My father was my mother's caretaker and he died 1 month ago. My mom is in denial that she has dementia. Is this normal?

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In our experience denial was the norm. As a matter of fact when we take Mom to the doctor and they ask her how she is she still says, I'm Fine! Nothing wrong with me.
Same thing here. Our parents were never comfortable with mental illness that occurred in our family in the past, so we have always wondered if maybe that is why they are in denial now - is there a small component of conscious effort at the denial? I'm not sure.

But what I find really disheartening is the fact that some caregivers accept the denial on the part of the elderly person as actual fact. As a family, we don't mind catering to the denial when it is just amongst ourselves. It makes the day less upsetting for our parents. But sometimes I think too much stock is given to what elderly people say in describing their own conditions, esp. when the dementia is new.
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My mother always tells the doctors she is fine even when she is not, and she has dementia. This seems to be the norm to me and also she was never really sick her whole life. She is 89 now. I firmly believe someone has to step in and tell the doctor's what the real deal is regarding the elder's health. I don't feel bad doing that and I just say something like: mom, you had a lot of pain this morning and the doctor needs to know this, or you were short of breath today and the doctor needs to know this. I think with dementia it is not totally denial - they just can't remember sometimes.
I beleive the earliest that dementia is found and something is done it will help. I was told over and ove mom had the begining stages. Well she did not. the docotor would ask her how she was. well she said ok, she was burning pots, hiding bills. that was way before I demanded a test. I was right. If medicine is and help is given early I truly beleive it does good and they can get the proper care. Your mom just lost her sole mate just be there also.
You failed to mention who is taking care of her. If the children are and the mother is calm, it is best not to argue with the patient. If she needs to go to a home -or needs in home care - tell her it is just for now. Older parents don't want no's, can't do's, or being told what their condition is. They want what they want. The doctor is the main decision maker about what she needs.
Actually, I find it more painful when she does know there is a problem. Occasionally she'll look at me and say, I never though I'd wear depends. The one days she told my father, I think I am crazy. That hurt more than her saying things are fine. Talk to the doctor tell them what is happening, arguing isn't going to change anything.
Lfrobin yes, I've run into this too with my father. There is no way he would ever think he has dementia, and when his doctor suggested he go to a psychiatrist for an evaluation, Dad adamantly refused. It has been a touchy issue with my father, and I feel as if his managing doctor is hesitant to push for meds that could help to lower the agitation level that Dad sometimes experiences. I suggest that you talk in private with your mother's primary care physician and explain the situation. Also describe in specific terms the behaviors that you've seen in your mother which could be a signal of developing dementia. Sometimes the doctors only see "the tip of the iceberg", and we the family caregivers see the full extent of the dementia. I have seen where others have suggested tape recording or videotaping, if some kind of "proof" is necessary.

I have also learned that doctors can suggest medications to help a patient with dementia without actually saying the word "dementia". The doctor can say things like.....this will help with "memory difficulties" or "fatigue" or "sleep problems" terms that are easier for the elder to hear.
Right now, I am the sole care-taker for my mom, living in her home because my metally disabled adult brother lives there too. I am currently looking for a 5 bedroom home to rent because I have literally given up everything that I was holding dear, (home in other state). I am married and we currently have a three bedroom home with two small children still living at home. My mom and brother have a two bedroom home. This is stressing everyone out because the children and I are displaced while my husband lives in our home. I will have to convince my mom to live with us (along with my brother) once I find a place big enough to hold us all. I don't have time to go to the internet much due to all this being new and my searching for solutions and fixing my life to accomodate everyone involved. Thank you all for your comments, I was very happy to hear from all of you.

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