I think my mom has dementia...we have a doctors appointment today...will he diagnose her with dementia? And does this means she needs to go into assisted living?

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A frightening prospect to be sure and obviously you will want to concentrate on what mom will need from a medical perspective first and foremost.

I want to encourage you, however, to think about the financals as soon as is practicable. Many wait and wait before dealing with the fact that the financial resources may not be there to provide for their loved one. The best planning is that which is done as soon as the need for long-term care becomes a possibility.

My father has had Alz for over six years and is still home with my mother and a full time aide. There have been occaisions where mom has felt it was time for assisted living but so far, so good. Much depends on the behaviours of your loved one and what can be managed at home.

All care, whether provided at home or in a facility is expensive. Interestingly, though, it is not in often that facility care is actually less expensive in the end. Moreover, there are greater benefit sets available for assisted living than home care.
JulieW, It's refreshing to me to see how logical you are in taking care of your mother. You seem like you've been taking all the necessary steps with your mother, from diagnosis to finding an asst living/nursing home for her as the disease progresses. And it seems to me, without guilt. I am so glad to hear of someone on this website that doesn't seem to be driven by guilt to take care of their parent. As you can tell, I'm a little more left brained I guess (logical) so I appreciated your response.
My mother-in-laws doctor has a lot of older patients, but he never suggested a formal test done on her for dementia. He did what I call a mini memory test in his office, but he figured out that she was beginning to slip in the memory dept. Just recently she went again (6months later) and he didn't bother with the mini test this time, it was evident that her memory was worse. She even admits that now. She lives in asst. living now, but that was because of her eye sight (macular degeneration) and her falling around in her house, and also the memory thing sure didn't help. So if you think it is unsafe for your mother to live alone now, you'll have to make other arrangements. But if it's dementia only, and it's in the early stages, then don't panic. (yet).
My mom saw multiple drs over several months before they came back with a dementia diagnosis. There are MANY types of dementia and many things that can cause it (some, like vitamin K and thyroid problems, can be reversed). There is no one simple test.

After a mini memory test revealed problems, mom saw a memory specialist. Then she saw a geriatrician who tested for a lot of the problems. About 20 or so were ruled out with simple blood tests. Then she had a CAT scan. After that the geriatrician ruled out a couple of other causes. Then she was referred to a geriopsychiatrist who finally determined that Mom has Alzheimer's.

From the memory Dr to final diagnosis took about 3.5 months. Don't let this scare you. Your mom's process might be different. Overall, I was glad that they took the time and did what was needed. The memory Dr initially thought it was Lewy Body Dementia. If they had stopped there and started giving Mom drugs, it would have been bad. Drugs that work for one type of dementia can make others worse. They need to be complete to make sure they treat her correctly.

As far as assisted living, Mom was living with me and still is. She was diagnosed as borderline-severe. After some research, I think she is in Stage 5 Alz (some Stage 6 behaviors). We have just now (10 months later) gotten to a point where we can't leave Mom alone at all. I'm starting to investigate memory care / ALF that deal with Alz patients. But I think we'll still be OK for several months.

Assisted living is an option, but it isn't necessarily mandatory. It all depends on your mom and her circumstances.

Good luck! Let us know how it goes.
My mom is living with us now, but it's becoming more and more difficult for me to take care of her. Incontinence is a huge issue as well as her mobility. She remembers things that happened 30+ years ago but cannot remember what she ate for lunch...if she ate at all. Falls have increased to the point that we have her stay in her area (lower level w/ bathroom access) when I'm at work for safety reasons. She has no strength in her muscles, sleeps ALOT. I do have a caregiver come to the house for 3 hrs a day but not on weekends. The caregiver is noticing her mobility issues and also has concerns for her safety. I guess I just don't know how or when to make the dreadfull and guiltfull decision of asst living arrangements.
naheaton - thanks for the comments. I'm not totally without guilt, but I try. I think I have enough self-preservation (some would say selfishness) to know that I can't burn myself out or use up all my financial resources taking care of mom. I also know that I she wouldn't want me to. (Well, that is what she would have said if asked a few years ago. :-)
I need help on where/who to go too. My Mom is in total denial that anything is wrong with her. She refuses to go to the Dr. to be screened for Dementia/Alz/Bipolar. I am very concerned and do not know who to turn too in this situation. What do I do next?? HELP

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