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Tips for talking to your GP about dementia

Talking to your GP is the first step to find out if you have dementia. These tips will help you to get the most out of your appointment.

How to talk to your GP about dementia

Becoming forgetful could be a normal part of ageing, but if it’s causing you concern, it’s important to visit your GP. To get the most out of your appointment you can:

  • prepare for your appointment by making notes about what you want to say, or completing the symptoms checklist
  • ask a friend or relative to go to the appointment with you
  • be honest and let the GP know what’s worrying you
  • use words and descriptions that feel right to you
  • make a note of what the GP says
  • ask questions if you’re unsure about anything 

Top tips for talking to your GP

Watch our video and read the top tips on how to prepare for your first conversation with a GP.

Write down what you want to say

Make notes before you go to the GP and take them with you. This will help you remember what you wanted to talk about.

Keep a diary of the problems you’ve been having to help your GP understand how your symptoms are affecting you.

You can also fill out and print our symptoms checklist to help you explain your symptoms and the effect they have. 

Ask someone to come with you

A friend or relative can support you, and help you remember what was said at the appointment.

It also helps the GP to talk to someone close to you, as they may have noticed changes that you haven’t.

Be honest

You may find it hard to open up about mistakes you have been making with your memory, or behaviour changes you are unhappy with. But your GP is used to talking about these problems with people and will respect and support you as a patient. Their main concern is to find out the cause of your problems.

Use words and descriptions that feel right to you

Don’t be afraid to use phrases that show how bad things are for you, such as 'I'm not coping with...' or 'I'm concerned about...' .

Make a note of what the GP says

You might want to write down any medical terms that are used, or what the next steps will be.

Ask questions

If there's anything you do not understand, ask the GP to explain in simpler terms.  

How we support you

Get advice and information, whether you are worried about your memory, waiting for a referral or already diagnosed.

  • Call our support line to speak to a trained adviser
  • Visit our online forum to hear from people in the same situation

Real life stories of talking about dementia

Gina, who has vascular dementia, stands outside her house.

Being persistent with the GP has benefitted me

Gina recognised something was wrong but it was a challenge to make the GP listen to her concerns.

Armen stands next to his two sons, Robert and Greg.

Our GP mistook my husband's dementia symptoms as stress

It took four years to get Armen's dementia diagnosis and it wasn't easy.

Di stands behind water fountain.

The tipping point for my wife needing a dementia diagnosis

Pete shares his wife Di's dementia diagnosis story.

Last reviewed: December 2023

Next review: December 2025