Follow
Share

What is the difference between dementia and mentally incompetent in the elderly? Thanks for any info.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
Another point on this is to remember that we have multiple POA forms. A person might not be able to handle their finances and have a Financial POA, but able to make their own medical decisions, and no Health POA. A person can be legally incapable in one area but not another. Also, this varies by state.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Intellectual disability (used to be called mental retardation) and psychosis can also make a person incompentent which legally means declared unable to manage their own affairs due to lack of judgement or intelectual ability. If you could be on meds that controlled those conditions successfully you would not be incompetent. Gaurdianships can sometimes be limited to the areas a person cannot manage, e.g. many of my patients when they turn 18 need a guardian for finances though they can consent to medical care for themselves. And at all times, the person, though incompetent, should get to make their own choices wherever reasonable.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

First of all, there is a difference between legal incompetence and medical incompetence. Second of all, you can have mild dementia and still be able to make most/all decisions for yourself. You would not at that stage be incompetent. A person with the mildest memory loss can be at the early stage of dementia, for example. With the mildest memory loss, they are not considered incompetent.So, no, dementia and incompetence are not the same things.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I recently was called home from a vacation when the facility called and told me Mom had made an apptmt with an atty and was telling everyone she was changing her will. Mom told me I could come with her if I wanted, because it didn't affect me. The morning of the apptmt, I called the atty's office and told them that Mom had a dementia diagnosis, was on Aricept, that I wasn't sure how to handle this, as she doesn't think anything is wrong with her, and they were welcome to check with the facility to verify this info. The sec'y said he'd call me if he needed more info.

So we went to the apptmt and she told him she didn't remember what was in her will. I had brought a copy with me for him to see. He read it to her out loud, and the changes she wanted to make were so silly. My brother died recently and she wanted his name taken off. (She was only leaving him his own college class ring), then when atty got to her grandson's name, she told the atty "I don't want to leave him a fart in the wind." (She was leaving him her 40 yr old bedroom set.) He verified several times that was what she wanted, and asked me if I was ok with that, and scheduled a return apptmt. He handled her well, with respect and humor, but I can't help what would have happened if she had wanted to make a drastic changed instead of these little insignificant changes. When we picked up the new will, he had added a lot of legalese, which I didn't understand, but he explained was for our protection in FL, and only charged $150, which was very kind as he could have charged her much more.
We are at the point where Mom just thinks she's forgetful, and I honestly wonder why the doctor doesn't just tell her she has dementia. I'm 71, and believe me, if after being tested (as Mom was) I would want to know the truth, so I can take care of my future.
While I was out of town, I got a call that Mom said everything in her safe was gone, and she insisted on making a police report. The policeman called me and said that she claimed she couldn't find the key, and he said what's that in your hand? Then she remembered that she had taken it all out for some reason and hidden it, but now it was missing, so somebody must have stolen it. Later they found her things in a purse that she'd hidden under the bed. How can someone who does things like this still be allowed to change her will? It baffles me.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

A person taking medication for dementia may or may not be competent. Having a dementia prescription has nothing to do with a judgment of competence. In fact, a dementia patient on effective drugs may remain competent longer.
Helpful Answer (5)
Report

Dogabone, I hadn't read your whole first post there, I apologize - ok yes it would take a judge, as I have been led to believe, to rule anyone incompetent. It doesn't happen just because they are on dementia meds, I don't think...
With my mom, her neurologist said he would send her to a psychiatrist for an eval IF I wanted her sent, at which time the psych COULD rule her to be incompetent, but neither the neuro nor myself thinks she's there at this point, (even though she calls me a lot on the phone repeating herself in conversation...)
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Dogabone, I dunnnnoooo...... Not sure about that.... I don't know if you are "auto incompetent" if you are taking meds like Namenda or Aricept, ARE you?
this is a great question and a great topic.
I know my mother takes Namenda, and yeah her short term memory is SHOT. Which, is why I think she's taking the Namenda... unless I'm wrong?
But this woman can cook, change her bedsheets, do laundry, SHOP like crazy, watch Judge Judy, partake in conversations, dress herself, take care of her own hygiene. I would have to respectfully disagree with the statement that if they are on meds for dementia then they are incompetent.
Does anyone know for sure?
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

vegaslady, dogabone is dealing with a psychotic aunt who advancing to dementia, and yes certain medications are used strictly in cases of schizophrenia and would be entered into evidence along with a neuro-psych examination.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Dogabone, where did you pick up this idea that taking medication related to dementia makes you incompetent? A prescription doesn't mean that, necessarily. Then you go on to say that a person is competent unless decided as incompetent by a judge. That isn't necessarily so either. Depends on the state. You seem to be getting things mixed up.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

whitney, you can be mentally incompetent and not have dementia. Any drunk is mentally incompetent until he is sober again. My sister is mentally retarded, was declared incompetent by a judge. You can be declared incompetent once your dementia or alzheimers has progressed to a point where a neurologist or psychiatrist certifies you can no longer handle the Activities of Daily Living (ADL). While sis can eat and dress and toilet by herself, she cannot read or write or cook or tell you the date or time. She has never learned to control impulses or withhold her anger. She will drink caffeine because she knows it is forbidden, and therefore desireable. She will feign illness for attention. She will swear and slap if she is jealous or insulted. She does not have dementia yet, but dementia patients exhibit some of the same qualities.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Dogabone I'm also glad you you took care of POA..
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

dogabone, if all he did was change it to make you POA and Executor, there's nothing to challenge. I am surprised he did not advise you to become a Guardian. Just remember, as POA, you see to her needs and pay her bills. Even if she left you her house, the bills have to be paid first. Hopefully the attorney will be around to help you close the estate when the time comes. I know this has been a hard road, I'm glad you took her to an attorney who knows her well.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I apologize for over posting to this thread.But,this is a very good topic that needs addressed.
Here's my story what happened to me,
My Aunt is 88 yrs old with dementia.My Aunt had a WILL.One of my cousin's was my Aunt's POA and executor of that WILL.That cousin "POA & executor" died.That cousin was the only person named on the Will.When the cousin died,that left my Aunt with no POA and no executor of her Will.
We thought if our Aunt would die today everything will go to the ward of the state.Because,my Aunt had no living siblings or children.My Aunt was worried about her Will and wanted to change her Will.So,my wife & I took my Aunt to her attorney to have her Will changed.O-Boy was that a adventure!
The attorney demands to talk alone with my Aunt first.Prior of us going into the room with her.Because,the attorney want's to make sure his client is not being forced,coached and compatent.We waited in the lobby while the attorney speeks with the Aunt.The attorney came out to us stating he can't do this.Your Aunt's dementia is just to bad.I've been your Aunt's attorney for many yrs and she don't know who I am or why she is here.I then,asked the attorney what else can we do?He said,let's all step into my office and talk about this.15 minutes later I became her POA and executor of my Aunt's new Will.What attorneys do for money.
Many tell me that this attorney should of never changed her Will because,his client is incompatent.But,yet he in fact did.Was my Aunt incompatent?100% yes she was!...But,money talks and attorneys don't turn away money regardless the risk.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Yes,I like to hear peoples answers on this topic as well?
Many types of dementia depending on their type or not?
Here's what I was told,
If a elderly person has been dianosed with dementia by a doctor.If a doctor prescribes prescription medication to the elderly for demenetia.That's incompatent.I here of many people try to attempt to take their elderly loveones to a attorney to have a Will or Trust changed.If the client was dianosed with dementia and is taking dementia prescription medication prescribed by a doctor.No attorney will attempt to change a thing as to risky for any attorney.
To answer your question,
All depends on if the client is taking prescription medication for dementia.
And in order for a person to be incompatent requires a judge to say so.
There is a difference between dementia & incompatent.Dementia is a illness.Incompatent requires a jidge to say.The client is compatent until told otherwise by a judge.That requires Guardenship ruling.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.