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Dad is 82, Mom is 80. Mom stopped driving approximately 5 years ago when she dropped Dad off in the front of the doctor's office, told him she was going to run to the supermarket and then pick him up in an hour. Mom never went back to pick him up. As a matter of fact, she ended up 2 states away. The State Troopers found her at 10pm sleeping in the car at a rest stop. for several years before this incident there had been some signs that she was having cognitive problems. Potatoes left to boil with no water in them, I found her car keys in the refridgerator, running the bath and leaving it run

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Oh dear, Florida huh....? Well they are among their kindred spirits. It is not unusual to see them drive through storefronts, run over people, get lost and head to North Carolina instead of the doctor's office. And as for doctors here, they have a high elderly patient list and have seen and heard it all. Something will happen and then they will be evaluated. I hope it will be nothing serious.
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It doesn't sound like getting that doctor's ear is going to be productive. He may still be a great doctor within his field of knowledge, but geriatrics aint' it! Dad is in serious denial, and the doctor supports that.

So ... perhaps the best you can do now is keep a close watch on them for signs that they cannot continue safely on their own. If you could gradually introduce some help -- as what they deserve in their retirement, and not as what they need -- that could be useful. For example, who cleans the house? Who does the laundry? Who cares for the yard? Start with things that perfectly healthy people often hire help with and it MIGHT be easier to introduce more health-related help later.
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Thank you all for your answers. About, I don't know, 7 or 8 years ago, before Mom stopped driving I went down to their winter home to help Mom care for Dad due to his recent surgery. I was there for 3 weeks. During that time, she had an dr appointment and she wanted me to go with her. She was very cognitive at this time with just a few bouts of what we called "asking weird questions". I went into the exam room with her (again 7 or 8 years ago). The Dr. did his regular checkup. After he was done, she got dressed and he came back in again. During the check up he was talking to her about things going on in the world, etc. she was responding like she always (to me at least does) with vague answers, smiling and nodding, etc. but she was very tense. The Dr. then asked her the next holiday, what the date was, what day it was etc. I could see her getting pissed off. When he got to who the president was she said (seriously) TIME.TO.GO. and jumped off the table and walked out. The Dr. told me at that point that he thought she had early onset Alz due to her responses and anger. We only talked for a few minutes but he did let me know that she should be seen by a neurologist to make sure that there was no organic prob. I went back to the folks house and told Dad ALL ABOUT THE appointment. I think he would have punched me if he could have gotten out of bed. DAD never brought her back to that doctor, as a matter of fact when they are at their winter house to this day he will not set up doctor appts for either one of them down there. Call all the Dr. in Florida "F..in' Quacks' (lovely!) Up here, their have played DR shopping up until 4 months ago. They found a doctor who is 78 and still practicing. This doctor says, so Dad says, that there's nothing wrong with "Mother" she's just getting old and a little forgetful.

I don't know what I want anyone to say, Maggie, I completely realize that there is no magic pill that will cure Mom. I realize that Mom has Dementia, it's so obvious. I really believe that Dad does too. I just don't want them to hurt themselves. They have no business flying down to Florida next winter especially he won't go to a dr. down there and won't let her. I'm very close to calling elder services to seek advice. BTW, Mom doesn't have a UTI nor is she physically sick. When she is sick she's like a dying princess and has been this way since before my birth lol. Thanks everyone. Good luck to me.
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Wish Mom luck on the test.

The phenomenon known as "show-timing" is very frustrating for caregivers. This is when the person with dementia musters up all the stamina and concentrate they can in front of "company" -- especially important company like doctors. They are on their best behavior for a half an hour. They may even appear "normal." This exhausts them and they cannot sustain it for long periods, and gradually lose the ability to do it at all.

If you mother is still able to show-time after having cognitive confusion for more than five years, that is pretty impressive, even with coaching from Dad. I suggest you drop a line to the doctor beforehand, just listing your observations about Mom's memory and behavior, in case she and Dad are not forthcoming,

I understand the spouse's tendency to "cover up" for the impaired partner. Really, I saw it as my job to make his life seem as normal to him as it could. And that does involve a little deception here and there. I never went so far as to not be candid with doctors or other family members, but I understand the urge. Your dad's doing his loving best. You have a better understanding of why it is important for the doctor to see the non-show-timing patient. Give the doctor your input. Please don't scold your parents for doing what seems best to them.
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How about you ask the doctor to see mom alone without her crutch? Let him know what your concerns are. An interview with mom alone ought to make things clear to him.
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Your dad's not putting anything over on the doctor. They don't go to school for two thousand years to be easily fooled by a protective spouse (or adult child). I've quite ACCIDENTALLY done the same for my mom. I've been going with her to her doctor appointments for quite a few years.

My question is this: What do you expect the doctor to do about HER CONDITION? If she has memory problems, it's not like there's a pill for that. Dementia is largely a process of controlling behavior rather than improving one's condition. Oh, I suppose she could have a UTI or medication reaction, as an example, that's confusing her; but sans something like that? It's not like the doctor can give her a pill to make her better.

Unfortunately.

I admire your concern. I would suggest that, even though dad says he won't let you into the doctor's office, you go with them to her next appointment. Very innocently. Like, "I'm taking you both to lunch afterwards." And then, when the nurse calls them in, just get up and start to go with them.

If you CAN'T get in to the appointment, tell the nurse you want to speak to the doctor before he takes them. (There's usually a lag between calling patients into the exam rooms and the doctor actually coming in to see them.)

I wouldn't be doing it to call attention to dad prompting her, you already know she's forgetful. I'd be doing it to get the doctor's ear to ask if it's possible her medication or a UTI could be causing her memory problems.
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Yup, mom looked right at me for answers, but the MD held up his hand and said "Don't answer!" Coaching her will only work for a short time, because she will forget what he told her. It also will not help her with the clock test.
Let it be, the MD is not a fool. He may actually admire Dad for protecting her. Many families do not realize how much cover up goes on until the protective spouse dies, and then they are shocked by what they see. At least you are ahead of the game.
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You fax, mail or drop off a letter to the doctor outlining what you've noticed and what your concerns are. You should have her seen by a geriatric neurologist and neuropsych team for a full cognitive workup , not a mini-mental
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VbarbaraV, a really good doctor will notice that Mom has been coached because Mom will probably look at Dad each time to see if she got the answer right. If that is the case, the doctor probably has another set of questions he/she could ask.
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everytime I try to post it does this. anyway.... how can we have DAD not try to coach mom the questions the doctor will ask. What day is it? What season is it, what is the next major holiday, who is the president? etc. Dad refuses to let us into the apointments with him help
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