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I think that my father has dementia, but I am not allowed to talk to his doctor. My mother will goes to the doctor with him, but she has her own mental issues and will not talk about this her children. Both parents are in their 80's.

He recently was in a car wreck and he had been drinking too. He said that he didn't hit her, but there was a dent in the other car door. The police were not called. I live several states away so I am hearing this second hand from my sister.

He tells the same stories repeatedly several times an hour. We had a stove replaced and he thought that he fixed it hours after the installers left. He gets agitated at sundown. He gets confused easily. I don't know what my options are and I am just starting to look for answers. So if this is something that has been discussed here already I am sorry.

Any information would be welcome.

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In 1990, my adoptive mom had Alzheimer's, but at that time, docs couldn't diagnose it until after death. However, when she came to live with me, I followed her in my car as she drove one day. It was so frightening!

That night, my ex husband & I took the keys away...with the car. She was angry, but because she didn't know where her car was.
We told her it was in the shop. Soon after she began falling, becoming increasingly hostile, refused meds by throwing them at me, wandering out at night & almost hurt one of my children by busting a window & running through the house with a piece of broken glass.
I took her to the family doc- take your parent to one- any way you can, even if it's to a new doc. Make sure they know the basic situation before you go, so it'd be best to use a Dr who knows a family member.

A trained professional will be able to see it's dementia by the questions they ask. Even then the doc was able to get my adoptive mom into a state health care home for everyone's protection. He said we didn't have a choice.

Think of it as saving lives of other people on the road, perhaps a child. It will help you put it into perspective. Taking keys away when they're not looking is one of the easier things to do, especially if they're out of their environment, for a visit or lunch.

No one with dementia is safe behind a wheel. Few will admit they even have memory problems. Let the pieces fall where they may. You may feel really bad at first, but you won't regret it.
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I just want to say thank you to everyone who has responded. Wow, you guys and gals are awesome! So many good ideas and your experience and trials that have been through. I am concerned and worried, but I realize that I need to help my parents and I need to step in and do what I can to help even if they resent it.
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The p.s. for us (and so many others) is that some terrible things were said to us that forever ripped the fabric of our relationship with our mother, all because Mom thought we were initiating a money grab. When all that money ended up going for her care, along with some of our own.
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Neither my sister nor I ever asked my parents for money, even paying our own way thru college. So I never expected the tirade at the attorney's office. But we stuck to our guns, got all the paperwork in order and protected their house. The paperwork was done one month before the 3 year Medicaid lookback so the money from the sale of the house paid for Mom's care later on. When Dad became so ill, my sister had his instructions on no feeding tubes etc. Having POA's has enabled my sister and I to take care of all sorts of things thru the years, like talking with insurance companies etc.
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When my sister notice Dad's anxiety when driving (among other things), she contact his doctor about possible Alz. He set up a neurologist's appt, who diagnosed his illness and told him no driving. We were finally able to convince Mom to see an elder attorney when she realized that if she were to get ill, Dad was unable to take care of anything including her medical decisions. And knowing that Dad would someday need NH, she was able to be better prepared when Dad needed Medicaid.
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bloujeanbaby - you can provide info to the doctor, and since you're down as being the contact for medical info, then the doctor can provide info to you. I give my mother's doctors notes, since she's always been a control freak and hates my hovering. I tell her I'm going to find the restroom, and then hand the nurse my latest update, which she then gives to the doctor. It's worked very well.
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Dear Teo, OMGosh! Your Dad sounds exactly like mine! The car accidents, the denial, & the way they can bully anyone who does not let them do whatever they want! Even risking others lives! Irish, I didn't know you couldn't talk to the doc w/o permission! Some have told me to slip a note to the nurse before the doc comes in. I am the one my Dad has on the doc's forms to share info with. But, my bro in another state has POA. I mentioned to my Dad in April 2012 that I was concerned because I saw a marked change in his personality that I couldn't explain. I told him I was very worried that something might be wrong. His face turned mean & he said, "If you say anything---I have everything in place to destroy you"! I'm like, WHO IS THIS GUY & WHERE IS MY DAD? I totally get that some people know something is wrong with them, but, they don't, perhaps, want to be associated with a stigma like dementia. But, it is whatever it is and knowing what your dealing with, is something I want for him. When I go to the doc w/ him, I say nothing. I don't know what to do myself! If he has a brain tumor or something, it could be treated--maybe. But, it is amazing how so many folks w/ dementias of differing kinds can turn it off or on for the doc visit. Let me know what works for you. I'm dying to know! Good luck! blou
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I agree with the snooping....pill bottles for name of the physician, mail for bills or explanation of benefits. I don't see the need for financial snooping at this point.
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Teonoma--I say this from personal experience -- it's time for you and your sister to get comfortable with the idea of "sneaking" and "snooping." If she, or the two of you, can visit your parents' home and begin looking through their papers while they're distracted or out of the house, then do so. Make copies, start your own file system with their information and accounts.
I was extremely uncomfortable with having to do this, but it was necessary, I had waited long enough, and now, I'm so glad I did.
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Thank you for your responses. I am planning on going to visit soon. They will not even tell my sister the name of the practice for the doctor. I was home last summer and saw that the home is cared for and clean. I just am concerned that what I am seeing is just the beginning and I am trying to be prepared. My sister and I have been discussing the POA and we are not sure that we are going to get them to allow this to happen. My mom is concerned that we just want their money and that is not true at all. We just want to make sure that they are being taken care of and that things are in order. My sister and I don't need their money so I don't why they would be afraid of that at all.
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Write the doctor with your concerns and explanations of why you are concerned. That would at least alert the doctor even if he doesn't give you info. You might ask that the doc do his evaluation and refer dad to motor vehicles licensing to see id he should still be allowed to drive. I also agree with involving your sister and having a united front with your parents. If no one has actually visited in their home lately you might be very surprised at a deterioration in their environment.
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Your sister might be your way in. You say she lives closer to your parents than you do?

Do your parents share anything with your sister?

If your dad does have dementia the Dr. may not know it. If your parents are anything like so many other parents on this site they put on a great show for the Dr., lest he think there is something wrong with them.

But you're right, you can't speak to their Dr. without their permission. Have your parents made arrangements for the future, if they're not well and/or can't manage their business? If not, they need to. The logical choice would be for them to assign your sister POA. This can be done in one day. I downloaded the forms off of LegalZoom, had my dad sign, got it notarized and I never had a problem using it.

If your sister can obtain POA she can speak to the Dr.

Another suggestion would be to go home for a visit and assess the situation for yourself. It sounds like you and your sister are going to have to start combining forces where your parents are concerned. It will be easier if you can actually see what's going on.
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