How to get my father to go the GP

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by ww100, May 1, 2006.

  1. ww100

    ww100 Registered User

    May 1, 2006
    I have been looking through this forum and was wondering if anybody could please give me some advice.

    I have suspected that my father, who turned 71 last week, has had memory problems now for the last 4 years. I live in Australia whereas my parents live in Lancashire. My mother & sister (who lives 5 minutes drive away) have only just agreed with me that there is an issue - particularly as they see him daily where I see him once every year (either in the UK or in Sydney) and see big changes.

    I believe that he is showing all the signs of about level 3/4 including :
    * Disorientation
    * withdrawn
    * Memory problems with words & names
    * Issues with counting & writing
    * Mood swings
    * Verbal violence & unconfirmed physical violence
    The list goes on.

    He suffered a major blow to the head about 3.5 years ago and had heart surgery about 2.5 years ago. I had put the memory issues down to the heart problems but am now convinced that these 2 things were only a catalyst to the root problem.

    My Mother has always relied on him to organise things and outwardly is a confident person but really is not and would not be able to cope with the situation if the disease progresses. My sister is very good at supporting them but lacks tact and diplomacy when addressing the issues and also has a busy job as well as 2 young children.

    My Father is generally quite good but I have seen a big deterioration in him - he is at the moment with me in Sydney.

    My problem is this - how do I get him to see the GP. He is a very proud and stubborn man and will not let anybody tell him what to do. About a year ago I contacted his GP and asked if he could give him a check over - he did this and changed his blood pressure tablets. My Mother told me things had got a lot better, but seeing him over the last 5 weeks this not the case.

    He leaves for the UK in a week’s time - I am debating being direct with him and spelling out what the issues are in order to get him to go to the GP on his own. I have been direct with my mother, but she is not strong enough to take control of the situation. I believe that if he were to listen to anybody in the family it would be me but am unsure that if I take the firm approach I would do more harm than good.

    Please could anybody let me know what they think of the direct approach or how they have managed to get their patient to recognise the issue and then get diagnosed.

    Thank you.
  2. Michael E

    Michael E Registered User

    Apr 14, 2005
    Ronda Spain
    Hi ww100

    welcome to the forum.... There is no 'for sure' answer. Sometimes sufferers do not want to know that they have AD or anything wrong with their heads... My wife has refused to accept there is any problem at all and nowadays frequently has no idea who I am..... If your dad is in this category then if you are seeking a diagnosis then the only way forward is to tell him a 'porky' and say the visit to the Doctor is about something else.... There is then the problem that 'failing' at the simple memory test the doctor will do is also demeaning for the patient - sometimes... The neurologist has now stopped putting my wife through them.

    The shock to your dad of finding out for sure what he maybe suspects could be serious.....

    If the GP does diagnose Alzheimer's then your dad will have to go through all the indignities again back in the UK in order to get him 'clocked' into the system... As he will be so short a time in Sydney is there no way you can arrange for him to get to his local GP for a check up?

    It is a long term illness ending in death. Certainly there is Aricept which will help to slow the advance and I suppose the sooner someone is on this drug the better but that too would have to come out of the UK system...

    Others may have more positive suggestions - but it is a dreadful burden your mum is about to take on and will last a long time - if she is the main - only carer then she is the one that needs the most support - I think.

  3. Kathleen

    Kathleen Registered User

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Sussex

    We used the routine health check to get Mum to the GP after we had discussed the problems Mum was having with him. This led to the specialist and diagnosis, she went on to galantamine and had about 18 months of good times with Dad before started to go down again.

    My grandad had radiotherapy on his neck which led to a form of dementia several years later and the family used the same ruse to get him to the GP.

    Whatever route you take it needs to be done as soon as possible for all your sakes, as Michael says your Mum will need support and the earlier the diagnosis, the better for all of you.

    Ignoring a problem never makes it go away, unfortunately.

    Good luck and let us know what happens,

  4. SallyB

    SallyB Registered User

    May 7, 2005
    Hi, I know what you are going through. I couldn't get my Dad to the specialist. I managed to get to see his GP on my own about Dad's memory and 'odd' behaviour (he had an odd gait and some really strange tendancies)

    When the appointment came it was from the department of psychiatry and he refused to go (he was still opening his own mail at that point so I couldn't 'filter' it!

    I tried to enlist other family members but was met with comments such as "there's nothing wrong with his memory" "I think it is you, I can always have senible conversations with him" and when I explained that the GP had said he had either got AD or Had mimi strokes I was told "well I carn't believe it and he is an adult if he doesn't want to go I carn't persuade him" All really helpful from people that are surposed to care about him!

    My advice would be to be honest, when eventually I realised we had to get help I put my foot down used a bit of emotional blackmail I am afraid to admit. I explained to my Dad that when I was younger and he was looking after me He took me to the doctor when he was worried and now I had to do the same. I will admit to some pretty heated conversations. He will only go to appointments with me so it does put pressure on me but we finally got a diagnosis.

    What I have realised from reading on here is that he was diagnosed very late, I also think that we haven't seen the same level of Doctors ie never a consultant. However I do know that there is nothing more that could be done if we did.

    What would I do differently? Don't know really , probably use the emotional blackmail sooner!

    Good Luck and be reasured that there are people that know what you are going through.

  5. susieb

    susieb Registered User

    Apr 16, 2006
    Don't know if this is any help, but years ago faced with the same problem, I wrote to GP and explained. after the appointment he replied. I also made an appointment and told GP when it was. Think the letter was a good idea, I'd do that again, don't know about making the appointment though as dad didn't speak to me for two weeks (appointment was for mum!).

    Eventually (as first appointment didn't lead anywhere) I hit on the idea of getting mum to go to doctors with something else less threatening e.g. "you ought to get a blood test done because when your finger nails go like that it can mean you're anaemic" and then wrote again to GP with update.

    Good luck - it is worth trying to get a diagnosis and medication - Reminyl led to a slight improvement in my mum and if it stalls the progress of the disease, the earlier the better.
  6. ww100

    ww100 Registered User

    May 1, 2006
    Thanks for all of tour comments - they do help.

    I took him to the pub on my own last night and managed to get the subject around to memory issues. He was surprisingly open to my comments and almost seemed quite relieved that there was somebody he could talk to. He didn't admit to any severe memory issues but agreed to visit the GP and mention it to him when he returns to the UK.

    I will however contact his GP and write again to him outlining the problems that I have seen and keep pushing him to go - still a long way to go but I feel a bit more positive especially if we can get the doctor on side and that the subject has been raised.

    On another note, (I am not too sure how to do this but it may trigger other people's responses that could help other carers) - A friend of mine's parents in kent have changed the ownership deeds on their house. Most homes are owned jointly which means when one of the spouses passes away, the whole ownership moves onto the surviving partner. This couple have approached their solicitor and changed the ownership to 50% each whilst changing their wills so that on death their share of the house is passed onto the children with the spouse's right to abode. If the surviving partner needs to go into a nursing home, then as they only own 50% of the property the state cannot sell it to pay for care.
    I will look into this further and post any findings as a discussion thread.

  7. Michael E

    Michael E Registered User

    Apr 14, 2005
    Ronda Spain
    Really glad you were able to talk to your dad - it all sounds as good as it can be - if he remembers when he gets to the UK?????

    Re the passing onto the kids 100% of the house I suspect death duties might be greater and what if one of the kids dies? Will not death duties be huge???

    I think a few stately homes got into problems with this but I could be entirely wrong. Whilst I would prefer my kids to have the dosh rather than the government they are not top of my list.... Monique and I are.


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