How can I help my parents when they are being uncooperative with their medical care? - AgingCare.com

How can I help my parents when they are being uncooperative with their medical care?

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My Dad has mild dementia and has balance issues. He is supposed to be receiving therapy, but either he refuses the therapy or my Mom does because she is jealous that he is receiving extra attention. I suspect she has dementia, too. I don't know where to turn. try to help them, but they seem to be making it harder for me. What can I do? When I'm not working or with them I cry all of the time because I don't know where to turn. I would appreciate any help

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Susie, this is not going to get better.

The fact that you have found only marginally competent psychiatrists and did not like what the geriatric doctor had to say (that not much could be done, medically, presumably after enough lab work to know that's accurate) does not mean you can count on things to stabilize, nor that you can safely write off the entire medical profession and healthcare providers as worthless.

Getting labeled with "dementia" can help in terms of getting POA activated and being able to insist on care being provided. It can help put you in the driver's seat where you increasingly will need to be, instead of going home to cry because you are feeling so totally helpless as they can block your every effort to be of any real service.

You and they are not ready to give up independence or accept help yet. For the moment, it is still OK. But, before it becomes not OK, you need to start learning everything you can about eldercare and about your parents' options and resources.

Do you have their POAs for finances and for healthcare in order? Do you know where the important papers are?

Do they have income or property that would put them over Medicaid limits?

Have you already been to your Area Agency on Aging and/or an estate planner or eldercare attormey?

There is still time to work on these things and if you are anything like me when I had to start this process, its a steep learning curve. And hard, emotionally, to put on those big girl panties and objectively face up to your parents eventually needing you to become the decision-making adult in their lives. You've come to the right place to learn more and get support from those of us who have been through this and learned the hard way. Well, OK - there is no EASY way, really. Hugs.
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Well I guess you were lucky to find a decent place for your Mom. We have looked into the different facilities and the care leaves a lot to be desired. The drs aren't available and you can't go off site to see your own. The care assistants don't seem to want to be bothered. It's all about making money. If only I was a millionaire then I could afford to hire the best care givers to come to their home. The sites that had independent living were no different than them living alone as they are now. We have a geriatric dr who tries but when you have been labeled with dementia any new drs say there isn't much to do. My Dad could only get in to one psychiatrist because all of the others don't take new patients. Of course we found out why when she said he was at the end stages of alz because he couldn't name his meds and spell them correctly. I guess I must be there too, since I can't name or spell them correctly without a cheat sheet. Needless to say she had tripled his antidepressant and had him so drugged he was hallucinating and passed out. At the ER we were told that his dosage was actually an overdose and he basically detoxed for a week and then was dumped in a rehab facility where he was left to sleep all day. I would love to get him & my mom in to see a real psychiatrist, but none are available. So I am left to try to find out what to do on my own.. I'm glad you were lucky in your situation
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A couple of other ideas: might it be better for dad to go to an outpatient rehab facility for therapy? It can be difficult to get dementia patients to do PT, I know. But perhaps if he's in a room filled with all those machines, steps and equipment, he'll "get" what he's there for.

When you say that folks you know have declined quickly upon moving to a facility, there's no doubt that that often happens. The more cognizant of the move the elder is, though, the better chance they have of making an adjustment. It's an argument for moving elders sooner rather than waiting until they are having dangerous difficulties at home.

It sounds as though you've got some preconceptions about elder care that may be based on what you've heard, what your parents remember from the past and what your PARENTS' preconceived ideas are. My mother had an absolute horror of "those places". We moved her into independent living because we could no longer respond to her daily "emergencies " and still maintain our jobs and sanity.

We realized that we "the kids" were the grownups in the room and that the fact that mom was complaining about cost, being an "inmate" etc., didn't mean that we didn't know that it was the right move at the right time. We knew what was best, in the same way that mom did when she sent us off to school, whether or not we wanted to go.
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When you say "go to a home" can you clarify what kind of facility you've thought about or investigated? It doesn't sound as though either of your parents needs nursing home care, but assisted living might work for them. It's a little like a cruise ship, with lots of activities. Think about taking a tour with your foljs, it generally includes lunch.

Have you thought about finding them a Geriatrics doctor? One who specializes in the care of the elderly? They ( and you) might be getting better treatment and advice. Is mom being seen by a geriatric psychiatrist? She sounds as though she's quite depressed from your description.
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I don't live with them, but I live close. Neither of them want to go to a home and they don't want to go to a senior center to meet anyone new. The local council on aging has not been responsive. The Dr. talks to my Dad and he agrees to the therapy and then he says he wasn't aware of the therapy. At other time he says the Drs don't want to help him and that therapy is a waste. When I talk to my Mom about interfering she gets mad and say she is stupid and everything is always her fault. Plus she says she is tired of living. I am doing all that I can to keep them in their home because they want that and from experience we have seen the workers at the nursing homes don't take care of the residents. Also, I have watched other people put their parents in homes and they decline rapidly because they are in unfamiliar surroundings. One thing I have noticed is that the medical professionals seem to not want to be bothered with patients once they are diagnosed with dementia which is another reason I don't want my Mom labeled as such.
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Susie, it's unclear from your profile if you are living with them or they with you. So clarification on that point is needed.

So, what does their doctor say they need? Do you go to appointments with them? Is the doctor aware of your dad's refusal of therapy? S/HE should be. You need to send a note to the office and say that you need this information to be discussed at dad's next appointment.

Whatever their living situation, it sounds like they need a higher level of care, and where your mom can be kept busy so she's not interfering. Have you looked into facilities?

You can call your local area agency on aging and find out about local resources. Would mom enjoy going to a senior center to make new friends?
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