My partner had a dementia test. Nightmare

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My partner had a dementia test, she was not keen on having it but went ahead after taking advice. She has been very foggy, forgetting words, muddling them up and really forgetful. Other than that she isn't too bad and we thought it was unlikely to be dementia but caused by a head injury. Now we're really puzzled because she was told that the scores were very bad to the point where she should be in care but she does not present as being that bad. Could the test be skewed against someone who is tbh,  rubbish at puzzles and putting things into context and always has been? She was told she had no mental illness but is being referred back to a shrink. We can't make any sense of it and she is quite upset because she answered all the questions as openly as possible and this is the first time she has ever opened up. The doctor asked if she was over emphasising her feelings and she feels really let down now.

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  • Posted

    Is your partner on any medications?
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    • Posted

      Ah, how long has she been on amitryptiline?  That is an antidepressant, and long term use leads to cognitive issues. That may be her problem right there.  A quick web search turned this up:

      Scientists tracked their drug use and cognitive function over the next two decades. The higher the dose of anticholinergic drugs and the longer such medications were taken, the greater the risk of dementia. In this study the most common anticholinergic drugs were antihistamines found in over-the-counter allergy drugs and nighttime pain relievers, antidepressants that are also prescribed for nerve pain and medications prescribed to treat incontinence or symptoms of overactive bladder. The authors conclude:

      “Higher cumulative anticholinergic use is associated with an increased risk for dementia. Efforts to increase awareness among health care professionals and older adults about this potential medication-related risk are important to minimize anticholinergic use over time.”

       

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  • Posted

    The first thing I would impress on you both is to try not to worry. These tests are often to find who might benefit from further medical investigation, and the psychiatrist should be able to go into what is happening in much more detail. There are other tests, scans, etc. that can help to pinpoint the cause of her forgetfulness and muddle. I would say the person administering the test shouldn't have frightened you with the "in care" suggestion. It's up to you both whether you can cope in normal life. Your partner is lucky to have you to care about her.
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    • Posted

      Thanks, yes we cope quite well and she isn't too bad apart from forgetting things. We just don't know why she did so badly in the tests. But, she has never really done things the way most people do, having watched her doing everyday tasks for years I've always been surprised by it. She opens tins in a strange way, picks things up oddly, is very clumsy so these tests would have been difficult anyway I think but none of this was taken into account because the doctor doesn't know what she's like anyway. And the review totell us the results was supposed to take an hour but it was only about 15 mins so we didn't get chance to ask questions.
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  • Posted

    I work with dementia myself, previously I worked on a secure unit specifically with dementia, now I work in a hospital with people who do and don't have dementia. Most of the time dementia is only caught after a hospital admission, me and my colleagues know they are confused and they need extra help yet sometimes they don't even score. Likewise we have patients who clearly don't have dementia and simply have bad memory. If I were to be scored for dementia I think I'd probably be told I have it myself, yet I know it is my medication I'm on for anxiety that leaves me disconnected and confused at times, I'm only 20. I have also seen people who are so confused they forget who their partner is and get very upset, yet when speaking to their partner they have been that way for many years and have stayed at home. I wouldn't say any individual with dementia needs to be in care unless they are a risk to them self. It's the point when they forget a knife is dangerous or take extra medication because they think they haven't taken it, you can pick things away to avoid this though. If you are usually at home with your partner I can't imagine they will need to be in a care home. If they are struggling with movement that is another matter completely. Although doctors can usually diagnose accurately it isn't them who work with the patients on a daily basis, nurses and carers are much more likely to be able to assess whether they think they need a care home or not. In reality you can probably tell yourself if you feel you can look after her yourself or not.

    Good luck

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  • Posted

    Hi Joe,

    Sounds to me like it might be the meds she's on doing it. A lot of people get that sort of thing if they been on a high dose of meds for a couple of years.

    If you think it might be her meds, ask her doctor if she can possibly take a 3 month break from her meds and use natural products during that time. I know natural products often don't do a very efficient job, but I'm guessing she can't have no meds at all?  The brain needs time to heal. This is of course only if she is on meds and has been for a number of years (2 or more), and also this is only my suggestion and I could be wrong.

    All the best.

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