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slimfandango | 20:54 Sun 11th Sep 2005 | Body & Soul
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One of my relatives has undergone a preliminary diagnosis. Please can you tell me what it involves and if there is anything I should do. Thanks.


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hey, unfortunately i have had experience with this disease. my nan had it. im not sure if youre asking about the medical side of alzheimers, if you put it into an internet search engine you'll get some really good information pages. however if your asking about every day life my advice to you would to be patient with your relative, it can be hard sometimes when you are asked the same questions fifteen times in ten minutes due to mermory loss, try not to change your tone, try not to get angry with him/her. it can be difficult but believe me your frustration will be so much less and easier to deal with than theirs. its a disease that progresses and may take away characteristics and personality. cherish the time that you have with them now, make memories that YOU can keep. it isnt easy, make sure that everyone involved has support there will be days that you need it, but there will be good days too it effects people in different ways, if the disease sets in early in age (before 60) it can move fast but will progress slower if the sufferer is older. there are some really good support groups that can tell you more, ask your family gp your surf the net,

good luck i hope that you have more good days than bad x

I too had a relative with this illness.  It's a very difficult one to deal with, but I think a lot hinges on how the patient deals with it themselves.  I was lucky in that my granny just laughed at herself mostly, and humour definitely helps all parties to get through it.  Later on she became more frustrated and fixated on things which were totally irrelevant or illogical, which made it really hard for me to spend time with her - I felt like my presence just led to her becoming more frustrated and upset sometimes.  She was also very active and this made her difficult to deal with - her body was fit and well but her mind was on another planet.  Be prepared for very bizarre moments of clarity, when it's almost like the mist clears.  These can be upsetting.  I don't know much about the final stages of the disease because my granny died very suddenly of a cardiac problem, but sometimes I think she was lucky. 

This illness can be saddening, funny, upsetting, ridiculous, and infuriating.  Help your relative to stay strong and maintain their dignity by being patient and smiling lots, even when you don't think you can.

It can be comforting for the person to have a record of their memories. If you can do it without distressing them then why not start making a scrapbook, journal or memory box to help them when they start to lose recall.

I am sure that you will get this advice from elsewhere, but its important not to reorganise things in the house, and to establish daily routines if not already in place. If this diagnosis means a move into more supported living, then earlier is better than later as this will allow the new situation to become familiar and allow the person full participation in the decision and the process. You (or someone) may also want to consider offering to take on an enduring power of attourney to help with day to day financial and business matters. Google for the full story.

Make sure that there is an easily readable clock available and it may help to take the newspaper each day to remain orientated in day and time.

There is an american TV program on at the moment called Boston Legal. The star, William Shattner, plays a sucessful american lawyer who is developing alzheimers. Imho its a very honest and sensitive depiction and may help you to understand what your relative is feeling. There are also some drugs available now to delay deterioration, but not everyone can use these.

I have worked with people with alzheimers ands with their relatives for quite some time. I send you my sympathy and best wishes

Preliminary diagnosis for Alzheimers is usually an MME Mini Mental Examination, carried out by a GP.

It involves things like what day is it, who is the prime minister, count from 10 to 1 backwards and spell some simple words like CLOUD backwards. Each question has a different score then the total gives a reasonable assessment of the PRELIMINARY DIAGNOSIS. It may seem like a pretty crude way for assessment but it is widely used and accepted as the best way towards help/treatment.

hi again, dont know if you are in the uk but on todays itv's this morning there was a film about living with alzheimers, it was very moving and real, it approached the disease from a human way, (not medical). you could go on their website to see if there is any information or a factsheet as they sometimes do those.

also is a good site

good luck again x

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