My dad is having memory issues and some dementia. Is it wrong to go behind his back to speak to his doctor?

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My brother insists it is wrong to "go behind our Dad's back" to speak to his doctor. My brother is feeling guilty for having talked to Dad's doctor. He has been adament (sp?) that Dad will do this, Dad will know when it is time to turn over the car keys, etc.

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You have to talk about it, ignoring the issues only prolongs the inevitable. I'm taken the liberty of sending my Mom's Dr a letter expressing my deepest concerns. Mom has told me she ddn't mind me talking to the Dr. then later on, she's worried that I'm trying to have her commited, thinks she's loosing it etc. Some how or another you have to get your concerns and points across.
As for taking the keys WOW! don't I know how touchy that can be. We didn't do it when we should have a few yrs ago. Dad is 95, had been out to the local grocery store, came back home and had a stroke. What if he had the stroke while driving, what if, what if! It can happen to anyone but we have to be honest and address the hard decisions in life or they will address us.
Best wishes to you, follow your mind as well as your heart.
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no there is nothing wrong in taking your dad to the doctor. You care enough to find out what is going on. Age is part of the problem but there may be something else wrong also. it is a good thing you are doing. i notice with my mom. but it took the docotor too long to listen to me. The problem was also even though I was her durable power of attorney and health epoxy and personal rep I lived in Florida and she was in New York. Finally I had to dempand a test, she had alztiemers/dementia but it was not is the begining stages like he thought, The medicine she was put on it was help. I moved her to florida and I had to place her in a assisting living. She hit so hard and the fire resuce had to come to the house and sad she was a lot sicker than I was told. I was there almost every day, did sleep overs and also help out with the activities. I did have to quit my job , I am sorry that i did not take her to another doctor when I first notice changes.
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There is nothing wrong with you discussing your father's condition with his doctor, in fact, it is a very smart idea. We have been there, done that, with my husband's mother, his father and my mother. We have been their care-givers as all of them have gradually slipped down the terribly ugly slide of dementia. We have had to do things we never wanted and felt the guilt, but we have had to for the health of not only our parents, but our entire family.

NO, for the most part, they have NO IDEA when it is time to talk to the doctor. Many, many are in denial for numerous reasons, whether it be the disease robbing them of all intellectual reasoning powers or their not wanting to admit they must give up independence and life long freedoms. Either way, it is a VERY good idea for you to speak with his physician. Often, the physician can offer medication to help slow the process and grant both you and your family member more time to love one another and get affairs in order. I hope you obtain both a medical and financial POA. These will become increasingly important as the disease progresses and you must shoulder more and more of you father's affairs of daily living.

Dementia is an interesting and frustrating process to deal with and watch. You can’t understand it, only cope on a daily basis as each day and person is different. I call my mother my “box of chocolates” from the movie Forest Gump, because you just never know what you are going to get. My mother is 95 and I have been observing the subtle, yet continuous downhill progression for about 6 years. About 5 years ago, due to macular degeneration and glaucoma, she did give up driving, but not until the neighbor, who couldn’t drive so Mom was her chauffeur, finally told me that she had to tell my mother the color of the traffic lights!! Even today, as a hospice patient living with us, my mother “thinks” she has the body and mind of a 25 year old. She has no balance and has fallen numerous times because she doesn’t think she needs her walker. Our daughter has a 4 month old son and Mom keeps offering to hold him and take care of him while I do other things, even though she can barely hold a spoon. She asks the same question over and over and over in a 2 minute period and insists she can go back to her home to live alone, yet she can’t stand in the shower, dress herself or figure out how to fix a meal. She still wholeheartedly believes she is fully capable and can handle her life. So, don’t count on your father having the aptitude to make sound decisions as, even in the early stages, their abilities are beginning to show signs of illogical thought patterns. There are different forms of dementia and not all react the same to the digression of the disease process. Often times the progression is very subtle and the patient, family and care-givers aren’t aware of or don’t want to face the loss until it becomes grossly apparent.

I strongly suggest you set an appointment with your father’s physician and tell him exactly what you have observed in your father’s behavior. By doing so, it will make him aware of discreet changes he may have missed during a general physical; your father may even be unaware of the changes in his personality. The doctor can schedule a more complete evaluation or send him to a geriatric specialist. By having the physician involved, you and your brother will also have someone to present the medical facts to your father and open the door to discussions about medical and legal decisions you will all have to face. It is much better to know the facts so you can implement your father’s wishes before he is no longer capable of making them known. When, and if, the time comes, you will also need a physician’s declaration of dementia so you can obtain legal status to act in his behalf. Either way, it can only help your father have the most optimal care and medication available in an attempt to slow the progression of this ugly disease. Invite your brother to join you, but if he refuses to go, go alone. BUT DEFINITELY GO!

I know it is extremely stressful to make these decisions because when you initially have to take the steps, your loved one usually has not completely lost all ability to function or reason, so you feel terribly guilty and like you are overstepping your bounds. Just remember, everything you are doing is because you love your parent and want the best for them and the best quality of life in the years that remain. Whether that be financially so you can provide the best physical care possible, or medically to maintain optimal health.

I am sure your brother only has your father’s well-being and emotions at heart, but there comes a time when someone has to take the bull by the horns and make the tough decisions. It is difficult because you have looked to your parents for guidance and as your adult role models all your life. They have been the ones making all the decisions and giving you advice, so naturally, you are tentative to supersede them and it is hard when the roles reverse. Yet, you have to for their safety, comfort and security. Maybe talking to a third party such as an attorney or elder care specialist will help both you and your brother understand what is actually happening and give you the strength you will need to accept and handle the inevitable facts you can not change and your father does not realize.

Sorry to get so long winded, I didn’t mean to tell you how to build the watch when you only wanted to know the time, but there are so many branches to the dementia tree. Good luck with the road before you. I know there will be many bumps, but remember there will also be many beautiful memories left ahead too, especially if you have all your ducks in a row and father’s affairs in order. Love, education and understanding are the best bedfellows when it comes to surviving this hideous disease. My thoughts, prayers and understanding empathy go with you.
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You do need to be legally cleared to do that, but morally I would agree you should speak to the doctor especially when it comes to serious issues and you have an elder who their is "no speaking to"... It sounds callus, but it is for their own good and as they are in your care it is now your responsibility, They will be challenged and annoyed maybe even angry and feel somewhat disrespected, but if their health and well being is at stake and an end run is the only way to open up the dialog for assistance or change, I'd say you need to do it.
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Tell Dad you are concerned for him and you have heard about some great medecine that may help him not decline any further -- the side effects are a real concern and he has the right to decide how this will play out
letting him know he is not alone will help him gain trust in your concern for him
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KMS: It was be wrong NOT to speak to his doctor, so issues are discussed and understood. I agree with all the others who stated that having health care proxy and medicate POA is absolutely necessary to see that your 'parents' wishes are also considered, should they forget.

My mother at first was upset when I would go the doctors with her, but I just explained to her I was there only to help her remember things, and to make sure that the doctor knows any concerns she had prior to the visit. I NEVER spoke about her in the third party, and I included her in the conversation, but I also provided the doctor with a list of my concerns, that he could answer and EMAIL to me if he felt it would upset my mother!

She loved her doctor and at times would 'just chat' with him telling him just how GOOD she felt, instead of telling him her concerns. When she felt off I would just tell the doctor was was going on, and then tell her not to worry after all.....
"You're LIVE Mom... I'm memorex"!!
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I take care of my mother-in-law part time, she has pretty bad dementia. Any discussions involving her care take place in front of her, gently and respectfully. For the most part, she doesn't understand the discussion and won't remember it after a very short while. I don't see anything wrong with talking to a parent's doctor if that parent is unable to deal with what is going on.
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I would call the doctor to let them know dad is having memory problems, they can do memory tests and there are medications that can help some people if started early. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away, his health will continue to generate, forgetting to eat , take medications, have a wreck..., and then you will be dealing with much worse issues. My mother had a stroke because we did not step in soon enough. You know it's time, do something before you regret it. I go with mom to the doctor and bring things up in front of her, mom may be annoyed at the time but she usually forgets about it by the time we get home. We do what we do because it's right, not because it's popular. Wish you the best!
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Hi there

Are you, the guardian or POA for you dad? I personally feel it's good that you are still involved with your dad, and ther is someone else who can talk with the doctor regarding your dads care. I work with seniors, and it's difficult for me to sit and watch a doctor over medicate a senior and not say anything. That is taking away the quality of life from a person to over medicate them. Maybe you need talk with your dad about guardianship, or POA for medical purposes.
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The doctor will actually be relieved if she/he sees you want to speak about your Dad. I talk to my mom's doctor on a regular basis so that I can stay on top of all the details of her health. She is not remembering much of the appointments nor is she remembering to tell the doctor a lot of what goes on in between visits.
My mother is not happy that I speak to the doctor, but it is keeping her safe and healthy so it has to be the way it goes. She is in denial tht there is anything wrong with her memory so I am happy to be her advocate. This way if something does happen to her or to anyone else because of her actions, I have done all that I can and can rest guilt free.
It isn't easy, but it is the right thing to do.
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