The Best Approach to Medical Appointments (Public article)

Public article

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By Jane Verity ©

‘I Won’t Go & You Can’t Make Me!’

A commonly asked question from someone caring for a person with dementia is, ‘How can I get my loved one to go to the doctor?’

A person with dementia may adamantly refuse to go to the doctor. The issue of obtaining a diagnosis is not the one we wish to address here, but rather the person’s fear and reluctance to visit a GP in general. Firstly, you need to decide in your heart, what is the true purpose of the visit to the doctor?

A refusal to see the doctor is a common reaction of a person in the early stage of dementia. The person may feel that they are losing control and are fearful of what the future holds. For those in the later stages, this does not seem to be such an issue.

Medical check-ups are very important because symptoms of many conditions such as infection, dehydration, constipation, medication poisoning, or pain, can manifest in dementia symptons. These conditions can also increase existing symptoms, creating unnecessary concern. A medical check-up may allay doubts and prevent further deterioration caused by an underlying illness.

Two Main Fears Lie Behind the Person’s Refusal to Visit the Doctor
  1. ‘The doctor is going to tell me something is seriously wrong‘
  2. ‘The doctor will confirm that I have dementia and I may lose my house/control/independence’

Further Reading

The Best Approach to Medical Appointments: Extended Member’s Article – Jane Verity. Read the full article & discover why doctor’s visits can be a difficult situation & how best you can make this visit a positive experience for both of you.