My Mom keeps calling claiming my Dad is hiding her things. Any advice?


We've tried to contact her doctor but he doesn't reply. What are our options? Will her doctor routinely check her for dementia? She won't let anyone accompany her to the doctor. We don't know if she really even has an appointment. She claims its all her husbands fault.

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What does your dad say? You can't leave him out of the discussions regarding mom and her mental/physical condition. Find out what's going on through dad. Accompany her to her next doctor visit. Does dad think she has dementia? Or is dad hiding her things, and HE has dementia?

Have your parents named their Healthcare Powers of Attorney? THAT should be #1 on everyone's list.

Do docs routinely check for dementia? I say "no." At least not one doc checked my mom. What would they do with that information anyway? Not like there's a test for it after all. If you spend time around her, if she's got demonstrable dementia, you'll know. Her husband certainly knows.

First stop: heart-to-heart with dad. If she's been having problems, he's probably lost.
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Lauri, the beginnings of dementia are very difficult! They are able to cover up so well and don't want anybody to help them. Your Mom needs to have POA's put in place as does your Dad. Maybe he can gether to do so, if he does. Make it a family project preparing for old age. They should also talk about HIPPA releases as this is what will permit the doctor to talk to you.

Dad needs help to get this done for Mom. Just because Dad does not have any symptoms does not mean he doesn't need these documents in place. Without them not even Mom or Dad would be able to get necessary information.

Beware, Dad may not want to draft the POA's either, but they are necessary tools. My stepdad had my Mom listed as his POA's about eight years ago. Now my Mom is entering the late stages of alzheimers. Thank goodness I realized that Mom was his POA and had him change those documents about three years ago. Now my Mom would not be able to decide whether to cross the street.

Two types of POA's, standing and springing. Standing is valid any time. Springing requires incapacity as determined by doctors. I think standing is what you want to try to get done, so if anything happened with either of them there is someone else that can get information.
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It's very possible she has not authorized the MD to talk to you. Nose around and find out when the next appointment is and go with her. Let her do all the talking. Have her sign the HIPAA form Position yourself so you are behind her but still facing the MD. When she tells him "I am just fine" shake your head NO. He will pick up that clue and ask her more questions. At some point he will ask if you have any concerns. Report the facts to him. Do not say "I think" or "I guess". Say "Every Monday she calls and says Dad took her purse" or "She fell down six times since we last saw you" what ever the FACTS are. Let him question her, do not argue with her. She will not flip out in front of him, she is putting on a show of good girl. Leave him your contact info if you can.
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Oh gosh, it's hard to know what might be going on. Are you in another town? If there is anyway, I would try to contact her doctor and make an appointment for her. Then let the doctor call her to say they've scheduled an appointment (they can make up a reason, her Rx refills are out and they need to see her before prescribing more, or something). Then you show up and go in with her. She'll be mad, and maybe even try to make a scene, but that may just help you and/or the doctor to see if there is something more going on. For me, my MIL talks a big talk about "nobody is coming with me" but since we have to drive her, I walk right into the exam room with her when they call her name, and she never says a word. For us, it's the only way we can be sure to know what the doctor is saying, as she gets stuff mixed up. Also it's the only way he gets accurate information because she gets stuff mixed up ;0)

Due to HIPPA rules, they probably can't return your calls and talk about her health. While you are there at the office, have her fill out a new HIPPA form and list you and any other family members that might need to communicate with the doctor about concerns on there so they can talk to you.

In my experience, general practitioner doctors don't *routinely* check for dementia, and depending on how well she can cover and give the right answers, it might not be really noticeable if he only see's her once or twice a year. He'll ask how she's doing, she says fine, and he has no reason to believe otherwise . . . . .

I think at a minimum, a visit to the house to try to assess what is really going on is needed. You may need to spend a few days if you are out of town to really get a feel for what is going on. Your mom could be forgetting where she put things, your dad could be hiding things, or she just might want some attention from you. Impossible to say without spending some time and listening, looking and talking with them.
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