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How to best correct false info given to health professionals at the time parent with dementia is answering without embarrassing them. Mom is very good at providing "socially acceptable" responses when dealing with Doctors and nurses, and gets embarrassed by being called on inaccuracy in front of them. Mom is 87 and cannot be left alone, walk well, nor drive anymore.



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My son in law is coming to visit for the next week. He is a dr in Houston. Right now he is working at the VA there. I am going to pick his brain for some good advice from a dr's POV......how much "family" intervention he would want, etc.

He did say that most of his patients are non compliant anyway--meaning they come to him for advice and care, and then go do what they want anyway. This is true with dementia patients and "well" patients also. Discouraging, I imagine.
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Thanks for the thoughtful answers, wasn't really aware of the geriatric Dr. possibilities, will look into that - and bringing a note to Dr.'s to give nurse ahead of time is definitely an idea will use in future!
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We've discovered that having mother go to a drs apt with ANYBODY other than the brother she lives with is a better dynamic. He hears her complaints all day, everyday and pretty much has tuned her out.
When my younger sister showed up at a recent pre-surgery apt, sis was prepared with a LOT of questions and more information for the dr. I am pretty sure that without sis' input, Mother would have talked this dr into an unnecessary surgery. Brother said nothing the entire visit. Although Mother was unhappy that sis "showed up" at the appt., the dr was happy someone else in the family was taking an interest. Surgery was denied, some other options were discussed, Mother was initially VERY angry, but is now accepting of what "she cannot change".

My sis is planning in going to the first visit Mother has with her NEW geriatric physician (she had been seeing a GP) and will fill them in. All past charts and records are being released to sister so she can hand them over, first visit.
Mother is beginning to show signs of dementia--subtle changes that only someone who sees her infrequently would really notice. If someone has more dementia--absolutely, they need a second set of ears and a good note taker. Drs hate wasting time on people who can't/won't/are incapable of following simple healthcare plans. They welcome a friend or family member who actually will follow through.
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When we were at the doctor, I would position myself behind mom but facing the doctor. When she lied, I would silently shake my head "No". The MD picked up the cue and would ask mom for more detail. She thought he was some sort of mind reader.
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In the early part of my moms diagnosis I would simply stand behind her where she couldn't see me but the doctor could. When the doc would ask if she was unsteady on her feet mom would say no, I would be behind her shaking my head yes. Then I went the note/list of my concerns route. I would also tell mom before we went into the office thst I would help her answer any questions just in case she was unsure if the answer. I would always say this appointment is no big deal, I can do all the talking for you. Once my mom was diagnosed with dementia, we no longer let mom and dad go to these spots alone. Like others stated above, they were more concerned with socializing. I recently started giving my dad my phone to play solitar to keep him entertained so he wouldn't be complaining if he was not taken back at the time scheduled, works wonders for me.
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I've been a patient with FTD/LBD for going on 6 years. Because I know and accept my limitations, patience, memory and judgement being among the most significant, I am not embarrassed by them--they exist and they are the 'new me'--nor am I embarrassed by someone (my wife in particular) talking about them. Indeed, I appreciate her explaining to people the problems I have (though I don't always appreciate their reaction), for it is fact, not bragging or demeaning, and it explains why I do or do not do what I do or say and suggests I probably need help if I appear ti be lost or confused (I carry a medical alert card and wear a medical alert dog tag for the same reasons).

I would not dream of going to a doctor's appointment without my wife (or someone) accompanying me (been there, done that, still don't remember what went on and will never do it again) and, knowing the doctor cannot properly evaluate and treat me if given the wrong (my view) information, would be more embarrassed if nothing was said (when accompanied by a friend, that person is always briefed ahead of time of what needs to be said). Besides, the doctor already knows I'm an unreliable informant. I'm far less embarrassed by those experiences than I was by a bed bath given by two young nurses aides when I was in the hospital.

In other words, don't sell Mom or Dad short. Perhaps it is you who are more uncomfortable than they? (Sorry, my FTD is taking over)

That being said, I'm not female so my social interactions, desires and expectations are very different from you ladies, but if the doctor happens to be an attractive female I do try to impress a bit more.

I think the note or list ideas are excellent suggestions (I've used them myself to make sure I don't forget anything), especially if the patient is being accompanied by someone other than the primary caregiver. If the patient questions the note, a simple "Its to remind me so I don't forget" response might work. Or an "I forgot" while you return to talk to the doctor or nurse for a moment.

(Sorry, did not mean for this to become a rant. Hope it's more helpful than harmful)
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When I would take my dad to the Dr. I would write a note. A short, simple note about my concerns or maybe a couple of questions that I'd like answered. I didn't like to talk about my dad like he wasn't in the room either and I found that passing the note to the receptionist when we checked in worked very well.
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Assuming your dr already knows mom has the health issues you mentioned. If not or if they need a reminder write a note before going into the appointment. Give it to the nurse for her and the dr to read before he sees your mom. You can fax this over if that works better complete with things you want checked out. I also find that it helps to have a list of what needs discussing and discuss it with mom before hand to remind her of the times she was dizzy or had the cough or whatever the problem is even if it isn't going on right then. Mention in the note that she gets embarrassed. Most drs will work with you on this. Also if you go somewhere else before the dr appt. such as to lunch, by a friends house or a merchant she enjoys, she will be a little tired when she gets to the dr and not as apt to pretend. She's already done that ( had a little social interaction) at the other locations. My aunt likes to entertain the whole waiting room (89) so she's pumped when she gets to the dr. He really appreciates my having an agenda to keep her on track.
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