Seeking medical help - what to do

Mum has always ‘enjoyed’ bad health. She always greeted us with one ailment or another but with her dementia things are getting worse. Ironically the dementia is the one illness whose existence she fiercely denies.

When I arrive to sort her out I get a litany of ailments her head aches, her shoulder hurts, her knees are hurting and she can’t stop weeing (she doesn’t go any more or less than me). The doctor gave her a few days course of antibiotics for her slight bladder problem and I feel its all sorted.

My problem is that I’m not sure what is real or imagined and as the doctor will only discuss one issue at a time. Mum has an entire shopping list of complaints and I’ve no idea if she is genuinely ill or just doing a dying Swan coz she feels sorry for herself.

I’d be glad of any advice or suggestions

Maybe write a letter to the doctor, explaining you are mum’s carer, give him a list of mum’s ailments, and say that you need a longer appointment to discuss them.
Has mum been diagnosed with dementia? Is she claiming Attendance Allowance and exemption from Council Tax?

Hi Nikki

It maybe a good idea to start keeping a diary. And also try and fill in it when with Mum. She can then see you are taking her seriously. And tell her it’s also necessary for the doctor. So the doctor can see what is happening. In order to give her the right type of help. She well may believe what she is saying. And you can only contact the doctor each time for assist. If the ailments/issues are not necessary life frightening. Does your Mum say she is worried about her mortality. If so you could get a personal alarm from your Local Authority. And if she was to keep using the system. For the current problems you would have another independent body. To confirm what you have be saying.

Thank you for your advice. Mum was diagnosed about 18 months ago but since then she’s had a major fall incorporating broken limbs and a new hip and was diagnosed with breast cancer just before Xmas. This habit oof going from one ailment to another in 5 minutes predates her dementia so it does make it harder to know what’s real and what is just another seat on mum’s misery merry-go-round. Today she’s decided it’s her teeth - a new entry on the roundabout.

Hi Nikki,

I would echo the advice about writing to the GP, maybe with a diary list of all the complaints.

My mum had a long list of (real) physical ailments along with the dementia. As the dementia progressed, she would complain of leg pain when her stomach hurt or vice versa. She was no longer capable of pin-pointing where the problem was. I wonder if this is happening with your mum, or of course if she just enjoys being miserable! The only way to know for sure is a full physical check-up.

Must be very wearying for you though. One thing I learnt in caring for mum was that you cannot be responsible for somone else’s happiness. Sometimes happiness is beyond them …

Look after your self too,