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She is 88 and pretty healthy except for this. Takes Bp meds only.

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Your whole family will go through a grieving process of sorts, and they need to be allowed to feel that. Definitely, talking about it an getting rid of the stigma many people feel can help a lot. It's a common ailment.
Encouraging them by getting educated through the Alzheimer's Association (www.alz.org) will help. Finding support groups can help. Letting them know, as you have, that you will be there for them is important.
Encourage them to make a plan. They should choose a POA for health care as well as financial needs if they haven't. They should also plan out their "ideal" care, giving you or someone whom they choose the power to make the correct decisions as the disease unfolds. Don't make promises you may not be able to keep. Just keep telling them you'll do your very best for their care, safety and health. Take care. This is a difficult time for all of you. All my best,
Carol
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Dementia is a frightening diagnosis. I found with my mother, father and mother in law that talking about it made them feel better. I would tell them that it was quite common and so many people develop it as we age. This made them feel like they were not alone in having to deal with this. It is part of the aging process and I would lighten the mood with some sort of joke, etc. relating to forgetfulness. Having a sense of humor about it really did help.

It is such a frightening experience with so many different degrees of it. I would reassure them that I was always there for them and would help in any way I could. Bless you and your Mom and take care.
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I just want to say bravo to the fact that your mother KNOWS she has Alzheimer's. This is so important! Yes, it is a difficult issue for sure but people simply have to know what is happening to them. "3PinkRoses'" response saying one should talk to the person with dementia about this, letting them know that many people get dementia, and reassuring him or her that you will always be there to help is right on target.
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Of course, she's upset. If she's like most older folks, one of her goals is not to be a "burden" to her family or friends. The fact that she still recognizes that she has dementia means that she, and you, are still at the beginning of the process.
Be sure you have all the paperwork completed while she can still sign her name for a notary public. You need:
1. a proper written diagnosis saying what kind of dementia she has -- this willl affect her ablility to collect insurance as the disease progresses.
2. Durable Power of Attorney -- this will allow you to spend her money to take care of her needs.
3. Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care -- this allows you to take responsibility for her health issues before you can get two doctors to agree that she is "terminal."
4. Intensity of Treatment List -- this allows her to chose whether she wants to be treated with stomach tubes, intrevinious drugs, ventelators or other kinds of moder technology that may prolong her life without improving its quality.
5. A Will -- doing it now while she is still somewhat "compus mentus" relieves her of the anxiety that things won't go where she wants them to. If she doesn't want anyone in the family to know what she wants, get her to make it with an attorney. He can't tell anyone what's in the will -- it's against the law.

Finally, look after yourself. This can be a very long process (up to 20 years). Don't start something you don't think you can continue that long. As the disease progresses, she will get more and more "stuck in her ways" to the point that changing those "ways" (even if it's just where she sits at the table) will become almost impossible.
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I have found this to be a burden because it's so hard to know how to handle. I'm not saying I handle it well, but I have not mentioned Alzheimers or demetia. I assue my wife that she has a memory problem that happens to older people. Like others have posted, I try to comfort her by assuring her that I will always take care of her and I freely tell her I love her. I also have my daughters family living here, a real blessing, and assure her that if something should happen to me it is their responsibility to make sure she can stay in our house and they will take care of her. I find I am doing this quite frequently so it is necessary to be very patient because in my case she needs assurance often. It's tough.
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