If you’re concerned about your or someone else’s memory, or you have a diagnosis of Dementia, it makes sense to get as much information as possible.
A great place for this is a Memory Clinic. Here you will find specialist help in diagnosing and supporting a wide range of different conditions.
It’s often a GP who refers to you a Memory Clinic. However, there are ones that you can “self-refer” to; opting to go direct and paying for any services you use.
What is the purpose of a Memory Clinic?
There are several reasons why someone might struggle with their “cognitive” abilities – which means their mental capacity to remember things, understand and carry out every day thought processes. One of the most important reasons to go to a Memory Clinic is to get a proper diagnosis. This can then help in mapping out the next steps.
There are different causes for substantial cognitive impairment (which is called Dementia). Most often, the cause is Alzheimer’s Disease.
Having an early diagnosis of Dementia can be very important.
It can help individuals and their families to understand their condition and manage it better. There are even medicines available that slow the progress of Dementia for some patients.
The Memory Clinic’s ability to shed light on your condition and its outcomes can also reduce the fear of the unknown. You and your family will know what to expect and what to do and this can make a big difference in improving life with Dementia.
What happens at a Memory Clinic?
Memory Clinics feature specialist medical teams including doctors, nurses and psychologists. They use various methods to diagnose and support individuals.
This will include looking at your full medical history. For example, the cause of your problems with memory and other mental processes might be connected to such things as strokes.
The Memory Clinic will also carry out mental ability tests to get more information. There are no right or wrong answers to these tests. They are simply a way of gauging the extent of your problems with memory and thinking.
With your consent, the Memory Clinic team may also talk to your family and friends, to gather their observations.
Modern day person-centred care involves a team approach, so connecting to your loved ones offers advantages and insights.
If you need further investigation, you may also have a MRI or CT scan. These provide the medical team at the Memory Clinic with information about your brain activity and any physical signs of such things as Alzheimer’s Disease or Vascular Dementia. These scans can be repeated at a later stage too, to measure any deterioration.
Memory Clinics are not just to diagnose your condition and monitor its progress. The staff there are trained to provide help and support. They offer a wealth of information on what you can do to improve your cognitive abilities and to live well with Dementia.
In some situations, they can offer medical treatments that can slow Dementia-causing conditions such as Alzheimer’s. They can also signpost you to therapies and self-help ideas which could tackle some of the Dementia symptoms and challenges.
A Memory Clinic is also an important source of help and support for families and friends. The information they receive will better equip them to be of assistance and to understand your Dementia journey.