acknowledge that there is any problem and my Dad will not force the issue or even take her back for more testing. He has just given up. I feel that we have already wasted too much time and would like to get her on medication before it's too late (for it to make a difference).

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BAD MEDICINE - Don't be fooled, there are not-so-great docs out there. My father's general practitioner initially said to me, "He's just getting old." When I insisted on a mini-mental, he did it -- in front of us. As I watched my dad fool this doctor, I asked for a referral to a neurologist. The GP said, "Sure sure, whatever you want."

When my dad got critically ill and was hospitalized, the attendings put him on 5 mg Aricept. When I did go to the neurologist later, he said to me, "This is clearly Alzheimer's and he is not on a therapeutic dose of Aricept. We raised it from 5 mg to 10 mg.)

My dad improved quite dramatically. This allowed us to go visit his grandkids, for them to play and remember him and for him to remember them. After a year, we discontinued the Aricept -- it didn't seem to make any more difference. (This is normal - effects most prevalent in first year)

Every case is different, but I think it's obvious your dad's physician isn't treating or acknowledging his dementia, and when two family adult children recognize something is amiss, it's time to find a new doc. ASAP.

That's regarding your mom.

It also sounds like you'll need several new strategies to help your dad cope and to deal with the situation, if he can't. Maybe some others have some tips in this regard.

Can you take her to another doctor? Preferrably a geriatrician? There are many types of dementia and the doctors really need to rule out others before prescribing drugs that are specific to Alz. Drugs that help with one dementia may cause harm if you mom has a different one.

For my mom, once she was evaluated by a memory specialist, she saw the geriatrician. He did blood tests and a CAT scan to rule out other dementias. Then she was referred to a geriatric psychiatrist to make the final determination. Start to end this took about 3 months. Once they determined she had Alz, she was prescribed Aricept (along with other things) and we did see improvement.

Can you go back to her doctor and force him/her to diagnose your mother? Tell the doctor that you want her on Aricept or something along that nature and see what they say. If they say no, then ask why not. Also, your father needs to give you permission legally to be talking to these doctors yourself. Otherwise they won't tell you a thing by yourself.

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