimes its not. Sometimes its slowly resolving delirium along with a brain-clouding medication. Sometimes its depression.
It is a major thing to diagnose someone with dementia. So;although its not possible for an average doctor to evaluate with as much detail as the memory clinic does, its important to document consideration of the five essential features as listed above.
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I Keep Forgetting What Im Doing Do I Have Dementia
Everyone occasionally loses their keys, or goes into a room and forgets why theyre there. It is also perfectly natural to mix up peoples names and sometimes forget appointments that youve made. These memory lapses often unfortunately become more frequent as we get older, or when we are busy or distracted. In all probability, they do not mean that you have Alzheimers, or any other type of dementia.
A good rule of thumb is that if you are worrying about your memory, and you noticing your own lapses as they come and go, then its unlikely you have dementia.
How Does A Gp Test For Dementia
Currently there are no physical tests for dementia, such as a blood test or scan. There are, however, a range of tests that GPs will do, to rule out any other physical causes for the problems you are having. This might include blood tests to check for deficiencies or abnormalities. Other mental health conditions will also be ruled out such as depression, stress and anxiety. The test for depression a GP will give you is also a series of questions, about how you feel.
In addition, a GP might ask you a series of questions to establish if you are having problems with your concentration, memory, reasoning and spatial awareness. These might include asking what is the day, time or year; who the Prime Minister is; and asking you to perform a task, such as counting backwards from 100.
If you are taking a relative to the doctor about their memory, it is worth telling the GP any facts about your relative which might affect this test: for instance, someone who worked as an accountant or who has always been very good with numbers might continue to be good with numbers even with dementia. So counting backwards from 100 might not be a good indication of cognitive impairment in that person.
If the GP does suspect that you or your relative might have some sort of cognitive impairment, they will probably refer you to a Memory Assessment Team/ Clinic or a dementia specialist.
How To Diagnose Alzheimers Vs Dementia
Alzheimers is a progressive and fatal brain disorder. Dementia is not a specific disease, but an umbrella term that defines a syndrome and used to refer to a specific group of symptoms related to a decline in mental ability. Alzheimers is one of the most common causes of dementia. Both Alzheimers and dementia are diagnosed using a variety of different assessments and tests, including a physical exam, lab tests, cognitive and neuropsychological tests, and an analysis of changes in behavior.
How Can I Tell If I Have Dementia
Becoming a bit more forgetful does not necessarily mean that you have dementia. Find out what the symptoms of dementia are and how you can get a diagnosis.
Many people notice that their thinking gets a bit slower or their memory becomes a bit less reliable as they get older for example, they might occasionally forget a friends name. These symptoms can also be a sign of stress, depression or certain physical illnesses, rather than dementia.
How Accurate Is It
This quiz is;NOT a diagnostic tool. Mental health disorders can only be diagnosed by licensed healthcare professionals.
Psycom;believes assessments can be a valuable first step toward getting treatment. All too often people stop short of seeking help out of fear their concerns arent legitimate or severe enough to warrant professional intervention.
If you think you or someone you care about may be suffering from dementia or any other mental health condition, PsyCom.net strongly recommends that you seek help from a mental health professional in order to receive a proper diagnosis and support. For those in crisis, we have compiled a list of resources where you may be able to find additional help at: https://www.psycom.net/get-help-mental-health.
Simple Way To Test Yourself For Dementia
Douglas W. Scharre, MD, associate professor of neurology and director, division of cognitive neurology, Wexner Medical Center, The Ohio State University, Columbus. His research was published in The Journal of Neuropsychiatry & Clinical Neurosciences.
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Having trouble finding the right wordsshowing up for visits on the wrong daygetting confused while balancing a checkbook. For people who are getting on in years, such experiences can spark worries about whether cognitive skills are starting to slip.
Still, no one likes to think that dementia might be on the horizonwhich is one reason why cognitive decline often goes undiagnosed in the early stages. In fact, patients typically dont mention such problems to their doctors until three or four years after symptoms begin. Whats more, doctors themselves often fail to pick up on the early, subtle signs of dementia during routine medical examsand many doctors dont do the time-consuming tests necessary to diagnose cognitive impairment until the problem has progressed to later stages. Thats too badbecause early intervention may help delay the progression of mild cognitive impairment;and/or provide the best opportunities for patients and their loved ones to make appropriate plans for the future regarding caregiving, finances, legal matters, etc.
DIY Screening Advantage
How to Test Yourself
Pay Attention To Your Loved Ones Changing Physical Needs
When caring for people with dementia, most of the attention goes toward a loved ones changing mental state, especially memory problems. But dementia patients also have changing physical needs that sometimes get missed or mistaken for behavioral problems from dementia.
Keep an eye out for changes in:
- The ability to dress oneself. This means caregivers should purchase clothes that are easy to wear, and that wont cause skin irritation.
- The ability to communicate or even speak Remaining flexible and finding different ways to communicate can make a world of difference.
- Eating and swallowing. Pureed foods can be a blessing should this occur.
What Is Mild Cognitive Impairment
MCI is a condition characterized by a minor decline in mental abilities. Often these changes are noticeable to the person experiencing them or family members or close friends but they are not severe enough to interfere with normal daily life and activities.
According to the Alzheimers Association, approximately 15 to 20 percent of people age 65 or older have MCI.
People living with MCI are more likely to develop Alzheimers disease or other dementias. According to Mayo Clinic, studies suggest that around 10 to 15 percent of individuals with MCI go on to develop dementia each year.
Symptoms of MCI are often vague but may include the following:
- Memory loss; forgetting certain words
- Forgetting important events, like appointments
- Losing your train of thought in conversation, or when reading a book or watching a movie
- Becoming disoriented in familiar surroundings
- Becoming more impulsive or showing poor judgement
MCI does not always lead to dementia. In some individuals MCI reverts to normal cognition and in others the condition stabilizes and they experience no further decline in cognition.
Currently there are no medications for MCI, but establishing an early diagnosis can be important in managing and treating symptoms as they progress.
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When Should I Go To My Gp To Have My Memory Tested
You should visit your GP if problems with your memory have started to have an impact on your life. This might mean that you are struggling to do your job or having difficulty with everyday living; or you are regularly forgetting where you are supposed to be, or are becoming increasingly muddled with things that used to be easy for you to do.
If you witness these symptoms in someone else you know, you could encourage them to visit their GP.
How Accurate And Reliable Are The Results
Like any test, SAGE is not perfect. Scharre points out that individuals have a wide variety of cognitive talents and this needs to be taken into account. There will be individuals who score well but have a decline from their previous abilities. Repeat testing over time will find those that are progressing, he explains.
Some individuals will not score as well, but that may represent their baseline talents, and their score would not suggest any specific brain condition,” he adds. This is why its important to have the test interpreted in light of ones medical history by a healthcare provider.
Its important to note that other factors could be affecting your memory and thinking on any given day.
Perhaps you dont have a memory impairment but are quite depressed, ill, or sleep deprived. explains Jessica Z. K. Caldwell, PhD, director of neuropsychology training and staff neuropsychologist at Cleveland Clinics Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas, Nevada. If you have concerns about your memory but are also experiencing these symptoms, Dr. Caldwell suggests you see your doctor.
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Talk With Your Family And Children About Caregiving
Be honest while explaining dementia to children. Children are very intuitive. They will know that their grandparent, aunt or uncle are changing and that their behavior is odd. Explain the disease and that loving the senior family member is most important. Engage them and empower them to be part of the caregiving process. Younger children can read to the senior, or help you with chores. The family will be less stressed when the situation is discussed out in the open.
You might also wish to share ideas with your kids on how to communicate with your loved one:
- Go with it. If the grandparent says something that doesnt seem to make sense, tell children to just play along. Its sort of like playing make believe.
- Plan ahead. Suggest what to talk about, or choose an activity in advance.
- Use activities. Try a coloring book, listen to music or sing songs together.