What questions do I ask my mom's doctor to learn about her Alzheimer's diagnosis?

1 answer | Last updated: Oct 12, 2016
Corie asked...

Hello there! We are having a family meeting with the doctor at the nursing home where mom is. I don't what kind of questions to ask regarding mom. I would like to know what stage she is in and what kind of Alzhiemer's does she have. Please help me with questions I should ask.

Expert Answers

Helene Bergman, LMSW, is a certified geriatric care manager (C-ASWCM) and owner of Elder Care Alternatives, a professional geriatric care management business in New York City. She consults with nursing homes and daycare programs to develop specialized programs for Alzheimer's patients.

Each nursing home is different so before entering this meeting, I suggest you find out if this is a doctor on staff and if, in fact, the doctor is familiar with your mom more than from reading the charts. If he/she knows your mom, you can inquire what type of dementia is being diagnosed (Alzheimer's or cardiovascular or another type). You could ask how this was diagnosed and whether she had any extensive neuropsychiatric testing? If not, perhaps they have the results of a mental screening. Or, she might have had a psychiatric consult with recommendations. Once you know this, you can ask how it is being treated. Is she being given a drug for memory loss like aricept, excelon or namenda? What are her main symptoms? What stage of dementia does she appear to be: early, moderate or advanced? What direct care does she require? Does she accept this care? Does she warrant any therapies (like physical, occupational or speech)? What activities are provided for her? Does she socialize with others? You could explore whether she has any depression or emotional issues and how these are being treated. If you can get answers to some of these questions, you will leave the meeting with mich more clarity about her dementia.

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