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Senior Health

Finding the right expert doctor

07/03/2008

Question:

My stepmother has signs of early dementia, however she freely talks about it and knows everyone. She remembers words to songs, and knows so much, but she does everything backwards, turns the wrong way, puts clothes on backwards, occassionally has bowel and urine "accidents." Her neurologist seems to do nothing but tell her to come back and then tells her and my father nothing. Is there any specialist we can see or what is our next step. She is 62 years old and this has been noticable for at least two or three years. I am heartbroken and so is she and my dad. We are lost as to what to do.

Answer:

Specialists who work with older adults include:

1) Physicians who are called geriatricians

2) Advanced practice nurses are geriatric nurse practitioners

3) Psychiatrists- geriatric psychiatrists and psychologists

4) Social workers- geriatric social workers

The local phone book would be a helpful place to start looking for experts under Geriatric Physicians. Or call your local area agency on aging (Council on Aging, Aging Senior Service Agency etc) in your city or county for a referral to a primary care provider who could arrange a comprehensive geriatric assessment to assist in diagnosis of your stepmother. A comprehensive assessment may include several different gerontology experts such as a medical doctor, psychiatrist, neurologist, geriatric nurse and other health care professionals who work together to arrive at a diagnosis and care plan.

Please contact us again if you do not find a geriatric specialist and we will try to assist you further.

For more information:

Go to the Senior Health health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Evelyn L Fitzwater, DSN, RN Evelyn L Fitzwater, DSN, RN
Associate Professor Emerita
Associate Director of the
College of Nursing
University of Cincinnati