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OK, my mom went to the doctor yesterday. A neighbor drove her. (I couldn't because it clashed with my work schedule and she canceled the one I'd made that didn't clash.) So she is 76, has some dementia. Showed up at the doctor's a bit confused. They were concerned and want her to get a few tests (a stress test and an EKG) and to send a social worker to visit her. I'm fine with that, as she's been super stubborn, basically expecting me to get her cigarettes or shop for her a bit, when she wants it, and it's been rough with her moods (telling me not to talk to her anymore, then forgetting it, or accusing my husband and me of stealing or other things that never happened). But what kinds of things happen with these visits? The doctor said I could be there, and I want to, but what might they do? At my mom's place they she might react better, be less confused, so they might only get one side of her. I really would like them to be able to suggest something that'll be of help. I'm working two jobs now, and my house is neglected, the yard is neglected and I'm just so tired I want to be like an ostrich sticking its head in the ground, which is good for no one, but that's what it feels like now!

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As a Practice Administrator, we will request a SW visit for the following reasons:
1. Safety evaluation
2. Environment of Care evaluation
3. Identification of outreach supportive services that the patient may be eligible for and/or would suit the patients internal dynamics.

The goals are not only improved quality of life for the patient, but we understand the stressors that are applied on the caregivers as well and we strive to alleviate these the best way possible before a caregivers own health and family dynamics are disrupted.

I would encourage this opportunity to seek additional answers and supportive opportunities as you take care of your loved one.

Personally, I went thru this with my father, and it is quite fatiguing and emotional to see the decline of the person you love who is not the person you grew up with, and it takes the TEAM to manage and find the best solutions for the patient and the caregiver.
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I would suggest you try to make these sorts of appointments in mid afternoon. When a dementia victim starts getting a little tired they reveal their real mental state to strangers more readily. They can't conceal their issues for more than a few minutes.
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Last week a social worker came and listen to my problems for an hour. She is such a special person and is so supportive so my husbands has been sectioned under the mental health act and he is in a unit for assessment and the team will decide where he goes from there. The last 7 years have been so hard. But now my husband does not recognoise me I have been able to let go.I hope you get the support that you need before it makes you ill. Good Luck from the UK
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Heidi,
Time to get your head out of the sand. The doctor probably requested the social worker. Is the social worker with Adult Protective Services? They check in on people to determine if their needs are being met and that they are living in suitable conditions. If social worker is APS then the county pays them. Who has Mom's POA's. Doctors are required by law to ask APS to visit if they are concerned about a patient's welfare.

My Mom and hubby had an APS visit two years ago at the request of my sisters. They had alleged that I was taking things and money from each of them. When, in fact, nothing of the sort was going on. The investigation was closed quite promptly. Whatever you do cooperate with the social worker! A defensive attitude will only harm the potential outcome. The social worker will evaluate her living situation and care to determine if changes need to be made.

Good luck. In my case everything turned out perfect.
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The Social Worker may say it's time to move mom to Assisted Living. I would say "Fine. You tell her. She won't go, and you can get the court order, because I can't afford $10K in legal fees."
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In our case, my mom's Social Worker was and still is an answer to my prayers. She saw right through my mother's Showtiming from the get go. Remember they have all the tools to evaluate as well as the experience. She has helped me to understand what is available to help etc. She has reassured me that she will be there if the time comes to move mom to a facility which keeping her home is our goal for as long as her health allows. She talked to my mother to see how she communicated etc. I'm in the US, but I'm sure you will get a read on how things work from this Social Worker wherever you are. Use this as an opportunity to ask the questions you need answered for your own piece of mind. It sounds like the Doctor is already seeing that help is needed, so that is a good thing. Also do not try to be "super" care giver. You already sound like your are over doing it, and that is a road we have all been on. Take the help the Social Worker offers even if your mother says she doesn't need it. It will actually make her happy in the long run. Even if it is someone else for her to boss around :-) Take a deep breath and use it to the positive.
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They will see how she functions in her environment, is it safe, is it convenient for her, they will look for signs of self neglect such as: no food in the home, medication(s) not taken, dirty house with trash laying around and they will assess her needs, what can she do for herself and what does she need help with. They can make referrals to programs she would benefit from such as senior care or other home and community based services. She can also make a referral for you regarding caregiver services such as respite or caregiver support. It's a good thing and it's important. They will help you locate services so your mother can stay at home for as long as possible.
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Whoever the social worker is, I would be there. We had a family member who had not had a bath in a year. She was no longer keeping house or doing laundry. She successfully hid all of this by use of perfume and not leaving dishes out and keeping her clothes picked up. The yard was always mowed by someone else. Social workers were none the wiser.
Her daughters caught on when they realized she wasn't taking her medicines and wasn't eating right. The house had begun to smell and became dusty.She is now in an assisted living home Her long term care insurance would have paid sooner but she had hidden everything from them as well.
Dementia patients can still be smart enough to hide things. You need to be there to be sure that she doesn't.
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I think that your mom has a wise doctor who sees that you can't be with your mom 24/7, that she is uncooperative with your parameters (she cancelled the appt that you COULD be there for) and she may be giving what sound like unreiliable answers to his questions. DO be there for the social work visit, but let you mom answer all the questions.
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I don't know if this is a UK thing, but I agree with Lillybo that every encounter I've had with social workers has been either highly positive, or at the very least has got me no further forward; but never anything worse than that. They are not sniping, nasty-minded busybodies who are out to cause trouble and order people around; they are professionals whose role in life is to safeguard their vulnerable clients and improve their clients' and their families' quality of life. So, if you were worrying, rest your mind.

Whether you should be there or not: ideally, if the SW has time, split the visit. Be there when she arrives, introduce her to your mother, back off, then return to clarify anything that really needs clarification. The SW won't contradict your mother, but that doesn't mean she'll take everything she says as Gospel, either.

This visit is A Very Good Thing. It will get your mother onto everybody's radar, it will enlist allies for you, and it will give you (almost certainly positive) feedback on how you're doing in your role as family caregiver. Look forward to it, and don't worry!
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