Should I tell my mom on the phone that she's in denial of her dementia symptoms?
Mom is 83 now and her dementia symptoms are escalating. In some ways, she is doing pretty well, but her quality of life is deteriorating rapidly and she won't accept any in home help.
Mom lives 8 hours away. She won't come to "visit" because she's afraid I'll make her live with me against her will. (not happening!) I'm the oldest sibling and her POA. I help her with financial matters, etc, because she feels overwhelmed and confused.
I call Mom every day, sometimes several times a day. Some days she calls me because she is confused or needs help making a decision. Sometimes, she doesn;t tell me what's bothering her because she's afraid we'll take away her independence. My sister also calls her several times a week and Mom will often tell her things she has avoided saying to me.
Mom daily tells me and my sister about her hallucinated visitors. She gets very depressed because they don't talk to her, ignore her, sit at the table and don't eat. Then, they "disappear". She doesn't know where they go - so she goes outside looking for them. She imagines her deceased parents sitting in the living room - with our deceased father. She prepares meals for all of these imagined visitors! So that, daily, she feels frustrated, sad, angry, depressed and a whole array of other emotions. I call to find her excited at 4 pm and not wanting to talk because she has visitors or in tears at 8 pm, waiting for "them" to come home to eat the meal she's been keeping warm for hours.
She told me last night that she thinks it's depression. I agree, she is in a depression. So far, I haven't been able to convince her to go back to her doctor (he's already done the Mini Cog test and she doesn't want to hear the results). The doctor told me the results in a phone call to my home.
I'm growing more and more concerned about her and I'm afraid to tell her she has dementia over the phone. It just seems wrong but, due to the distance and my own disability, I can't easily get to her home.
If I do tell her it would be in an effort to convince her to go back to the doctor and, very importantly, accept some in home help.
My fear is the emotional impact the discussion will have on her - and I won't be there to support her, hold her and help her. I believe she suspects what we already know.
How should I handle this situation?