Lost MIL in Sept. Can't convince him he needs a dr visit. Normal? He forgets where we are going or when we will return and repeats the same questions over and over. He can't remember the order of events anymore. He writes everything down, but then can't remember to look at what he wrote. I'm not sure how much of it is due to losing his wife of 40 years and how much is maybe dementia or alzheimers. What rights do children have to speak to doctors about their parents?

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Each state has established support services for the aging population. You just need to go on the web, put in your state and search for state services for elderly. See if there may be a few services that may be of help to you, if not now, in the future.
Katie from Iowa
Helpful Answer (1)

There is such a thing as cognitive grief. It is one of the normal patterns of mourning. I'd never heard of it until I experienced it myself. I expected that when my husband died I might be emotionally unstable for a while. Perhaps I'd see one of my husband's favorite foods in a grocery store and the tears would start. No. That didn't happen at all.

To my surprise, what happened was I tried to pay for my groceries with my library card. I went out to buy two items and before I got very far I not only didn't remember what they were but I didn't know what kind of store to go to.

I saw dementia-like symptoms in myself!! I was assured by a psychiatrist, a doctor, and a therapist, that while this was not the most common reaction to a loved one's death it was not rare, either, and that it was perfectly normal. It would pass.

It did.

I don't think I'd push too hard for FIL to see a doctor right now, especially if he is resisting. He needs time to mourn his loss and also to recover from the very stressful year he spent as a caregiver.

It is good he is writing things down. Encourage him to check his notebook often.

This kind of behavior does not sound like a uti to me. It does sound like possible dementia -- or simple cognitive grief. If it is the beginning of dementia a few more months to obverse him and allow him to recover won't make much difference to his treatment.

(Do an online search for cognitive grief. You will see that I am not making this up!)
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Basket1544, I noticed the same thing with my Dad [94] after my Mom [98] had passed a couple of weeks ago, they were married for 72 years.

I believe confusion can come with grief, and if Mom-in-law ruled the household Dad-in-law is probably lost as his routine had changed.... Mom-in-law isn't there to point him in the right direction. Depending on the division of chores, maybe Mom-in-law did most of the chores, so now Dad-in-law has to do all of his own cooking and that can be overwhelming to someone who doesn't like to cook, etc.

Glad to read that Dad-in-law is jogging every evening, that is good. But is he around people of his own generation to talk to? That is my Dad's problem, as his caregivers are more than half his age, thus not that much in common.
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He is 70 and was taking care of my MIL for more than a year after she fell ill and did a great job of it. Seems after the loss his mental capacities have changed significantly. He still jogs 2 miles every evening and lives on his own. We will contact his doctor and see if we can get him in for a physical.
Thank you
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Is it possible that MIL was covering for these deficits for some time? Definitely needs to see his doctor.

Something to consider; with privacy laws, doctor can't talk to you, but you are certainly allowed to contact the doctor, especially effective is a typed letter, sent return receipt requested. Then the ball is in the doctor's court.
Helpful Answer (2)

No, not normal, IMO.

Do you or other family member have Durable Power of Attorney and Healthcare POA? If not, I would try to get it ASAP. He can still sign them as long as he is competent. It's important that he understands what he is signing. I'd consult with an attorney to get that done ASAP while he can still sign it.

It certainly seems like he needs to see a doctor. If you have the Healthcare POA, you should be able to make medical decisions on his behalf if he cannot, however, even without the Healthcare POA, you should be able to provide information to his doctor about his symptoms. He may not be able to provide you info, but he can accept info from you. If the doctor thinks he is at risk, he may have to report him to social services and request an inquiry into his ability to live alone.

There could be any number of things going on. He could have a urinary tract infection or some other illness that is not evident. He could have had a stroke. I would certainly make a list of his symptoms, so you can present them to the doctor. And alert the doctor if he provides incorrect information. He might report that he is able to cook, clean, do laundry, etc., when in fact he isn't able. A sudden loss can bring on dementia. So can depression. Let the doctor know all of that. If he wanders, that can be quite alarming.

Getting him to the doctor may require some creative thinking. Others here have come up with a number of things like begging, pleading, asking him to go with you to the doctor, saying that insurance is requiring this exam for the new year, and anything to get them in. There are many ways to get him help, but it's usually not easy. I bet you'll get a lot more ideas here from other responders.

It sounds like the memory is so poor that he may need someone with him at all times. I'd try to make arrangements for that.
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