How to get a diagnosis

My wife is having problems with her memory, frequently repeats herself, and has lost weight. I believe she has dementia but how do I get a diagnosis to confirm this?

Your wife will need to attend an appointment with her GP to commence the process of getting a diagnosis.

The GP will request blood tests and check your wife’s weight and blood pressure. Some physical conditions if left undiagnosed such as anaemia, thyroid problems, diabetes, vascular problems related to circulatory issues, vitamin B12 deficiency, depression and/or anxiety, can severely impact on someone’s concentration, memory, physical and emotional well-being.

If after running tests her GP rules out other physical conditions that could be affecting her memory they will then start investigations to see if she has dementia. Her GP will take a medical and family history and test her mental abilities by asking questions, to test her concentration and short term memory. This is known as cognitive testing.

The GP may then request an MRI scan or CT to examine the structure of her brain, or request a chest x-ray to check for any chest conditions. They may also refer her to other health or social care professionals such as a Memory Service/ Clinic or to a specialist for further investigation and assessment. If the results of the tests indicate that she has a diagnosis of dementia, then her GP should refer both of you to other health or social care professionals, such as a Psychiatrist, Admiral Nurse, Neurologist, Community Mental Health team,  Psychologist, or Social Services  for further  assessment, treatment, specialist advice and support.