The clients we are discussing in this interview live in Arizona and the adult son answering the questions lives in another state. We are the care management practice who provided the services described in the interview. if you or someone you love has been diagnosed with memory or cognitive decline and they are in the Phoenix community, please reach out to us as soon as possible to help make your process smoother.  

What had you noticed about your Mom & Dad before they had a diagnosis?

Mom had always been a note taker and had systems for everything so it took longer to notice the deficits. When we would have longer conversations, she would forget the beginning of the conversation by the time we got to the end.

Dad was a slower decline. He had his own addiction issues, which made diagnosis difficult.

How did you go about getting the diagnosis?

We took Mom for memory/cognitive testing, and it showed Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). When Mom did the testing, Dad wanted to do it too and that is how we found out about him.

What were your feelings when you received the diagnosis?

I was not surprised and kind of knew it all along but I was relieved that we had a diagnosis. I also felt grief for what was to come.

How did your Mom & Dad react to the news?

Mom was surprised and was in denial, felt shame, and wanted to hide the diagnosis.

Dad told anyone who would listen that his memory wasn’t what it used to be.

What did you think would be the biggest challenges?

Balancing autonomy by allowing my parents to be active and engaged while providing protection in their care.
Making sure they don’t make bad financial or personal decisions that bring harm.

What ended up being the biggest challenges?

Dad is angry about Mom’s memory loss as it progresses and Mom is in denial about the degree of her memory loss.

When did you involve a Care Manager?

I didn’t know they were a thing. My cousin told me about them. When my parents moved to another state, they were very disoriented. They needed new providers, help with managing medication, and other various issues. I had a new baby and lived in a different state. The Care Manager helped my parents and me a lot.

What were the key benefits of working with a Care Manager?

My parents don’t want me to worry or be concerned about them. They also don’t share what is going on. I am Power of Attorney (POA) for both of them, and I need to know what is going on. Desert Care Management keeps tabs on them and reports back to me.

What would you tell others about the entire process?

I have been thrilled about working with Desert Care Management. Our Care Manager has become part of the family system. She often finds out things I don’t know, and she keeps me in the loop.

Are there things you wish you had done sooner than you did?

Yes, but to balance their autonomy and provide protection is a challenge. The way it turned out has been less of a bad situation because of working with a Care Manager. I am very happy that Desert Care manages my parents’ health as it declines and their help prevents catastrophe.

Any other advice for someone seeing symptoms or going for a diagnosis?

Go early as early-stage treatment is available. Be patient with the person receiving the diagnosis because they have complicated emotions going on as well.