How honest should I be with mom about her future with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's?

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My mom is in stage 4-5 of Alzheimer's and I'm guessing stage 3 of Parkinson's. She is leaning to one side, right side is significantly weaker and right had shakes, she shuffles, and freezes when walking.
I'm not sure how honest I should be about where these diseases are taking her. She has agreed to go to an assisted living community in the Fall, but will be heading towards the Memory Care unit. We've taken her to see one AL place but never mentioned the MC unit. I don't want to upset or scare her, but I don't want to lie to her either unless it' the correct thing to do. I'm just not sure what is appropriate. She has been told she has both of these diseases. I'm not sure what she remembers now however.

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What wonderful information I have received! No one lives with mom permanently, but I am living with her now for the summer (teacher). She does not wander at all right now, and may never do that. I am concerned about whether she received the right diagnosis however. A neurologist diagnosed her with ALZ last summer. Mom had been exhibiting signs for about 5 years before that. Her mom had ALZ and did wander eventually. The Dr mentioned all the different types of dementia but labeled mom ALZ with early signs of Parkinson's.(her dad had Park) The Parkinson's has since reared it's ugly head and is coming on strong. And we never thought that mom might NOT wander. We assumed that she would eventually do that. But we weren't planning on moving to MC until that time. I wish there was a book and that everyone followed the same path. A timeline of when things will happen. But I thank you all for very helpful information. I will take mom back to the neurologist and have her evaluated again to make sure diagnosis is correct.
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It is possible to have both Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, but a more common dementia with Parkkinson's symptoms is Lewy Body Dementia. Has this been discussed by her doctors? What kind of doctor is monitoring her progress? I mention this because the two kinds of dementia are considerably different and it can be helpful to have an accurate diagnosis.

The truth you need to tell, over and over again, in as many ways as you can work it, is that you will keep your mom safe and see that she is cared for.

I told my husband "I will never abandon you. I will always advocate for you and see that you have the best care available." I never suggested I would never place him in a care center.

Why do you think Mom will need a memory care unit? Why not just assisted living? Does she wander? (Wandering is common in ALZ. It is rare in LBD.) That is probably the main reason people need memory care. Does she have problem behaviors that will disturb other residents? Does she need services that are not available in regular AL?

My daughter works in a lovely ALF. They just expanded the memory care portion of her facility. They are suggesting to families that certain residents will benefit from a move to the newly available MC rooms. But more than half of their residents have dementia and most of them get along just fine in the regular units.

Unless there are obvious needs for a secure environment, I wonder if you might consider placing Mom in a regular room, until/unless she needs more supervision.

As to whether she can stay home -- she is probably not the most qualified person to decide that! I am glad to hear that you are having her assessed with that in mind. If (or when, really) she can no longer be at home, I think a confirmation of the diagnosis, and placing her in the least restrictive environment that can serve her is worth considering.
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Oh, what I mean is that if they are at a certain stage, I would not provide this sad information. IF it's the early stage, they may be able to process, make long range plans, get affairs in order, etc. That makes a difference.
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My cousin knew she had memory problems in the beginning, but didn't understand the full picture. (By primary.) The neurologist told her that she did have dementia, but he would need to run tests to find out why. She was upset that she would forget about her parents, but I comforted her and told her that would not happen. (White lie that is fine.)

She has forgotten that she has anything wrong with her. She has also forgotten about her parents. It's very sad, but there is no need to inform, because, she may be upset, she won't remember it anyway. To me it's more merciful, to spare them the scary information that they are going to forget anyway.
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Goobermom, are you living with your mother at her home? Or is your brother?
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Thank you so much for all your input. That is what I was thinking, but wanted to get reassurance. We had her all ready to go into an AL place in the fall and now she's asking if she can just stay home. I'll have her evaluated by a home care person and see what they say. But we know that won't last long. Brother says we should just take her, again, again not sure how much input we give her.
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I would have to agree with the above suggestions. Your mom has been told, leave it at that. It's unnecessary to remind her when it might upset her and it would serve no purpose. Like cwillie said, your mom just needs to know that you love her and that she'll be safe and cared for.
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If she has always known the diagnosis then she has always understood what it means, the fact she may have forgotten may in a way be merciful. She only needs to know that she will be safe and cared for, the details are unimportant.
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