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Session 3 - Understanding Dementia

Part 4 - Getting a Diagnosis

Several conditions can lead to dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease and vascular disease (including stroke).

Signs of dementia are unique to each person, but there will usually be:

  • Decline in memory, reasoning and communication skills
  • Gradual loss of the skills needed to carry out daily activities
  • Confusion

Other conditions have symptoms similar to dementia and may be treatable, including depression, chest and urinary infections, severe constipation, vitamin and thyroid deficiencies and brain tumours, drug interactions or alcohol abuse.  Other possible causes of confusion are poor sight or hearing; and emotional changes and upsets, such as moving or bereavement.

Finding out the cause of the symptoms can help you to:

  • Understand the source of the symptoms
  • Get advice, information and support (emotional, practical and financial) from community agencies, medical professionals and the Alzheimer Society
  • Allow the person with dementia to plan and make arrangements for the future

Here we have a conversation between host, Liana Shannon, and geriatrician, Jasneet Parmar, about getting a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Learn about the process of diagnosis and what to do if you are worried about someone’s memory or your own.

Getting a Diagnosis - Segment with a Geriatrician


If you or someone you care about is showing signs such as forgetfulness, confusion or agitation, speak to your family doctor. (If you don’t have a family doctor, you can call your local Alzheimer Society).

At the end of the assessment, your family doctor may feel able to make a diagnosis, or she may request further test to make sure.  She may also want to refer the person to a memory clinic or other specialist service for a fuller assessment.

Join the Conversation

Visit the Discussion Forums, where you can post, in a common area, messages to all other community members.   It’s a place for you to interact with others and to discuss the process involved in getting a diagnosis of dementia.

At any time, you may scroll to the Search bar at the top of the page and type a specific question or topic.

Other Sessions in Seeds of Hope - Family Learning Series

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  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 15
  • 16
  • 17
  • 18