Mar 5, 2015

Help! The Doctor Blames Me

By Rachael Wonderlin
Alzheimer's Reading Room

Help! The Doctor Blames Me | Alzheimer's Reading Room

A reader asks for help. Do you have any advice? Rachael responds below.
“Help! My mother has Alzheimer’s disease and Type 1 Diabetes. I feed her well, but she keeps losing weight. Her doctor acts like it is my fault that she can’t maintain a healthy weight! If he asks her if she ate she says no, but she did eat.
Does anyone have any ideas?”

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Do not let this physician get to you. It is abundantly clear that he does not understand Alzheimer’s disease.

He may be looking for somewhere to place the blame and you look like the closest target. He is probably used to working with people who have Type 1 Diabetes, but he may have never worked with someone who also had AD.

It could also be, possibly, that the physician isn’t blaming you at all. Maybe that question, “have you eaten?” is part of his repertoire of questions. He could just be checking off items on his list, and perhaps he isn’t placing any blame.

Either way, it is pretty clear that Alzheimer’s disease is not his forte. Recognize that many, many physicians do not know much about dementia.

My best advice?

Find a new physician who understands your mother’s conditions. He or she will be able to help you in more ways than one.

When you get another doctor, talk to him or her about your mom’s diet.
  • Is there a supplement you can add into her day? 
  • Can she try a nutrition milkshake that will help her get the nutrients and calories that she needs? 
  • Perhaps it is just a matter of finding ways to add to her caloric intake.
Keep in mind that your mother does not think that you are a bad caregiver. Her disease prevents her from remembering that you have made her something to eat.

Do not blame yourself for her weight loss! 

Providing care for someone with Alzheimer’s disease is hard enough without accepting blame for things that you cannot control.

Rachael Wonderlin
Rachael Wonderlin has a Master’s of Science in Gerontology from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She works as a Memory Care Program Coordinator and Manager at Clare Bridge of Burlington in Burlington, NC.

Rachael also writes on her own blog at Dementia By Day.

More Articles on Alzheimer's and Dementia by Rachael Wonderlin
  1. 16 Things I Would Want, If I Get Dementia
  2. Dementia, Overstimulation, Sundowning, and the Holidays
  3. Memory Care - Does a Little Reminder Really Help
  4. How to Become a Dementia Detective
  5. What is Aphasia in Dementia?
  6. Don't Want to Lie to a Person Living with Dementia, Why Not Embrace Reality Instead
  7. How Reorienting a Dementia Patient Can Be Cruel
  8. 4 Ways to Deal with Constant Questioning from a Person Living with Alzheimer's

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