The older the patients, the less likely they are to discuss a memory problem with their doctor during an office visit, according to a review of federal government data from more than 10,000 people. This review, published in Preventing Chronic Disease, also revealed that in 2011 as few as 1 in 4 adults age 45 and older discussed memory problems with their physician during routine checkups. The journal article and its findings were reported in US News & World Report's "Too Few Older Adults Tell Doctors About Memory Loss: Study."
Routine checkups can be a missed opportunity for assessing and discussing memory problems for the majority of older adults. Experts say the stigma of memory loss and dementia may keep some from discussing these issues with their doctors.
Many think that as long as we don't mention it, memory loss might just be normal aging. However, talking about memory troubles doesn't necessarily mean you have dementia. It might be another highly treatable condition, like depression. But if it is related to dementia, recognizing it early is crucial.
Patients can meet with family members and an experienced elder law attorney to get advice on making individualized decisions for their care, rather than relying on last-minute decisions.