Two Tips to Follow if You Need to Take a Parent With Dementia to Their Medical Appointments

I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis fifteen years ago, and I have had several flare-ups flanked by periods of remission during that time. I'm pleased to say a number of new drug treatments have become available since I was diagnosed, but I've always been keen to explore alternative treatments, such as hydrotherapy, acupuncture, homeopathy and massage, as a way of complementing my medical treatment. I started this blog to document the alternative treatments I've tried and share information about current research into drug-free treatments for managing the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. If you've tried an alternative treatment that's eased your symptoms, I'd love to share your experiences on the blog.

Two Tips to Follow if You Need to Take a Parent With Dementia to Their Medical Appointments

24 February 2020
 Categories: Health & Medical , Blog

If your parent has dementia, which has advanced to the point where they now need you to accompany them on various outings, including their medical appointments, you might find it helpful to follow these tips.

Stay by their side at all times whilst at the medical centre

When you take your mother or father to the medical centre for an appointment, it is important not to leave their side for any length of time. If, after arriving, you walk out of the waiting room that the two of you are sitting in or you leave them alone in the doctor's office (while the GP has temporarily popped out of the office to get some medical supplies or paperwork), there is a chance that your unwell parent could end up causing an incident.

They might, for example, forget where they are and wander out of the waiting room and into one of the occupied offices, in which case they could unintentionally disrupt a medical procedure or frighten another patient. If they are left alone in the doctor's office for any length of time and they have an episode of severe confusion and aggression, they might damage the doctor's computer, filing cabinets or medical equipment. As such, if you want their trips to the centre to be as uneventful as possible, you must aim to stay by their side at all times.

Take note of any information the doctor gives them about their new medication

Even if your parent seems lucid when they're at the medical centre and are speaking to their doctor, you should still write down the information that the doctor gives them about any new medications they are prescribed. This might include instructions on whether certain new medications have to be taken at mealtimes, whether these medications can or cannot be taken alongside other ones (such as OTC painkillers) and what side effects they may cause and which of these side effects are dangerous.

The reason you must do this is that your parent's dementia may cause them to forget these facts when they inevitably experience episodes of memory loss in a few hours', days' or weeks' time. If when this happens, you don't have any notes about the medication on hand, you might have to call or go into the centre to get this information. This may result in your parent having to wait for you to return with this information before they can take their next dose, which might then lead to them having to endure the symptoms that the medication is supposed to control for several hours.