My father, 82yrs old, had his quarterly checkup last week. I accompany him to his appointments and was fed up with the usual routine of keeping my mouth shut while he "showtimes". I took his doctor aside and explained his dementia was progressing and about his loss of balance. His doctor told him last appointment that he should be using a walker. He refuses. He uses a cane.

His doctor ordered an MRI for balance and presumably a dementia diagnosis, and an appointment with a neurologist. He ordered a consult with a physical therapist for balance issues. Also a prescription for Celexa for depression because he asked my father if he was depressed and he said yes. And a script for a walker.

Of course my father seemed compliant during his visit while the nurse made the appointments and arrangements. Two days later he said he would not take the MRI or see a neurologist, or the physical therapist, or take any antidepressant, or use a walker. He also refused a flu shot and said he wans't going to get one this year.

I can't reason with him. Theres no use. Where do I go from here? Just let the chips fall where they may? I'm the one taking caare of him. I am so very frustrated.

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I know how you feel. Going to the doctor with my mother reminds me of some the the "House" episodes. They assumed that patients always lie. My mother would do that. For a while I listened, but didn't speak up. Now I call her on the fibs or say something like, "Mom, the doctor can't help you if you aren't truthful." It sounds like you have started doing the same thing.

We really can't make our parents do anything they do not want to unless they are judged incompetent. We can, however, decide what we are willing to tolerate. Sometimes, unfortunately, things have to come to a crisis point before people will start doing what is best for them. I think many people fear getting a definite dx if there is dementia. Without a dx, they can think well, maybe it's just part of getting old. And people with mobility problems often feel more competent than they are. For example, my mother puts towels on the floor so she can drip dry after her shower. Then she leaves them. Her logic is she hasn't tripped on them before, so she is not going to. I know better and pick the towels up.

My mother will also not use a walker or cane in the house. It would actually be better for her if she would use a cane. Her back is bowed, so it would push her weight up some. But she walks free-handed and complains all day of backache. I have learned that it is pointless to try to get her to use a cane. We have 5 of them that just set around. I've learned to not be frustrated, since it was just wasting my emotional energy. I still suggest it, but it does no good.
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