Dementia: I think it looks different for every sufferer.

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I used to work in nursing homes. My dad also died with dementia. My mom has been diagnosed with it for about seven years, but I am sure she had it before.
She lives with us, I am her caregiver. I really think what you were in your life and your past habits exacerbate themselves when you have dementia. The past habits seem really hard-wired, even when they are now unreasonable. My mom used to eat out and shop every day. Always had plenty of money from sale of her home, and charge cards. Not so anymore, but the mindset is still there. She is pretty miserable and angry sometimes because of her limited finances (she ruined her credit, because dementia made her non-existent organizational skills even worse and she did not pay her bills correctly or at all). He money from sale of home is gone, too. She begs me to take her out to eat all the time; we try to take her out twice a week, because we know this is part of her happiness. But, in other things, she no longer has the money to order the tons of clothes and expensive jewlery, and still is upset about it and angry at us because she thinks we don't let her buy all the stuff she is used to having. There are many other similar habits that seem hard-wired and will cycle in and out of the brain, also every few weeks. On the upside, she still is quite with it as far as her ADL's. etc. and she loves kids, loves to read (even tho she can't remember what she read), loves to write imaginary letters to her friend that she never sends. Fine motor skills still good. Comprehension skills - fading. You have to explain things over and over and over and over. like its a new game each week.
I think it is very very helpful to have some expectations of person with dementia and hold them to these expectations; like cleaning up their area, folding some laundry, working puzzles. It can get simpler as disease progresses. I think it helps keep them good for longer. Like I said, my mom has had dementia for many years and I think it helps to keep them busy and have some expectations of them. Sitting and "vegging out" a lot is not good.


"Once the boss, always the boss". Lol
I think so, too, mominmyhome. It may be that they lump a variety of things under the heading of dementia. My mother is still able to do the simple things like fix a sandwich and go to the toilet by herself. Her memory is fine on some things, but not others. If I had to personally diagnose her, it would be "crazy as a bessie bug," though I'm not sure what a bessie bug is. Her reasoning ability is almost totally gone and she makes up realities that never happened. She remembers things that she makes up, but forgets what really happened.

Today I was shredding papers, thinking of how much of my life is spent bringing order to the 60+ years of chaos in this house. She has always been so disorganized in her housework and her finances. Sometimes I feel it is a daily game of 52-card pickup, where I try to cleanup all the disorganized mess and hope that I have a full deck at the end of the day.
BTW, I looked up bessie bug and now know what they look like and how they act. I read you can rub two together and they will fight to the death. So it sounds like I have the right diagnosis. My mother can be combative anytime I do something that rubs her the wrong way, which is usually anytime I stay in the room with her for more than 5 minutes. :P
My Mother is the same as the above Mothers. She has been rather good at disguising her Dementia over the years. Now she can not do that anymore. Her finances where in disarray when I became her POA 4 yrws ago. She fights with me about spending money she does not have because she has forgotten she out lived her money. She has charged things on credit cards by phone or internet. She is a crafty one. Smart in some areas and yet can not figure out where she was 10 min. ago. I cancelled most of her credit cards and she called and got them I still do not know. She even signed those checks the credit card companies send to you for advancement of money. I had put her mail on my desk and she was over and put them in her purse. I found out after she cashed them. Unbelievable!! Now she fell and broke 3 ribs. she is in rehab and will go to a nursing home after rehab. what do I do about her debt? Should I send her credit card accounts a letter informing them of her situation? Do I need an attorney? She will be in the nursing home on medicaid. She has nothing. I just need some advise.
Wow. Funny how they can still be so conniving, isn't it? When in nursing home I had them intercept her catalogs and I disposed of them. She thought they just "were not getting through" and always was going to call and get them again.
Now she lives with me and she never sees those clothes catalogs, otherwise it would be off to the races again. When she starts getting batty and determined about credit cards again, or "calling the companies" I conveniently "misplace the phone" til the spell passes. (She lives with me)
If you were her POA and they gave her credit cards, you can get after them about that. Now if have to deal with the four main credit companies that stores work thru (World Financial Network, etc. ) they can be a pistol. You will have to send them some notary sealed copies of your POA document. You can take some of your copies to your bank and and get them notarized for free.
My mom has done similar things as yours and did not even remember what she had ordered, I only saw it taken out on bank statements each month.
If your parent lives with you, you can control situations better than if they still are in their own home. I have to micro-manage everything. Fortunately, she lets me most of the time, but does get into those "determined" spells and has to be distracted and such.
I have heard of people in nursing homes having access to phone and getting into scams thinking they were real, so if you can have her with no phone it would be the best. She could call you from nurses' station or something. Just a thought.

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