When our Los Angeles home care case managers speak with Los Angeles families coping with dementia, we share a lot of advice. We recommend support including counseling or a support group. We offer strategies for increasing care as needs increase or overcoming physical, mental and behavioral changes due to dementia.

For many families, there’s value in creating a respite care plan so that they can take breaks, work, or take care of their own health. Some of the advice is simple, like a quick modification to the home or a strategy to try to redirect their loved one.

The Benefits of a Medical Evaluation for Seniors with Dementia

One common piece of advice for every family seeking Alzheimer’s care in Los Angeles County is to schedule an evaluation with a physician as soon as possible. You might ask why we view this as so important for our Los Angeles patients with dementia. To explain, we’d like to share a story from a Torrance geriatric physician, Thomas W. LaGrelius MD, FAAFP Diplomate of the American Board of Family Practice and Geriatric Medicine. Skypark Preferred Family Care.

Advice from a Geriatric Physician

Dr. LaGrelius recently shared a story that depicts why early and frequent evaluations are so important.

Dr. LaGrelius stated, “A few years ago a woman brought her husband to see me because he could no longer drive his car, no longer operate his boat in King Harbor and had long since given up flying his twin Cessna airplane and sold it.  [My patient] seemed physically well, but was demented and scored only about ten point out of thirty on a mini mental status exam.”

“It took me a few days to determine he had a severe vitamin deficiency.  He could not absorb Vitamin B-12 from his stomach.  I gave him a series of B-12 shots, and within six weeks he was driving, operating his boat and had flown my airplane (in the right seat) quite competently on a flight with me to Catalina.  When we arrived there, the airport manager who knew him from years before looked shocked.”

The airport manager said, “I thought you were dead.” 

My patient answered, “I almost was, but I’m fine now.”  

And he was.

The Importance of Early Detection for Dementia

Dr. LeGrelius offers his expert opinion on this mater. “There are correctable causes of memory loss, and a geriatrician knows how to identify them.  The evaluation is complex and detailed.  There are also many things we can do to slow the progress of dementia. This is even the case with forms that are not reversible. Admittedly, most are not reversible.  However, at the FIRST SIGN of any memory impairment, get a detailed evaluation from an expert in the disorder with lots of time to do the evaluation.  It could make a huge difference.  Better yet, start the evaluation BEFORE someone notices memory loss.  That could make and even bigger difference.”

We couldn’t agree more. If your loved one is showing any signs of memory impairment, see a doctor today. Early detection could make all the difference in their health and their quality of life.  

Los Angeles families coping with dementia are not alone. Salus Homecare is here to help. Our case managers work with you to develop an effective plan of care, one that addresses your loved one’s personal needs. It also provides you with peace of mind. Contact us anytime to schedule a free evaluation.

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