How to approach the Neurologist appointment with my mom?


I know my mom has dementia. As a family we have been watching this develop, and fairly rapidly, over the past 4 years. My dad is her primary care giver. He is her anchor, her beacon in the dark. Mom is not aware that she has dementia. We have not intentions of telling her, as there is no reason to cause her any kind of upset. She began having TIA's in 1995, when she was 44. She has hx of TBI when she was 18. My question is how do we go about getting her in to see a neurologist with out bold face lying to her, but not causing her any distress. As the oldest child of 9 and the only one with any medical background (I am an LPN), I just really want some reassurance of what we are really dealing with. I want to be able to keep my mom as comfortable as possible, but it would be nice to know some sort of a time line, so that we can all prepare. Maybe I am wrong in wanting this, but, I watch her disappear and my father is trying so hard to take care of her and I am very concerned for him and his health as well.

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How much does your mother understand and process? If you told her that she had an appointment one day, would she recall it the next? If not, then I wouldn't focus on it with her. I'd keep it light and not make a big deal out of it.

My cousin's primary had diagnosed her with dementia, leaning towards Vascular Dementia. I got her into AL pretty quickly and then I told her that we were going to see the Neurologist to help with her balance and memory problems. She accepted that fine, since she had terrible balance problems and was falling a lot. In the office visit he will do physical exam, ask her to walk (if possible), answer questions, check reflexes, and a few other tests. My cousin's condition was quite pronounced. The doctor said that she did have cognitive decline, (I'm not sure if she used the D word) but, she knew what he meant. He said he didn't know if it was due to Alzheimers, stroke, etc. so he ordered MRI. She did hear the world Alzheimers. My cousin didn't get too upset, but she did say that she didn't want to forget her parents, because they were such good memories. I had to fight back tears.

We scheduled the MRI at a local hospital about a week later and then it took about another couple of weeks to hear back from his office.

He also wanted my cousin to have a neuropsychological evaluation, but the travel time and distance were not conducive to her health as she was falling and having lots of fractures. So, we were not able to do that. Plus, she would not have been able to answer much on that exam.
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My mom suffered the TBI in 1969, before they really understood any of those kinds of things.
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She should have been seeing a neurologist regularly since the TBI. You don't have to tell her. The doctor won't use the D word, he will run some tests and talk about treatments and coping.
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