Mom refuses to see a doctor. Anyone dealt with this? -

Mom refuses to see a doctor. Anyone dealt with this?


First post. Both my parents, 85 and 86, still live alone at home and are in reasonably good health for their age. However, my Mom has a couple of issues that should be addressed, dental for one, but she absolutely flat out refuses to let us take her to the dentist. We've tried to reason with her, and it ends up being a pointless circular argument with her insisting she's fine (despite two lower teeth falling out recently because she has unchecked gum disease and she can barely eat). I've even tried, out of desperation, to use embarrassment to try and get her in. Not a good thing, I know. Short of making an appointment behind her back and tricking her there, or bodily picking her up and forcing her in the car, I don't know what to do. She can't keep going on like this, with her mouth in that condition, but my Dad and I don't know what else to try. My Mom is the most hard headed, stubborn woman on the face of the planet (she's always been like this, but it's gotten worse as she's gotten older) and using facts, reason, logic and threats about what will happen if she doesn't attend to her dental issues (further sickness, infection, etc) does no good. She hates dentists, hates doctors, and will not go even if it means her health is in jeopardy.
It's hard to tell if this is the beginning of dementia, because Mom has always been extremely stubborn. She's also always been very secretive, and is a master manipulator.
Has anyone ever dealt with this flat out refusal of medical care, and what did you do about it? We're at our wits end with this.

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I feel for you. It is beyond frustrating, and it's also worrying - no one wants to see their beloved mother falling to pieces before their very eyes.

But. "Beginnings" of dementia aside, unless you have reason to believe that your mother no longer has sufficient understanding of the consequences to be allowed to make her own choices (which would be far more noticeable than what you describe), for the sake of peace and harmony just drop the subject. If your mother is in pain or if she decides to do something about her problem, you can be on the phone to make the appointment before she can say 'but no shots - '. Failing that, keep asking yourself how you'd like it if she were constantly lecturing you about something she thinks needs seeing to.

And if you really can't stop yourself saying anything, dwell on the positive. E.g. 'a dentist would soon have you feeling much more comfortable' rather than 'all your teeth will fall out and you'll waste away on nothing but bread and milk'. Or, 'you'd sleep better for knowing that a doctor's checked you over'. Or, 'you could get the next slot after Dad's next doctor's visit. Save an extra journey, wouldn't it?'

But keep reminding yourself that it's her choice, not yours or your father's. No matter how knuckle-headed she's being.
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1) Try bribery.

2) Bring in a home DDS to clean Dad's teeth. Them Mom's.
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It's a thought, but I don't know if my Dad would be willing to play along with that kind of deception. I'm just so baffled at her stance. I've even wondered if it's that she's given up on life and doesn't want to get help for fear it will make her live longer; she's said many times over the years that she hopes she dies first because she doesn't want to/can't live without Dad. :( I didn't know where to post my question but put it in the dementia category because there's been a few instances of behavior that has made Dad and I wonder if it's creeping up on her.
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One thing to try is to tell her that she would lose her Medicare if she doesn't go to the dentist and the various doctors at least once a year..... yes, I know it is fib, but sometimes we just got to do what we need to do for their best interest.

You can expand on the fib like saying if Medicare doesn't pay, then your parents would need to sell their house or their car, or all their furniture to pay for the doctor/hospital bills. Sometimes the thought of losing one's house is enough to get them dressed and sitting in the car waiting to go to that doctor/dentist appointment.... then again, maybe not :P
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