How many doctors does it take to help my parents?

More than three.  Ha-ha, anyone?

My brother and I spent the morning and early afternoon getting my parents to a follow-up doctor appointment based on the recommendations from the psychologist. There are no cues in their blood work to flag any specific issue we could address. Instead, we spent the appointment with the doctor trying to educate my parents that:

  1. Several doctors have raised a red flag that something is wrong.
  2. They are lucky to have children involved and interested in helping them.
  3. They need to simplify their lives before an accident causes them to have a sudden and negative life change.

My mom does not believe anything said to her and is angry with my brother and me because we didn’t have this discussion with her first. We explain we’ve had it so many times, we’ve lost count.

“Prove it,” she says. I tell her I stopped writing it down because it doesn’t make a difference. She won’t believe it and even if she did, she’d forget it.

The doctor suggests that for every instance, we write up a note and have my parents sign it. Brilliant suggestion.

We get to the end of the meeting and I ask the doctor to write up our meeting with her recommendations. She does and she hands it to my dad to sign and date. He willingly does. She turns to my mom who refuses to sign it so she writes that my mom refused to sign it and has my brother sign and date it confirming my mother’s attendance and her refusal to sign the paper.

We keep trying logic with someone who has dementia. My dad doesn’t want to betray the trust and partnership he has with my mom but I can tell he’s getting weary. We tried, but it’s just a different day with the same result.

Apparently, three doctors are not enough to help my parents accept the changes they need to make. Tired.

9 thoughts on “How many doctors does it take to help my parents?

  1. This process is so exhausting! I can’t think of a punchline for your title other than “as many as it takes” – but that’s just the end of sentence, not a punchline. 😉
    Logic doesn’t help because they don’t live in a world where logic has meaning. That’s one of the hardest lessons that I have learned in this journey through dementia with my spouse.
    I have found a lot of help from the Alzheimer’s Association. If you are lucky enough to live near an office – or another organization that deals specifically with dementia – they pick up the slack where the medical professionals fall off. They have their pulse on the resources in one’s area so that one can do as much as possible within the constraints that exist.
    Your parents are fortunate to have you and your siblings working on this – even though they are not aware of it.

  2. Hello Kay,

    I can feel your pain and turmoil, and fully understand the vague desperation I hear in your voice. No wonder you feel tired!

    As I have been writing and speaking out about what it is like living with dementia, I have said many times;

    “dementia care is caring for people who often do not know they need care, and don’t want to be in care; no wonder they [we] may become angry and upset!”

    The real challenge for their [my] loved ones and wonderful people like you caring for your parents, is by the time we really need it, we can’t see it, and therefore won’t easily accept it.

    With love and hope,

  3. Hi Kay,
    Perfect timing for your post… As I keep trying to use logic with my mom. And then I’m surprised when I’m banging my head against a wall! So frustrating.
    My mom insists she can do everything by herself. Okay, I give her some space and let her try. Tonight she insisted she could use the microwave. She almost burned the house down when she cooked a soft pretzel for 30 mins, rather than 30 seconds. And whenever I correct her (very gentle redirecting), she gets very mean and points out everything I’ve ever done wrong in my life. Amazing how she can remember all that but not remember if she ate anything that day.
    She also forgets that I was recently diagnosed with a serious medical condition, and as her sole caregiver, I get fatigued and physically ill from my meds. She’s just constantly critical of everything I do. Which isn’t good for either of us.
    Thanks for accompanying me on this very unpleasant journey, Kay… Your words help me feel a little less alone.

  4. It seems that regardless of preparation, appointments with medical and care professionals, and how prepared you thought your parents were, and how they believed they planned for everything; it all comes down to those family members willing to take tough steps, be persistent, and try our best to do the right and best things for our parents because nobody else in a paid position seems to really give a damn in the long run. That seems to be our job and ours alone.

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