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My mom is 86 and does not think she needs help but I feel she does. She has trouble with balance and show early signs of dementia. What should I do?

 

Question: My mom is 86 and does not think she needs help. I live with her, and feel she does. I am single and 50. I have had a live-in for two weeks and my mom wants her out. My siblings are out of the picture. What should I do? Keep her at home? Look for assisted living? Pay for help under the table or keep her with a registered service? Mom has trouble with balance and early signs of dementia. I would appreciate your advice.

Dr. Amy: If there is a safety issue or you think your mother may have dementia, you need to follow up. The first step is to talk to her doctor. If your mother is willing, I encourage you to go with her to her doctor. If she will not go with you to the doctor, ask her for her permission to talk with her doctor to make sure she is getting the right medical care and support. Just to be clear, you do not need her permission to talk with the doctor. And her doctor does not need her permission to listen to you. You do, however, need her permission for you and her doctor to have a two way conversation in which the doctor discloses your mother's personal health information. That's because health information is protected under our data privacy laws.

You asked what option you should pursue to ensure your mother has the best care possible. On this website (caregiverstress.com) there is a tab at the top labelled, "Helpful Tips for Caregivers". Under that tab you can choose "Senior Housing and Care Options". You will find excellent information about the various options for senior care. After exploring this information, if you need more specific information about the services that are available in your community, you can call the local Area Agency on Aging and they can provide you with a list of aging services. And finally, you might also want to contact your local Alzheimer's Association to get more information about Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.

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