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Dementia - what to ask your doctor

  • Definition
    • You are caring for someone who has dementia. Below are questions you may want to ask your health care provider to help you take care of that person.

  • Alternative Names
    • What to ask your doctor about dementia; Alzheimer disease- what to ask your doctor; Cognitive impairment - what to ask your doctor

  • Questions
    • Are there ways that I can help someone with their memory around the home?

      How should I talk with someone who is losing or has lost their memory?

      • What type of words should I use?
      • What is the best way to ask them questions?
      • What is the best way to give instructions to someone with memory loss?

      How can I help someone with dressing? Are some clothes or shoes easier? Will an occupational therapist be able to teach us skills?

      What is the best way to react when the person I am caring for becomes confused, hard to manage, or does not sleep well?

      • What can I do to help calm the person down?
      • Are there activities that are more likely to agitate them?
      • Can I make changes around the home that will help keep the person calmer?

      What should I do if the person I am caring for wanders around?

      • How can I keep them safe when they do wander?
      • Are there ways to keep them from leaving the home?

      How can I keep the person I am caring for from hurting themselves around the house?

      • What should I hide?
      • Are there changes in the bathroom or kitchen I should make?
      • Are they able to take their own medicines?

      What are the signs that driving is becoming unsafe?

      • How often should this person have a driving evaluation?
      • What are the ways I can lessen the need for driving?
      • What are the steps to take if the person I am caring for refuses to stop driving?

      What diet should I give this person?

      • Are there hazards I should watch for while this person is eating?
      • What should I do if this person starts to choke?
  • References
    • Alzheimer's Association. Dementia Care Practice Recommendations for Professionals Working in a Home Setting. 2009. Available at: www.alz.org/national/documents/phase_4_home_care_recs.pdf. Accessed November 5, 2014.

      Knopman DS. Alzheimer's disease and other dementias. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 409.