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We've noticed an increase in having to repeat ourselves and an increase in the need for reminders/cueing of grandma who will be 97 in 2 weeks. she is also getting slightly forgetful in the order of how we do things in the bathroom...pants then lotion (so the pants don't stick on the lotion)...creams on private areas then diaper...nothing lifeshattering if not done in that order but we have been doing it that way for quite awhile.

How do you know if it's just old age....or something more?

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Hev, my Mom [98] had a serious hearing loss to a point where if someone met her for the first time they would think right away that she had mid stage dementia. Once Mom caught one or two words being spoken to her, then she would join in on the subject... it might be misguided but she tried.

If pro-football was spoken, look out, Mom knew her stats, all the quarterback's names, if they were married, how many children they had, who was the head coach, the last time the team was in the Super Bowl, etc :) But like I said, she had to catch on to what was the subject matter first, and many times she looked lost, all due to her hearing.
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Make sure the DPOA & all legal papers are done before.
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One of the hardest things about caring for someone of great old age is you never know what things will look like in a few months time.
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hev, it sounds like you have a good grip on the situation. It would probably be very difficult to care for a baby and a 97-year old woman who requires assistance. I agree with you that you may need to find her a good place to stay. She may actually like it -- never can tell. :-)
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cwillie- my husband and I are currently evaluating her care plan. I'm 8 months pregnant, she lives with us, has aides while we are at work. but is potentially going to need more care (as I can't physically do as much anymore) and once the baby comes- well, unfortunately, I will be pre-occupied (yes I realize that sounds bad. If this is more than just old age, we may evaluate the care plan differently...example, is it better for her to be home or in a facility?

GardenArtist- no hearing test that I know of. And she would probably refuse it if we asked. And getting a urinalysis from her to test for a UTI is difficult since she is incontinent and can't feel when she goes (nerve damage from radiation due to cancer) but we are working on that part at least. Family changes? Yeah, I'm pregnant and she is requiring extensive/hands on care for the first time ever (since she returned home from rehab in March). the changes we are noticing have only been in the last week or so though.
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Whether it is from hearing loss, old age, beginning symptoms of dementia ... you are going to have to deal with her new behaviors pretty much the same way.

If the nurse can rule out infections or other treatable causes, that may be as much as you can do.

Very often what appears to be hearing loss in the very elderly is more a matter of lack of comprehension of the sounds. No hearing aid addresses that.

How very fortunate you've had this relative in your lives for so many decades! It isn't terribly unusual that things get a little tougher in the late years.
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Clarification - I didn't intend that my response seem condescending or abrupt. I meant that at age 97, there are so many aspects of mental and physical health that have changed that, if there are no medical bases that can be determined, it's a matter of adapting to the change.

However, given that 3 medical professionals have noted the change, I do agree that it bears investigation. Like CWillie, my first thought was a UTI.

Alternately, have there been any family changes...caregiver illness, something like that that could cause her to be distracted?
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Has she ever had a hearing test?

I think sometimes, especially as someone creeps toward the magic 100 mark, the issue of how to work with the changed behavior is just as important as the reason why, after medical tests and exams have been done to determine if there are medical issues.
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Hev, even if it is "something more", at 97 are you really going to do something about it? The nurses might want to check for something simple to treat like a UTI or other infection.
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Grandma doesn't "go to the doctors"...her Nurse practitioner and other nurses come to her. We have mentioned it to one nurse who came this week. It was also noted and mentioned to us by her PT and OT. Waiting for a call back from nurse practitioner.
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Report your grandma's recent behavioral change to her Dr. Take her in to see the Dr. Write a brief note for the nurse to pass along to the Dr. so you're not talking about your grandma in front of her. The note should say something like, "Began to notice cognitive decline in grandma on such-and-such a date. This is not normal for her." Keep it short.

Once your grandma has her appointment with the Dr. and the Dr. gets up to leave the room jump up after him and ask him what he thinks (once you're out of ear shot of your grandma). Listen to what he has to say then go from there.
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