Routine dental appointments are becoming a nightmare for my elderly FIL. The office isn't wheelchair accessible and is risky for us to get him in a chair. The exams themselves exhaust him. Plus his dementia is just bad enough that he can't manage any kind of post dental care, and parkinson's is affecting his ability to swallow. Does anyone have suggestions?

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All I can say is Why? At 94 is this really necessary?

No matter how you cut it, he is at the final term of his life, why upset him? Let him be.

My mother is 98, losing some teeth, she has most of her mindset, she is not interested in doing anything. She says "I don't need a full set of teeth when I die". I agree!
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Reply to MeDolly

Exactly what Dolly said. He's 94 skip the dental treatments all together.

I think it's hard for people to stop taking parents for things like eye doctor appointments or dentist visits when they have dementia or a terminal illness because it can feel like they are giving up on them.

But I like to think of it as not giving up but accepting where they are at in their disease and pivoting accordingly.

I tried to suggest to my parents that at 80 maybe dad didn't need to do the routine colonoscopy anymore. They were appalled at not doing preventative tests so I backed off because they are still in good health and active.

Yet both agree they probably wouldn't do chemo if they had colon cancer. I did get them to agree that if mom or dad had dementia they wouldnt be taking each other for a colonoscopy.
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Reply to sp19690
MJ1929 Apr 9, 2023
I'm surprised a doctor would do a colonoscopy on an 80-year-old. Seventy-five is about the oldest they're supposed to go, because thinning skin makes a colonoscopy more dangerous than useful.
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Thank you all so much. We are able to assist him with brushing and flossing so fortunately his teeth are in decent (for 94) condition.

Hospice care is likely eminent soon, he has had three extended hospitalizations in less than a year and we just want his last time to be as calm as possible for him
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Reply to Kelanor
squirrel13 Apr 18, 2023
Well then, there is no need for a dentist. You didn't mention he had assistance with brushing and flossing already and his teeth are in decent condition for 94. My mother is 92, brushes her teeth, but no longer flosses. She will see a dentist only if she has any problems. I do pray your loved one passes on in peace and good care.
I tend to agree with others here. If you can at least get his teeth brushed, unless there is something painful in his mouth, I’d skip the dentist.

Since he’s 94 yrs old, unless he’s in pain, I wouldn’t put him through the stress of a dental visit.
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Reply to Donttestme

"Routine" suggests preventative, so maybe these appointments can indeed be skipped. My mother is years younger than your FIL and decided on her own that she no longer wants routine cleanings. Her dentist doesn't hassle her about this. He does see her when stuff happens, like when a crown falls off. 

Recently he referred her for an extraction. Same issue as you at the dental surgeon's office: it was if they'd never encountered an elderly person before (which is so confusing, because I would assume that older people often need extractions?). 

Anyway, the prep for the extraction made her very dizzy and she fell, ended up in the hospital for a night, and never fully recovered from that episode (and never had the extraction).

Now I cook everything until it is mushy and that seems to be okay (for now).
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Reply to AndSoItGoes

I was able to find a dentist that would come to our home and his services were covered by Medicare! Look into this in your area. Good luck!
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Reply to Mckeez1

Routine cleanings prevent gum disease. I have had my gums cut so the bone could be scraped. The bacteria that causes gum disease eats the bone away. Thats what causes the loss of teeth. And the bad breath it causes only goes away when the gum disease its taken care of. Your breath smells like rotten eggs and no amount of brushing or mouth wash helps. I went for 5 yrs without cleanings and I brushed 2x a day.

For your FIL, I would not worry. Get those sponges on a stick with toothpaste in them. At least he will get brushed.
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Reply to JoAnn29
Mrsd123 Apr 23, 2023
SPONGES on a stick! I never heard of them, but have now ordered them for my 94 yr old aunt with dementia in ALF. Thank you!
I wouldn’t put him through all that/ the fear he experiences there w the dementia along with the physical strain ant discomfort it’s a care where any “cure” is 10 times worse than the possible ailment
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Reply to Sarah3

Is it possible to at least find a different dentist whose office is wheelchair accessible? That would be one frustration off your list? Perhaps call some other dentists in your area, explain your situation and see if they have the ability to better accommodate your FIL’s special needs. With dementia he can’t be expected to remember the aftercare. His caregiver would have to do that for him.
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Reply to Dizzerth

I have a similar situation with my husband. It is very difficult to get him to the dentist (in/out of car) and then in the dentist chair. It is not safe and very exhausting for him. So, I started brushing and flossing his teeth myself to insure I was looking in his mouth. He can use his right hand. He brushes his own teeth twice a day and I do it the third time and floss. I have yet to find a mobile dentist in my area so this is my only way to insure his teeth and mouth stay clean and gives me the opportunity to see if anything is going on in his mouth. Good luck.
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Reply to Estheroda

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