There is no one test for dementia, such as Alzheimer's.
Rather, the diagnosis involves a range of assessments and tests and this can mean that confirming a diagnosis can take time, particularly in the early stages.
A diagnosis of dementia usually begins with a General Practitioner, GP. It can be helpful to make a note of the changes causing concern before your visit to help you to talk to the doctor about them. Perhaps keep a diary to help you to do this.
The doctor will generally begin an assessment by ruling out other possible causes of symptoms you are experiencing, this may involve running some tests including blood tests and memory tests as well as an overview of your general health.
The doctor may refer to a consultant who will conduct a full assessment to try to establish the cause of the symptoms. Our factsheet below provides more information about how a diagnosis is made.
Who are the consultants that may be involved in a diagnosis?
When someone is over 65, the main consultants that work to diagnose the cause of memory problems are a geriatrician and / or a psychiatrist of later life.
When someone is under 65, they are usually referred to a neurologist.
Your local doctor (GP) can refer you to the appropriate consultant.
What is a memory Clinic?
There are a number of memory clinics operating in Ireland. Some clinics offer a nationwide service, others offer services to people living in particular part of the country.
The clinics work with people who are experiencing memory problems to diagnose the cause of these problems. All but one of the clinics require a referral from a GP to access the service.
To find about more about memory clinics in Ireland call the Alzheimer National Helpline at 1800 341 341 or read Memory Clinics in Ireland
For more information