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My dad died 6 months ago. My parents were married almost 60 years. After his sudden death my mom seemed extremely confused and forgetful . Everyone said it was just depression. I had noticed Sutle things over the last few years and I had spoke with my dad about it. He didn't come out and admit it verbally but I knew he had seen it too. After his death it was as if he wasn't there anymore to guide my mom. I convinced her to go to our family physician. She agreed. After a few visits her doctor recommended she see a neurologist and have an MRI which we did. The neurologist said after looking at the MRI he felt she was in the stages of early Alzheimer's. Of course my mom would not except this and would not let me attend any more doctor appointments and begin to get very mean and hostile towards me even though we had been extremely close.


In the last few months I have seen a huge difference in her state of mind however. She has convinced my aunt and cousins that we are out to get her that I am stealing from her in fact they have threatened to bring charges against me for theft all of which are absolutely ridiculous. She disappears with them and then they keep her and I can't talk with her. When she finally comes home she tells me she's confused and doesn't know why she's been staying at their house she usually thinks it's only been a day or two and it actually has been a week. Yesterday we were supposed to have an early breakfast and spend the day together and I was going to approach the idea of having her move in with me when I got there the locks on the doors had been changed and she was gone as well as her car that we had disabled. I actually called the police because I had no idea what was going on and after searching we discovered that my aunt had had the locks changed because my mother had told her she was afraid of us which I can't even believe. My do had been staying with her just so she wouldn't be alone . She has always loved him and the situation had been working. My aunt has gone as far as to tell people that I've been driving my mother around getting CAT scans to prove she is crazy so I can put her in a home and my mom believes this. When I can get my mom alone she's like my mom for a while and then switches back to being what I would classify as an Alzheimer's patient Her mind gets very scrambled and she talks about events from 50 years ago is if it was yesterday.


I can't believe that people cannot see this in her and I am so frustrated.My brother came for a short visit and couldn't believe how bad she was As a close family we have all witnessed it there's no doubt in our mind . I even suggested they speak to her neurologist but they refuse they are under the impression that I've set this all up. My parents don't have excessive amount of money my dad left $10,000 life insurance which was basically used for his funeral. I am frantic and helpless of what to do I can't get my mom alone to talk to her in the meantime they are running my name through the mud and people tend to believe them because my mom seems fine when she's around others. In one day she told me she spoke to 15 different people from her past many who have been gone for years but when I bring this up I'm told I making it up. What can I do? She turns it on and off at just the right times it's very interesting to watch. She doesn't even look the same to me she's got a hollow appearance to her eyes her hair and clothing is not even kept up. My aunt is retired and insist that she is just fine because when she lives with her she acts great but what they don't realize is they are giving her what amounts to assisted living. I know eventually they will see the truth but I can only imagine how much damage will be done by that time I worry about her personal possessions I worry about never getting to be with her. Can anyone make any suggestions of what to do I've been told to seek legal assistance but that all takes time and let's be honest lots of money please help any suggestions would be appreciated or has anybody been in the situation this is all so new to me I'm greiving both my parents at the same time it's just awful.

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Dear Goldeee: I'm so sorry for all this trouble you have right now. You may try calling your Area Agency on Aging. They have all sorts of resources that you may find helpful. Most of them also have Caregiver's Guides that they will give to you at no cost. These guides contain a lot of helpful ideas, resources, SHINE (this offers the medical/medicare, insurance side of things), and much more. Hope this helps -- best of luck with this.
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It sounds like people who don't know about dementia or Alzheimer's really need to educate themselves and learn something. It also sounds like others may not know your mom like you do, and they may not spend the time around her that you do. If this is the case (and it sounds to me like it probably is) perhaps you may invite them to join you and your mom and some of the things you and your mom do. Yes, try including some people who can't see what's wrong. Another thing you can do is have them all step back if they're spending too much time and don't see what's wrong. You can be just as much too close to see what's wrong as you can be not close enough, so you can decide for yourself since you're the one that sees what's really going on. If you feel your mom really needs care, I wouldn't very least have home health care to come in and help her. If she still functioning pretty much on her own aside from the problems, home health care would definitely be right under those conditions. However, if she gets to the point where things get out of hand, I would definitely go for guardianship and put her into a memory care facility, even if you must get a court order to back you
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Goldee's answer is spot on. Sometimes couples will compensate for each other so that other family members don't realize the impact of the problem. Secondly your mom has a lifetime of conversation in one on one and group settings. She has a deeply seated knowledge of how to respond to small talk so that it seems like she is understanding. Pay attention to the answers she gives in these settings. You may find they are all polite and non specifi.
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You should have your mom visit a doctor who specializes in geriatrics. A mini mental exam can be given in the office to measure her level of competency. If there are deficiencies the doctor can make a plan to diagnose the most likely cause or causes. From there you can make a plan to keep your mom safe and actively involved in your lives.

If family is still denying her condition you might have to try to obtain guardianship of your mom. This is a complicated legal process that involves having two doctors examine her and a drawn out legal process that can be very expensive.
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Goldee,
First, I am sorry for what seems to be a "double loss". How hard not to have your dad there helping you and others "see" what needs to be seen.

The aging process can be slow and stealthy..the some big "BAM" and suddenly things seem worse. Likely your mom was in early stages before dad even died and he was there to deflect a lot of it.

You can try to talk to your aunt, but sounds like that may be hard. People never want to hear "This is the truth"...I know with my mother, I can literally see her sliding down that hill, but it's like nobody else in the family can. Or will. Oh--forgot about the brother--talk to HIM and see what his take on it is. Be on the same page as best you can and hopefully when she does "the big bam" you both can step in with a plan. Whatever will work for your family.

(For what it's worth, mother lives with my brother and I KNOW he feeds her anger at me.....it's on simmer right now, but it seems like every family has one or two pot-stirrers.)

Best of luck.

You can sit back and wait---don't stress and fuss--and I bet when mom gets a lot worse or starts picking on the aunt, you'll hear about it.
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My understanding is that Alzheimer's can't be diagnosed until death and then with an autopsy. My mother's neurologist, on the first visit told me that she had a little stroke damage which was causing some vascular dementia, nothing to worry about. The second time I was there with her he said she had Alzheimer's. Personally I think most seniors get an Alzheimer's diagnosis from neurologists just out of hand because they don't know what's wrong and Medicare doesn't pay them enough for them to bother to try to find out. Mother's biggest problem was low oxygen due to heart problems. If I got her o2 levels up, she would be much better. I recommend that you change doctors first - if you can find one who is taking new Medicare patients. Second, was your dad a veteran? if so, there's a pension for your mother called Aid and Assistance which will pay about $1100 monthly That might get her some help in the home so she won't be forced to give up her home. I pray to god that nobody ever tries to put me anywhere I don't want to go. Personally I would rather die than go to assisted living or especially a nursing home. It's just overpriced warehousing the body to wait for death. Believe me I've seen a lot of it in my family and friends. Don't be led down a primrose path that if you get Mom into assisted living everything will be O.K.
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There is not a med that will slow the disease, it is different with everybody. The meds only help to control symptoms. Since mom has seen a neurologist, I would think that they may have an accurate diagnosis. Often times those with dementia are very good at grandstanding, putting on a face for others. But, like wvavet said, Mom's ability to convince others nothing is wrong will not go on for very long. It will become obvious to everybody.

Your aunt may be in denial, as your mother's sister she is more likely to develop the disease herself as it does tend to run in families. We are still dealing with that, my mother's sister, that does not want to accept that she too may be diagnosed at some point. She is 15 years younger than my mom, so it is going to be awhile yet.
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Sadly I am sure your mom will get to the point where there will be no denying something is wrong. At that point the Aunt will come running for you to take mom back! It's sad because she could be getting meds now that might slow down the disease.
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Gold, the early stages are difficult while EVERYBODY tries to accept the diagnosis. Does mom have her legal documents in place? Is there an attorney that may have helped your folks with preparing POA's and such?
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Arm yourself with enough knowledge as your can about Alzheimer's, here are some excellent https://www.agingcare.com/Alzheimers-Dementia. Will these articles make every thing better? Nope, but it will give you a better understanding how your Mom's brain is now not working.

Sadly your Aunt is now enabling your Mom so your Mom cannot get the best of care. You mentioned that your Mom's sister had lived with her..... who lives with Mom now?... will the sister live with her sister again? Would your Aunt be able to care for someone with Alzheimer's? It can be mentally and physically exhausting.

Anyway of having a family meeting, where you and your brother could talk to your Mom's sister to see if everyone can get on the same page, and arrange how your Mom could get the best of care.
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