“The Geriatric Review – Diagnosis”
When we last left you, Charles, age 75 was scheduled for a “geriatric review” because his wife and children were noticing his memory slipping and some major lapses in his judgment and executive decision making. The geriatric doctor was recommended by Charles’ general practitioner and in his case was part of the VA system. The initial meeting with the geriatric doctor included a very extensive verbal interview with Charles. James, Charles’ son was present for the entire office visit. As expected, Charles did not answer all of the doctor’s questions honestly and James had to fill in the blanks to give the doctor a true picture of what was going on. Charles insisted he was fine and misrepresented his challenges with medication management, his alcohol intake, his diet and his level of activity. All of these are very important factors in his diagnosis and his ongoing well being.
During what turned out to be an hour long doctor’s visit, Charles was also put through a series of memory tests and given a numeric score. The score is a guideline the doctor uses to distinguish normal memory loss from what appears to be more than normal memory loss. Charles scored in a range where the doctor immediately said he probably had some form of dementia and her suspicion was that it was the early stages of Vascular Dementia. As a next step she suggested that Charles get an MRI to confirm the diagnosis, determine the extent of the damage and how to proceed. Read next time on how the MRI turned out and more on the facts about Vascular Dementia.