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Getting Mom to the Doctor(1)
Posted: Monday, August 19, 2019 5:59 PM
Joined: 8/12/2019
Posts: 4

In reading many posts, I'm curious whether anyone's techniques in getting their parent to a doctor were successful. My mother had not been to a well visit for at least 10 yrs (she is 80 this year), and only had to go for a "sign-off" to have cataract surgery last year. It was just a "get to know you" visit, since her previous PCP had retired years before. This Dr (my former PCP) has since left the practice this spring, leaving Mom with no familiar doctor, no one I can work with to get her in. Symptoms are significantly worsening, my siblings are both on West Coast (we are in rural northeast), and every time I bring it up, it's an argument. My sister and I have tried to promote a wellness visit, suggest that her memory problems could be due to a vitamin deficiency, UTI, low-blood pressure, etc - anything besides saying she has Dementia or Alzheimers. Both short term and long term memory are essentially non-existant; she has lost a good amt of weight; I have taken over monthly bills because she has had late/no payments, this month finding out her Medigap was cancelled because of late payment. Thankfully got that reversed, but I had to pretend to be her on the phone. I know that this and similar conversations that need to happen are illegal/won't stand up in court, but I was desparate. She still drives, lives alone, takes care of house on her own, and is in otherwise great physical condition - no medications, chronic conditions.

She cancelled the appt I set up for the elder law atty, has no medical or financial POA. It's a daily struggle, emotionally draining for my sister and I because we are the only ones who try to get her to see a doctor. She then criticizes each of us personally, which is very hurtful. We have been respectful of her condition, but it doesn't make the verbal abuses any easier. My brother and ex-husband (he is still on good terms, she relies on him for yardwork) just take her conversations at face value, and agree with her/don't push the issue, which I think is making Mom believe that she is fine. I feel that we are at a point where we all need to be on the same page, all pushing for the doctor visit/POA. It feels like we're ganging up on her, but aside from one of the men picking her up and carrying her to the car and dr visit, I honestly don't know how to get her there. Stopped at Dr office today to try and get her registered as a new patient,  will try the "appt needed for Medicare" renewal. Also stopped at local Agency on Aging, who suggested if we can't get her to do POA's, to look into Guardianship - anyone have experience with this? Hoping someone can provide additional suggestions, "fiblits" as one person wrote, or just guidance from their experience...

Thanks, GeorgiaE

Posted: Monday, August 19, 2019 8:22 PM
Joined: 7/1/2017
Posts: 134

Hi Georgia,

I'm sorry you are dealing with this.  Are there any visiting doctor practices in your area?  I have a home care geriatric physician group that comes out to see my mother because I could never get her to the appointments.  

They can do blood work, ekg's, she even had an ultrasound while laying on her bed.  You might want to check with her insurance company.  If not there are also some traveling P.A.'s

Posted: Monday, August 19, 2019 8:54 PM
Joined: 8/12/2019
Posts: 4

Thank you for the info much to consider. It seems like the decline has been so rapid - or maybe she was just much better at hiding what was really going on. But I really appreciate the analogies, and know that we need to take whatever steps necessary to keep her safe
Posted: Monday, August 19, 2019 8:56 PM
Joined: 8/12/2019
Posts: 4

Thank you for the suggestion, I honestly didn't think doctors or PA's might still make home visits! I'll definitely look into that
Posted: Tuesday, August 20, 2019 4:13 AM
Joined: 8/10/2016
Posts: 2151

Georgia my mom has not went to PCP in years.  She had a stroke in March.  At hospital she was super aggressive.  Refused all medication there.  Accused md and rn of making her BP up.  So as you see I have no answers but wanted you to know others are dealing with the same thing.  To me it’s like dealing with an out of control teenager.
Posted: Tuesday, August 20, 2019 11:33 AM
Joined: 6/11/2019
Posts: 516

Georgia -- That's how I got my mom to finally go to doctor in 2017 after CLEARLY exhibiting symptoms for AT LEAST 2 years prior to that: You have to go for an annual visit for your insurance company or they won't cover you anymore.

It was a battle but, facing the idea of parting with her money alone on any medical needs, she relented and went!

Back then (2.5 years ago) doctor said "garden variety dementia" no specifics or staging info. Just recently got her to a leading national memory diagnostic center. Sounds like Alzheimers though could be another dementia flavor. Likely late stage 5, early stage 6. 

Maybe the thought of NO coverage -- and the costs she would be stuck with -- will move her. Good luck!!!