How can I get the assisted living facility to do a dementia evaluation on my mother?

1 answer | Last updated: Oct 12, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My mother has dementia but is living in an Assisted Living apartment as a part of a larger nursing home community. We have been trying to get her moved to the dementia ward, but they say she should go into one the regular nursing home wards. I asked that the dementia ward do an evaluation but all they did was a 'record' check as the nursing station said mom was too emotional and anxious if they tried to evaluate her. The records recommend that she go to a 'regular' nursing ward and state that she is uncooperative. She has incontinence and she doesn't like others helping her with her Depends. She doesn't like or accept that she needs help with bathing. How do I get a good evaluation? Her internist no longer wants to see her as he says he doesn't "deal with her issues of confusion". We are in southeast Wisconsin and it is not easy to get her out of her home to a doctor, as she can't walk and can barely help herself in and out of a wheel chair, much less a car. I don't know what to do next.

Expert Answers

Jytte Lokvig, PhD, coaches families and professional caregivers and designs life-enrichment programs and activities for patients with Alzheimer's disease and related dementia. Her workshops and seminars help caregivers and families create a healthy environment based on dignity and humor. She is the author of Alzheimer's A to Z: A Quick-Reference Guide.

From your description your mother's assisted living facility has already made their determination. To get an objective dementia evaluation you'll have to take your mom to a geriatrician or preferably a geriatric psychiatrist. Universities typically have departments that deal with geriatric medicine. You can also call your state's Alzheimer's Association for leads. You'll definitely need to bring someone to assist you on the long drive. If you don't have a strong family member or friend who can step in, call a local home health care agency.