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Denial is a huge problem with families. I would get them in touch with someone who does geriatric counseling and perhaps someone at the church where they attend. Another option would be to get in touch with a geriatric care manager in your area. They can sit down with the familiy and help them sort thru their feelings and perceptions of the problem.
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Thank you all for the input. Some updated details on the situation...I work with the daughter in law and she was telling me of the behavior of her inlaws she also knew my Mom and what I went thru. So I suggested to get them to get them diagnosed, I explained how this needed to be first step, then POA and an aid for at least meals and pill meds, after the inlaws started stressing everyone in the family out they followed thru with my suggestions. Then she told me about them driving, I gave them ideas that might be helpful to get them to stop driving, they said, "oh no they are fine, we can't stop them" Well one day they drove got lost, many miles away and blew out four tires and still drove that way. There was a "Silver alert" to locate them when they went to house and found out Mom and Dad took the car out and were not at home. That solved the car issue and thank god noone was hurt. They have and aid but not 24/7. Now I believe they need 24/7 care due to his incontinance and her, cognative impairment, she cooks and I am afraid she will forget and start a fire or leave home and get lost. I said they are in partial denial because I believe they are doing what they see fit but they do not realize the dangers that can happen by them being alone for periods of time. The other thing is the long term reality may be an issue but they don't realize the importance of focusing on it now or "overload" is setting in. My initial ? was just me worrying for them. I know so much having been there as well as all of you do from our own experiences. I even suggested this site to help and gets some good support, Ignorance is bliss and I get that so I offer assitance and wait till I am asked for help. Does anyone know about Vet benefits this could be a help for them. Hugz 2 ALL!!!
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It’s very common to be in partial denial. Dementia can be such a tricky thing to get a handle on. What they probably don’t know is that it can actually be easy to normalize many of the symptoms of dementia. You’re a good friend to want to help them and be sensitive to their need for denial. As a friend, you can help by listening to them, gently share your observations of the parent’s behavior and encourage your friends to take good care of theirselves. Whether or not there is a medical diagnosis, it’s often helpful for families to learn about resources like the Alzheimer’s Association and Care.com. This gives them a chance to talk to professionals and social workers about what to anticipate, to learn about symptoms of dementia and tips on how to help maintain a quality of life. As a social worker myself, I’ve worked with many families who were enormously relieved once they had a chance to talk about their expectations, concerns and questions and if I were you, I’d encourage them to do just that. Good luck!
Sincerely,
Carol
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I appreciate all the support and understanding answers from you all, it is great to see people that reach out and help other people. So far I helped my friends by making them aware, and after reading all your ideas, I realized I have done all I can do to make them aware of the reality of the situation. I am just aware and I know the next step before they see it.
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Deep down your friends know what is around the corner...perhaps they do not want to dwell on the subject or have had enough emotional "overload" and use denial as an escape. Where would any of us be without a healthy dose of denial on a daily basis? :o) It is not up to you to give them the "facts." When your friends feel ready to open the window to discussion have information ready for them or offer your support.
My Mother does not have dementia, but is in decline. I guess I do not see it as dramatically because I am around her everyday. (She appears more fragile than she is) So I would not appreciate someone "armchair quarterbacking" me....especially if they have not walked around in my shoes for the last 3 years. What I would appreciate, is a friend (or family member) offering to pitch in once and awhile. Now that would be a gift!!
Take care of your friends, they are precious and so hard to find.
Lilli
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My Mom has dementia and now lives with me. I knew that my Mom and Dad could no longer live alone long before my sister could face this fact. My Dad lives with me as well and he is still in denial. I can see on a daily basis the effect this horrible disease is having on my Mom and I know that there will come a time when I will no longer be able to care for her. As far as your friends, I am sure that deep inside they know that there is an issue, but it just takes longer for some to bring it to the surface and deal with it. My advice to you is to give them support. Although I have 3 siblings I do not get any help and someday's it is very overwhelming. With this disease you need to take it one day at a time. I have good days with Mom and bad days with Mom. She has been with me for over 2 years now and there are more bad than good days. If your friends decide to bring their parents into their home my advice to you is to give them time to get away, if only for a couple of hours. At this point I am constantly with Mom, except for a quick trip to the store when my husband is home to keep an eye on them.

Good for you for noticing what your friends cannot. They are very lucky to have a friend like you and I wish you all luck in dealing with this. I'm not going to kid you....your friends have a long rough road ahead of them. I pray everyday that someone will find a cure for this horrible unrelenting disease.
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At this point there is not much you can do. It is very sad but also very common for children and spouses of Alzheimer's or Dementia patients to go into denial. The worst part is that our youth-centric cultural provides little support and even encourages the denial. What you can do is stand by these friends when the inevitable occurs and they are forced to deal with mountains of issues that could have been resolved while they were just molehills. Your friends will be taken by surprise when they discover that Medicare DOES NOT PAY for Long Term Care or Assisted Living. They will be in shock when they discover that any resources their parents may have in their current estate will be quickly absorbed into their care with bills left over. And they may also discover that Home Care by family caregivers is a full time effort (especially if both parents require care) whose only reward is the appreciation of their parents who nonetheless feel depressed that they are taking so much away from their children. In our culture, that is not supposed to happen. But the final wammy is when the related medical needs of their parents require institutional care that cannot be provided at home.
So all you can do for now is stand by...offer your help and support with transportation or cooking meals or other things they may need when reality starts to break through the denial. Most of all...continue to be their friends because they need that more than anything.
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While not the right thing to do because obviously, one cannot properly and with finality deal with anything unless it is brought to the fore, it is nonetheless quite common in life to deny things to one degree or other as a form of coping.

Encourage your friend to look at things logically, as in - what is - is, but at the same time remember to do so softly... with the consideration that deep inside, your friend's 'heart' may be struggling.

Good for you for expressing the extent of care you maintain for your friend!

V
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That's the biggest problem, DENIAL.Maybe if you can print and hand it to the them symptoms of stages of dementia. It is actually a set of questions the family can use to discover the truth. It is better to find out early than waiting until will be too much to handle. There are medications to help dementia patients and is better to start on those ASAP. They don't treat dementia but, help with progression so those wild behaviors don't come so soon, if you know what I mean. I provide care for elderly diagnose with dementia so, my experience is the key of knowing the progression of cruel disease.
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Have your friends gotten a diagnosis from a doctor? I gave a friend of mine the name of a clinic when I noticed her mother had signs of Alzheimer's. They got the diagnosis and are still in denial about how much her mother can do. And I can understand why. Who wants to face Alzheimer's? Put it off as long as you can.

I was reading a tabloid while waiting to check out at Walmart yesterday. According to that scandal sheet Prince Charles has Alzheimer's and he talks to his vegetation. He's younger than I am! Not even the royal family is immune. I suppose they'll tuck him away somewhere.
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