The Dementia Diary

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The Dementia Assessment

on February 23, 2012

A psychiatric nurse came to F i L to carry out a formal test for dementia.  She had a chat with him first about his ‘life.

“Do you have any brothers and sisters?”

“Well, they’ve all gone now.”

“Ok.  What are their names?”

He looks at me to prompt him.  I don’t.

“There’s [No. 1 son], [No. 2 son] and [No. 3 son]”

“No,” I say “They are your sons aren’t they?”

The nurse reminds him “I asked if you have brothers and sisters.”

“Yes I have, I have 4 brothers and 1 sister.”

“You were married.  When did your wife die?”

“About 6 years ago.”

He looks at me again.

“About 9 years ago” I say

“And when did you get married?”

“Oh quite late.  I think I was, oh say, 37?”

He looks at me.  I shrug. I can’t help.  It would defeat the object of the test.  Husband and I do some quick maths and he was 30 when he married.

The ‘paper’ test starts.

“What day is it?”

He answers correctly.

“What month is it?”

He answers correctly.

“What date is it?”

“I’m not sure.  Around the 7th I think.”

It’s the 22nd.

“What season is it?”

“Oh….uhm…’s not, well, winter, is it, well then, uhm, it’s almost autumn”

She prompts him “Autumn comes before winter doesn’t it?”

He looks confused.


“Close enough” Despite the prompting she gives him full marks.

He can write a sentence.  Last week he couldn’t spell banana (bana) or his son’s name. Full marks

The year?

“Nineteen ninety………….. Oh! Twelve.” Full marks

Recall three words. No he can’t manage that. Zero marks.

Follow written instuctions.  Yes he can do that.  Today.  Tonight he won’t be able to understand the cooking instructions on a ready meal. Full Marks

And so it goes on……..

Husband and I are looking at each other with raised eyebrows.  It looks like we’ve been making it up.

At the end of the memory test his score is ‘Excellent’.


The nurse looks at me and husband.

“I’m going to make the referral to the specialist, you’ve done really well on this test but I can see that you are having some problems.”

I speak to her on the doorstep.

“That was  exceptional.  The last time he took the test he couldn’t answer any questions.”

“To be fair I had to prompt him more than I should have done.  I can see he is having issues.”

Husband and I feel a little cheated by the test results, but finally, after 6 months wait, we’re getting to see a specialist!


One response to “The Dementia Assessment

  1. […]  There’s a marked difference in his abilities during the day, when he is mildy confused, (The Dementia Assessment) and the evenings where he becomes very confused.  He is worried but doesn’t know why at […]

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