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Dementia - what to ask your doctor

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.

Questions

Are there ways that I can help someone remember things 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 the person calm 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?

Alternative Names

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

References

Alzheimer's Association. Dementia Care Practice Recommendations for Professionals Working in a Home Setting. Updated 2009. Alz.org. www.alz.org/national/documents/phase_4_home_care_recs.pdf. Accessed December 8, 2016.

Budson AE, Solomon PR. Life adjustments for memory loss, Alzheimer's disease, and dementia. In: Budson AE, Solomon PR, eds. Memory Loss, Alzheimer's Disease, and Dementia: A Practical Guide for Clinicians. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 25.

Review Date 10/24/2016

Updated by: Amit M. Shelat, DO, FACP, Attending Neurologist and Assistant Professor of Clinical Neurology, SUNY Stony Brook, School of Medicine, Stony Brook, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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