Why don’t you try? : Find out what to do if you’re worried about your loved one’s memory
Many people find that their memory becomes less reliable as they get older. But if you’re worried about the memory of someone close to you, encourage them to speak to their doctor.
Memory problems do not always mean dementia.
They can also be a sign of other conditions including depression, infections and vitamin deficiencies, which is another reason to get them checked out.
Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, we have all had less social contact. You or your family and friends may have only recently noticed changes in someone’s memory because you’ve not been able to spend as much time with them. These memory problems may have been going on for some time.
If someone close to you is diagnosed with dementia, we can help them find the support they need.
Talking to the person you are worried about
Whether it’s your parent, friend or next-door neighbour, it’s important to talk to them. You could start by asking if they’ve been feeling any different from usual or are struggling with anything.
Support them to make an appointment and ask if they’d like you to go with them, or to be there when they call. It’s important for them to speak to their doctor and find out the reason for the problems as there may be treatment or support available.
Before starting a conversation
Before having a conversation, it can help to think about the questions below.
- What could be stopping them from seeing a doctor about their memory problems?
- Have they noticed the symptoms? A person in the early stages of dementia may not always be aware of the problems they are having.
- Do they think their problems are just a natural part of ageing?
- Are they scared about what the changes could mean?
- Do they think there won’t be any point in seeking help?
- What approach has worked in the past to help persuade them to do something they were unsure about?
- Who could be the best person to approach the subject with them?
- Might they find it reassuring to have someone offer to go to or speak to the doctor with them?
Pick an appropriate time and place
It can be helpful to pick a place that is familiar and non-threatening, so you can talk about it comfortably.
It’s important to follow the governments guidelines for your area, this may mean that you should meet outside or have a telephone or video call. It can also help to pick a time when you won’t be rushed.
You could also pick a time when the doctor’s surgery is open so that if they feel ready to book a doctor’s appointment, they can do this.
What if they are still reluctant to see a doctor?
If you don’t seem to be able to make progress in persuading them to see the doctor, you could mention your concerns to the doctor yourself.
You might be able to arrange a home visit with the doctor if a person is reluctant to go to the surgery. This can feel less formal but still allow the GP to have a chat with the person in a more relaxed environment.
Patient confidentiality means a doctor is not able to give out information about a patient, but they are able to receive information. It is up to the individual doctor whether they decide to take any action on information received.
Here’s a tip for you to try this week :
Use the Alzheimers UK website this week to find things you can do to support someone with memory loss and what you can put into place to make things easier, such as labelling cupboards, memory box or creating a family photo book, Book an appointment with a member of the Bridgit Carer Coach team, Organise a simple dementia assessment through their GP, Research how to deal with confusion and memory loss, Look at what activities and adaptations can be used around their home to ease their confusion, Speak to a GP or dementia specific charity/support group,
You can visit the Bridgit Shop at anytime to find our what products and services can support you.