Every time I visit my dad at his memory care facility he insist that I’m not doing enough and that he needs me to take him to the hospital AGAIN and AGAIN until the doctors can fix all of his health problems. He is certain that his memory loss (he’s been diagnosed with moderate Alzheimer’s) is a concussion that can be fixed. He insists that he has broken bones and needs a full body X-ray. I always ask his med tech to give him the prescribed pain med (Tylenol) when he complains of pain. They are instructed to give it to him when he complains of pain, but he doesn’t complain to them. He can no longer rationalize so I just listen and empathize and try to divert. He stopped insisting on dental implants after I secretly put a brochure with pricing in his walker pouch. I’m considering putting a brochure on Alzheimer’s and Arthritis in his walker pouch. Suggestions?

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I wonder if you could try the Alzheimers information the other way round. ‘Dad do you know that complaining about xyz over and over again is a symptom of Alzheimers?. You don’t want people to think that you have Alzheimers, do you? I’m telling the truth – you can read about it in this brochure if you don’t believe me. I’m sure you don’t want people to get the wrong idea, do you?’. He might read it, and want to prove that it doesn’t apply to him. Worth a thought?
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Sometimes it's harder to divert a Alz patient's attention once he/she is stuck on a subject. Have you tried diversion right from the minute you see dad so he doesn't even have a chance to delve on the same old complaints? Keep his thought occupied on something else before he remembers all the aches and pain and broken bones. Perhaps, if he stops complaining long enough (days, weeks?) then he might forget them eventually.

If nothing works, maybe you should see less of him. Limit your exposure to his insanity which only serves to aggravate and stress you out.
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I developed my discussion plans for my parents based on what worked to satisfy them and/or did not cause them additional anxiety or stress.

Dad had vascular dementia and could remember most stuff but had lost almost all decision making function. For example Dad decided his plan F Medicare supplemental insurance was too expensive so he shopped around for a plan with a less expensive monthly premium and was all ready to change. I pointed out that the only way the high deductable plan was less expensive was if he didn't use the insurance at all. The annual deductable was twice the total annual premium on his current plan and that deductable had to be met before the high deductable plan paid the first penny. After explaining this a dozen times or so and showing the cost breakouts side by side on a spreadsheet, I gave up. Dad could remember the facts, could state that $6000 was more than $3000 but could not decide that paying $3000 in annual premiums was better than paying $2000 in annual premiums plus a $6000 deductable. So the discussion became "Dad you have really good insurance and it's bargain priced for someone who goes to the doctor as much as you do. The premium is a little expensive but we don't have many deductibles when you go to the doctor or the hospital". That was my response to every inquiry/question about his insurance; sometimes I just walked out of the room if this bothered Dad at the moment but it did end the insurance discussions quicker than really discussing the details again and getting nowhere.

Mom retains executive functioning but has little short term memory. So Mom can make a sound decision based on a written document that she can spend several minutes studying and making sure she "remembers" all the facts. But she cannot remember that she made a decision the next day or sometimes even the next hour. So I write notes about anything that seems to concern her like the headstone she chose for her and my father's graves. Anything she asks about or seems concerned about more than once or twice, I write up a note that she places in her "notebook". She goes through the notebook almost daily and seems calmed by the reading.

Since your Dad adjusted his behavior after he had more information on dental implants he is showing at least some limited executive function. I would be inclined to provide information on arthritis and see if it helps. I probably would not provide information on ALZ since its more likely to be upsetting than helpful. Many to most dementia patients seem to lose the ability to see their own deficits and behavior changes fairly early in the disease.

Please remember that each dementia patient has their own personal journey down this road. What has worked for one person might not work for another. Dispite whatever the "roadmap" says the journey should be at a particular stage, your father may be very different. And everything changes; what worked last month might not work this month. Expect change and learn to adapt.
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