Dad has been showing cognitive decline. How important is it to insist that he see a gerontologist?

Follow
Share

Dad is showing memory loss - left Mom at the store, can't be allowed to drive anywhere but church ( 1 mile away) by himself, gets confused about his medications and argues with Mom or sibs if we ask him about it or make suggestions. doesn't eat much but loves sweets, forgets to eat. He's never been big on doctors saying "they just want your money" and we even have trouble getting him to go to the allergist or to get a family doctor. He's on meds for high blood pressure, COPD.

One sib insists he should see a gerontologist for a diagnosis, to see if meds might be helpful. Mom and the others don't agree. I don't know enough to say..

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
14

Answers

Show:
Yes, SusanJMT, dehydration happens frequently and to be one step ahead of them forgetting to drink or "digging in their heels"..I bought a clear Tervis Tumbler (mug size). The visual level of the liquids seemed to help my mom for a time. When drinks are hidden in the styrefoam cups "out of sight, out of mind". As my mother's dementia has deteriorated to less than a 5 minute recall, routine is so important - to retrain efforts into long term.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

This is very good to know. Thank you for shedding some light on this topic because so often we assume the worst when there is a simple explanation and easy "cure"...not always, but sometimes.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

There are other factors to consider beside a diagnosis of dementia. I learned that even a low-level infection can greatly exacerbate the symptoms, as can inappropriate nutrician, lack of sleep, medication, depression, anxiety, dehydration. Mom had all of these from time to time (she was very resistant to guidence and care from anyone and dug in her heels, and complained that people had no business telling her what to do). They all played a large part, one by one, or in combination in her terrible demential. After a stay in the hospital and now in Assisted Living (Life Guidence), she is as bright as a button, and 95% "there." Three years ago, she was completely crackers.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

No one has yet mentioned the importance of the Dementia diagnoses to help the Caregiver (you). Our "Aging Institute" with the Geriatrician and related staff such as nurses and social workers has many supportive resources that not only help the patient but also the Caregiver - you suddenly have a new and well equipped support team for you and the decisions that will come in the future.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Never realized that hospice wasn't just for "end of life" care. Interesting to know.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

You may not be aware; but hospice can certainly be requested when a person has dementia. Hospice can be used whenever a patient has a disease that cannot be cured. Dementia falls within this group. I found Hospice so helpful for my husband and for me. There is no charge for their care. You pay for the nursing home if your loved one is there. Hospice will also come to your home instead. Their volunteers may be able to give you respite (relief you so you can go shopping, etc. for several hours at a time). Check with specific Hospice care nearby. Good luck and hugs to all of you. Corinne BTW, I opted to remove meds like Namenda and Aricept. I did not want my dear one to suffer any longer.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

It's really important to get to a doctor and get a diagnosis. There are so many things which might be causing your Dad's problems, and until you get a clinical diagnosis by a professional, you are just guessing and it could cost him his life or someone else if he is still driving, even if it's only a mile away. There are evil people out there who, if they are involved in an accident with your Dad even if it's their fault, who will find out that your Dad has had problems and you could lose everything! Don't delay! Get him to a professional ASAP! There are worst things than having a sibling mad at you because you did what you knew to be right.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

You don't say now old your dad is and what is 'care plan' is or if he has enough to fund his care. All of those things are important when considering if he needs to be diagnosed, etc. The goal may not be to 'get him better' but a diagnosis would be helpful in making sure he receives whatever benefits he may be eligible for. Often without the ability to tap those resources, family carries the whole burden financially and otherwise.
In our family, we have a 92 year old (my MIL) who is in nursing home with hospice care due to a small malignant mass in her lung, which as the doctor has told us, will not be what ends her life. But she also has depression issues, constant UTI's, and she is after all very old. My husband and his brother do not seem to be in any way on the same page regarding her care. BIL wants to force her to eat, make her get out of her room and 'mingle' (hard to do when everyone where you live seems to be mentally blank -she is not), and he berates her as if she has a long life ahead of her. My husband and I think she ought to be allowed to do as she pleases for the most part and if that means sleeping most of the time, eating what she's in the mood to eat and as little or as much as she wishes, basically calling the shots for herself in the very small realm of control that she still retains, then so be it. Her cancer diagnosis allowed her to get hospice involved, which allows her morphine when she is in any pain, for anything, usually the UTI's. We say 'ok'! But, as I said, the diagnosis(es) were required to originally get her eligibility going for LTC which she paid insurance for, for many years, and for now her hospice care. On the other hand, a diagnosis at 92 really otherwise means pretty little if it didn't allow her more resources. At her age, she is ready to go and realistically, will go soon, one way or another.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

You should have your dad undergo a thorough evaluated by a geriatrician, neurologist, or a geriatric psychiatrist who specializes in dementia. A competent specialist will take a comprehensive medical history, review his medication regimen, perform a battery of blood and cognitive tests, and order an MRI or CT scan to diagnose his condition. His symptoms could be caused by a thyroid disorder or a vitamin 6 or 12 deficiency which are easily treated. Or, if he has a form of dementia, he can be started on medications such as Aricept and Namenda which can stabilize his symptoms. A timely diagnosis of dementia also gives you the opportunity to make arrangements for your dad's care in an orderly and non-emergency manner. There are many things to consider in developing a plan of care for someone with dementia such as living and caregiving arrangements, legal issues including the preparation of important documents, financial matters, and arrangements for day care and recreational activities.The sooner you find out what you're dealing with, the more time you will have to deal with these issues and include him to extent possible in the process. If you delay, you could be scrambling in crisis mode later on.

I make these recommendations as someone who has been there. My 93-year old mother was diagnosed with early stage Alzheimers' Disease in 2008. The early diagnosis gave me the time to address her need in an orderly and systematic fashion. It made things easier for both of us.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

Someone with cognitive issues is like a child and sometimes you have to make
The decisions for them. You wouldn't let a child make a decision if they need meds or whether they go to school or not. The same is true for someone with dementia. At some point you have to take charge for the safety of the patient.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Related
Questions