At the doctor

February, 2023

If you have any concerns or questions about your memory it is really important that you discuss these with your doctor. You may be worrying unnecessarily about memory problems thinking that it must be the start of dementia. But there are many other things that can be causing the problems you are experiencing with your memory. Before your doctor even starts to think that you are experiencing the early signs of dementia they will want to check out that there isn’t something else causing your issues for example vitamin deficiency, thyroid problems, stress, depression, infection or side effects of any medication you may be taken. Your doctor will carry out tests to make sure that everything else has been investigated before they start to consider that your symptoms are due to dementia.

There are some things that you can do when you are preparing to talk to your doctor about your concerns. You can make a list of some of the things that are happening that are causing you concern. It’s a good idea to bring any medication you are taking particularly ones that you have bought over the counter at the pharmacy or from the internet. It’s also helpful if someone else can go along with you to your appointment as they may have noticed some important signs that you are not aware of. Don’t let the doctor or any other professional at the surgery, who you may have been asked to make an initial appointment with, convince you that your problems are just because you are getting older. Although memory can decline with age the symptoms you experience with dementia are different and have a negative impact on your ability to carry out tasks you have been able to carry out easily in the past and are severe enough to interfere with your daily life.


Depending on where you live your doctor will usually carry out a physical examination as well as testing your cognitive abilities through a variety of tests. Very often the doctor will refer you to a specialist service (Psychiatrist or Clinical Psychologist) where you will undergo more detailed cognitive assessments to test your memory, language, problem solving, and attention span. They may also use a variety of psychological tests to assess your mental health status. Before a diagnosis of dementia is made they may arrange for an MRI or CT scan to look for signs of Alzheimer’s disease or to exclude other neurological disorders. Additionally, they may discuss your lifestyle and ask you questions about your medical history in order to gain a better understanding of your condition. Finally, they may ask you to keep a journal of your symptoms over a period of time in order to more accurately monitor your progress.

After the assessment process is complete, your doctor or Specialist will be able to provide you with a diagnosis and determine a treatment plan. Depending on the severity of your symptoms and results from the tests, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes to slow the progression of dementia such as dietary changes, exercise, stress reduction, increased socialisation or a review of your medication. Finally, your doctor may suggest that you join a support group to connect with others who are going through similar experiences. Regardless of the treatment plan, regular follow-up visits with your doctor will be essential to ensure your condition is being managed properly.

It is really important that you seek help for any concerns you may have that the symptoms you are experiencing could be due to dementia, as the earlier you receive the diagnosis the more time you have to adjust your lifestyle to slow the progression and make plans for the future including important decisions around the way you would want to be cared for when you can no longer express those wishes.

If you are worried that the symptoms you are experiencing are due to dementia and want to have a confidential chat with someone before you take the step of seeing your doctor, give me a call on 07974 727223. Ruth Chauhan Dementia/Health & Wellbeing Specialist AmbaCare Solutions.