Should I have and elderly person with dementia tested, to find the cause?

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My husbands 84 yr old grandmother now has dementia. From what I'm reading, there is no cure and not much hope of slowing it down. Her doc has already prescribed meds for the anxiety/ocd and for the "daytime agitation" to control some of the symptoms and make it easier for us. He has suggested maybe having a CAT scan done to see if it is from mini stokes. If nothing more can be done than to manage the symptoms, am I wrong to not want to put her thru all of the testing? My only concern is that every once in a blue moon, she's lucid for a brief hour or so. Is this common at all with typical vascular dementia or should I be concerned that something else is medically causing the dementia? I don't want to put her through the confusion and expense of needless testing but also don't want to find out later that something else was causing it and we might have caught it in time to do something about it. Any advice on what to do?

Answers 1 to 10 of 14
Top Answer
In my limited exerperience with alz/demetia, I feel that it is a broad term that doctors use to describe a variety of symptoms. Also, not every doc is qualified to make this diagnosis. And you are correct, there are no definitive tests. Most docs make this diagnosis by observation or by anecdotal input from family.
If you are concerned that it may be something else, perhaps a a good gerontologist could look over her meds, etc and rule out other causes.
My personal belief is, that at this age, seniors are better off with less invasive measures
good luck
Thanks Lilliput.
hey there: as long as there is no toxic mold or other issues where she lived for a long time, Lilliput's got it.

I had a mri for mom and we could see the deal and there's no going back.

You're smart for reading. that and your personal experience will tell you whassup. And the great caregivers on this site!

We did take my Mom to a geriatric psychiatrist. I can't say that he has helped much, we felt from the beginning that it was a money maker for him and not much help for Mom. She is on medication, with mixed results. Some days I wonder if we should just take her off the meds and let her be. Unfortunately, she just can't seem to sit still, ever, from morning to night. The meds may have slowed her down a bit, but not much.

I don't know what is right, from our experience I can't say the medical field has helped anything.

Good luck.

I'd say yes. No offense, but every now and then I hear someone say that Puerto Ricans are crazy every time they fly off the handle. Since I'm Brazilian-Puerto Rican, then I must be double crazy and need to be "contained" since there's no cure for my cultural disease. Could you imagine that?

Anyway, let me stop the comedy because this is a serious issue. I made several appointments with my shrink to ascertain the severity of my craziness. After he helped me rewind the tape of my existence, according to him everything that's gone -- and going -- wrong with my life is because of something my mother did to me between the ages of 1 and 3 1/2. All my stress and anger, therefore due to all that pent up resentment I harbor against her and that I take out on people and things.

All in all, this fishing expedition at least gave me some insight into the deepest recesses of my mind, particularly repressed memories, and helped me understand myself a lot better. I also took with me some coping strategies so I can interact well with others, keep my marbles in one place, avoid jail, and dispel the notion one of this days I'd come out of my house in a straight jacket bound for Creedmoor.

After six intense sessions, my psychiatrist had to see his own shrink. I was so happy!

So go ahead girl. Have her tested so you can be well prepared to handle what's to come. Wish you the best.

Always at your service,

-- Cecil B. DeMented


As an addendum, I wanted to let you know I decided to get off the Ambien and go bikeriding at night instead. That nasty little pill had me doing a Whitney Houston these past couple of days and I was carrying several conversations with family and friends and expecting them to connect the dots. They all thought I was high on something. That thin membrane between reality and fantasy became so blurred (watching the movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest last Friday made things worse), I can't recall most of the things I said and did. Anyway, it'll come back to me eventually -- to bite me in the a ____.

So I'll sign off for now. Good night y'all.

-- ED
The testing that was conducted on my mother as a dementia patient is completely different from what you are describing. Sessions with a geriatric psychiatrist are to determine what processes have been lost due to disease. There is no "intense sessions" but rather cognitive testing. Again, it can be very distressing to a patient who has lost their cognitive abilities. They don't understand the questions, don't remember the answer etc. It was exhausting and upsetting for Mom to take part in the testing. careful if you decide to take her off the drugs...I let my mom slide and boy oh boy did I pay for it and had to work hard to get the meds working again. So becareful, you may be very surprised once the meds have worn off and see what a mess you really have. I will never let mine off her meds way. I am still trying to recover from that to getting her more manageable again.
I don't think I shall, but I do think we need to start w/a new doctor. I am quite displeased with the group she is seeing. She is always running short, they change the dosage, then the next time it is higher or lower than it was. It is just hard to know what is really going on.
well if im 87 yrs old , oh plz doc leave me alone . dad s doesnt like to be poked at , blood work etc . he always tells me im ok ill get better . the brain cells are dying off , there is no magic pill to prevent it . body wise yeah i take him to dr and get that taken care of , for the mental state of mind , i dontthink anything can help that .
my dad went to behavior place to get him stop hollarin 24-7 . like his mind is stuck . he came home worst shape and those meds they had him on was killing him , i quit givin him those new 3 meds. and exalon patch . now he s better .
dementia and alz we know its gonna get worst till the lord comes and takes em.

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