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My father is in somewhat early stages of Alzheimer's. He keeps asking me to take him to a doctor or psychologist that will help him figure out what is wrong with him. I don't know how to explain the situation without having him become more depressed. Would a psychologist be able to help explain the problem to him?
Should his doctor be taking a more active part in this discussion?

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Also, when we met with the neurologist, he told her that it could be Alzheimers, but she didn't ask about it later or push the matter.
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When my cousin was initially affected in a significant way, she seemed okay to hear that she had memory issues. She felt that taking meds for her blood sugar, blood pressure, etc. would help her and that eating the right foods would help. She didn't ask many questions. She did say she didn't want to lose the memories of her deceased parents. She would ask if things were real or if she was dreaming. I would tell her everything was real, except when she was sleeping and that she was okay.

Later after the MRI, she was told she had had multiple strokes and her memory was affected. We never used the word Alzheimer's though she has that too. And even if we had told her she had Alzheimers, I don't think she would know it now. She doesn't recall anything that was said even a few minutes ago. Her memory is very affected and she would not recall it anyway. I'm glad we didn't distress her with details.
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If he asks you directly, be honest and reassure your Father that his entire family, friends, and doctors are all determined to help them any way you can. The need to explain (and have him understand) what is happening becomes less important when you understand that labeling his condition only helps YOU make informed choices about his care, you are the 'parent' now.
Everything that happens and will happen from this point most likely be the first for him as much as for you, so it really depends on his personality and wishes, and you know your Father best. Take it day by day, just be there for him, plenty of do's and don'ts but he is still smart enough to know what's going on. Moods, confusion, repetitions will be a part of your lives, not easy but recommended to stay strong and positive for both of you if you are on this journey feeling alone. Alz support groups are available in almost every town, even small ones. They can truly help you to understand better, what family can and should do, and what you simply are not able to accomplish with your loved one. Don't forget to take a break from the routine, just not from the love to your Father :-)
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Grammasa, who diagnosed the dementia? Did that doctor explain it to him? There are varying opinions about whether and how much to tell someone about their disease. Since your father wants to know what is wrong, I would be as open with him as he seems ready to accept.

My husband knew from the very beginning that he had a diagnosis of Lewy Body Dementia. When he was upset or worried or scared about some limitation, I would hug him and say, "You know that you have a very good brain, and an excellent education. You were a successful engineer. Your brain isn't working quite right just now. This is not your fault. I'm always here for you, to help with the things your brain just can't do any more. I'll never abandon you. I'll always see that you are well-taken care of."

This was hardest early-on when he went through a paranoid period. It would be terrible to realize that you can't function on your own and to not know whom you could trust, wouldn't it?

My husband really wanted an explanation for what was happening to him. His doctors and I provided that for him, but in fairly simplistic terms. He was not so interested in being shown pictures of the brain and given technical explanations.

My mother would be terrified to learn she has dementia. Unlike my husband, she'd rather avoid facing something unpleasant. But the process of acceptance has been very similar for her. We agree when she says she doesn't seem to be able to remember anything and also assure her that she is safe. "Mom, you did just have lunch. It is OK that you don't remember when you are supposed to eat. The helpers here will always come and bring you to the dining room when it is time." "No it is not time for your pill yet. Isn't it great that you don't have to worry about that? A nurse keeps track of it for you." "This place has lots of helpers to keep you comfortable, well-fed, and safe. And all of us kids keep an eye on things to make sure they are doing a good job."

To me the important messages are 1) You are having some problems. They are not your fault. 2) You still are a valuable and loved person. 3) We will keep you safe. We will never abandon you. For some people understanding the nature of the problem is important. For others that is too scary. But either way they need reassurance that they will be safe and loved.
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My mom knew she had dementia and was forgetting things but fear was a huge problem for her. Anything and everything I would assure my mom they we were there to help and make sure she was doing what she needed to do. In later years when the parkinsons hit hard, it was just reassuring her that we were here to help and that she was not to worry to about it. I will start telling her on Saturday that the therapist was coming on Monday, remind her if the guy's name and that the exercises he was doing with her would only help. The answer above is great! wish my mom had used computers but she had no interest. Good luck on your journey.
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They may be temporarily able to explain it to him, but would later forget. Is he computer savvy? There is a group on Facebook called Memory People with a very large membership that includes those with dementia, caregivers, spouses, avaeryone you can possible imagine. The founder of the group has dementia and often writes about how it feels, and has many positive experiences that he shares as well.
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