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Talking to specialists in front of Mum

Smudge13

New member
Feb 8, 2018
8
hi all , does anybody else have the same problem as me I find it really hard that when I take my mum to appointments they always ask me about her in front of her ( if that makes sense) I always feel so guilty and miss out stuff I really want to say as it’s so awkward..
 

jaymor

Volunteer Moderator
Jul 14, 2006
12,930
England
I used to make notes and our CPN used to collect them a couple of days before our appointment and give them to the consultant. He always acknowledged he had them by taking them out of my husband’s file on his desk and waving them slightly and smiling. I left nothing out. I would also sit slightly back from my husband so I could nod or shake my head depending on his version of events.
 

Kevinl

Registered User
Aug 24, 2013
4,771
Salford
Other than the GP, no. At the memory clinic we were always seen together first the apart, then together again and between the latter 2 parts the consultant who spoke to my wife talked to the nurse or doctor that had seen me alone so they could put all of the pieces of the jigsaw together.
We'd then both go back in and nothing I said was ever quoted, I was never asked to speak about my wife in front of her.
One tip is to always sit behind the person you're with then if they give a "wrong" answer you can shake your head so the doctor sees it but they don't.
K
 

Smudge13

New member
Feb 8, 2018
8
Other than the GP, no. At the memory clinic we were always seen together first the apart, then together again and between the latter 2 parts the consultant who spoke to my wife talked to the nurse or doctor that had seen me alone so they could put all of the pieces of the jigsaw together.
We'd then both go back in and nothing I said was ever quoted, I was never asked to speak about my wife in front of her.
One tip is to always sit behind the person you're with then if they give a "wrong" answer you can shake your head so the doctor sees it but they don't.
K
Hi yeah I do use those techniques but still find it difficult as my mum gets very upset and watches my every move as she asks me not to say anything , if I shake my head she gives me the look as if to say shhh !!
 

Smudge13

New member
Feb 8, 2018
8
Other than the GP, no. At the memory clinic we were always seen together first the apart, then together again and between the latter 2 parts the consultant who spoke to my wife talked to the nurse or doctor that had seen me alone so they could put all of the pieces of the jigsaw together.
We'd then both go back in and nothing I said was ever quoted, I was never asked to speak about my wife in front of her.
One tip is to always sit behind the person you're with then if they give a "wrong" answer you can shake your head so the doctor sees it but they don't.
K
I used to make notes and our CPN used to collect them a couple of days before our appointment and give them to the consultant. He always acknowledged he had them by taking them out of my husband’s file on his desk and waving them slightly and smiling. I left nothing out. I would also sit slightly back from my husband so I could nod or shake my head depending on his version of events.
I used to make notes and our CPN used to collect them a couple of days before our appointment and give them to the consultant. He always acknowledged he had them by taking them out of my husband’s file on his desk and waving them slightly and smiling. I left nothing out. I would also sit slightly back from my husband so I could nod or shake my head depending on his version of events.
 

Smudge13

New member
Feb 8, 2018
8
Hi , yeah I think handing them a detailed letter might work , although I will have to make sure Mum doesn’t spot it or I will be in trouble ..
 

myss

Registered User
Jan 14, 2018
438
Is it possible to explain to the person you see with your mum that you would like a quiet quick word after the appointment? (I've done this with one of my kids so that I didn't embarrass them in front of the doctor). If your Mum asks you what did you speak to them about, tell her that it was something regarding you and not her. Perhaps explain this as you're making the appointment so the person you're seeing is aware before you get there?

I've been OK with sort of thing as I've been able to say whatever I needed to the GP and other health/care workers in front of my Dad. Good luck.
 

Rolypoly

Registered User
Jan 15, 2018
2,319
I know what you mean. You know the dr has to hear the truth but you don’t want to embarrass the pwd. I do the sitting to one side/behind and nod, shake my head, make faces etc. which does help if the dr is receptive to subtle hints. Sometimes I have to but in with a well actually...well you did say that...
 

Onmyown

Registered User
May 30, 2017
385
Crazy really we have to do this at all
My mums gp sees me on my own thankgod. Her last doctor refused to speak to me alone so we got nowhere and my siblings would then ring her doctor and tell him I was a nut job and mum was fine that they didn’t see any dementia or behavior problems? Of course mum peeing on floor in her bedroom and throwing her incontinence anywhere around the house was “totally normal”.
 

Lawson58

Registered User
Aug 1, 2014
2,148
Victoria, Australia
If the doctor is asking you these sort of questions in front of your mum then to me that means he accepts that she has given permission for him to talk to you.

I think I would be making the request that next time you need to make an appointment for your mum that you have your own five minutes of the doctor's time on your own. It would be more efficient and productive for everyone.
 

MorryLou

Registered User
Jun 19, 2017
64
Newcastle
I have had a lot of anxiety over this as I often wanted to say a lot of different stuff compared to what my Mum was saying. She kept telling the specialists that she was doing everything she used to do. Like others I wrote my thoughts down to give them a proper picture later. I had to mention my Mums false memories and delusions that way and I don't think I will ever get to speak in front of her about this even to this day as she believes these events actually happened.
It is hard for us carers, but I'm sure the specialists have seen it all before.
 

Bod

Registered User
Aug 30, 2013
1,239
Some times you just have to speak up, come what may.
The person's reaction to your speaking up, may reveal a great deal about the situation, and their understanding of it.

Bod
 

fizzie

Registered User
Jul 20, 2011
2,730
I would never talk in front of my Ma and I asked the professionals not to talk about 'dementia' - she was distraught by the thoughts of a future with memory loss in the early days and so to save her any further distress that's how we operated. She was in denial til the day she died lol I used to write a note before we went anywhere of where we were, what we felt we needed and why this was in note form. All but one 'professional' were very respectful and very understanding and it worked well.
 

Terz

Registered User
Nov 29, 2012
13
Scotland
Hi, I had this at first when the community nurse would come round to the house and there was no way I could sit behind - the layout of the room doesn't allow that. I tried a quick word at the door as I was seeing them out but that only allowed a very brief word so Mum didn't become suspicious. I now make all arrangements for meetings or appointments by phone explaining "reality" by phone either before or after. It's not easy and I hate talking about my Dad in front of professionals. Mum is not self-aware of her Alzheimer's but Dad is more advanced but remarkably aware he has memory issues. This meant that Mum would have her own version of reality, but Dad could become upset as he didn't understand anything other than we were talking about him.
 

ASPIRE

Registered User
Jan 9, 2014
16
cambridge
l have been in this situation many times with my wife who has alzheimers you do have people coming round to see you asking questions to ask what is she like you tell them the truth and you have to answer for your wife at times . My wife used to look at me with real anger on her face when l was talking to these people l knew that l was going to go through it when they left she would call me all sorts of names and cop the nark and this could go on for hours afterwards. Sometimes you cant avoid these situations you try to be as nice as you can with your answers and questions but you still have to talk to someone this is unknown ground for you.
You do have to lie at times ( which l didnt like doing ) so you can talk to someone without her knowing. If anyone phoned me l had to watch what l was saying If l said the wrong thing she would hit me. It was not all bad, now and then she said she loved me and that made all the differance to me.
Its been 10 years on this alzheimers journey and you have to just keep adapting to the different stages of this decease and many times you do wonder what to do.
 

juicy13

Registered User
Jan 22, 2014
18
What I find really hard is the way some professionals think that because my loved one has dementia she doesn't understand or hear. It hurts me so much when they say Dementia or end of life in front of her.
 

olddog

Registered User
Jan 20, 2014
4
London
Yes, I recognise this feeling. I tried writing in advance, but discovered that the incompetence of the hospital meant I had wasted my time - the letter had not been read by the specialist despite it having arrived two weeks in advance. I also found that several specialists we saw lacked the skills to manage the complexity of collecting information both from the individual with dementia and their carer...the ones I saw seemed to be bogged down in considering the rights of person with dementia to the point of trying to force you into an openly confrontational position when something my Mum had said was simply untrue rather than use exploratory considered questioning or reflection to elicit a rounded picture in a helpful way. The Trust providing the MH services in my Mum's area was, in my view, very very poor.

If I was in this position again I would a) insist on a short separate discussion (perhaps while someone else did the usual basic health checks for my Mum; and/or b) write and send by recorded delivery. None of this is easy to do when you are coming to terms with the impact of dementia on someone close to you, which is why I didn't do it at the time. I didn't have the energy then, nor did I think that being "confrontational" would help my Mum. Long term, though, this has just let me looking back and thinking about how much better things would have been if I had.
 

christine38

Registered User
Feb 16, 2016
1
Mums nurse from memory team just left now. I sit next to her but a bit behind her so she can't actually see me if I shake my head. It's so hard I feel so bad and I'm left feeling angry with myself as I forgot loads of things I wanted to say
 

Bod

Registered User
Aug 30, 2013
1,239
To ensure the interviewer is informed of the full situation, rather than post a letter in advance, I have given a copy to the receptionist when arriving, with the request that it be read before the interview starts.
Mostly this has worked, but I still have a copy to hand, should it become clear that no reading has taken place.
I have had to speak up, come what may, to enable the best outcome for the PWD. Father was not pleased that I "had let the cat out of the bag". But soon forgot... as they do!

Bod
 

Obis mum

New member
Feb 2, 2018
8
hi all , does anybody else have the same problem as me I find it really hard that when I take my mum to appointments they always ask me about her in front of her ( if that makes sense) I always feel so guilty and miss out stuff I really want to say as it’s so awkward..
I always say " Mum is it ok if I talk to doctor about you , can you hear us ? "