I believe my mom has the beginnings of Dementia. How should I approach this with her?

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My mom misplaces things in her house . She gets agitated and blames others when she cant find things. When she eventually finds them, I would say "maybe you put it there and just forgot. She gets very defensive and saids no I did not. This has happened with money, purse, checkbook and keys. For some reason she thinks someone will take them and I think she hides them in all different places and just forgets. Her short term memory is bad. I have to repeat myself many times when giving her instructions on things like what time her appts are and upcoming events as she would just repeat the same question to me. She still drives and has no problem getting places. I live 30 minutes away and she has no problem getting here. She goes shopping, doctors, post office, DMV without getting lost. I want to take her to a Geriatric doctor and dont know how to approach the subject without her getting defensive and agitated. Any suggestions would be very much appreciated

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We all need help with remembering from age1 to 101 - one thing I do [& I notice my sons in 30's do it too without me saying anything] is that I bought a carbineer [a self closing hook] for my keys - now I just hook them on my purse so no searching at bottom of purse

Tell mom you just heard of a great idea - invite her to go with you as you wanting to do it too - go to a hardware store near where they cut keys & there are some there [pre scout them] - they come in many colours so pick your best - fyi I have a black 1 that is a figure 8 so keys on 1 end & attach on other - most purses have something on strap but you could get key rings or other items if needed

I know this is only 1 item she forgets but maybe you can find others - do them yourself when it makes sense for you so that you are doing a 'sharing' activity not that you are imposing this on her - bonus maybe it will simplify your life too - some time over tea tell her how much this is helping you & ask if she likes it to just 'girlfriend to girlfriend' talk

I now leave my purse on linen closet door so it is close to den, living room & I can see it from back door but not front door - pick a similar place in her house then start leaving your purse on it - after a few times state how much easier it is for YOU to always know how to find it no matter where you both sit - let's hope she takes over 'your' spot - good luck
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Make sure they check for UTI as it can cause dementia affects.. i also read a comment from a person w alz writings that when we think he is hiding things he said i am putting them where i think they belong. EYE OPENER so this told not to blame them.
My spouse started like your moms. I read lots about alz. You are then prepared for next phase & wont devestate you. First of all & most important get legal papers done NOW. DPOA is most important. A support group can be a help & alz has a help line free. Alz reading room is good. Book 36 hr day, good & google Understanding Demetia, excellent & google Teepa Snow & free videos to watch, excellent. My husband 8 ys ago started & very easy to handle. I found you always agree w them & it does not frustrate them. We live in a changing world & they do not, dont try to chg them. We must chg. They do not relearn as the desease wont allow it & frustrats them if we try. We stay happy & they also. God give you the patience you'll need.
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Thank you all for your comments. I have read everyone and they were very helpful. I have already talked to her doctor about my concerns and she has an appt next week.
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This is to be expected of a patient with Alzheimer's, your mother.
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How old is your mom?
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Oh, and I had a hired caregiver come in a couple hours a day to help mom out around the house in the early stages of dementia. Light cleaning, medications put out, driving mom anywhere she wanted to go. Well, this nice lady called me and said, 'I am horrified to tell you, I came over to help your mom with a hair wash and set this morning, and your mom and car were gone. I was just going to call you when she pulled up in the driveway and asked me to help her carry in groceries - she bought 4 dozen ears of corn! At a farmstand 30 miles out in the country. Oh, and the bumper of her car is hanging loose.' Well, I was pretty horrified myself to hear about this. 'Blood runs cold' is a real thing!
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Your mom seems to be driving well now, but that won't continue. MY mom kept driving long after she should have stopped, because we thought she was only driving to church a mile away or down to the Dollar Store 2 blocks away. Well, she was: driving to church in the middle of the night for the service and puzzled to find it dark, and doors locked. The trips to the Dollar Store turned into trips to the Dollar Store DOWNTOWN. DOWNTOWN!!! where I would never venture because, traffic and no place to park. I know it was downtown because the receipt mentioned the store (and I had no idea where she could possibly have parked, but it was probably the first open space she spotted, no matter what any signs said! parked askew and left the car to walk around...) then the trips 'getting lost', the trips driving at night with sunglasses on! It was horrific.
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I had many warning signs with Mom. Getting into fender benders when she had a lifetime of good driving skills, her calling me crying that she forgot where she parked her car, a friend of mine that worked with her as a nurse called me to tell me her job performance was getting bad, etc. As I sat in on the report of one of her fender benders and she could not tell the story the same way twice, her agent gave me "the look" of I don't think she should be driving anymore. Deep down, she knew something was changing in her. I suggested she go get a test done just to see where she was mentally and she failed miserably. So, her doctor called and told me she had "dementia" that lovely generic term. I had to have a long talk with Mom and appealed to her safety as well as the safety of others with being a nurse, driving, and added that at this later part of her life, she could have the wrong person sue her for malpractice, getting into a car accident and it being more serious than a fender bender. I also told her I would never forgive myself for not protecting her when all the warning signs were there and how much I loved her. I helped her get her finances in order and finally convinced her she needed to retire and could afford to do so. I wanted her to end her life long career on her own terms instead of them coming to her and telling her she had to go (which was coming) and that would have crushed her. It was not an easy thing to do and I felt like the bad guy taking away her freedoms but it had to be done. Always let them know you are doing this because you love them and want them to be safe. A good way to apppeal to my Mom was asking her what she would do if it was her Mom having these problems, she admitted she would do the same. She now lives with me and is safe and content. Of course she still laments on having her freedom to drive wherever she wants but she knows she is not safe. I am the chauffeur now.
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Your situation seems exactly like mine a few years ago. The problem with dementia - its a progressive disease and your mom is going to get worse. Best to get things in order now. I had to trick my mom into getting and evaluation. We went to the local hospital that had a geriatric assessment center. I told her we were meeting a friend of mine who was a nurse. She was angry at first, but then we went to lunch afterwards, had fun and she forgot about it.

I hope you have POA - you really will not be able to help your mother without it. This process is very overwhelming. I would also recommend joining a local support group - you will get much needed advice and guidance there.
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I had some very similar situations as you. There was no way I could talk to the doctor in front of my mom. I would call the doctor prior and talk to the nurse. Usually I would send, via fax, what the issues were and state the change in behavior and frequency of them to the doctor with " confidential". The doctor was able to read it prior to the visit and would ask question relating to some of the issues during the visit but not fronting me off. At this stage, parents are very confrontational. They are trying to hold on to their bearings but it's slipping away. They don't mean to say or do what they are doing/ saying but it's tough. The "I'll help you look" or the "You seem tired, I'll come back when you're feeling better. I love you" Then leave. This is for really mean or accusatory moments.
Keep a journal and send to her doctor (current or new) prior to her visits).
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