Your answers: Health appointments

From the October/November 2018 issue of Dementia together magazine, Talking Point members share advice about what to do when a person with dementia doesn't want to attend regular check-ups.

Waiting room

Beate says,

‘I found that house visits (or in our case, visits while at the day centre) worked terrifically well. My other half wasn't averse to medical check-ups but he was more relaxed when they took place in familiar surroundings, plus when his mobility got worse, this saved so much hassle.

‘A lot of community health services now offer house visits, but you might have to be referred. We had an optician, a dentist and a foot health person attend the day centre regularly, plus the memory clinic consultant was more than willing to come out, but only after I had asked.

'Once the visits were shifted to his day centre, he only had to see the consultant for a few minutes each time,' says Beate.

‘My other half knew that he was being tested by the consultant and even though he tried to co-operate, it stressed both him and me. Once the visits were shifted to his day centre, he only had to see the consultant for a few minutes each time and was then able to resume his usual activities while I had a longer chat with the consultant.

‘Community health dentists are also a lot more experienced than regular dentists in knowing how to put a "difficult" patient at ease. Ours were absolutely marvellous – nothing fazed them.’

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Duggies-girl says,

‘I never tell Dad beforehand, I just spring it on him. I have even set my phone alarm and then answer it with an, “Oh yes, we can do that.” Then I tell Dad he has just been fitted in for a check-up and we can go now.’

reedysue says,

‘I don't tell Mum anything until we are in the car and on our way, as I would probably have difficulty getting her out of the house. She usually forgets where we are going within 30 seconds and asks me continually on the hour-long drive.’ 

di65 says,

‘My husband used to object, as he was in complete denial of his condition. I often used to say that I had a doctor's check-up and that, as we needed to do the supermarket shopping afterwards (he always enjoyed that), he could come with me to save me coming back for him. Worked a treat!’ 

Myra_52 says,

‘It is best to fit in these visits between some other errands, then it feels it is a regular part of the day. Or sometimes I book my own check-ups at the same time so they are not on their own.’

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Next steps

  • Do you have any suggestions for helping everyone, including a person with dementia, to feel involved and able to enjoy Christmas and other festivities? Email us your advice by 7 November 2018 to share.

  • Join our online community, Talking Point.

  • Read more articles from Dementia together magazine.

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