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Concern for mum - Trying and failing to get her to see doctor

GeorgeH

New member
Apr 29, 2022
3
0
Hi all,

Looking for some advice. We have a history of Alzheimer in my mum's side of the family. Her mother was diagnosed in her 70's and her brother was diagnosed in his 60's and sadly passed away before he was 70. My mum is now 78; she has always been very sharp and intelligent but in the last couple of years she has been showing some well known signs of the early stages of Alzheimers (repeating the same things several times over, forgetting place and people names, asking what I take in my tea several times, etc).

It has got to a stage where a lot of friends and family have commented on it, some directly to my mum and others indirectly via my dad and sister. My dad has raised his concerns with her but she reacts extremely defensively to him and she just gets angry (slamming doors, etc.) when he mentions it (although tact and subtlety is not his strong point :)). I have a brother and sister and we have all on occasion mentioned in a compassionate way that maybe she should consider going to the doctor to get checked out. At the time when we have discussed this she has mentioned that it could be a good idea, but then when we follow up the day/s following to make sure she has booked in, she backtracks saying things like "I don't think I forget things!" and so we return back to square one. As of now we have all tried and failed to get her to the doctor to get a diagnosis.

Having seen both her mother and brother go through Alzheimer's, being diagnosed herself is one of her greatest fears, so I completely understand her reluctance to be checked. At the same time all those closest to her want her to be checked so that she can get the support that she needs.

Has anyone on this forum had a similar experience? How did you eventully get your loved one to be seen?

Any and all advice gratefully received!

Thanks,

George
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
18,483
0
South coast
Hi @GeorgeH and welcome to Talking Point.

Im sorry to say that this is incredibly common. There may be denial there, or it may be that your mum genuinely cannot comprehend that she has any problems (a symptom of dementia called anosognosia). The best thing to do is write a letter (or email) to her GP outlining your concerns. This letter will go into her records and will be seen by the GP whenever she goes into the surgery for any reason. Some GPs are willing to invite people in for a "well woman" clinic ;);), but if not, is there any other problem that she might be convinced to see her GP about?
 

GeorgeH

New member
Apr 29, 2022
3
0
Thank you very much for the reply @canary. I'm reassured by the fact that it is a common situation. I'll draft a letter and see if there is a way we can engineer a visit to the GP for another reason.

Thanks again, I really appreciate the support.
 

Jac86

Registered User
Mar 28, 2022
11
0
I can’t offer much advice but I’m in the same boat. My mum thinks there’s nothing wrong. We did manage to get her to the doctor a while ago and she did a memory test and didn’t do very well then she had a brain scan which was fine so then they asked if she wanted to go to the memory clinic and she said no! We tried again to get her to go back to the doctor but she would get angry about it. Eventually we spoke to the doctor and he got her in for routine blood tests and managed to do the memory test again and of course she didn’t do well, she agreed to get some tablets but more tests were needed to decide what ones and she was referred to a consultant who was supposed to come to house but my mum cancelled it and then he phoned and she hung up on him! So we’re back to square one. I’m speaking with the doctor again today to see what else can be done, it’s so hard. I hope you manage to get your mum to the doctor, definitely a good idea to write to them or phone them to chat about it all. Also have a think about getting power of attorney in place if you haven’t already.
 

NickRussell

New member
May 16, 2022
1
0
For the last few years my mother in law has shown signs of dementia. In the last couple of weeks she has lost her husband and where he was looking after her and dealing with it very much like the new advert we know that she won't have a carer there now. We've tried contacting the doctors to get some diagnosis but while my father in law was alive he protected her from this telling us that we shouldn't interfer that he was looking after her. But it's hard to standby and watch someone you love and care for. Everytime someone came round and we warned them she's getting forgetful she would have a good day. During covid she had to go to appointments for her hip pain by herself we don't know what was said as she couldn't tell us. After her husband's death we tried the doctors again got an appointment only for her to go down and feel as if the doctor was calling her mental. Now she's going to be alone we feel she really needs someone there that can care for her. But getting a diagnosis really is difficult. Until we can we write everything down do she uses that part of her memory rather than trying to recall what we say. It works for now. Hopefully we can find a way to get her diagnosed soon. I'm sure that this isn't uncommon. We all think our memory is fine.
 

Shedrech

Volunteer Moderator
Dec 15, 2012
12,182
0
Yorkshire
Hello @NickRussell
a warm welcome to DTP
you're right, getting a diagnosis is often not straight forward

I wonder whether something on this thrad may be of help
 

Duggies-girl

Registered User
Sep 6, 2017
3,295
0
Hi @GeorgeH sorry that you have had to come here with this problem but as you can see it's a common one. It took me years and a disaster to get my dad to the doctors and even after he was eventually diagnosed he continued to deny there was anything wrong with him, he certainly didn't have alzhiemers or any type of dementia so we never mentioned those words again. Slight memory problem seems to be acceptable.

I would say stop pushing her and don't remind her that it is in her family history. She either knows this and does not want to be reminded or she truly believes there is no problem. Either way it is causing her upset and it is helping nobody.

Do as the others say and write or email the GP with your concerns, they just might invite her in for a check up and go from there. If not you will have to use some kind of subterfuge to get her there.
 

GeorgeH

New member
Apr 29, 2022
3
0
Thanks for your messages all, I really appreciate them. I have eased off the pressure but have written a letter and also paid a visit to her medical practice to outline mine and my brother and sisters worries. Fingers crossed we'll find a way to get her to be seen soon.