Consulting a doctor
Consulting a doctor
Often people experiencing the warning signs of dementia are wary about consulting a doctor. Some believe they can work harder to overcome or even hide the challenges they are experiencing. Others are worried about what a diagnosis will mean for their job, relationships, and quality of life. Consulting a doctor is an opportunity to understand the physical changes in your body, how they can affect your emotions, mental health, and experiences, and what medical and employment help may be available.
A dementia diagnosis does not automatically mean it is necessary to leave your job, your workplace, or the greater workforce. In fact, modern medicine is allowing doctors to diagnose dementia earlier. This can give people living with dementia more time and opportunity to make decisions that give them the greatest quality of life for as long as possible.
Reasons to consult a doctor
If you or someone who cares about you notices you forgetting how to complete routine tasks, making atypical mistakes, or having lapses in judgment, then chances are others, such a supervisor or colleagues, are noticing too.
Without a medical diagnosis, workplace struggles often become workplace performance issues. This isn’t fair to you or your employer - especially if you are putting forth your best effort.
Consulting a doctor can:
- Give you the information you need to determine whether you are safe and able to continue the activities required for your job.
- Provide an official diagnosis, which offers a legal foundation for how you are treated at work and facilitates access to any available employer-offered and/or community-based programs, services, and support.
- Give you and your employer information about specific workplace accommodations (e.g., supports, modified duties) related to your job duties that can help you keep working.
- Allow you to plan when and how you wish to exit your job, workplace, or the workforce.
For more information:
The Alzheimer Society of Alberta and Northwest Territories offers a detailed Getting a Diagnosis toolkit to support you through your doctor’s visit and the steps required to receive a dementia diagnosis. The toolkit includes worksheets you can complete before you consult your doctor as well as information about the types of tests that your doctor may require you to complete.