My mother has Alzheimer's/Dementia. Her doctor keeps ordering more MRIs and CT scans.

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She has aphasia and is quickly losing her ability to speak and make sense. Her memory is going, too. These tests are not going to change anything. She keeps saying she had a stroke. She didn't, and he knows it. My sister and I want him to tell her what is wrong with her. She always said she wanted to know if she was diagnosed. Friday will be her second MRI in the past 2 months. She's also had a CT scan. It shows nothing. She wants him to fix something that can't be fixed. She is/was a very intelligent woman. She knows something is wrong with her. We have told her she has dementia and need to get my sister appointed her financial and medical POA. She is the executor. Mom is being scammed by callers, and lost nearly $1K last month alone. She says we are not doctors and if it was true Dr. XXXX would tell her... except he won't.


Maybe it's time for a second opinion. If you can find a doctor that specializes in geriatrics do it.
Her doctor specializes in Geriatrics. They live in the same neighborhood one street apart. He has been friends with both my parents (until Dad passed away) for almost 40 years. She doesn't want to see anyone else. I don't think he is being objective. We were thinking with POA we could intercede on her behalf. He is not doing her any favors by keeping the truth from her.
If she indeed does have the beginning of alzheimer's, she needs to start on medication such as Aricept or Namenda to try to stave it off. There is no cure, but the meds could help. The longer you wait to get her started on the medication, the worse it is. Could be that you'll have to tell the doctor, that while you appreciate him being a friend of the family, you still need a second opinion. Make it happen. sorry.
In my professional life I must ask over and over "what is the objective?" before I figure out how to recommend a solution. Once in a while that is a handy question in my personal life, too.

What do you want to have happen here? If I read your post correctly, it is for your mother to assign POA and Medical Proxy to your sister. Is that correct?

Why should your mother do this?

Because with aphasia she is losing the ability to speak for herself. She certainly should have someone she can trust and who knows her wishes speak for her.

Because unscrupulous con artists take advantage of sometimes-forgetful and generous elders and cheat them out of their own money. Surely she should have someone she can trust look out for her financial interests and keep her from being cheated.

Because she has reached an age where she deserves not to have to look after all the little details of her financial well-being. She deserves to retire from some tasks, so she can focus her time and energy on more enjoyable activities.

Certainly, dear Mother, you should should have an advanced health care directive, a medical proxy, and a POA. In fact, all adults should (do you and Sister?), and the older we get the more urgent it becomes to do these things.

Notice, fordellcastle, that none of these reasons has anything to do with whether her doctor has given her a diagnosis of dementia. Even if she were prefectly healthy, it would be a good thing to take care of these responsibilities.

So, based on your objective, my advice is to drop all discussion of a dementia diagnosis (at least in this context) and totally ignore what the doctor is or is not willing to tell Mom. Get the legal papers in place that wll serve her well regardless of what she may have now or may develop down the road.

Now, on to other objectives. As Nancy points out, it can be helpful to get a dementia diagnosis sooner rather than later. As you may know, MRI and CT scans can't rule out dementia. Maybe her doctor has other reasons for ordering these tests. They probably aren't harming anything, except that eventually the insurance company is going to ask for firm justification, I would think. If you are concerned that this close family friend isn't being objective, it would definitely be a good idea to get a second opinion. I would never present it to mother as not having confidence in her own doctor, though! And it has nothing to do with those legal documents, which are needed no matter which doctor says what.

Good luck!

Mom has been on Aricept for several months. She is also on Cymbalta because it calms her down a bit. Mom has always been autocratic, even more so now. She does have a living will, as do myself and my sister. My sister is executor and we have the POA papers for Mom to sign. My sister is already on her checking account, but Mom is paranoid and still wants to handle her own finances. My sister is very trustworthy. We want Mom to be cared for. We also want my sister to be her medical POA because Mom keeps calling an ambulance to go to ER because 'she can't talk right'. Insurance company IS refusing to cover needless trips to ER and multiple MRIs for no reason. There is truly no reason-she has no symptoms of a stroke. Doctor says he can't fix what's wrong with her. She refuses to move to ALF. We can't afford to pay caregivers out of pocket. Her money is tied up in investments and her house. An accountant may even be better because we know squat about what to sell and what to keep. She needs more time and care than we have to give her. My sister, her husband, and I are killing ourselves fixing things, yardwork, and cleaning the place. I am permanently disabled and they both have full time jobs. Mom is an antiques hoarder to some extent. One woman doesn't need 5 BRs and 4 baths and 2 acres of yard. She can't even climb the stairs anymore. She refuses to listen and gets very angry with us.She has maxed out her credit cards on fraudulent offers and purchases. I have had them removed as I become aware of them. Sorry to run on. My nerves are shot and it's affecting my heart, blood pressure, RA, and diabetes. My blood sugar was down to 18 last week and my granddaughter called 911 for me. If she hadn't been there, I'd have been dead in a short time. My sister needs to have her knee replaced ASAP. I suspect I should be posting in the dysfunctional families area.
Dysfunctional? I don't think so. Malfunctioning, maybe -- but more along the lines of medical impairments than psychological breakdown.

Figure out what you want to have happen (your objectives) and work toward it, step by step.

Your mother needs to spend her own resources on her own care. Presumably one of the things your parents invested and saved for was their old age. This is it, folks!

Why on earth should you, your sister, and brother-in-law kill yourselves fixing things, yardwork, and cleaning the place when Mother has the resources to afford these services? Why are you even considering whether you can afford caregiving services for her? Shouldn't the first question be what SHE can afford out of her resources?

I suppose this brings us back to the need for a signed POA. Keep working on that! But in the meantime, since Sis is on the checking account, can't you hire a yard service? "Mom, we can't get to the yardwork this month. Let's try out this service that cousin Connie recommends." And what about hiring some professional money management guidance? This is not because Mother has dementia, it is because it is now time to use that money that has been invested.

As long as the three of you keep bailing her out, it is pretty hard to convince her that her house is too large or that she needs additional help. You may not be able to control whether she'll hire a yard service but you certainly can control whether you do the yardwork. If you don't do it, what are her choices? Pay for having it done, let the yard turn into a jungle that decreases her property values, or move into a lower-maintenance residence. None of those choices seems particularly urgent as long as the yard work magically gets done without her deciding anything. Stop the magic!

I don't mean to sound like I think this is easy. Far from it! You and your sister have huge challenges to face. I wish you more successes and less stress!
Thank you for the suggestions. Mom is very controlling and manipulative. Stopping the work is a great idea. I am going to suggest it to my sister and brother-in-law. We are enabling her. I like this forum. Mom kept her Mom with Alzheimer's in our home until the day she died. It was horrible. Mom's world and therefore Dad's and our revolved around my Grandma. We had no choice. Mom always insisted we do the same for her. I have been hospitalized for depression 3 times. My Dad was hospitalized twice, much because of Grandma. My Mom is just like her. She always demanded her way. We can't do it, and unfortunately don't want to. We love her, but she is just too difficult.
fordellcastle, you are right. As a child in your parents' home you had no choice. Your exposure to and participation with Grandma was beyond your control.

You and your sister are all grown up now. You do have choices.

Your mother -- any mother -- can "insist" on anything. Whether she gets what she insists on is a different matter altogether. I think I'll start insisting that my kids take turns taking me out for a meal every week. I'm going to insist that they share my spiritual outlook. While I'm at it I'll insist that they take turns coming by to pick up my grocery list, shop for me, and put the food away. Oh, and they'd better vote for the candidates of my choice -- I'll insist on it. Yeah, right. I can just imagine how far insisting will get me. I can ask for things and sometimes the answer I'll get is yes. That is nice. But sometimes they say no. And it is always their choice.

How can your mother "insist" on certain behavior from her adult daughters? If you can figure out how she does that, please take careful notes and let me know. I'd love to know the techniques to try out on my own kids. Sigh. I probably did not start early enough programming their responses.

Seriously, fordellcastle, you and your sister do have choices. The more firmly you accept that truth, I believe the more satisfied you will be with your liives. Even if you wind up doing exactly what your mother "insists" on -- if you recognize that you are doing so by choice that should tone down the resentment considerably.

When you were eight and your mother "demanded" her way, you were pretty much stuck with it. You are not eight any more.

Good luck to you all!

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