If you have concerns about your memory visit your GP. If the GP considers you might have dementia they will refer you on for further assessment to a specialist to confirm the diagnosis. This is usually a specialist in the care of elderly people, eg. a psychiatrist specialised in looking after older people. This takes place in one of the memory clinics at the Woodlands Resource Centre or the Glenkirk Centre, depending on where you live in East Dunbartonshire. You can also request an assessment at home if necessary.
How will I be Assessed?
Your memory test is made by using the Addenbrooke’s ACE-R Test which is a cognitive test that assesses five cognitive domains, namely attention/orientation, memory, verbal fluency, language and visuospatial abilities. This is usually carried out by a Community Psychiatric Nurse at the memory clinic. The total score is out of 100, higher scores indicate better cognitive functioning. The specialist will routinely request you have an MRI scan of the brain and a diagnostic appointment with a psychiatrist. During the memory test you will be asked about your life and about any changes in your memory you have noticed, the nurse may also speak to your family or carer to find out if they have noticed changes in your memory. Diagnosis is made taking the results of the test and any scans along with the history you and your family and carers have provided. You may receive a diagnosis of dementia. There are different types of dementia or you may be given a diagnosis of Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) and asked to return at a later date for further assessment.
Post-diagnostic Support and Treatments
I wasn’t sure what was going on with my memory, now I know I have dementia I can make plans for my future. Elaine (75)
After diagnosis you will receive advice on the treatments available and will be offered post-diagnostic support. If you accept this you will be assigned a Link Worker for a year who will be responsible for helping you to complete a Personal Support Plan which will enable you to plan ahead to Live Well with dementia.