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Dementia - what to ask your doctor

Definition

You are caring for someone who has dementia. Below are some questions you may want to ask your doctor or nurse to help you take care of that person.

Alternate Names

What to ask your doctor about dementia; Alzheimer's - 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?

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'm 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'm caring for from hurting themselves around the house?

  • What should I hide?
  • Are there changes in the bathroom or kitchen I should make?

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?

Review Date: 11/6/2012
Reviewed By: Luc Jasmin, MD, PhD, Department of Neurosurgery, Cedars Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA and Department of Anatomy, University of California, San Francisco, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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