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Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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How to convince a loved one with Alzheimer s symptoms to go to the doctor?

Hi there. My mom is 70 yrs old and in the last 6 months has had a significant amount of short term memory loss. She refuses to drive. Dad now does the grocery shopping as last time she was there she thought they moved all their items to different isles. I am extremely close with my parents and spend at least 3 days a week with them so I see the change big time. I tried to get her to see the Dr. about this and she flipped out on me. My sister is an R.N. and has told me there is nothing we can do as long as mom doesn t want to agnoledge theres a problem. What are your thoughts on this issue? My mom is on very little medication. She is on a thyroid med that s it. Always very healthy. No one in her family had alzheimers.
Wed, 27 Jun 2018
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Neurologist 's  Response
Hello and Welcome to ‘Ask A Doctor’ service. I have reviewed your query and here is my advice.

It is a difficult problem to deal with since patient's responses are variable and go from angry/belligerent to simply quietly refusing and being uncooperative. There is no easy way from a medical perspective to forcibly convince someone to undergo testing or say a professional if they do not wish to do so. One thing I've found that works and usually gets cooperation is to tell the patient that they are going to see their doctor to simply have a followup visit for wellness purposes (without bringing up the issue of the memory loss). You could then, call the doctor ahead of time and brief him on what's going on so that the REAL reason for taking your mom and getting the evaluation is not a surprise to the doctor. If the doctor is willing to see your mom (for wellness purposes on paper) while REALLY SEEING HER for the cognitive problems, WITHOUT raising too much suspicion then, you will avoid a challenging visit altogether. He could order appropriate bloodwork, urine, and other studies and have her cooperate if done in this way.

Hope I have answered your query. Let me know if I can assist you further.
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