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I have read so many responses that others have posted about getting someone tested for dementia. I have just changed mom's doctor to one who supposedly deals with dementia, etc. in the elderly. This is the second doctor that has given her their "twenty questions" test, which mom passes and they are all surprised. Yes, she can remember the date, the day of the week, maybe the month and the year (sometimes), but she can't remember how to answer the phone, work the microwave or stove, take a shower, get dressed, take her meds properly, handle her own personal hygiene issues, or a number of other daily tasks without help. I have told her doctor this, but I can't seem to get them to help me with ordering more detailed testing to see where she is on the dementia line or what type she may be suffering from. How do I get this done and who do I go through to schedule it?

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I'm surprised that's as far as they go in testing after you've explained her situation.

There are many types of dementia, and some of them affect memory first, while others may affect judgment or another type of functioning.

I'd try to get her in to a neurologist for a battery of tests. As one of the doctors for a referral. If he or she refuses, ask you own doctor how to go through your system so that she can be seen by a specialist.
Good luck,
Carol
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document, document, document...keep a journal, take pictures, take videos...whatever you can/need to do to get your loved one the help he/she needs. I gave my husband's doctor a journal of all that had happened over a month because I wanted him to understand what was going on was NOT what had been going on before...yes there were memory lapses, etc,, but what occurred in that time period was far worse than ever and something needed to be done....mail it, fax it, give it to his asst...whatever you have to do to let him know the reality of the situation. Be specific, give specific examples....don't mince words...tell it like it is....Good luck!
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Primary care doctors should not be diagnosing when they have not referred you to a Neurologist for more definitive testing. Just another case of a PCP trying not to refer to save $$$. Insist on seeing the correct physician.
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Would it be possible to video her to show how she cannot operate in her own home and then show it to the doctor?
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The advice from "Scared" is excellent. It's hard to imagine that the doctor can deny such well documented evidence.
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I agree about taking her to a neurologist. They may be able to run some brain scans to see what is going on. If one doctor isn't taking you seriously, I would say to get a different one who does. A lot of them don't have much expertise in the field of Alzheimer's or dementia, so they only run standard tests and assume if the person passes that they are fine for now. Thank God my MIL had a doctor who was familiar with what to do and what to look for aside from the memory tests. Ultimately, only you know what is going on with your mom because you are always around her. I know you know something is going on with your mom, so I wouldn't stop until I found a doctor to take you seriously. They will be able to put your mom on some pills to help her memory. My MIL went on Aricept for a while, but eventually it stopped working, so she has been off them for months now. Her doctor may recommend Aricept or another drug to help your mom. I have heard both pros and cons about Aricept myself, but it did seem to help my MIL for a while when she was on it. God bless, and I wish you the best in finding a good doctor for your mom. Do they have any who specialize in gerontology in your area? That would be a good person to see too.
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Find a new doctor!
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I missed the part where your mother won't go to another gp so my suggestion that you find a new doctor isn't going to be helpful. I think you would do best to have your mother evaluated by an experienced neuropsychologist.
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I was fortunate enough to have a family dr who recommended a new neurologist for my husband when his behavior suddenly and dramatically changed about 2.5 months ago. This doctor sent him for an MRI of the brain, and EEG, carotid artery ultrasound, neuorpsychological testing (a 3-hr test and a 1 hr pre and post test visit), PT, OT eval and a speech eval. These people all meet as a team once a week to discuss the patient. I am certainly happy and blessed to have all this care for my husband. I would try calling your local agency on aging, the Alzheimer's Assoc, your local mental health agency. They might be able to direct you to a doctor who will help you. Check online, too. My husband can answer some of the questions they normally ask in that test, but not always. He can bathe, shave, use the toilet, etc,., but he can't manage his meds, prepare something for himself to eat, follow directions, use the microwave, adjust the thermostat, etc...."little" things which are just a part of everyday life. How can he take care of himself? He can't. I have to do it all to keep him safe. It's hard and tiring. You need to keep trying to find a doctor who will get you some help. Don't give up! I know how hard it is! There are days when I just want to run away.
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hadenough,

Just wanted to say I couldn't agree with you more. The people in this situation should be seeing a specialist who will also take them seriously. I think some doctors get the mentality that just because their patient and the patient representative aren't doctors that they couldn't possibly know what they are talking about. It's ridiculous. They are dealing with human beings who have "real" problems. Especially for the daughters, sons, and others who are asking genuine questions about their loved ones health, they should be heard by the doctors. They know what goes on because they witness it first hand. I get frustrated with this type of thing because in the very early stages of Alzheimer's my MIL refused to believe she had a problem. She was in total denial about her memory loss and other strange things that were happening to her. I think she was probably just scared to find out something was wrong, which is completely understandable from her point of view. Now, she is in the late stages, bed-ridden, and needs constant care. I can't stress enough how much all the caregivers and patients NEED to find a doctor who will listen. Sometimes our relatives are stubborn, but we just have to push past it and find a way to get them to someone who can help them. Believe, me I know how frustrating it is to deal with someone who refuses to see they need help. I truly feel for all those on here who are only trying to do the best for their loved ones. God bless all of you and may He be with you and your loved ones in your struggles.
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