Trying to get a doctor to see Mums dementia

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Runragged, Mar 28, 2019.

  1. Runragged

    Runragged Registered User

    Feb 7, 2019
    Hi first can I just say having read many of the posts here I’m feeling quite humble by members strength and courage you are amazing. I’m sure this has been asked before but we need to get Mums dementia diagnosed so have made an appointment at the doctors, she has never been one to be at the doctors and has in the past taken against them for even suggesting she have tests ie scans for recurring utis (we had to cancel in the end ).
    So in under two weeks we have to get her to the surgery (they won’t come out unless housebound) so she may just refuse get her in the car which is increasingly more difficult as she’s eighty eight and while fairly mobile she has trouble getting in.The next problem if we manage all that will be that while she is totally dependent on my sister and I (we go in six or more times a day) she explains to everyone that she is doing it all herself .she has hallucinations delusions has forgotten having my sister and is accusing her of being our Dads child from an affair. But when chatting to her sister for an hour can recall every detail of my sisters birth. So in my long winded way how will the doctor be able to diagnose anything if she’s able to switch it on and off like a bulb.
    We are wondering if it’s worth asking for a private home visit but don’t know if our doctors do this or wether they would be able refer us to one that can. We are desperate to get her help
  2. marionq

    marionq Registered User

    Apr 24, 2013
    The most common way out of this dilemma is to bullet point all your concerns and send them to the doctor before the appointment so they will know what to look out for. Don’t make a big thing about the appointment. Just turn up as if it is routine and en route to coffee and cake later in the day.
  3. karaokePete

    karaokePete Registered User

    Jul 23, 2017
    N Ireland
    That is difficult. Many people have success if they collude with the GP to have their loved one called in on the pretext of a general check-up, such as a well woman appointment and then they can include a dementia check.

    The tests are about a lot more than long term memory as it's quite normal for a person with dementia to be able to recall distant facts rather than recent ones, as it's the short term memory that is usually lost first. In some types of dementia even the short term memory can be retained.
  4. Sirena

    Sirena Registered User

    Feb 27, 2018
    As others have said, write a brief factual account of her behaviour as you have done here, and send it to the GP ahead of time. A good GP will then know the right way to approach the appointment.

    If you are anxious about the appointment your mother will pick up on this, so as Marion says treat it is a routine thing and be cheerful and positive about it, I know that's hard but she will take her cue from you. The promise of going on somewhere nice afterwards would be a good lure (whatever she thinks of as nice - going to the park, shopping, tea and cake etc). If you find you can't get her to that appointment, you could enquire whether a private visit at home would be possible.

    Be aware though that if the GP thinks she has dementia the next step will be an appointment at the memory clinic, and then an MRI scan. It doesn't sound likely she will easily agree to that. A diagnosis isn't necessarily a pathway to much in the way of help - and she probably wouldn't accept help until a crisis (such as a bad fall) precipitates it. Sorry if that sounds negative but unfortunately it's the likely outcome.
  5. jugglingmum

    jugglingmum Registered User

    Jan 5, 2014
    I think this bit is important to understand. Whatever diagnosis you get, unless there are symptoms which can be eased with medication there is no continuing healthcare support.

    Writing it down and giving the letter to the GP in advance is the only option, and a lot of people with dementia don't think anything is wrong.

    Some of what you describe in terms of being able to talk lucidly to her sister is known on TP as 'hostess' mode. And the main carer or carers tend to get given a hard time.

    I had a minor crisis with my mother which enable us to sort things out.
  6. hilaryd

    hilaryd Registered User

    May 28, 2017
    We wrote to mum's GP in advance, and I'd definitely recommend this. Confidentiality rules mean that the GP can't really discuss your mum's condition with you, but at least he'll have the information - if possible I think it's good to include specific examples that show how she's deteriorated within a timeframe, rather than just saying she's forgetful, needs help etc - because everyone's 'normal' is different. I also agree that a diagnosis doesn't automatically lead to extra help, but at least it provides a label that social services etc recognise.
  7. Banjomansmate

    Banjomansmate Registered User

    Jan 13, 2019
    Do you have Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare in place? If not then you should try to encourage your Mum to do that and the financial one straight away before she loses capacity to do so. Once you have those in place the Dr. should be prepared to talk to you.
  8. whetstone woman

    whetstone woman Registered User

    Feb 18, 2014
    If she can't get in the car then she is effectively housebound even if she is mobile. So say you can't physically get mum to the surgery.
  9. Sirena

    Sirena Registered User

    Feb 27, 2018
    I agree re the 'recognised label', but the problem is that SS will not do anything without her permission while she is deemed to have capacity. So if she continues to say she's fine and doesn't want help, they will take her word for it.
  10. Runragged

    Runragged Registered User

    Feb 7, 2019
    Thank you everyone for your helpful advice I think we’ll go with trying to get her there and if she refuses or is unwell will try to go down the private route so that it can happen in her home.
    We have done a letter as suggested here and will be dropping it into drs the morning of the appointment, so hopefully he will read it before hand. We’ve never mentioned dementia or even memory problems to her (she was a social worker and dealt with elderly and so even now is very defensive if it’s even on tv) we will tell her it’s a medications review and see how that goes down. I know there is very little drugs wise that will help her but because she refuses to go to bed more than one night in four we are hoping maybe something to help her sleep might be in order, it’s awful going home to bed knowing she is prowling her house . We are currently waiting for the medical power of attorney to come back so we at least have that for later use. Thanks everyone again

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