Is there an entity/specialist who can advise on caring for both parents with dementia who refuse any help and are in denial?


All the posts are very helpful, thank you. I think both of my parents now have dementia, although they don't have an official diagnosis (as far as I know). They manifest all the symptoms and patterns described above - repeating questions, overestimating their abilities, having paranoid thoughts, being depressed. The biggest problem is that they refuse help, even if I don't offer anything major - just to run errands, for example. My Dad especially, he gets very angry at times, whenever help is offered, or any suggestions to change anything are made. I live in another state. I am planning on moving to be close to them, but I am at my wits' end as to how to handle this situation in the future. I don't know what the best living situation would be, and living in their house would be disastrous for my well-being, I am pretty sure of that. Besides, they only have one small extra room. I know that aging people have increased desire to control, and with my parents it has become close to OCD. If anyone can advise on who or what entity would be of help here, I'd greatly appreciate that. I should mention that my mom flatly refuses to consider assisted living facility, even at the independent living level, and I myself don't feel good about placing either one of them in someone else's care - at least not at this point.

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Irene, the only reason my mom is now on antidepressants is that they were started after her stroke while she was in acute rehab. I'm her health care proxy, so when the geri psych in that facility suggested that we add zoloft, mom was in no position to say no ( and also in no position to act on suicidal thoughts and was monitored 24/7; it was the best opportunity to get her started on them. Once she settled into the nursing home, the geri psych there added Remeron, which has turned out to be such a godsend; her agitation over the little things has mostly remitted.

Good luck and let us know how this is working out.
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Babalou, your testimony is extremely helpful. Thank you for sharing your experience! Everything you say rings true for me. My mom sounds similar to yours, in that she refuses to take any psychoactive drugs, even though she knows she's depressed and has suffered from anxiety all her life. And now, when both of them are showing rapid decline in short term memory, let alone other symptoms, I am terrified of what the future holds, especially since the subject of independent living in a facility, any facility, is an elephant in the room.
Thanks so much again for caring.
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Irene, my parents went to an excellent doctor who took just the best care of my dad, who died on Chronic Leukemia in his 70s. Hiwever, as good a medical doctor as he was, he didn't pick up on my mom's cognitive decline which caused her to have increasing anxiety to the point of panic. He didn't get, going through he medication list each month, that she was taking a fiber supplement and Immodium on a regular basis, resulting in terrible fecal incontinence which eventually landed her in the hospital. He didn't notice that once she ( quite sensibly) stopped driving in her mid 80s, she no longer really participated her regular visits; she would lay there with her eyes closed and ask me afterwards "so, what did the doctor say?".

He gave her Xanax for the anxiety which she was afraid to take most of the time, lest she should become an addict. By the time she was a weeping, heartbreaking mess and he prescribed an antidepressant, she was so distraught that she claimed it gave her suicidal ideas after one dose (who knows?).

A better outcome was when we were able to get her into an Independent Living facility which had an on site geriatrics doctor AND a geriatric psychiatrist. In my opinion, adding a geriatric psychiatrist to my mom's care team was such a necessary and important step that when mom had a stroke and we needed to move her to skilled nursing, it became the first question I asked about each facility.

Definitely talk to your parents' current doctor about what you're noticing. There is a term "showboating", meaning that elders who are declining can often pull themselves together amazingly for events like doctors visits. And there are doctors who will defend admitting that their patients have any sort of cognitive decline when talking to adult children, making you think that YOU'RE the one who is losing it. Let us know how this goes. We all learn from each other!
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Thank you, Babalou, for your helpful response.

cmagnum, my parents see their doctor regularly, and I have actually talked to him recently about a different health issue that my father has, however the doctor never mentions any mental state issues to me. He sees both my mom and my dad, and he's a very good doctor. I guess the next step for me would be to talk to him about the concerns mentioned here.
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How recently have your parents seen a doctor to evaluate their health and level of care that they need? Sometimes parents will listen to an objective, third party individual like a doctor quicker than they will listen to a family member.
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First of all, welcome! I'm glad you realize that moving in is not the thing to do; you'd be even more frustrated!

You can contact the local area agency on aging in their area for suggestions. Sometimes they have the capacity to do a "wellness check", but of course your parents would have to open the door to them.

Are you in contact with their doctor? Can you fax or mail him/her a letter outlining your concerns?

Do you have POA for medical and financial matters? That's going to become very important in case something happens, a fall or a sudden illness.

Has your mom ever toured an independent or assisted living facility? My mother had all sorts of misconceptions and misinformation about them. We moved her at the beginning of the fall, as the stormy Nor ' Easter /snowy season started. She was amazed at all the activities offered! She joined the stock market club! She made jewelry! She ate a much wider variety of food and got MUCH better medical care from the on site geriatrician and geriatric psychiatrist.

Take mom for a tour next to me you visit. I'm sure others will have suggestions.
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