Your dad’s doctor believes he has dementia. You’ve seen the signs, and the family is worried. It’s time for a visit with a memory care specialist, but you’re not sure what to expect. What happens with this appointment? Would they recommend having home care assistance for your loved one?
Don’t Expect Your Dad to Be Cooperative
One of the hardest aspects of dementia to adjust to is that your dad may not act like himself. He’s always been easy-going, but he turns into a toddler on appointment days. It took longer than expected to get him ready and buckled into the car.
When you arrive, he doesn’t want to go inside. He tries to wander away while you’re checking in. He doesn’t want to go with his doctor, so he starts yelling or pushing people away. It can be embarrassing for you, but it also makes you sad to see him like this.
What Tests Will the Specialists Run?
Your dad may undergo an MRI to scan the brain and look for areas where the brain isn’t as healthy. As cells die, his memory loss and cognitive function decrease. Scans help doctors determine how fast the disease is progressing.
A mini-mental state exam (MMSE) gauges his cognitive function from one visit to the next. This test asks things like count backward from 100 by three. He’ll be asked to draw a clock and make the hands show 2:45 p.m. He’ll be told a word to remember and recite when the test is over.
You’ll Meet With Doctors, Too
After the doctor meets with your dad, his doctor may meet with your privately to discuss your concerns. The doctor will ask you how things are going and suggest how to best support your dad and yourself as the disease progresses.
Your dad may need to see a therapist within the practice if his diagnosis makes him depressed. You may want to meet with a social worker to learn how to best prepare for the weeks, months, and years to come.
You Need Home Care Assistance Services
Once your dad is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia, it’s time to discuss home care assistance services. Your dad’s care needs will increase in time, and the progression may go quickly or go through dips and spikes over the years.
As dementia worsens, your dad can become combative and not want you around him. If you have a home care assistance aide available to help out, the chance to get away for a few hours is essential. Talk to our home care assistance agency to learn more about respite care when you’re caring for a parent with dementia.