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Personal Choice - Carers UK Forum

Personal Choice

For issues specific to caring for someone with dementia.
Spoke to my brother this morning regarding my mother and apparently the hold up in any kind of dx is herself, she refuses a brain scan or any of the preliminaries.
Trouble as I see it is she is seeing the doctor and psyche when she is at her best in the mornings but in any case they have said they cannot move on without her permission.
Depending when you talk to her she can either be totally normal or suffering from advanced dementia, has anyone else had this problem and how do you get round it.
Trying to get an afternoon appointment so that they can see your mother when she is at her most confused is probably going to be your best option for a diagnosis of dementia even if the cause cannot be ascertained without a scan, giving a good history of the onset and progress might shed some light on the cause, for example if there appear to have been symptoms of undiagnosed TIAs this could indicate vascular dementia, etc. The problem is, and this does not only apply to dementia patients, no-one can be made to have or do anything or even comply with treatment unless they have been formally assessed as lacking capacity so it really is a case of trying to achieve as much as you can within the limitations even if it means that the individual's best interests are only partially being met.
Thanks Annie, will talk to my brother and see if afternoon appointments are possible.
My mother has always been the type of person who thinks if a problem is ignored then it disappears, husband thinks if she were here then I could persuade her ie my youngest has had brain scans and assessments and he hasn't been put in to an institution or drugged up.
She may be worrying about that kind of thing rather than thinking of any posistives.
Hi Vicky

I can relate to your comments about time of day and degree of dementia - my Mum is the same. When meeting new people, when seeing her doctor, or anyone 'official' she seems to be on her 'best' behaviour and, if you believe everything she says, then there's nothing wrong with her !

Her GP and I managed to get her to the surgery for the first MMSE test by saying it was part of a 'general' health check that the surgery was running for all patients over a certain age and we used the same subterfuge for her CAT scan. Luckily she has an understanding GP who will discuss her medical history and needs with me; he also saw her in her own home after a stay in hospital had highlighted that there was a problem, so saw first hand the initial symptoms.

Once the diagnosis of Alzheimers was made it was relatively simple to get her to see the Geriatric Psychiatrist - who also came to the house for the first consultation and was able to make a more accurate assessment of her dementia. She now sees him every six months, but each time it's as if she's seeing him for the first time because she has no memory of the previous visits.
Hi Susie
You must then have been able to talk to the G.P. wthout your mother present?
I don't think my brothers can manage that, I could do it if he would speak to me but would he do that over the phone as I am 400 miles away and he doesn't know me.
She is due to visit here end of this month, I have a feeling that at some point she is going to be here permanently, husband will probably think that is a good idea but with two children with autism it won't be at all easy, when she was here in the Summer she barely left my side, unable to concentrate on a newspaper or a television programme so it was pretty full on.
I knew she should never have moved so far away but no one would listen at the time.
Hi Vicky
My husband was finally diagnosed with Vascular Dementia about 3 weeks ago. I had exactly the same problem as he was always at his best during the doctor's appointments although I knew that he had some sort of dementia because of the changes in his personality and the odd way he behaved on days when he was confused. For some time I had written letters to his GP whenever I felt something significant had happened and to just keep him up to date. I think even if the GP will not talk to you because of patient confidentiality he would take note of what you say in a letter.
It is such a relief to have a name for what is wrong and we are now receiving all sorts of help and advice (although G's family are still in denial).
It is a worry for you and I hope you can get some help - meantime all best wishes
Hi Susie
You must then have been able to talk to the G.P. wthout your mother present? Vicky
Yes Vicky, I made an appointment to see her GP on my own - I'm lucky in that he knew me anyway as I've been taking Mum to her appointments with him for a few years now.

Perhaps you could write to him in the first instance (like thel suggests) to 'introduce' yourself and then follow that up with a phone call ? It's quite likely that he will play the 'patient confidentiality' card and won't discuss your Mother's health with you; if that happens perhaps you could get her to see your GP when she visits you.