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Senior Health

Senior Health - who should I consult

02/08/2006

Question:

My parents are aged 77 and 74. My mother suffers from diabetes which has impacted her vision, but is in good health. My father is also in good health. He is forgetful, but was tested for Alzhiemers and was found to be ok. When I talk to my mother she tells me that she is getting beaten up by my father. There has never been any issue with abuse prior to now. When I talk to my father he tells me that she is going after him physically and he is just putting his arms up to defend himself. I tend to think it is my mother that is lashing out with uncontrolled anger. When I speak to her she is always berating my father and is talking about how he doesn`t do anything right. She tends to repeat herself going over the same things each time we talk. She also talks in a scream vs a conversational tone. I have suggested that if they can`t get along then we should look at getting them individual places to live. That does not seem to be an option either as they want to remain where they are. I need to do something, but I think I need professional help. Do you have any suggestions on who I should engage with. I thought about contacting their doctor, but with HIPPA I don`t think he would be able to talk to me without their consent. Could uncontrolled anger, repeating things over and over and lashing out physically be related to her diabetes. She is under 100 lbs and watches her diet closely. Maybe too closely as her sugar is sometimes in the 50`s and 60`s. Any help you could offer would be appreciated.

Answer:

First, I am sorry to learn of this conflict in with your parents. I would recommend: * Contact your mother's doctor's office regarding her diabetes control, ASAP. If you are unable to learn any information, * Accompanying your mother to her doctor or ask the doctor's office about your mother signing a HIPPA release. I do not know if her diabetes control is the source of her "uncontrolled anger" either way, I think it is time for a doctor visit, either way * Uncontrolled anger may also be a consequence of caregiver stress.... * For most family members, physical protection of older parents is the primary concern, these contacts would be a good start to help for older adults. Today there are increasing community services:

In Cincinnati:

* Talbert House, 241-4484   will make a home visit and will try to work with the relation * Hamilton County Adult Protection 421-5433, would investigate and assess the situation and they usually refer for in home services, respite care for your mother. Your parents are fortunate to have a child asking these questions on there behalf. Now is the time for intervention, these situation usually don't get better on there own.

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Response by:

Elizabeth Joyner Gothelf, BSN, MAG Elizabeth Joyner Gothelf, BSN, MAG
Assistant Director
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati