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Speaking with your doctor

A diagnosis of younger onset dementia is bound to come with a lot of questions. It can be hard to know where to begin, but that’s what medical professionals are there for. A strong relationship with your doctor can help you effectively manage your condition.

Your doctor and other medical specialists can be an ongoing source of help with your care and management. They can also help you to answer medical or health-related questions that you may have after your diagnosis.

How to talk with your doctor about younger onset dementia

A good doctor for you and your family will make you feel comfortable, speak in words you can understand and will make you feel heard. Doctors are an invaluable source of advice and support for you and your loved ones.

It’s a great opportunity to speak freely, as all discussions with your doctor are completely confidential.

Remember that communication is a two-way process

Let your doctor know what you need from them and if you need things explained differently. This can help them explain relevant things to you in a way you understand.

Bring a friend or family member for support

Where possible, it’s great to have a family member or friend join you for your regular doctor visits. They can offer support and provide the doctor with their own observations.

Prepare a checklist of questions

In the moment, it can be easy to forget your questions. Preparing a checklist of questions to ask ensures you get the information you need from the doctor. Your doctor or your loved one can write down the answers for you to come back to later.

Keep track of your conversations with doctors

You may find it useful to keep a folder or notes about your conversations with your doctor and other medical professionals. You can jot down who you spoke to and when, and some details.

Pick the best appointment time

If you feel at your best in the morning or afternoon, we encourage you to book in your appointments around this time. This can help you feel at your best during your appointment time. You should also feel free to ask for a longer appointment if you need it.

Find the right doctor for you

Sometimes it can help to look around until you find a doctor who meets your needs. You can talk to other people about their experiences. There are also plenty of doctors who speak different languages and understand different cultures. Your doctor may be able to give you a referral.

The National Dementia Helpline is staffed by a team of highly qualified professionals who may also be able to answer some of your questions. You can call the helpline on 1800 100 500 from 8.00am to 8.00pm weekdays, send an email or chat online (via webchat).