Dementia Caregiving: Tips for When To Call The Doctor

Caring for the elderly at home can be a difficult and often challenging process. Caring for someone with Dementia is even harder. And an elderly loved one suffering from dementia can end up testing your patience and anger management. That is why it’s important that you be aware of when you require professional medical help, no matter what age your dementia patient is at.

NOTE:  These tips are for your general guidance only.  Each situation is different and you should always consult with a physician if there is any doubt.

Sometimes you might end up thinking you’re alone in this momentous task. That is far from being true however. You will always be better equipped to deal with a patient of Dementia if you ask for assistance. However, when does when actually go beyond getting help from family and friends and actually call a doctor? That is what we will be talking about in this post in the hope that you might find some guidance or advice.

Why Call The Doctor?

Patients of Dementia are often confused by simple things. Consequently, they’re not very good at realizing when they might need help. So it falls on you, the caregiver, to realize when a Dementia patient might need medical assistance. This is why, in addition to properly socializing with a Dementia patient under your care, it is also important to keep an eye on their general health and wellbeing.

The Patient Is More Confused Than Usual

If you notice your Dementia patient has become even more confused than they usually are it might be a good time to call the doctor. There can be a number of reasons why this can happen, some maybe even severe in the long run, and getting a professional to check up on the patient early is crucial to health. By more confused what we mean is the patient having difficulty carrying out tasks they could before, or displaying an increased loss of memory.

Changes In Behavior

This point ties in closely with the first one. Other than getting more confused, if a Dementia patient shows signs of behavioral changes calling the doctor is probably a good idea. If your patient starts acting differently, no matter how subtle, it might be an indication of bigger problems. If the patient starts to hallucinate or become more of a wary shut-in, it is definitely time to seek professional help.

Changes In Functionality

If you notice that your Dementia patient has started to show a noticeable change in his capabilities it might be time to let a doctor know. If they are having a harder time than usual in communicating with you or if they’re not being able to interact with their environment like they used to, it is time to call the doctor because this can be another sign of impending medical complications. This also includes their ability to eat and handle everyday objects like shoes and socks.

Trouble Sleeping

If your loved one is having difficulty falling asleep you should ask a doctor for help. Though this might not signify anything serious it is a bothersome thing to deal with for the patient. A doctor might be able to provide a treatment that helps the patient get to sleep better and for longer. And naturally, a well-rested Dementia patient has less chances of hurting themselves during waking hours.

The Patient Is Feeling Pain

Feeling pain can be due to a lot of reasons. There are different kinds of pain and different areas to feel pain in. The good news is that it doesn’t always have to something serious. But finding out what kind of pain a patient with Dementia is feeling can be tricky. The patient already has less than optimal levels of communication due to the Dementia and now the pain might make them even more irritated and confused making them unable to communicate properly at all. In this case it would be best to call a doctor and let them properly diagnose the patient.

General Decline

Lastly, you should schedule a visit to the doctor every now and then just so they can gauge how much the Dementia has progressed. For some people, their Dementia progresses quite slowly. Over decades even. For others it might be so quick they can’t even come to grips with it before they’re too far gone. So a regular visit from the doctor is a very good habit to develop. This way you can stay updated on the progression of the illness, any changes in care routine you might need to adopt, and any changes in medication as well.


Looking after someone suffering from Dementia is no easy task. So there really is no shame in asking for help. And not asking a doctor for help can bring only harm. Hopefully our little post helps you realize just when you should call the doctor. If you’re looking for some more posts on caring for patients with Dementia we have got quite a selection. Why not read up about how busy boards slow down dementia or best puzzle packs for dementia and Alzheimer’s patients.