Telling other health or social care providers that you have been diagnosed with dementia can be helpful.
- This can include your dentist, optometrist, social worker or a nurse when you go to the hospital. Most health care providers need an accurate medical history to deliver the best service for you.
If your health and social care providers know that you have dementia, they can make adaptations to the services they provide or make allowances to help.
- For example, you can ask for a written summary of your appointment or instructions for the things you need to do afterwards, such as arrange blood tests or an x-ray. You could ask for a longer appointment or bring a support person with you.
- Your care providers will keep your personal information, including your diagnosis, confidential.
- It might also be helpful to share your diagnosis with other professionals who help you with legal and financial planning such as your accountant or lawyer.
Be assertive so that you are involved in your decisions about your care
People with dementia have told us that some health care providers treat them as though they are not competent, and do not support them in making decisions about their own care and life. It is important to be clear that you want to be involved in decisions about your care. Ask your provider if they have shared all of the information with you, or if you know all of the care choices available to you. This way, your health care provider will know your wishes and preferences.
If you feel that your health or social care provider is not providing you with enough information, or talking too fast, you might need to be assertive in asking questions. Remember – you do not have to agree to something until you fully understand what your options are and what the decision means for you.
Help to be assertive
- This Dementia Alliance Webinar recording gives suggestions on how to talk with your doctor about dementia.
- Although this article is not about dementia it has some helpful tips on how to be assertive in talking to the doctor. The strategies shared in this article and the Dementia Alliance Webinar can be used with other health care providers
Asking for dementia treatments
While many doctors are very knowledgeable about dementia care, some family doctors or specialists may not be as up-to-date on the management of dementia.
One example is in the area of rehabilitation for dementia. Using rehabilitation (such as occupational therapy, physiotherapy, or speech language therapy) can help to maintain your abilities. Maintaining your abilities can help you stay independent longer.
- If rehabilitation approaches have not been discussed with you, you can ask your doctor about care and treatments that you’ve read about on this website, and decide together if it is the right fit for you.
Your family doctor or specialist may be able to refer you to services such as an occupational therapist, physiotherapist, speech language pathologist or psychologist to help address your individual needs. If these health services are not available in your area, you may need to pay privately. If you have private health insurance, they might cover some of these services.
- Read our article called ‘‘Planning to use services’‘ for more information about getting services and support.