How do you convince your loved one with memory loss to see a doctor?


How do you have that first conversation about your concerns?

“I am concerned about memory lapses and confusion I’m seeing in my mother. How do I get her to agree to go to the doctor?” This is a common question of staff on our 24/7 Helpline. We would like to share several strategies that families have found to be  successful. Maybe one of these will work for you.

Why is it hard to get my loved one to acknowledge the changes?

Noticing changes in a loved one

Anyone who is aware of his/her own cognitive changes may be afraid that the symptoms could be from Alzheimer’s disease. This can be a scary thought.

It may be more comforting to deny that there is a problem. Sometimes changes in the brain from dementia can make it difficult for the person to acknowledge the symptoms.

The changes may not be due to Alzheimer’s
We suggest that you talk with your loved one about potential causes of these symptoms that are NOT related to Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s isn’t the only cause of memory loss and confusion.

Perhaps there is a vitamin B-12 deficiency or a urinary tract infection. Maybe the individual’s medication list needs to be re-evaluated by a doctor. If there is a reversible cause for the symptoms, it is best to find out so they can be treated.

Enlist support from a friend who also has concerns
Does your loved one have a friend he or she has known for years? Maybe it is a close neighbor or someone with whom your loved one plays cards or goes out to lunch. You could discuss your concerns with that person to see if s/he has noticed similar behaviors.

If there are shared stories of misplacing items or becoming easily confused, you could ask that person to talk with your loved one. Often we listen to life-long friends more than our children or partner. You two can decide whether you should be there for the conversation.

Ask for help from the doctor

Doctor giving patient memory test

Maybe the person is still reluctant or you think that the above ideas aren’t feasible in your situation. Write down concerns and observations (use our Preparing for a Visit to the Doctor form) and send them to the physician. While healthcare providers cannot talk to you without the patient’s consent, reading your letter may help them better understand the situation.

You could suggest that the doctor’s office call your loved one to schedule an appointment. It may be time to check cholesterol or blood pressure. Maybe an exam is needed to refill a prescription.

A doctor may or may not follow through, but it is worth a try.

Would you like me to tell you if I noticed something?
When one of our staff noticed changes in her mother, she had started the conversation with a question. She asked: “If I noticed something about your physical or cognitive health that concerned me, would you want me to tell you?” When her mother said yes, it opened the door for her to share her concerns.

If her mother had responded negatively to her question, then she’d know to try a different approach. Here are some other ideas.

  1. Suggest that it might be time for their annual wellness visit, which is covered by Medicare (and can include a cognitive screening).
  2. Pair the doctor’s visit with an enjoyable outing. “We can go to your appointment and then go to lunch.”
  3. If the person has dementia, his or her judgment may be impaired. You might have to get creative. Maybe you get in the car to go to lunch or shopping and then you “remember” that there is a doctor’s appointment. You could mention that there was a call/letter saying that your loved one needs a check up in order to get a prescription filled or an insurance policy renewed.

Choose your words carefully

Individuals having a conversation

Use the words that are most comfortable for the person. It may be best not to mention “Alzheimer’s” or “dementia” when you are sharing your concerns. You might try: “let’s go to the doctor to see what might be causing these changes.”

Express your love. You might suggest that having him or her visit the doctor could clear up your worries. He or she may be willing to go to show that nothing is wrong and reduce your stress.

There may be a crisis
Sometimes none of this works and may even cause anger from the person you are trying to help. Your loved one may be afraid of losing his or her independence. Try to imagine how it would feel from his or her perspective.

Occasionally it takes a serious incident before a doctor gets involved – maybe a fall, a trip to the emergency department, or a wandering occurrence. While unfortunate, this may happen.

If you are concerned about the safety of the individual and you are not nearby, we suggest that you call Adult Protective Services where the person lives and report that you are concerned about his/her self-neglect. Depending on the situation, they may be able to help get the individual connected with services.

We’re here to help
The Alzheimer’s Association is here to help with support and suggestions any time. We can discuss this or any other issue related to the Alzheimer journey, 24/7 at 1.800.272.3900.

If you’ve successfully overcome a loved one’s initial reluctance to visit the doctor, please comment below to share what worked for you.

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41 Responses

  1. It’s always a difficult time when you have to convince someone to go to see the doctor, but when someone suffers from memory loss, then it makes it just that bit more difficult.

    Thanks for the insight into this topic.

  2. On another note, it’s easier to get a couple of people with you, close friends of your loved one, even very close family members.

    I hope this helps.

  3. Mike says:

    Hi – my mom is 71. I understand that she is getting older but her mother, who just died at close to 100 year old, had a sharper memory than my mom does.

    She forgets things she used to remember. When I point out how bad her memory has become she covers for it, makes excuses as to why she didn’t remember something, or quickly making a joke or changing the subject to deflect attention away. She even became confused on the way back from a doctors appointment, not understanding where we were. She has made that trip at lease several dozen times.

    So I have noticed this for many years now and she continues to deny it….and attack me by saying it’s my memory that it bad.

    She has a doctor who she has a good relationship with and now says she would feel like an idiot if she went in and asked for memory tests.

    She also,had brain surgery a few years ago for a minor non malignant tumor. It was removed. And a routine yearly MRI this past summer says it’s fine. She doesn’t understand that an MRI does not show memory loss.

    The problem is my father is handicapped. He had a brain injury when hit by a drunk driver. I’m in my early 40s. I can’t imagine having to take care of two parents.

    I know nothing can be done about dementia and Alzheimer’s. But there are other benign causes of memory loss that should be investigated. Yet because she feels such a stupid level of kinship with her doctor, she won’t go.

    She dug her heals in one other time when she would get so out of breath that she couldn’t breath walking far in the mall. She wouldn’t goto the doctor until I became furious with her. Not she makes it sound like it was her own ideas which makes me wonder if this is her forgetting also.

    I don’t know what to do. I’m about to write my family off and let them live the irresponsible way they want to.

    I’m very upset and frustrated.

    • Shiru says:

      Hello Mike. I’m sorry to read this. How is your mum doing now? I hope you made progress over the last year. Sometimes I feel the same way about writing my family off.

    • David says:

      Speak to her doctor yourself without her. Express your concerns and why she won’t talk to him about them. Ask him to note them in his file to discuss for her next physical or the next time she is in (follow up with doctor if you have to…don’t trust the message will be remembered). The doctor’s office might give her a call and suggest a physical if she hasn’t had one recently given that she is a senior. At that time the doctor could administer some of the memory tests stating that it’s routine to do so with seniors periodically. Alternatively, book a physical (medical) for her with her doctor’s office. Inform her that they called wanting to arrange an appointment. Go with her to the appointment and go in with her to see the doctor. She is probably telling the doctor she is just fine and has no problems. She may also not recall whatever he may tell her of importance. As for your mother denying things, she may be well aware that she has this memory loss and is quite fearful of what will become of her life with such a diagnosis. As humans sometimes it is easier for us or so we think, to not know. I would not give up on your parents. I am sure she was not like this in her early forties either. You might be the same in thirty years. Getting old is difficult remember. If she has cognitive issues, her judgement will also be impaired. It’s not that she wants to be irresponsible. I understand it is difficult as a caregiver. I am one. Don’t lose heart.

    • Paula says:

      Ah Mike…. reading your story hits close to home… this is how it is with my spouse 69 years old…. he can make me feel that I am the one with the problem…. I fee so sad for him, your mom and others like them…. buy it is also very hard on us… I cry often… truly hard to hard to have a serious conversation about the illness, we need to stay strong!!

  4. Barbara says:

    I just got off of the phone from having this conversation with my mother. She said I am just trying to get her upset and there is nothing wrong with her memory and that her memory is as good as it ever was. Last Sunday my daughter and I visited her and estimated her short term memory is about 1 minute. I did mention there are a lot of things it could be but again she insisted that her memory is fine. Finally her friend convinced her to go but I know she will go kicking and screaming!

  5. Kelsey says:

    My mom is only in her late 50’s but I’ve noticed some concerning memory loss and confusion. I am the only one that she has regular interaction with, I know that I need to have a talk with her about my concerns but I’m so scared to.

  6. Janet says:

    My husband refuses to see a neurologist and I am at my wits end. I started noticing changes about 4 years ago and the last 2 years it has gotten worse. He was involved in a car accident and thought someone was shooting at him. He left the scene of the accident and went on his way to the hardware store where the police caught up with him. He refuses to understand that his reaction was irrational at best. He loves to cook but can’t follow a recipe or remember how to cook ribs. His attention span is very limited. I am concerned that he will have another accident and injure or kill someone and we will lose everything we have worked hard for.

    • pguinto says:

      So sorry to hear about your husband. Please call our hotline at 800.272.3900 24 hours a day to talk to us about your situation.

  7. Lisa says:

    I am so thankful I found this site. My mother had a bad fall and shattered her wrist and broke her shoulder. While caring for her, I noticed her short term memory is really short.. But long term is still fine.. I monitored this for 4 weeks now and just waited to see if it got better or worst.. Until today.. She had told me that the surgeon that put her wrist back together could not see her and wanted her to go to the ER and get a x-ray and request for physio.. We went this morning and boy what a eye opener. I took her back to the ER that she has been dealing with while healing. To say the least, the DR in ER called her surgeon and I found out that she has been calling their office over and over demanding him to see her and that they explained to her that she still has 2 weeks of healing to do before anything else can be done.. I was so embarrassed.. She has no recollection of them telling her that. So I had a nice long talk with her after I found a DR that would meet with us ( she does not have a family Dr and usually just goes to the walk in) I confined her that we should go meet this new Dr and check them out for a full time Dr for her. She agreed like nothing.. I also got her a day timer that she is to write in daily. We updated all her events in it this evening. I also have a paper and pen beside the phone, that she is to write who she talked to and when ( her friends are complaining that she calls them 3 times a day and not remembering the other calls). I hoping this all helps.. It is so hard to take someone so independent and trying to explain to them that their life is changing. I know she knows and also know she is trying her best to hide her memory loss from me. But I worried she will hurt herself somehow or lose every friend she has left.. Your site has helped me to see there are people just like me out there struggling with the same issues.. I’ll update and tell how the new Dr spot tomorrow goes as that will be a big heads up to her that I’m concerned.

  8. Betty Theis says:

    Myself, I am 65. In fairly good health. My husband is 69 in excellent health…. Just recently decided he was too old to ride roller coasters! He says the violent jerking of his brain the reason. Over the last few years I began to notice memory dysfunction. In fact he would argue aggressively that it was always I who had had a “bad memory” all of our married life. That is true. He could recall events from our early marriage that I couldn’t recall at all. Sometimes the fights were about what time we were to be at an event. Or what someone said in casual conversations. Because of my memory always being not so good…. He always wins. Now, in the last few years when he forgets something ….. If he doesn’t remember it…. It didn’t happen! I guess you can see his independence along with his disconnection from me has not left me in a very good position going into our senior years. His memory loss now is becoming concerning. Attended a birthday party at our grandson’s father’s home. A month before our former son-in-law borrowed our power washer to wash his deck. Then he painted it a completely different color. As you can imagine he was proud to show us the finished project. Birthday party happens at his home and we’re all there. Everyone notices and comments on the new paint job and color. Including my husband. Two months later we are dropping off our grandson at his father’s home. My husband says “when did you do that?” Speaking about the deck. Both my former son-in-law and I look puzzled at him and we both said…. Don’t you remember? Yea, you remember… I borrowed your power washer to clean it and paint it before L’s birthday! Now my husband looked puzzled…. Reluctantly shaking his head yes….. That was almost three months ago. Little things have happened since but yesterday I casually mentioned a loan we made to one of our children and wondered if we’d get it back one day. He said, I loaned money? I said yes, a down payment on a house four years ago. He said, well it must have been paid back in full or I would remember it. My husband has always been very deligent with his money. Balancing the checkbook every month to the penny. Investing it well, managing our nest egg very well. To think he doesn’t remember loaning thousands of dollars to our child…. Really concerns me. He violently disagrees that he has nothing but a brilliant memory… He pretty much is in control of me and our finances. Any advice?

    • Margarita says:

      Hi Betty, thank you very much for sharing your story with us. We have trained professionals available 24/7 to guide you through this situation, you can call 1.800.272.3900 or visit our website to learn about the resources available to you where you live:

    • Paula says:

      Betty this is also my story…. reading all the testimonials…. OMG is it ever so difficult and sometimes scary!!! Im 65 and my spouse 69… he also cannot admit of the problem… the other day he could not understand how I could work on my laptop and that my computer and tower were at the office, a few times he was mixed up with dates and I had to take out the calendar to show him…. but itès always me with the problem. I cry a lot!!

    • GardeningJunkie says:

      Betty- I am teary this morning facing the fact that my spouse of almost 50 years and who turned 70 this year, I am almost 69, is showing signs of early dementia. Searching the internet for ways to deal with this or approach it with him I found this site and of all the contributors your story seemed more like mine and that made me even sadder. The only difference is that my husband’s short term memory lapses although happening have not advanced as far as your husbands. We can watch a recorded TV series and the next night we plan to watch the next one and he will return to the show we watched the night before because he has no memory of watching it, even if I give him the story line, I calmly explain we’ve see it and this angers him. This I think is my biggest concern. Not only is he forgetful, but he is loosing his anger controls. He has never been a screamer, a logical airline pilot and also financial adviser, still working today as a very successful consultant. Now at least once or twice a week he get purple in the face and screams and calls me a Bitch for basically no logical reason. He has done this with dinner guests who sit and watch with huge round eyes looking at him and me and I just try to keep my cool and act if nothing is happening. He ruined a business relationship recently believing he had more rights than he legally had and I was there and watched him explode swearing with spittle hanging on his lips at this man in front of the employees and I stayed fearing he might harm this individual, just hoping I might provide a bit of reality to the situation. He has his annual check up with his Family Practice doctor next week and I want so much to contact the doctors nurse to let them know my concerns, yet if he found out I would jeopardize the great marriage we have always had and I so want to help him. He also drinks at least 4 big drinks each night, Gin and 101 Bourbon so this has got to affect him in the long run. Of course he never drank while flying, but at age 70 it can also affect the brain cells.

      • Alz Staff says:

        Thank you for your comment illuminating your situation and the difficulties inherent in the diagnosis and early stages of dementia and related disorders. We hope that you contact our 24/7 helpline at 800.272.3900 as we have representatives available to listen and discuss your concerns as well as walk through ideas on how to handle situations such as yours.

  9. Sarah says:

    I don’t know how to get my mom to the doctor, she refuses to go. Her memory is really bad, she dosent remember anything I said 30 minutes ago, she’s become very paranoid and talks very mean to us. It’s really hard to deal with. Any ideas on how to get her to dr. Any ideas are allreciated

  10. Kathy Mitchell says:

    I think this is a US site a I just tried calling the number from Australia and it didnt work. Im an only child and so worried about my mother. She has all 12 signs mentioned in the article about dementia. She seems to be getting worse. This morning I was trying to explain to her how to use the kepad on her flip phone which she has had for 10 years and she couldn’t get it. She kept picking up the landline and was pressing that keypad – she said she was having a bad day – seriously. She has no husband and no friends. Her personality has totally changed – she has become a self-centred self-absorbed miserable whiner. There is no way Im going to broach the subject – she screams like a banshee if I tell her she already told me something 2 mins before. I dont know who to turn to for guidance. 2 years ago I asked her doctor to surreptitiously check her for dementia. When she came out she said I think he was testing me for dementia from the questions he asked. Im getting to the stage it is impacting my health and I feel like I can barely breathe. Im really resenting how she is impacting my life. Im having anxiety attacks from trying to remain calm in her presence. Someone help me please. Thank u in advance.

    • margarita says:

      Hi Kathy, so sorry to hear about what you’re going through. You’re correct that we’re located in the U.S. but I just did some research and there is a National Dementia Helpline in Australia: call 1800 100 500 (available 9am to 5pm weekdays). Hope they’ll be able to help. Let us know if there is anything else we can do. Thank you for your message!

  11. Lisa says:

    I just came across this thread. I have a question. If there is memory loss and a change in personality, like uncharacteristic aggression, is this more likely to be Alzheimer’s than memory loss alone? Otherwise, that’s more like dementia, right? Honestly, the aggression & lashing out concerns me more than the memory loss. She’s always been helpful, caring & a good hostess. She just recently told guests over for Christmas to “get it yourself” when it came to serving a meal. It’s way different than how she was. She blames the behavior on many things, but doesn’t see the big picture. She apologized when she yelled “shut up” to me. She had never screamed at me like that in my life, let alone tell me to shut up. I knew it was out of character, so I just walked away. Things like this, she will say she was hungry, stressed, tired or hurting. She took a bad fall back in the spring & actually cracked her back and ankle. She’s gone downhill since then. Her sister, a retired nurse, asked me to get a list of her meds if I can. Dad was more supportive, but I think he’s getting scared & going into denial. My brother is very busy with his family, job & lives a good distance away, too. I feel like it’s up to me now. It’s a lonely and scary path I see before me. I’m scared to even talk to her now. She’s changed so much. My brother has been here for Christmas, but leaves tomorrow. We don’t have a plan yet because I’ve been sick for the past 2 days. Looking for some guidance. (Also, she’s confessed problems with her memory to my older son, but is also arguing with my dad in front of both my kids now every time they are visiting. Same with me and my husband.)

    • margarita says:

      Hi Lisa, we’re very sorry to hear about what you’re doing through. Please take advantage of our 24/7 Free Helpline by calling 1.800.272.3900. We also provide free support groups and education. To find out what resources are available where you live, please visit To answer your question, dementia is a general term for loss of memory and other mental abilities severe enough to interfere with daily life. The most common type of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. Visit this link to learn more:

  12. Gia says:

    My mother has started saying things that just aren’t true and make no sense. The memory problems are bad, too. She can’t remember how to use the cordless phone. I went and got her a regular corded one. The thing is… she’s convinced that things have happened that really have not. She thought a strange man came in her house and said he worked for the television provider. She said my stepdad was there and told the man to leave. My stepdad says this never happened. She’s also convinced that my brother got activated with the military. This did happen several years ago. She thinks it has happened again.
    She says nothing is wrong with her memory. She even called and told me that my stepdad is crazy. There is no way this woman is ever going to the doctor and telling him she has memory problems I called her oncologist before her last appointment (this was a check up. She’s in remission) and talked to his nurse. She said she would inform the doctor. Nothing came of that. My call was ignored completely.
    I’m going to try to talk to her about my concerns. I just don’t feel that it’s going to go very well. It didn’t for my stepdad.

    • Alz Staff says:

      Hi Gia, we encourage you to call our helpline at 800.272.3900. One of our representatives may be able to offer guidance and talk through ideas regarding your particular situation.

  13. Ysabelle says:

    Can anybody help ?
    My granma who will be 80 next February has been forgetting little things for a few years now, the past 3 weeks ive noticed a major change, walking into her house as usual and her looking and talking to me like she didnt know who i was then five minutes later being okay. She struggles to finish a sentence now. This lady is like my mother, always there for me, head of the family amd has always been very independent. She has been through alot, breast cancer twice and beat it both times. Im very worried and keep talking to her about it but then she will forget our conversation so i have to have the same one again and again.
    There is no way she will go to the doctors and if the doctor came out she certainly wouldnt let him in. Im stuggling with what to do. This lady is my world and seeing her like she is is very hard to watch.
    One minute she seems okay and the next i either dont know what she is talking about or she cant remember and cant finish sentences. I keep track of everuthing and write it all down to show a doctor when a time finally comes. Ive spoken to her close friend that is also concerned.

    • Michelle Johnston says:

      Ysabelle – thank you for reaching out. We are sorry for the struggles you are facing. If your grandmother has regular appointments (annual check ups, exams to get medications refilled, etc.), you might want to reach out to the doctor’s office before the appointment and share the details of what you have noticed. We have information on our website on getting a diagnosis, which may be helpful: We also have an online training about having conversations with a loved one around getting a diagnosis: We encourage you to call our 24/7 Helpline at 800.272.3900 for additional support and suggestions.

  14. Marie says:

    I’m so glad I ran across this post. My mom just turned 74 but the last year her memory has been getting worse. Like many other stories I am reading, when I confront her about her issues she thinks I am crazy or trying to “get everything and put her in a looney bin.” Im an only child and I’m not out to get her stuff I just want to help her like I always have. She forgets things so she started writing notes…then she would write notes for those notes. She got a calendar because she thought the notes were too confusing and now her calendar is a mess. I created a binder for her upcoming eye surgery and she goes over it 4 times a day and acts like we never did this for her first eye surgery. Then she got angry that I didn’t remember that…none of which is true.

    Driving at night she gets confused and it is scary!

    In the middle of the evening she will wake up from an hour of sleeping and thinks it is day time and start getting ready…or refer to the current day as yesterday.

    She will call me at work to see where I am or why I never called…when we just spoke an hour earlier. Sometimes she will acknowledge that she realizes her memory “slips” or that she just didn’t realize where she was, but refuses to tell the doctor.

    Some of her doctors are noticing it because of what she says..they never told her that, they did not do that before etc., or she will cancel appointments or change them because she said they didn’t remind her. Now that the doctors send reminder calls she gets highly agitated that they keep bugging her, are “tracking her” and wants them to stop calling her.

    There are so many stories I have of this and the paranoid, aggressive, defensive part of this is almost worse than the memory loss itself.

    I feel like so many others, I just want to give up and run away but it won’t solve the problem. I keep hoping that one of her doctors will say something but so far none have addressed it. I worry that if I tell her primary doctor and if he talks to her, she won’t go back to see him because that’s how she is, if she hears something she doesn’t like, she’s done.

    She has an appointment coming up and I will have to find a way to address this before she goes so that perhaps the doctor can talk to her. But like other people have mentioned, she down plays it “oh yeah I forget stuff, I’m old haha.”

    I agree that the fear of losing control over your life when you face you might have a debilitating problem makes people not want to deal with it. It’s just there are so many resources to help it or try to lessen the impact of it if you can get them in soon enough.

    The struggle is real.

    • Michelle Johnston says:

      Thanks for sharing your story, Marie. It can be very challenging to address this issue. You might reach out to the doctor’s office in advance of the appointment and share what you’re noticing, along with the concerns you shared with us regarding your mother’s potential reaction to a diagnosis. Even if they can’t tell you what they’ve noticed, it will be helpful for them to learn what you are observing. You are correct regarding the resources available to help. You can also call our Helpline (800.272.3900) before your mom’s appointment to get additional suggestions. Our Conversations About Dementia workshop might provide some additional helpful tips: We hope the appointment goes well and please reach out to us so that we can help support you.

  15. Wendy Christopher says:

    Was a bit gutted to see the link to the Preparing to see your doctor form is broken, as we are now getting desperate with my 74-year-old mother-in-law.

    There’s very little doubt that she’s suffering from advanced memory loss now – she’s struggling to get through an average day (completely forgot she’d eaten an entire Christmas dinner with us an hour after eating it, for example.) She says things like “Oh, I feel like I’m losing my marbles sometimes,” but if anyone dares to actually mention her memory’s got worse she gets really upset and angry and denies there’s any problem – even accusing us of lying when we bring up examples, saying they never happened – and then of course forgets the entire conversation half an hour later. Her husband died just over four years ago, and he was her rock – looking back, I suspect her memory may even have been starting to go even when he was still alive, but he sort of took up the slack for her without saying anything to anyone, until he was too ill to do it anymore. Since his death she’s withdrawn from most of their mutual friends, and taken less and less interest in socialising with anyone – even her own family. And of course she flat-out refuses to see a doctor, no matter how many times we’ve suggested it.

    Yesterday, after a fraught Christmas, we finally thought we’d made some progress. She’d caught a bad cold, and, after convincing her that we needed to check if she was still registered with her local doctor after over five years of never going (she’d even stopped getting the annual flu jab letters from them,) my husband and his brother went into her local surgery with her and managed to talk for a few moments with the receptionist in private about the situation. Unfortunately, her practice has this kind of Darwin-themed system for getting a doctor’s appointment, where everybody who needs one is required to ring the surgery between 8:00-8:30am, and, if you’re lucky enough to actually get through during that time, you then have to be lucky enough to grab one of the appointment slots FOR THAT DAY. If you’re too late and there are no appointments left for that day… well, tough, you get nada – oh, and you can’t book for another day either, because they don’t do appointments ‘in advance’ anymore. Instead, you have to try your luck again tomorrow, between 8:00-8:30am, and hope you’ll be lucky enough to hit the Appointment Lottery…

    Is this a reasonable thing to expect a 74-year-old woman with severe memory loss to do? Oh, and no, we can’t book it for her on her behalf either. In fact, we can’t do anything at all for her in relation to medical matters, unless we present the doctor with a special letter where she’s expressly given us permission to do so and personally signed – which of course she refuses to do. No, they won’t make any calls or send her any letters inviting her for a routine medical check-up, because they ‘can’t do that’ either. She can totally book one voluntarily herself though – provided, of course, she uses their stupid Darwinian appointment system to do it…

    Sorry, didn’t mean to get snappy. But it’s frustrating. It’s like they’ve decided it’s totally not their problem until it becomes their problem – and they have a bulletproof system in place to block any attempts for it to become their problem.

    • Michelle Johnston says:

      We’re so sorry that your situation is so frustrating and challenging. It is very difficult to navigate health issues when the damage to the brain causes someone to be resistant or to forget prior conversations. We apologize for the broken link – it is now updated ( Are you in the UK? If so, you might want to reach out to the Alzheimer’s Society for support and suggestions on how to navigate the health system challenges that you’re facing. Their website is and their Helpline is 0300 222 11 22. If you’re in the US, let us know and we can give you some ideas for next steps based on US laws and systems.

  16. I’m still learning from you, while I’m making my way to the top as well. I definitely enjoy reading everything that is posted on your blog.Keep the tips coming. I enjoyed it!

  17. Karen Steinrock says:

    A very close 65-year-old friend of mine has clear signs of Alzheimer’s and refuses to go to the doctor. Since she has no relatives left (her husband died in July), only the in-laws remain and are starting to ignore her wandering mind. She never bathes anymore, nor leaves the house, despite every imaginable effort to get her out. She’s also drinking and hiding it. What can a friend do to help? With HIPPA laws, it’s nearly impossible for me to get her the help she needs. Any advice much appreciated.

    • Michelle Johnston says:

      Thanks for reaching out, Karen. That is a very difficult situation. We suggest that you call Adult Protective Services where your friend lives and report that you are concerned about her self-neglect. Depending on the situation, they may be able to help get her connected with services. If you know who her healthcare provider is, you can reach out to them and share your concerns, but you are correct that they can give you any information without her consent. Please call us at 800.272.3900 if we can be of additional assistance.

  18. Jeannette Levis says:

    I am so glad that I happened unto this site. My 80 yr.old husband was in the RCAF & had an the door on the underbelly of the aircraft fall on him; it knocked him out for 3 days. The Dr. told me later that he really wasn’t expecting him to recover. As a child,my husband was prone to fainting & once passed out & broke a steel hall register with his head; there was more trauma to the head over the years that he never told me about until now. He is at the stage where he doesn’t know our children & grandchildren; one day recently, he did not even know me, his wife of 58 yrs.! Although I had a heart attack 2 yrs. ago, I am keeping him home for as long as possible. I have a good support group that is always there for me. Some of our sons are nearby & they are a great help & support. Our parish priest , our congregation & our friends are there for me. I also get counselling from a social worker when I feel the need.

    • Michelle Johnston says:

      Thank you for sharing your story, Jeannette. We’re so sorry for what you and your family are going through. We are glad that you have found a good support system. If there is anything we can do, you can call us 24/7 at 800.272.3900. Please take care of yourself.

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