How do you handle a parent that won't see a physician or admit that they have all the signs of Alzheimer's?


My parents are 72 years old and live 1,500 away from me. My father's side of the family has a long line of alzheimers including his parents and spouses. He started showing the beginning signs about 2-3 years ago but in the last six months has deteriorated significantly. He has other health issues as well including diabetes and high blood pressure. He sees a doctor once a year but refuses to include my mother or myself on the HIPPA form so we can not discuss any of his medical issues with his physician. We feel certain that his physician is not aware of the memory issues. We have even tried to write the physician a letter expressing our concerns and did not receive any kind of reply. When we try to discuss with my father, he becomes angry and hostile and walks away. He repeats the same questions several times in a 30 minute period, forgets to turn his vehicle motor off when coming home, leaves doors open when he leaves the house, and has even driven on the wrong side of the road. My mother has to deal with him alone on a daily basis and it has taken it's toll on her emotionally and physically. I feel helpless as there is nothing I can do being 1,500 miles away. My father would never agree to move so that they could be closer to me. I don't know where to turn to help both my mother and also my father. I feel like until we are able to get him to accept that their an issue, there is nothing we can do. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

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It is very important for seniors to have full physical and mental work up by a physician who specializes in geriatrics or sees a lot of senior patients.

I've been through all of the above. First you can't force them to do anything like move, agree to in home assistance, etc. if they are unwilling. As long as they are not declared mentally incompetent, you can't do anything with or without a POA other then continually try to encourage them to make the right choice. I'm still not having luck with my 90 yr mom but continue to wait for something to happen where I can get a drs or case worker help to get her moved to a safe and caring place.

This is what I had to do, I wrote the dr like you did documenting my observations, concerns and described her living situation. Then I asked her doctor to call her and remind her it was time for a check up. She likes her dr so she was more willing. This took persistence from his office because she would cancel apps. But she finally went in. She removed my HIPPA after she signed not much I can do.

Our parents are tough and private and it is still a way for them to control their situation and not depend on their kids. I say, they can see its the "last frontier" and they know if they stay in their home there isn't someone telling them what to do like in AL or skilled care.

Other suggestions:
Hire in home care/assistance a few hrs a week to at least give mom a break.
Hire cleaning persons to clean 2x/month
See if their church has a support group your mom would be willing to join
See if church has a visiting person who comes in and just offers support to mom and dad
Contact DMV and ask his license be revoked. If its a family member, they don't tell. You fill out the form online or print, fill out and mail in. This gets him off the street.
Provide dr, neighbors and local police with your contact info to contact you in case of emergency.
Lastly, make sure all parents legal paperwork is current and notarized, wills, DPOA, AMD. See if mom will share financial info with you including banks, iras, investments, etc. have her give you a listing with acct numbers.

Good luck. All this isn't easy and we are all in the same boat with aging parents or aging ourselves.
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My Mother has been acting kind of "goofy" for the last couple of years. She claims that her TV goes on in the middle of the night and that someone is knocking on her front door. She also started to deny that she's ever had conversations with certain people or has the conversation only half right. :My sister and I have tried to convince her to get checked out by her doctor, but she thinks we are ganging up on her and she is tired of us always being right. Do we have something to worry about or is this just normal aging for an 85 year old?
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Minnie2: I am so sorry! I feel it too. And the political situation in Washington, DC, and in the states is not helping any. Some states have no state taxes.
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What do you due when you mother who is 89 and does NOT belive she has Alzheimers/dem.She will not go to a DR, she lives aloneand lives in the past when her son was alive. She has become mean to me her only living child and is trying real hard to distroy me.
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One needs to realize too that Alzheimers is a relatively new word when one considers the ages of of the seniors. This is new vocabulary. I notice the memory of my elders seems to digress into the early stage of their life before dying. They call out to family members from their childhood who have long departed, because that is the "street" they are living on. But our seniors also have the great ominous power to turn on us and make life so miserable that we either run out of money, risk appearing mentally ill, or ending up in jail. This is my life long battle. After my step-father passed at home 37 yrs ago, I decided to not have children for my whole life, because I knew I would have this life long battle. I will never get credit for anything in my life. I could never have a career. Good luck & God bless! (PS My mom drove up an off ramp 20 yrs ago. Thankfully another infraction made her quit driving a couple years later.)
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I send you sister and I went through this very same scenario with our parents a few years ago. The frustration, guilt and desperation were so overwhelming. It's unfortunate that when things like this happen none of us are really prepaired for what to do. As they say with babies...they don't come with directions.....the same is true with our parents aging!!!!! Every family has different dynamics and factors. We went to the senior center first and spoke to various counselors who were so helpful and understanding. They gave us some hope (that we were not alone) and there are many options open to helping us out. We had a social worker come to the house to kind of assess the situation. We did contact an excellent elder atty. and have finally been able to get POA. That was AFTER my mother fell down the flight of stairs (she is 95) and miraculously broke nothing. We found out about this 2 days after it happened because my parents didn't " think" to call 911. We got her to the hospital to be checked (medicare wouldn't pay for her stay there{$$$}) so she was transfered to a rehab facility{$$$}. We were able to get POA from my dad only because we told him that she would not be coming home until he gave it to us. He still feels that he can do everything (this is his dementia). They couldn't take care of bills, or shopping for food, or cleaning...everyday things. We were able to have their bills sent to us, take charge of their finances, set up meals on wheels, get their driveway plowed, grass cut, fix and repair the things that my dad no longer did. This took place over the past 2 years. Dad's dementia is worse and he doesn't even realize the transition. So, what I am trying to say is that there are no absolute, easy ways to deal with is all trial and error depending on what new thing pops up!!!! This site is excellent with a wealth of knowledge and experiences, but it is also good to have a local face to face talk with a real person. My parents are still in their home, by themselves, in denial and my sister and I are jumping through hoops to get things in order and hopefully into a good facility. None of any of this is easy....yet ....we are trying our best. We still have to deal with their house, property, cleaning, legal isssues, taxes, burial plans and I'm sure alot of other things we have yet to find out about. All that plus how to cope with the eventual loss of our parents. Yikes!
It seems as though it may be inevitable (unfortunately) that something will happen to insite a change in your parents situation...whether you are there or not. Do seek out help and information now, do what you can, throw the guilt out the window, take care of have your life to live too!
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This is truly an issue when the person will not accept or listen to your concerns. Think it is mostly denial and agitation due to the dementia/alzheimers. Your father's actions are a danger to himself and to others. Leaving the care on - if it is parked in the garage it could cause carbon monoxide to leak into the house and poison both of your parents; and the driving on the wrong side of the road is, as you know, very serious. Would appear that he should not be driving anymore.

I would suggest calling Elder Services in the town in which they live and express your concerns. They have great suggestions to deal with various concerns. My mother-in-law had been adament about not sharing doctor visit information. The way we got through to her was telling her that if she were to be hospitalized, we would not have access to information unless she signed a release to that effect. If we did not have legal access, we could not help her - it is the privacy laws and they are taken very seriously by doctors and hospitals, etc. This worked for us, and she signed a letter stating that she agreed to allow my husband and me to receive medical information. The doctor can take it from there and get involved in the license revocation process as well as suggestions to deal with the memory problems.

If this doesn't work, I'm certain Elder Services will have suggestions. This is gut-wrenching and one of the most difficult things you have ever had to do. But, you will feel relieved in knowing you have tried everything you can to keep all concerned safe. So many of us have been through it and it is extremely stressful to say the least; but needs to be done.

Wishing you luck. Blessings to you and take care.
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It is not surprising that you did not hear back from the doctor -- he or she cannot discuss your father's case without your father's permission. But that does not mean the message hasn't been received. It is good for the doctor to know. How soon is the next annual visit, do you know?

Driving on the wrong side of the street, leaving the vehicle running ... these are not in the same category as forgetting a dental appointment. What is your mother's take on this? Is she aware of the seriousness of the situation, or is she somewhat in denial, too?

Contact the Department of Aging in your parent's state, describe the situation, and see what ideas they have for dealing with your very challenging situation.

Also, there are several articles along the lines of How to get your Loved One to a Doctor on this site. I hope a site administrator will be along and point them out to you.

Good luck!
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