Do I get my mum diagnosed?


I’m looking for some advice. For a while now my mum has been deteriorating mentally. Her memory hasn’t been good for a while and now she is forgetting things like how to switch on her tv and when to change batteries in her hearing aids. Today she couldn’t remember whether she had had her lunch and that was when I went in at midday! My problem is, I’m holding back from taking her to the doctor, because it seems a waste of time when they can’t cure dementia and I don’t want to upset her. At the back of my mind though, I feel that I could do with her doctor knowing just for the back up.

What do you all think?

Thanks in anticipation.

Hi Karen
Definitely, in my opinion you must get the ball rolling. Its a very hard thing to cope with, but better knowing than wondering. My late hubby was diagnosed and in a strange way it was a relief to my daughter’s and myself. We had more patience with him too. Still scary and heartbreaking but we knew for definite. Also your mum will be entitled to other things like not paying council tax etc.
Your mum doesn’t have to be told, and possibly she will forget what was said anyway. Write to her GP with your concerns as a starting point
I really feel for you

Thanks very much Pet66, I had been wondering about writing to her GP, so I think I might take your advice. I know I need to do something, it’s just taking that first step.

Plus, depending on what type of dementia she is diagnosed with, there are drugs that can help to slow down the progression of this dreadful illness.

My Mum had Alzheimer’s and Aricept did help for quite a while.

Thank you susieq, that is something I hadn’t considered. I will definitely put the wheels in motion. It’s got to be done.

Definitely ask for a referral to a memory clinic. Many people seem to have a brain scan, which can demonstrate how much of the brain has shrunk (that might not be the proper word). It can also help determine what type of dementia it is. Doctors are often reluctant to give a diagnosis, but they don’t realise that it will mean the person concerned becomes exempt from Council Tax, and is possibly eligible for Attendance Allowance, and additional pension credits. This money can then be used to get extra help in the home.

Thank you bowlingbun. That is very interesting. You are all so helpful.

I don’t know how old your mother is but here’s my different
take on what I did.

My wife had a dread of getting dementia, so when she got it herself I
was between a rock and that other place!
She had already been to hospitals many times with ulcers and ARMD visits
for eye injections and check ups. Also a broken hip. She was 90 ish at this time so her long term
outlook was not too long.

If a cure for dementia had appeared I would, of course, taken her to see a doctor.

But to make her last years as stress free as possible I
decided not to present her to the doctors, where she would have been terrified
having brain scans etc. with no cure at the end of it.

As it was her last years were happy until she passed away peacefully,
oblivious as to what she had.

Hi Albert,

Thank you very much for your advice. I think this is why I am hesitating so much about obtaining a diagnosis. My mum is 92 and I think is it really worth all the upset for her.

It really will take some thinking about.

Maybe mum’s financial situation is the most important element of all this to consider?

Try making a list (on the computer is easiest then you can shuffle things into order of priority more easily) of all the issues that worry you and or mum the most.

For example, money may or may not be of concern.

If she has well over the £23,000 limit and her own house, it might be better for her to stay there with more care, even live in or overnight carers.
If she cannot afford much, then a diagnosis would enable her to have much more money.

There is no “right” or “wrong” the list is for your eyes only, but sometimes it really helps to clarify the real issues.
Some things are more easily sorted than others. It’s relatively easy to get a shower fitted instead of a bath, but not so easy if someone with dementia starts wandering outside in the middle of the night!

Bear in mind that if she is not officially diagnosed she would not get
rates relief which I believe one can get with dementia.

Hi Karen,

And welcome to the Forum.

In addition to all of the above, do you have Power of Attorney? If not, I would get this done very fast before it is too late. My mum had Alzheimers / Vascular Dementia and I managed to get a lawyer to draw up PofA paperwork. Mum had to sign and claim she understood. I think the lawyer realised she had Alzheimers but we got through just in time. If you do have Power of Attorney, it will make officialese easier down the line.

Good luck. My mum also took Aricept to slow the disease down; it worked for a time but then of course stopped working. But anything is worth a go.

Hi Anne,

Yes we are actually waiting back to hear about Mum’s power of attorney. The forms are all signed and sent off.

After a lot of waivering, I think I am going to take the first step tomorrow and hand a letter in at Mum’s GP surgery and maybe find an excuse to take her later in the week.

Thanks very much for your advice