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My father passed away in 2008, and since then I have watched over my mother's affairs. She lived on her own in Florida until 2013, when I moved her to an assisted living near me. She has macular degeneration and hearing loss, so she has become more isolated because of that She has also shown more signs of dementia - memory loss, obsession with sorting her clothes, believing someone has stolen clothing she never had. This obsession is fairly recent. She can carry on a conversation with you when she is focused and not tired. She takes care of herself, dresses herself, keeps her room clean, irons her clothes, etc. I believe that her failing eyesight and hearing have exacerbated her dementia. I've never had her diagnosed. We feel it is probably vascular dementia as she has had a heart attack, 5 by-passes, several stints, a stroke, and probably several TIAs. Her carotid arteries are 90% blocked, but the doctor and I agree that operating would be more dangerous than letting her go as long as there are no symptoms causing her pain. My biggest question is whether I should have her see a doctor and get a diagonis as to what kind of dementia she has just in case it is treatable. She will be 93 next week and against having any agressive medical treatments to prolong her life.

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Jeannegibbs, you are echoing my thoughts exactly, and I am so thankful to have that confirmed. I was just concerned that perhaps I was somehow doing her a disservice by not following through with a diagnosis. The ALF she is in recognizes she is cognitively impaired. They accepted her knowing that. Again, thank you for your response. I needed that reassurance.
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It was extremely helpful, and in fact critical, to get a diagnosis and treatment plan when my husband showed signs of strange behavior. But he was in his seventies, living at home, still driving, still taking care of our finances (or not, as it turned out). Your mother is past 90, and living in a care center.

The important thing is that all of her carers accept that she has cognitive impairment of some kind -- very possibly vascular. From what I've seen of ALFs and NHs, the good ones treat the residents based on observable symptoms and behaviors. An official diagnosis doesn't make a lot of difference.

If there was family dispute over Mom's care -- one grandchild insisted that she doesn't have dementia and wants to rent her an apartment -- or if the AL was expecting Mom to do things that are beyond her capabilities, then, yes, maybe an "official" notation of dementia would serve a purpose.But if everyone is on the same page for her care, I'm not sure there would be much benefit.

A conclusive diagnosis as to the type of dementia would have to wait upon an autopsy, but a thorough evaluation could probably be reasonably accurate. Then what?

My mom has dementia. We have no idea what kind. Very likely not Alzheimer's and definitely not Lewy Body. She is 95. What could be done differently if we knew she had XYZT type? At this point, not much. Maybe when we reach a point of having better treatment options it would make sense.

Now if you were writing about your sister or brother who is starting to show disturbing signs, I would be pushing hard for a diagnosis. But at 90+, I just don't see the value.
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JessieBelle, thank you for the response. I am mostly covinced that there is no real need to have her diagnosed. We know what her condition is. She has medicare and Tricare, which cover all of her medication so far. I don't know that having a diagnosis would help with the living expenses she has. I have resisted having her tested because I am concerned it will upset her. But being so close to the situation, I really needed to hear from others to know if I was doing the right thing. Thank you so much, and I also welcome any other comments or suggestions. Thank you, thank you!
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Having her diagnosed at this age and stage may not be helpful, but the doctor can give her a short test for cognition. It takes about 15 minutes. They can give a diagnosis of cognitive impairment (ci) from the test. They can also judge if the ci is mild, moderate, or severe. That may be as much as you need for most purposes. Having a diagnosis can be useful sometimes, such as applying for property tax exemption or services for someone with dementia. Perhaps others on the group know other instances when it might be useful to know.
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