Broaching a test for Alzheimer’s
Q. How does a family member best broach the subject of a memory test (to test for Alzheimer’s) to a loved one who may or may not have the condition?
A. The diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease involves more than a single memory test. One effective approach that many family caregivers have found is to discuss their concerns (about memory failure) to their regular family physician or general practitioner who is familiar with the person they are concerned with. As part of their normal medical check-up for medical conditions such as hypertension or diabetes (which many seniors have), family members often take this opportunity to request their treating physicians to determine if their memory failures require further attention from other specialists. One important consideration is not to “confront” or “accuse” the person abruptly about their failing memory because this may unnecessarily escalate their anxiety about dementia and possible institutionalisation, which may further invoke fears about being abandoned by family members. One useful perspective that may work well in such situations is to tell the person that taking care of our brain health is a crucial component of keeping ourselves physically healthy as we age. Having regular “brain check-up” with trained specialists is the best way of ensuring that any emerging problems can be detected early with timely treatment if needed. – Dr Donald Yeo, principal neuropsychologist, Department of Neurology, Singapore General Hospital
(PHOTO CREDIT: Medical doctor, Kurhan, stock.xchng – featured image)
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