Alzheimer's Disease

Getting a diagnosis

  • Finding out you or a family member have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s can leave you with many emotions. For some people it can be upsetting or may come as a shock. For others, receiving an ‘official’ medical diagnosis can simply confirm what has long been suspected.

    The below diagram shows the usual route to diagnosis for a patient in the early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease. Typically a patient or sometimes their family members report memory problems to their GP. The GP will ask a series of questions and may conduct a short test of mental ability. On the basis of this, the doctor will decide whether to refer a patient on to a specialist.


  • Talking to your doctor

    Whether you are attending an appointment for yourself or for someone you are supporting, you may find the following tips useful:

    • Before your visit, think about any symptoms that you want to raise during your consultation.

    • Go with someone who will support you and who can write down any important points the professional makes

    • Ask the doctor to write down any medical terms, particularly if English is not your first language

    • Ask what you can expect to happen further on in the future – this can be very useful to help you make plans

    • Request any information they have about contacting local support groups

    • Ask any professional to explain words or phrases that you do not understand

    • Ask for specific dietary, exercise and health advice

    • Ask where you can get further information if needed