How do you get your parent to take test for Alzheimer's and get them to take an antidepressant?

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My mom (77 years old) moved in with me almost 2 years ago after living with my sister for 19 years. (I have always live in the neighborhood so my mom often would spend time with me as well). They helped each other out being that my sister was divorced and had a baby. (My father passed when I was 5). My mom quit her job back then to take care of my sisters baby. I was 24 then but I do remember telling my sister that Mom shouldn't quit her job and her telling me about how I shouldn't worry she would take care of her when she is old. Fast forward 19 years later my sister has MS, her son is doing drugs, my mom starts confronting her about the drugs and they were fighting and my sister tells me that mom can no longer live with her. My sister had remarried and had another kid which my mom also cared for full time. My mom gave her $80K to buy this new house about 10 year ago and also gave her $600 a month rent. I was so angry with my sister that I have not talked to her since. I said some very hurtful things (which I regret) and told her she was dead to me. My mom said she confronted her about the money and my sister said that she couldn't give her any but she would pay her supplemental health insurance. I told my mom she could live with us, go to Florida and live with my brother or we could chip in and find a place for her to live--She said she wanted to live with us. She get SSI about $1100 a month and she pays her car and car insurance leaving her with about $700 to spend. We had a spare room--though small and are finalizing the plans to enlarge our house to give her some more room. I took mom mother for her annual exam last year and she has high cholesterol and blood pressure which she has been taking meds for the last ten years. The doctor spoke to both of us about her memory issues and I mentioned that I did notice memory issues with my mother--she was not happy with that. She said she was fine. She didn't need anything. It's a year later and I am taking her to her annual in two weeks--believe me I have told her she needs to go to the doctor more often, but she tells me she will not go more than once a year. I want her to get tested for Alzheimer's but how do I get her to agree to it. I would like to slow the progression of this if I can, but from what I read I really don't know if medicine will help. I have some friends who have parents taking medicine and they said they really didn't see a difference. So do I have a big argument with her and tell her she has to take the test and then the medicine doesn't work and its all for nothing. How do I persuade her to take the test. She has been very depressed since last year. I told her we can see the doctor and get an antidepressant and she said she didn't want one. She sometimes says she wishes she would just die. I am often depressed because of all this. I have two kids and a great husband yet I just want to go home and go up to my room and be alone. I feel so guilty about her living in a tiny room and at the same time so angry that I have to deal with this. She's not even as bad as many of the seniors I read about and already I feel depressed. At any given time I am angry, sad, guilty. I just want to come to terms with that this is what it is (my journey) and accept it and be at peace with it. I am thinking I need to speak with a doctor to help me with my feelings and I do plan to do it--was just hoping I could work through this on my own. My husband is fine with my mother living with us--when I tell him I am sad he says why--there is nothing to be sad about--you have your mother and we will deal with things as they come up. I wish I could be more like him. Apologies for being so long. I just want to know what to do about getting her to take the test and an antidepressant. I want to keep her living with me for as long as I can and I am hoping the medicine will help with that.

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And BTW, I haven't heard about any dramatic results from the dementia meds. My Dads doc thinks it's a waste of time and money for him. But this is just one story. Others may have seen improvement.
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This comes up a lot on this forum. I spose you've got to keep encouraging her to go to the docs and get tested but in my opinion it's not worth world war 3 and lots of stress to do the dementia testing. We could never get my Dad to agree to be tested but it's clear that he has dementia. He's totally stubborn about most everything around the house, can't get the carpet cleaned, replace his nasty old chair etc. Sometimes Mom and I do what has to be done and just let him get mad but we pick our battles. She may just be depressed and a cranky old lady or maybe she is developing some sort of dementia. Learn about the signs and how to deal with dementia. There's lots of good info on this site.
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Frankie, your husband sounds like a gem. You are lucky with that regard.

It sounds like your mom's memory issues aren't that significant at this point. It's understandable that you want to know what to expect though. Perhaps, there are benefits for having early testing done, so you have a baseline for future tests, but if you mom isn't interested in doing it, then I would let it go. I would wonder if her depression is causing her memory issues. Sometimes stress and depression can affect it.

What does her doctor say about it? Have they ruled out other potential things that could be causing her problems?

I would encourage her to try an antidepressant if her doctor prescribes it. You might beg, plead, encourage and coax her. What if you promise her that the two of you are going to start a weekly tradition of mother-daughter brunch on Sundays or something else that will give her a something to look forward to. Or you could work on a project together. Do you crochet or scrap book? Anything to spend time together on a dedicated day each week.

You might explain that you may need meds too and ask her to go with to your appt. You sound pretty down. See if you need medication. It could be a win win situation. If you are sad, guilty and angry, then she may be picking up on it. Try to add some joy to your life and perhaps it will run over onto her.

I don't have much experience with medications for dementia such as Aricept and Namenda. I have read a lot about them, but due to a lot of negative things about them and their low success rate for many, have not chosen it for my loved one. The benefits don't seem to be that great and their are side effects. Perhaps someone who knows a lot about them will chime in.
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