New to this page and new to dementia care. Any advice?

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My mom literally was diagnosed with dementia three days ago so I am trolling the web for information. Her next neurologist appointment is in three days, where the doctor plans to begin treatment with alzh medicaton.
Between now and then I get the unenviable task of breaking the news of the diagnosis to her. Three months ago mom suffered a moderate ischemic stroke on the left side of her brain, verified by cat scan. At that time he said he also suspected the onset of dementia, based on the cat scan and wanted more testing. The Neurologist scheduled an EEG and determined the presence of dementia on the left brain ( the right side too unreliable to read due to the stroke damage) all this is relative greek to me but he seems on the up and up.

Has any one else here seen this progression of dementia following a stroke?

My mom has always been a hand full to say the least, she is 79 now. But her behavior in the last two months has gotten out of character. She lives alone in a senior living apartment building and I check on her daily but she calls me nonstop all day (and night too at times).

Mom has gotten stronger as she recovered from the stroke and is mobile with a walker but the confusion, trouble with words, and mild visions at night (sometimes) has not improved at all ! Her hand writing, which at one time was very nice is awful now.
Mom has been a bit on the paranoid side her entire life but she can be downright nasty about it now. I let this slide as i realize its driven by fear.

I'll be checking this page often in the future, I just needed to write this down some where and get it off my chest.
thanks

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Join a support group by contacting alzheimers.org.
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I know the wait for a diagnosis is frustrating. Went through a month or so of tests with my husband, different meds trials...hang in there. Keep posting and praying.
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Oh My Gosh ! Thanks for all the replies and words of encouragement.
Took Mom back to the neuro two days ago and he backed off on wanting to issue meds ( this confused me ). He says the EEG for left side scored a 7 and he prefers to wait until it is in the 3-5 range before. The reight side data was too corrupted due to the stroke to be reliable( ????). So now he wants to do a second cat scan in July as he thinks this will give him two data points to draw from.
Sooooo, the you have dementia talk i gave mom was counter acted by the doctors wait and see approach.(mom says she was cured by a miracle over night... too funny)

Now I'll try to answer some of your inquiries.
Why did i tell her about the diagnosis? - because i thought it was the right thing to do. If it was me I'd want to know.
Moms diet? - it sucks... she is a carb and sugar junkie and drinks hot tea all day (caffine)
Ignoring the nasty comments - I've had decades of practice. I swear mom is a border line paranoid/ schizophrenic. New people who meet her think she is wonderful and so loving, once they see both side of her they distance themselves from her. The mom blames that on me or my sister because we supposedly gossiped about her. The the nastiness begins.... sad actually. Mom sees herself in competition for attention with the entire world.

Networking / support - my sister helps some but is undependable. I get overwhelmed. My wife is my rock! ( or a bitch whore if you listen to mom).

Thanks for all of your answers. I will post back here later. its a bad night already, my phone has been exploding the entire time I have been typing. MOM again...
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My mother has been declining for a long time, but when my sister suddenly died a year ago she went down hill fast and was finally diagnosed with “severe dementia”. My mother's friend had a husband with dementia and we knew how upset it made my mother to hear that word. So we chose to acknowledge her difficulties as her "memory or thinking" problem and that seems to be working very well. Personally I would want to know, but I totally believe it depends on the person.
With dementia the description "long goodbye" is unfortunately very true. We grieve a little every time we are with my mom. As to how to cope, try to get good support. My sister and I share everything and my husband is a compassionate listener. This has helped greatly.
People with dementia become like children except that they know fear. And it is very frightening what they are going through! So try to understand why she may be doing things, like calling you often. Comfort your mom and make her feel secure.
But, also, don’t let the diagnosis take over your life (although that is hard to do). Don’t obsess with trying to maintain things exactly as before (her eating, cleaning habits, etc). Things are going to change. Don’t sweat the small stuff, which there will be plenty of. Get help for the home/health care issues and try not to do it all yourself.
That brings me to my most important advice: Spend as much time as you can "enjoying" your mom. Spend time together. Reminisce, play music she enjoys, do little projects together, let her help you do chores (even if you have to redo anything she did later). Make her feel normal and secure. Just enjoy your precious time together.
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Aloha,

First thing is you will find a ton of information right on this web site. You may want to contact the Alzheimer's association in your area for information. Telling her she has dementia would probably lead to more distress. I have been the caregiver for my wife for the last six years. She would be classified about stage 5-6 on a scale of seven. Eventually your mother will have to have more assistance. The longer you can keep her mobile the longer you will delay the final stages of the disease. As the disease progresses, do not take anything personally if she insults you or upsets you in any way. That is the disease speaking. If you become her caregiver, make sure you have a support system in place before you begin. You will need respite care for yourself. Not know much more about your situation I can't say too much more except join a caregiver's support group if there is one in your area.

Good Luck!!!
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Patience is a key word here. It does no good to argue or correct, as for telling her, she will just forget anyway so it doesn't really matter. I'm glad to see someone else, miJmitoo, talking about the virtues of coconut oil & dark chocolate. Although it may be too late for my mom, I have changed my diet to prevent some of these things from happening to me. Fortunately I have good genes, my 98 year old mom was still working out at the gym a year ago!
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I'll put in my 2 cents. You say your Mother has "always been a handful." She may not believe you if you tell her she may have dementia, but if you tell her she had a stroke, that is more "measurable." If you tell her the truth, she is going to develop manipulative "coping skills"-- I would forget it and you just pay attention to the change in her abilities. Yes, I am merciless and cynical.
Please set the rules of engagement yourself. She cannot do it and it would be all about HER and to hell with you. Doesn't hurt to be proactive.
Gather all assistance you can, from family, government, caregivers, etc.
Do the best you can to see to her care--but that does not mean doing it all by yourself until you can't remember who you are or what your life was like.
Listen to your instinct/ intuition and do not deny your ability to reason and stick to your guns about your boundaries.
Get plenty of sleep, water, exercise, venting, personal time that is not encroached upon by mother. Try not to get resentful or sarcastic with siblings who don't get it. Some do and some never will. Every dog has his day. Mark my words.
It can be healing and a good lesson for your growth, if you believe in that aspect.
If your situation turns out to be even 10% more positive than this warning: Congratulations!
God Bless you, and your family. Take care;) xo
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I'm sorry..it's definitely a hard place to be. I was there not long ago with my mom. Her diagnoses came in July....however, I too noticed that things were just not quite right with her. Same thing here she started talking about people coming into her apartment, making messes, and bugs crawling up and down the walls,ants on her table. It was the beginning of the wildest ride of my life. However...the ride came to an end for me and mom in January. The only thing I can recommend...is check into all the resources that you have available to you. Especially ones that will be paid by the state if she qualifies. There are tons...and with those you may receive supplies, equipment and caregivers that will come into the home and bath, or sit with her.
This website is also a great asset to you. You will learn a lot from these wonderful people who know exactly what you are going through...you are not alone. But please add to the conversations...because it's therapy ...and you will need it. Plus someone else might be able to use your experience to their benefit. I know...benefit you say? Wow..sorry there is not benefits from your loved one with dementia...but the more you understand this horrible disease the better equipped you will be. If you have the time..I encourage all of you to google "Teepa Snow" she is an experience nurse in this field and gave me much needed insite to the whole journey of dementia/alz.. Coping, managing, and respite...take care of yourself..because you will need it. Find help where you can. I wish there was a magic wand that can make all this disappear....but there isn't..do what you can. That's all you can do...God Bless you for being there for them. Good luck.
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Totally agree with getting all the help you can muster, for your mum and you! Seriously: community, city, private. Call utilities for eligibility for discounts as your bills are going to sky rocket. Money burdens can ad to the stress.
My MIL knows about her illness but we try to always tell and show her that we are here to help. A regular structure, routine eases the fear on their part. Things do trigger, so watch for those and try to minimize. I watched the Teepa Snow videos to really know how to be a better caregiver. That was probably my biggest mistake the first 6months. I didn't understand her issues enough to know how to respond.
The doctors do a wonderful job, however, be proactive with your mother's medication. Monitor and know what she's taking. It doesn't always help.
Keep talking with us, it helps. We know what you're journey is about to be. It's hard but you have ears here.
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My husband of 46 years suffered a massive stroke, seemed to be recovering through rehab (regaining his mobility) but is personal memory was gone, didn't know who he was, or that we were married, had trouble with aphasia - when the words he wanted to say became garbled. We worked hard in rehab as in- and out patient, and like a miracle he seemed to be recovering bits and pieces - until suddenly it went backwards. His neurologist diagnosed him with vascular dementia - right in front of him. I thought the bottom had just dropped away from under me, and when I looked at my husbands face I realized he understood what the diagnosis meant for him. And that day the roller coaster ride began for both of us. We had good days, bad days and everything inbetween. Take it day by day, hour by hour, enjoy the funny things that will happen and laugh and hold on to that and remember it, when you feel like screaming, when there are days when nothing seems to go right. I kept telling him that he will be always my bright and shining penny, no matter what the doctor says. And most of all, I started and ended the day by telling him I will always love him. I had no one else to help me - no family, and since he had become fearful of strangers, friends could not help out.
I wish, my husband had not heard the diagnosis, because from that day on he quit trying to regain what he lost - he gave up. No matter how hard I tried to convince him, that doctors don't know everything and he had beaten the odds with his heart problems, it did not work. If I could turn back the clock, I would make sure my husband was out of earshot when the doctor told us.
I wish you the best, will keep you and your Mom in my prayers. As others have said, come to this site often. It will help you to cope and you can vent - we all have been there and understand.
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