My mom is showing signs of dementia, but the cause is uncertain: she's a cancer survivor who is on many medications, but she quite frankly abuses the medications. She takes too many pills, or not enough, and cannot keep track of what she has taken. She also can barely sleep more than 2 hours at a time.

Would it be too much for me to enroll her in an inpatient program where her meds and sleep could be controlled for a week or 2, so that doctors could rule out those possible causes of the dementia signs?

Or, should I start with a smaller round of neuro/psych tests? If anyone out there could be specific about which tests/programs you could recommend, I would be so grateful.

Thanks for listening.

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thank you for the great reply. i really should talk to her doctor.

i think the pill problem is more a choice on her part than just forgetting, so that issue will most likely get pretty complicated...

Oops ... I should have said you are a very loving daughter or son. Filling out the member profile can help us with such references! Your mother is lucky to have you in either case!

Are you discussing these options with her doctor? Or don't you have confidence in his or her advice?

An inpatient stay to make med adjustments sounds good to me. And once you know what drugs in what amounts when -- what is the plan for ensuring compliance? If Mom is simply forgetting if/when she took pills, a simple pill box and automated reminder call may be all that is needed. If there is some deliberate abuse and/or rebellion then the solution may be less simple.

I don't know how an inpatient program can "control" her sleep, except with drugs (which may or may not be a good long-term solution.) They may be able to establish times when she is bed and when she is up, but that is a far cry from establishing sleep. A sleep clinic may be needed to evaluate the sleep issues.

Dementia-like symptoms can be caused by drug side effects and by sleep deprivation. Inability to sleep can be a drug side effect, a part of dementia, or have many other causes.

To me it seems logical to work on the drugs and sleep problems first, see what happens to the dementia symptoms, and then decide on the next course of action. But I am certainly not a medical professional, and I hope you are discussing this with them as well.

You are a very loving daughter to be searching for the right thing to do for your mother. She is lucky to have you.

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