Dear Doctor S
I am writing to you because I am concerned about my Mother who is a patient at your surgery. I have been aware for some years that Mum is experiencing increasing problems coping with things, and I have done my best to intervene or come up with solutions, though it is sometimes hard to do so from Yorkshire! As she can present as quite bright on occasion, and seems blissfully unaware of the chaos she often causes, I am writing to you to inform you about her, and to ask for some advice as to how we should proceed.
The problems, as I see it are the following:
1) Short-term memory loss. Mum gets things turned around in her head within the same conversation, and often remembers precisely the opposite of what she has been told. She is often unaware of the day of the week or the time. She is very poor with figures, unable to do basic arithmetic or tell sometimes which number of two is the greater. She is extremely vulnerable to suggestion, and is wont to respond to junk mail as if it is obligatory – signing up for new insurance when already insured or sending off thousands of pounds to charity. She has handed me bank statements in the past, believing them to be bills.
2) Loss of abilities. I have recently had to replace the cordless telephone that Mum had been using for 7 years with a simpler one, since she could no longer understand how to work it. She no longer understands her oven, and the Warden at her apartments found all her electric hobs turned up to high yesterday, with items stacked on them. He is quite concerned about her, too. Some friends of hers have taken her dog to live with them, since it was defecating inside the flat.
3) Physical frailty. Mum is quite stooped now, and walks with a shuffling gait, with her back twisted to one side. She has fallen over in the High Street a few times, and uses her shopping trolley rather like a Zimmer-frame for support.
4) Food. I have instigated deliveries from Wiltshire and Sussex Farm Foods, since I was worried that Mum wasn’t feeding herself at all well. Whenever I do visit, I find severely out-of-date items in her fridge. If we shop together, Mum follows me around the supermarket choosing whatever I choose. She appears bewildered by the displays and possibly unable to tell what things are.
I have plenty of anecdotes to back up what I have briefly covered above, but I’ll spare you the grim details for now. I was hoping that maybe you could advise me on how to go about having Mum assessed by Social Services for any support you can think of. It’s my belief that Mum would benefit from someone calling on her a few times a week, and perhaps helping her to shop. If there is any medication that Mum could also take to improve her faculties or slow down her deterioration, that would also be most welcome.
Please could I ask you to treat my letter with confidence as far as my Mother is concerned? She would be most upset to know that I have sent this to you. If you would prefer to talk to me, my telephone number is ............
Thank you for your kind attention.
Yours most sincerely