After we got the diagnosis from the Neurologist (Vascular Dementia for both and my dad also shows signs of Alzheimer’s) and I had questions about medicines, we were referred back to their primary care provider. They haven’t seen their “assigned” primary care provider in two years. The last time we met with this Doctor, we were concerned because my dad seemed depressed (personality change). The doctor did not even notice my dad had lost 20 pounds in a year.
I felt it was important for them to see someone who specializes in treating older patients. I asked if we could be referred to a Geriatrician.
My brother was in town, so we could divide up the appointments. My dad and brother were with the doctor for an hour and a half. When I get in with my mom, we find out that the doctor is primarily interested in getting to know my parents and discussing their medical history and current health.
As he talks with my mom, he learns that she has no memory of any prior medical history. She plays along at first and agrees she saw a Neurologist once but tells him no one has ever prescribed medicine for her. He tells her she has seen the Neurologist three times in the past few months. That shocks her.
The doctor has a very nice manner. He leans in and looks directly in my mom’s eyes when he asks her questions. He gives her his full attention and she is very open in response. After he performs the mini-mental exam, he asks if she has considered signing over guardianship to someone to make her decisions.
My mom is perplexed and tells him they moved into the retirement community, and I handle the bill payments. No one has expressly had the discussion with my parents regarding the fact that while my parents planned to back each other up — they are both unable to manage that responsibility. Thankfully, my sister got them to complete the Durable Power of Attorney and Medical Power of Attorney, but I think when we sign those papers, we all assume they would get used when you are unconscious and unable to speak for yourself.
Their doctor heads straight into that topic. I’m not sure my mom fully understood what it was he was driving at, but I’m guessing most of his counsel was meant for me. Tapped.