Help with mother in early stages dementia.

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Have recently been taking care of my 91 yr old mother after a serious fall and serious injuries - being with her 24/7 for the recovery period (3 months sofar) I see much clearer the things I have noticed off and on - and that being the beginnings of dementia - probably from TIA's since strokes are in family history, no Alzheimers.

Am today dealing with her in a terrible rage - demanding I leave, accusing me of gong thru her clothes and moving them, moving things around the house, not washing her sheets, slamming things, coming in several times an hour and demanding why I haven't left yet.... etc etc etc - I am sure you all know what I am dealing with.

Do not have any medical support for this - the PCP's we have been to are none of them experienced in dealing with elderly patients.

Have two siblings who of course put in an hour or two here and there and leave for several weeks - maybe call once a week to see how things are going....

While I will have more questions in the future for this forum as I work my way through the big picture, my immediate need is how do I deal with these rages/horrible bad moods???? Lately I have just been ignoring them and everything she says and just try to act normal and let her get it out of her system, but anything else I should do? when she gets back to being her normal self, and I try to talk to her about these episodes, she totally denies that she was ever mad.....or had yelled or anything...

When she is her normal self, we have a good time together, laughing and all...and really enjoy being with each other, but these moods she gets in are horrific....

When we were growing up she would get in bad moods several times a year, similar to these, but I have to say these past few years, they have been really much bigger and meaner.....and more frequent, or at least I am more aware of them as I am here 24/7 the past 3 months.....

2 Comments

First of all, I suggest you determine whether this is, in fact, dementia, or perhaps related to the mood swings she's been subject to all along. At this point Mom's primary care provider should be a geriatrician (just as a child sees a pediatrician). From there you may be directed to a geriatric psychiatrist or a behavioral neurologist.

Once you have a diagnosis then a treatment plan can target the problem more specifically. There are some 50 kinds of dementia (!) and this may or may not be dementia. Relying on a non-specialist just delays things, in my opinion.

The bad news is there is no cure for dementia or for many mental illnesses. The good news is there are ways to treat symptoms and greatly improve quality of life for the patient and for the caregivers. It is worth the hassle to find the right medical professionals to help you with this.

(I speak from experience on this. My husband's PCP threw up her hands and basically said goodbye and good luck when he developed dementia. A specialist at the Mayo Clinic diagnosed the specific kind of dementia, developed a treatment plan, and gave us greatly improved quality of life for several years.)
Great advice from jeannegibbs--get your Mom to see a geriatrician. Now that I look back I now know that the very first initiative signs that my Mom was showing signs of dementia was getting angry at me and staying angry at me for a week or longer for just tiny things. I knew the behaviour wasn't normal but at that time didn't have the experience to connect the dots that it was super early signs of dementia.

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

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