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Elderly parents

Forgetful and won’t/can’t see a doctor.

16 replies

BeachwoodCafe · 13/06/2022 21:27

I wondered if anyone might be able to suggest anything I could try please.
My dad is very forgetful and gets anxious and often a bit confused about what’s going on. For at least a year. Nothing drastic yet and he always has my stepmum with him to do things he needs to do so he’s getting on OK day to day. I don’t live close by.
I raised with my stepmum last time I visited that visiting the GP might help him. And that the GP should be made aware because in future they may be able to offer help to her etc.

She will acknowledge that my Dad has memory problems but said that he won’t want to go to a doctor. She said that she’s going to be focusing on the positives.

I feel that I can’t just leave it at that. I don’t think my Dad has the capacity to make the GP appointment himself, but I could try suggesting that he does that. Can I call the GP and tell them that I am worried about his memory and ask them to invite him in to an appointment?
What can I do in terms of any professional involvement, as his daughter? Is there anything that he’s missing out on, if my stepmum won’t take him to the doctors?
What help will seeking a diagnosis give him?
Or what help could it give to her? Thank you for any advice on this, I am completely out of my depth.

OP posts:
Aurorie11 · 13/06/2022 21:36

Contact GP with your concerns probably by letter/email. This is what happened with my Aunt, the GP called her in for a check up, diagnosis followed afterwards

BeachwoodCafe · 13/06/2022 22:26

Thank you. OK that’s good to have an option. Do you know whether if I do that, will my Dad or stepmum be told that I have mentioned it to the GP? I really can’t alienate my stepmum. And my dad’s still able to refuse to go to the appointment of course if that’s his preference but I wonder if maybe he’ll feel differently if the GP has invited him in. I will call his GP practice and ask about this. Thank you.

OP posts:
Earlybird00 · 13/06/2022 22:41

I am in a similar situation. I said it would do no harm to have a check up and there might be something to help. My mother was low in vitamin b12. Had lots of physical observations and now being assessed by memory clinic. Things are starting to go down hill so I am relieved that professionals are involved. My parents haven't accepted any help yet though. If my mother hadn't agreed I think I would have sent a letter with my concerns to the gp asking that my letter wasn't mentioned so no trust is broken it's in their best interests.

LadyGardenersQuestionTime · 13/06/2022 23:04

i know it may be difficult but please please get POA in place as soon as you can. Pitch it as “if you were knocked out and in a coma” not as “if you have dementia” - we also told PIL we were doing our own POA while doing our wills so it was seen as a legal sensible thing, not about taking over their lives.

You can ask the GP not to mention that it was you, and they will be have had this hundreds of times before. Their first step will be blood tests/urine analysis anyway so it’s easily pitched as a checkup.

BeachwoodCafe · 13/06/2022 23:12

Thank you. I really appreciate the advice. I’m sure that is true that the GP will have seen this situation before, that’s reassuring. I am just really worried about falling out with my stepmum who thinks that by not involving any professional person she is doing the right thing by his wishes. It’s just not that cut and dried.
I will ask about POA. Thank you.

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Foxymoxy68 · 13/06/2022 23:13

We are in a very similar position with my Mum. Tried to broach our concerns with her a few months ago but was having none of it and got very upset with us. So we parked it for a while.
Unfortunately, our family suffered a terrible and tragic bereavement (my nephew/ my parents’ grandson died suddenly aged 26 just before Easter) and this only exacerbated things, naturally. So I took it upon myself to call the GP and explain the situation. She was invited for routine blood tests then for a follow up appointment. She was very anxious about going but went. After all that, the GP said that there are no concerns! Well this is what she said anyway! I had hoped my Dad would’ve accompanied her into the appointment but alas, no!
We are absolutely gutted because we hoped getting her to see the doctor would start the ball rolling but it seems not.
She has, without a doubt, serious memory issues and cognitive impairment so I don’t know why the doctor didn’t pick up on this or at least refer her for further assessment. Everyone she comes into contact with is concerned about her.
We don’t know what to do next 😔
I would advise you to do what we did. Hopefully you’ll get further than us.

BeachwoodCafe · 13/06/2022 23:33

Foxy so sorry for your loss. And that sounds very difficult with all your worry about your mum as well as the bereavement to deal with.
Could you go back to her GP again and say that they must have seen her on a really good day and that you’re really concerned how she is now/most days, and just ask them to call her back in? They shouldn’t be just leaving her to get on with it, given the concerns you’ve already raised.

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BeachwoodCafe · 13/06/2022 23:38

Sorry, I wasn’t saying that I know what the GP ‘should’ do, just that the GP leaving her to struggle alone seems not OK at all.
I’m glad your mum has you to advocate for her.

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JanglyBeads · 13/06/2022 23:40

I'd be I claimed to think she didn't remember the conversation with the dr - perhaps wilfully because it was upsetting, perhaps not.

MereDintofPandiculation · 15/06/2022 10:50

Id advise anyone who is alerting gp to problems to include a list of specific problems with dates and two or three examples of each. They can add that to what they see in the appointment. Somehow, something written down and with dates suddenly becomes “evidence”.

They GP has their patient’s interests at heart, so they have to be convinced that the family have their interests at heart to, and aren’t just trying to make life easierfor themselves.

BeachwoodCafe · 29/03/2023 16:11

Big thanks again to all posters who replied,
unfortunately i’m not much further on with this. The GP surgery said they couldn’t guarantee that my name wouldn’t come up as a prompt for them having invited my dad in to a ‘routine check up’ type appointment (ie an apportionment based on my concerns that they needed to see him). I can’t risk a fall out of him feeling like I’ve gone behind his back so I’m still trying to persuade him to go in voluntarily.
He says it’s not worth going to the GP because they won’t have any help for him.
However I don’t think that’s quite true and getting on to the GP radar seems really important to do for the future. Needless to say his short term memory is extremely poor.

OP posts:
TokyoBouncyBall · 29/03/2023 16:21

The thing is, there are some medications which can at least slow the progress of memory loss in some cases. So it very much is worth him going as soon as possible.

BeachwoodCafe · 29/03/2023 19:30

I can only think his worry is getting a diagnosis and then not being able to drive (which he doesn’t do anyway!) because they live out in the country. Or they are just worried about having to somehow deal with ‘fuss’ being made if he gets diagnosed with a form of dementia and ‘other people being involved’. Which is possibly how they feel about me trying the encourage this GP visit. It’s worrying because I feel they are missing chances to get help and then there actually won’t be any help when they need it.

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PritiPatelsMaker · 29/03/2023 22:31

I've recently written to an elderly DCousin's GP and stated that they are not taking medication as "they don't understand it" and seem very depressed.

When talking to another DCousin it turned out that she was so concerned about them that she'd written to the GO as well.

DCousin has now got help, a SW, a visit by Occupational Health, Attendance Allowance and help with Medication.

At no point where out letters or concern's mentioned.

PermanentTemporary · 05/04/2023 09:05

Oh that's pretty rubbish of the surgery.

Tbh you might just have to go blunt. 'Dad, I think you should see the GP. Your memory isn't what it was'. If he says nothing can be done, just say 'I don't know that and neither do you. The GP is the expert'. Then forever afterwards just say 'you know what I think - it's time to see the GP'.

Maybe they'll go and maybe they won't. But at least you'll have said it. Ultimately the ball is in their court anyway so I would make that ball as bright yellow and visible as you can.

PermanentTemporary · 05/04/2023 09:08

Oh also... emotional blackmail. In case you thought I was a healthy communicator. 'I can't help worrying about you Dad, I was lying awake the other night trying to work out how to get you to make an appointment. Because you're not yourself'.

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