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10 key steps to securing a dementia diagnosis

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A diagnosis of dementia is the first chapter of a journey that will involve many ups & downs, as well as new & unfamiliar experiences for the patient & their family alike.

Some people may not initially recognise their symptoms as a sign of something wrong, while others may experience few, or subtle symptoms. It is even common to mistake early symptoms of dementia as a normal part of the aging process.

Failing, or even refusing, to seek a medical assessment in the early stages of dementia could prove detrimental to your long-term health. It is crucial to act quickly, to secure an accurate diagnosis, & determine the most appropriate next steps for you.

Alzheimer’s Association USA has compiled a helpful checklist of 10 warning signs, which may help with identifying common symptoms of dementia.

  1. Recent memory loss that affects job skills (e.g. forgetting things more often than usual & not remembering them later)
  2. Difficulty performing daily tasks (e.g. preparing a meal & forgetting its preparation)
  3. Problems with language (e.g. forgetting simple words, or substituting inappropriate words)
  4. Disorientation of time & place (e.g. the affected individual not knowing where they are, how they got there, or how to return home)
  5. Poor or decreased judgement (memory & concentration impairment affecting the person’s ability to perform tasks such as driving)
  6. Problems with abstract thinking (e.g. having trouble knowing what certain numbers mean, or what to do with them)
  7. Misplacing things (e.g. repeatedly putting things in inappropriate places)
  8. Changes in mood or behaviour (e.g. rapid mood swings for no apparent reason)
  9. Changes in personality (e.g. becoming suspicious or fearful, or apathetic & uncommunicative)
  10. Loss of initiative (e.g. becoming very passive & requiring cues prompting involvement in usual activities).

 A medical assessment for dementia can involve several steps, including a detailed medical history, a thorough physical & neurological examination, laboratory tests, neuropsychological testing & other specialised tests, such as a chest X-ray, electrocardiogram (ECG) or computerised tomography (CT) scan, a mental status test & psychiatric assessment.

 While the idea of visiting a doctor or undergoing screening may be daunting, an early & accurate diagnosis is highly valuable in improving the quality of life for those living with dementia.

Your doctor will be happy to answer any questions you may have – whether you are a patient, family member, or carer of someone with dementia.

Should you have any concerns, or need support in relation to securing a diagnosis of dementia, or its management, please contact us at AQ without delay on 1800 639 331.

For more information about dementia, check out our dementia resources here.



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