Helping an Older Person Take a Saliva-Based DNA Test, One Success and One Failure

This is a follow-on to my article How to Help an Older Person Take a Saliva-Based DNA Test.

Earlier this year I learned from Judy Russell that there are methods to help an older person take a saliva-based DNA test.  The cheek-scrape tests are generally not a problem, but saliva-based tests can be difficult.

I sent two DNA tests to my grandmother across the country, 23andMe and Ancestry DNA tests.  My family there was not able to help her take the tests.  I planned and made a trip to see her last month.  Right before my trip I thought to check with my family that they still had the DNA tests.  No one knew where they were.  With little time to plan, I decided to ship an Ancestry DNA test to arrive when I did.  That test was the more essential.  I hoped to find the 23andMe test.

The first morning of my trip, my grandmother went to the emergency room.  Realizing that I might not get many more chances to help her take the test, I stopped by a Walgreens and picked up essential supplies: saline and GUM scrapers.  I did not have an opportunity to visit her care home to check if the DNA test kits and supplies I sent with them were still there.

Test 1: I had the Ancestry kit, so I opened up the vial, balancing it in some tube-shaped supply in the hospital room.  I pressed the Simply Saline squirter until the vial was filled a little past the line.  I brushed four GUM brushes on her inner cheek, swishing each in the vial.

Test 2: I did not have the 23andMe kit, so I just used four GUM brushes on her inner cheek and placed the supplied cap on each.  I saved the GUM brushes.  Later when I arrived home a few days later, I used a 23andMe kit with the saline and brushes like before.

Sadly, my grandmother passed away two weeks later.

The Ancestry test was successful.  Unfortunately, the 23andMe test failed.

Hopefully this can give you some guidance on what, and what not, to do to help someone who finds it difficult take a saliva-based DNA test.

Posted in DNA

1 thought on “Helping an Older Person Take a Saliva-Based DNA Test, One Success and One Failure”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s