How can we convince my mother with Alzheimer's to go to the doctor?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 14, 2017
Gray duck asked...

My 80 year old Mother is being treated for Alzheimer's and high blood pressure. She also has some calcium loss and has developed the clasic humpback. With in the last month now she has started to be always in pain sometimes noticeablly so, eating very little and some level of a loose bowl. The problem is that she also absolutely refusses to go to the doctor, I think its time to force her to go,but both of my out of town brothers say she'll go when she needs to.

Expert Answers

As Founder and Director of Circles of Care, Ann Cason provides caregiving, consulting, and training services to individuals and public and private organizations involved in eldercare. She is the author of Circles of Care: How to Set Up Quality Home Care for Our Elders.

I am sorry to hear of your difficulty: your mother's pain and her contrariness and the feeling of conflict with your brothers.  I would like to share a slogan with you that I have used for years. Don't expect things to go your way.  Memorize it.  Write it on a card. Carry it in your purse. Put it on the refrigerator. Say it to yourself over and over. It is one way to keep your sense of humor when you are in a situation where you are darned if you do and darned if you don't.

Here are some suggestions that might help to find a way through: Your mother's old age is not your fault.  Sometimes it can't be fixed. But maybe you can coaxe her.

  • Call your mother's doctor. Tell him the new symptoms; explain your mother's refusal. Ask his advice.about what he might look for if she did come to see him.
  • Speak to your mother.Tell her how much you love her. Express your fear that she might die. Let her know how much you would miss her.
  • Show respect for her decision not to go to the doctor. Maybe she feels that it is one way to stay in control. Or maybe she is tired of living.
  • Question her. "Mom, I wonder if you are afraid that you will find out something bad is wrong?" Ask the question with loving kindness and assurance that you will be there for her.
  • Respect your brothers' advice. It is possible that they are right. Many elders, even with Alzheimer's, will see a doctor or receive help when they see the need. 
  • Feel how much you would like a brother to help you. Notice and appreciate. It would be nice if you can get through the care of your mother and still love your siblings.