Ric Cavanagh - Certified Alzheimer’s Homecare Trainer

Each week we will be featuring a question and answer with our Director of Staff Development, Ric Cavanagh, M.S.W., about Alzheimer’s disease and what to do when your elderly parent is diagnosed. Keep an eye out every Tuesday for Ric’s Alzheimer’s Q&A.

Have a question for Ric? Visit our “Contact Us” page to submit your question and Ric’s response will be posted on the EasyLiving blog.

Q: When is it time to see a doctor?

A: Ideally, you should seek an opinion from a qualified physician as soon as you notice some unusual degree of forgetfulness or behavior change.  But that’s easier said than done. Your parent may be in denial about the changes you’re seeing.  Dad may get upset if you even suggest that he speak to a doctor about his memory issues.  Sometimes adult children find it hard to admit that a parent they love so much is in decline, and either overlook or rationalize the changes rather than face the possibility that Dad has dementia.

However, the sooner your parent is assessed by a well trained physician (one who is skilled in diagnosing dementia), the sooner he may be able to get medications that will delay the progress of the disease.  You should also make sure that your parents have necessary legal documents prepared in the event that they should become unable to make legal decisions for themselves in the future.