Memory Clinic, What to Expect – 4th Generation Clinics

CHRISTINE: Mick doesn’t remember things correctly and he gets a little frustrated with it and then
he makes up a story that fits his memory of events. JO: I began to realise when we went to
a driving test. I thought he’d pass easy. They came back in ten minutes and
the man said “he’s nearly killed me.” TIM: The memory clinic here at the
repat is a unit where we look to assess people with memory
or thinking difficulties and help them plan for the future. HEATHER: The memory clinic sees people
who are referred to them either by the GPs or other doctors
who feel there is an issue with them remembering, or
declining cognition. ALMA: The memory clinic has been an
interesting process. It’s helped diagnose the fact that
Alan is having problems. ALAN: Some time ago now it was becoming more obvious that I was becoming more and more forgetful. ALMA: Alan goes with the nurse
first of all to answer a series of questions. He goes by himself to do that. HEATHER: The basic test we do first
is the standardised mini mental exam. It’s not a hard test, it’s general
every day questions. From that we get a baseline score
as to what their functioning is. TIM: Then you meet with a geriatrician. They look not just at the memory
side of things but at your function and your general health. It’s really important that you
come with family or a friend. Sometimes reporting to the doctor
is difficult or you may not remember all the important components so
it’s helpful to have a second voice in that. A common diagnosis is dementia but
what we’re looking for is other causes of memory or
thinking difficulties. Things that we need to consider and
exclude are things like depression, medication side effects, and other
infections or illnesses. KATHY: As a link worker I link people
in with local dementia-specific services to help them manage well at home
with dementia rather than going in to residential care. Often it’s just so overwhelming,
people do get depressed and feel like their life is over. The fact is with dementia you can still
do so many things. Dementia doesn’t suddenly take away
your ability to do heaps of stuff. CHRISTINE: I think the memory clinic
is marvellous because it is very supportive. We feel that somebody cares
and we’re not alone in this. TIM: It’s not something to be scared
or frightened of and hopefully by the end of it you can come up with
a clearer picture of how you’re going and also what your
options are in the future.

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