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My dad has had all the neurological test to rule out anything else but his memory continues to decline, short term that is. He shows all the classic symptoms of alzheimers/dementia and it is getting worse each week. What are the advantages of a diagnosis and what are the disadvantages.

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Great article on statins at Mayo Clinic website.
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Usually, a person will start with the family doctor, who will, hopefully be able to give the standardize 'test' which is usually the Montreal Cognitive Exam (look it up on Google-the exam is actually there and Wiki has a pretty good explanation of what it is and how the assessment is done)

Good luck.

As for statins, I've been told I should start (borderline) but once again, my psychiatrist (whom I have great faith in) tells me that the cholesterol standards for starting standards are set artificially low. Don't know if this is true, but given he told me that, I kind of believe him :) I'm one of the ones who manufactures it (thank you, dad!) ...

A person has to be very diligent about exercise, walking, eating well, etc., but I suppose it could be done (i.e., getting those numbers down). I'm going to have to really do some research on it.

I do not I was told that my mother doesn't really need them anymore. But that's because of her age and condition.
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The sude effects of Statins are different for each person. Some people feel tired some lose feeling in their feet which does not recover. People loose their teeth because the statins damage the gums. By taking 2 grams of Vitamin C daily also Citrate Magnesium Vitamin B12 1000ug keep you healthy. Read Doctors research
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Nanny, my husband's doctor did some general tests in the office. Made him draw a clock, asked what county did he live in, etc. Not good results so she sent him for brain scan.
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Where is the first place to start to get a diagonoise.? Family dr or specilist?
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Dear Rothdiane 52. I read what you said about your brother taking care of your father for the moment. My brother was not working and lived with my mother all his life. My mother was getting a little dementia, but was still able to even cook and clean. at 90, but 1year and a half ago she had a stroke and ever since, her dementia has gotten much worse by the day. She needs diapers, she has to be bathed, fed, and never wants to sleep. She sleeps maybe 3 hours at night and then falls asleep all day, her speech is completely distorted and by that I mean what she says make no sense at all, and she doesn't understand what we tell her, not even a simple direction, like sit down. The only reason we don't put her in a home is that she still recognizes us. My brother started taking of her 3 days a week at the beginning and then my other brother and myself shared the other 4 days, but after about six months my brother who lived with her said he just couldn't do it anymore, so he stayed in her house, while my other brother and I are the only ones taking care of her. The reason I told you this story is that I'm pretty sure once things get worst, your brother will say it's over and he just can't and then I don't know what you will do. My brothers and I have always been very close, but this situation is so unfair that the three of us are always arguing and we just can't stand each other anymore. My mother's dementia has broken up our family. Just make sure your brother knows what he is up against before it gets worst.
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Thank God for this site and all the comfort I get from it! Taking care of my 93 years old very unhappy Mum has been difficult to say the least. I retired from my job of 29 years in June to care for her full time, and I'm finding that I have less patience as the days go on. I miss my job and the people I work with, which I'll learn to deal with, but Mum seems to be changing very rapidly. Within the last couple of weeks she seems much more confused. Asking me where "my Mother is" and asking about my sister which I've never had. I've been researching dementia so that when we go to her Dr. in a couple of weeks, I'll know what to expect. She was up all night last night and was very confused about time today.
I think that as much as I don't want to admit it, there will be a time when I can't do this anymore because the quality of her life is not as good as it could be if she was in a facility. I've suffered from clinical depression for many years so I don't have a lot to give her. I really do try my best, but I don't think my best is good enough. I knew retiring from a job I loved would be emotional suicide because it was my happy place. I fight feelings of resentment because of what I have given
up, and then I feel the guilt. She's never been a happy person and I've always felt responsible for her happiness but it's becoming too much for me to handle. My sweet husband has been a rock for me but I honestly don't know how he puts up with all of this! I know there are no easy solutions, but I'm so very thankful for the Aging Care site, it's been a source of comfort for me. It's nice knowing I'm not alone in all of this and I do benefit from all the comments on the site. Thanks all of you, and God Bless. xo
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Lilly...I would love to know what you have witnessed with statins. I am so against them, yet started taking them since my cholesterol went sky high. I often wonder if it caused my Moms dementia.
Pam...My Mom qualifies for Medicaid but they only give 2 hours a day if we are lucky, and it wouldnt be mornings when I mostly need help. Do you know anything different?
As far as dementia/alzheimers. I dont see a diference. Moms doctor said she has vascular dementia, and others, so multi dementias. Humm? I said once I was told she had alzheimers. He said dementia is a sign of alzheimers, so who knows.
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Depending on age, memory loss could be a sign of high blood sugar and/or high blood pressure or some other condition. But then, I'm thinking the doctor's must have done that?

My mom has vascular dementia. When her diabetic numbers are up or her blood pressure is up is when the small strokes occur. So, we try to keep those numbers down.
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Getting elders officially diagnoses can be very important:
1. This diagnosis Fixes their wills and estate papers in Time, legally, to prevent anyone leading them by the hand after they've started being easily led, and,
2. Better to convince officials your elder needs certain services.

Until an elder has a formal diagnosis, ANYONE can divert family assets by simply bringing them to a new lawyer, and executing new documents. I've seen some bring lawyers to the bedside to make new documents....the elder is able to carry some conversations, but limited answers--just enough, that lay-people might assume the person is coherent....when they're NOT.
It's done ALL.THE.TIME.

Driving: Some elders will keep talking big about wanting to keep driving, but cannot manage it. Some can almost manage it, but shouldn't.
Take away the keys!
Same with guns--lock 'em up!

For Mom, it got expensive....the final straw that convinced her she cannot drive, was, she bought a 4-wheeler with a dump-bed--because it was "cute" and "little--just my size"....she thot she could use it to scoot about the property in.
It was delivered, and, she managed to drive it about the length of 3 football fields, negotiated 2 driveways, and the gravel road between them on a small grade....and as soon as she parked it, she couldn't get out of it fast enough--"it felt too tippy", "It was only going 10 mph, but it felt lots faster!"
That was the end of that--it was returned---although there was a fee for restocking it.
More likely, she talked herself into it at the behest of my sibling, who coveted a 4-wheeler; it would have been kept at his place, and of course, he'd use it....
He was miffed when it was returned.
There were a few times she complained about my driving. I actually got out and offered her the driver's seat....she declined.
With one G'ma, Uncle called the DMV to tell them ahead of time, to make sure G'ma flunked her driving test; he'd convinced her that because she was over 72, she had to re-take the whole driving test.
Of course, she flunked it, all by herself.
And of course, they refused to give her a new license....that way, Uncle was not "the bad guy" for taking the license--it was those 'hooligans' at the DMV!
With Uncle, though, it was harder. He was on to all the tricks, and despite his drinking and driving for decades, he managed to keep his license, somehow--he had friends in high places.
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Everyone has given you some great advice here. I do have to say that I do not believe that your father should be driving. I think you need to have a talk with his doctor and ask the doctor to tell him and then you need to take his keys and perhaps sell his car. It is too dangerous to allow him to drive especially when you say his memory is minute by minute.

My father was never told, he just began to ask me to drive more and more. Mom wanted to drive up to the day she died but we had sold her car. This is potentially a very dangerous situation for your Dad and the other individuals driving around him.
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Whatever doctor ordered the neurological tests must have given a diagnosis. What was it? Request a copy of the radiologist's report. Short-term memory loss is a gradual event and usually doesn't fail farther each week. Have his doctor check for a low thyroid, B-12 deficiency and Vitamin D deficiency which all can mimic dementia.
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Very, very, very IMPORTANT!
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My MIL lived with us for her last year with lung cancer, and SSI (I think it was, has been some years now) did pay for an in-home helper who did Grandma's meals, bathing, and light housekeeping. She was a lifesaver for us! Fortunately, Grandma's mind was still clear, but her daughters were too stressed watching her physical decline to be much help.
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The diagnosis will be more apparent with time. The thing to do now is just what you are doing, get the paperwork in order. Medical surrogate appointment, DPOA, will, trust, whatever. Find out what it takes to declare mental incapacity in your state and prepare to act on that when the time comes. In my case it was two physicians signing a letter of medical incapacity. You may want to consider tape recording some of your conversations with Dad and the family to document that issues were discussed and decisions reached when he does not remember the events. Look at places where your Dad could live when brother is exhausted and no longer able to look after Dad. Good luck. Long hard road ahead.
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Having a diagnosis early gives you time to arrange your estate plan and to arrange your finances to provide you with the best quality of care and quality of life given your individual financial circumstances. Once a person becomes incapacited, he or she cannot sign a will, power of attorney, health care proxy, living will, etc. The health care proxy and power of attorney in particular are extremely important for your care as they are the documents in effect while you are living. In addition, if you wish to transfer assets to remove them from your Medicaid estate you need to do so 5 years or more from the time you think you might need to apply for benefits. While you power of attorney agent can make these transfers, I find it best for the principal (you) to do so directly -- you can choose to execute a trust to protect the assets or give the assets to a trusted individual whom you know has your best interest at heart. Aside from the Medicaid issue, it is best to do this planning when you have a relatively high level of competency to avoid potential problems with family members who might feel left out of the decision-making or suspicious of the people to whom you have entrusted your estate.
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Medicare may pay for home health aide ONLY if youre already receiving PT/OT by a medical professional, and ONLY on intermittent basis, and ONLY if progress goals are being made. They might teach you how to get into the tub after a stroke, but they're not going to come in 3x a wk to give you a bath. Medicare does NOT pay for non-medical care like cleaning, cooking, shopping, and in my exp the medical professionals are very keen to refuse to do anything but their prescribed task.
Medicaid, OTOH in some cases will cover homemaker duties by non-medical caregivers.
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As everyone stated, I think it is very important! Right now I am trying to get my Mom to a neurologist for a definitive diagnosis. Her primary care/gerontologist has been treating her. It is important for me, mainly, for me to know what to expect and how to care for her. Again, make sure to address the will, DPOA, etc. My father died in January with his will unsigned. Luckily, we had gotten a DPOA for my Mom when she was in rehab, he put me in as successor. Thank god! Dad sold their house & died 2 days later, had to conduct the sale and move my Mom within 3 weeks (while grieving). Dad's estate went to probate and they held up her accounts for 3 months. Hard lesson learned :(
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My husbands doctor recommended home health care....Medicare paid for it. Home health social worker should give you information on other agencies that could help....you have to pay for many of them.
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All great advice, but just to repeat...check the medications. Blood pressure meds, statins, really anything can and does cause dementia, especially as the patient ages. It is good to continue what you are doing, but please, please, make an assesment of the medications he is taking. All too often medical professionals just diagnose "age related dementia" without removing the "life saving medications" to see if tthe meds are causing the problem. There is such a thing as quality of life.
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I think a diagnosis is helpful if there are no other major health issues. My Mom had been exhibiting signs of dementia for several years when she had a stroke. She was left paralyzed on one side. After that we stopped the neurological testing because it didn't matter compared to her physical issues. It is a long, sad road. But I also had peaceful times with my mother even though she was no longer the mother I knew. I was glad for those opportunities.
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The diagnosis is important but has limits. If you want to declare someone incompetent for guardianship I found out there is also legal incompetence which requires another level of proof decided by people without medical degrees. However, that is not always necessary if there are no disputes about care. Make sure legal affairs are in order- medical and financial POA, Do not resuscitate, you will need them!
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http://tinyurl.com/qepcjqx

Waivers are vehicles states can use to test new or existing ways to deliver and pay for health care services in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). There are three primary types of waivers and demonstration projects.
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Make sure its not the drug that your Dad is taking thats causing the problems. We have had patient admitted to our unit in a cloud and after we take them off the drug for a full assessment we find the real person intead of a shadow. Statins seem to be one of the worst drugs. Driving is not safe with any kind of memory loss
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You really need to know correct dementia diagnosisAlzheimer's disease and dementia, there is a distinct difference, other dementias: Vascular dementia, Parkinson'sdisease, dementia with Lewy Bodies and Frontotemporaldementia.

Some causes of dementia are treatable and evenreversible. source: Mayo Clinic http://tinyurl.com/qdgj9g Carers need to know correct diagnosis.
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My grandmother has vascular dementia. There are days when she can pass the memory test and days when she can't. The CT and MRI are what helped us. See if your Sasha's gotten long term care insurance. My grandma did and it has helped us tremendously with being able to continue working. I would also say that he needs to stop driving before he gets to a point when he can't. It happens fast and they aren't alWays home when it happens. My grandma was at a store when she forgot which pedal was what and how to turn the car on. Thankfully she asked a passerby and they suggested she call home and get someone to help instead of just telling her and letting her go. Make sure you give your brother a chance to rest. My grandma argues with us about her care because she thinks she is fine now. Every day is a new day to her after all.
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Medicare does not pay for home care, but a Medicaid waiver will, if it is ordered by a doctor. That care is limited to dressing, bathing, feeding.
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Thank you for your suggestions. I have 2 siblings. My brother lives with him but has difficulty handling the situation. My sister and I live nearby. We are handling his bookkeeping as he just stopped paying everything. That woke me up to contacting an attorney to draw up DPOA and healthcare surrogate, for which we have an appt. next week. Then I will contact his neurologist and go over it all with him. I've read up on the disease and I realize what's to come. Right now, he is still able to drive and is cautious but doesn't remember how to go most places anymore. I know we have a tough road ahead of us. I feel for my brother because my father depends on him so much. He dresses and showers himself and is able to take care of himself including taking his meds properly. But my brother has a watchful eye on it all. Do you think it would be hard getting home health care through medicare if they know my brother lives there? I know he's had every possible test last year and the doctor said that at that time he had nothing other than memory loss related to age. He explained that could change but ruled out any other physical thing to explain his decline in memory function. His long term memory is still very good, but short term, not more than a minute at a time.
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Brenda gave perfect advice. I would add that you educate yourself on options, READ posts and info on this forum before you make any decisions about dads care or caring for him yourself...there are many considerations including the long term impact on you and your family and the accommodations you will make along the way.
There are many good books and also you tube videos "Teepa Snow" who can help prepare you for cognitve decline. Continue to document your observations on dad, dates, time of day, environment or stresses at the time and provide to physician and/or geriatric psychiatrist experienced with elders. They can do additional tests to help diagnose.
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I can't think of one disadvantage of a diagnosis. There are many advantages of knowing what you are dealing with..especially with your dad, "getting worse each week". There are some drug treatments and therapies that can help with some of the symptoms. It can give you time to put things in order emotionally and financially. Many of us have had parents living with us, we quit our jobs, there have been family disputes regarding care, etc. There are many personal stories on here of adult children watching the decline of our parents due to Alzheimer's and dementia. In my case, it is my mother...some days she doesn't know who I am. We moved her in with us after my father died. Her physician filled out her paperwork when applying for VA Aide and Attendance. Having a diagnosis can help with the approval of different benefits, if needed. I quit my job, but I'm also in school, so I felt that the timing was right. You will have to ask yourself many questions. Do you have siblings? Is your mother still alive? Will he live with you? Are you able to put your life on hold while providing his care? Does he have the money to hire someone to come to his home? Will you have to resort to putting him somewhere? I ended up putting my mother in assisted living after 19 months. I couldn't handle the 24/7 care anymore and I'm an only child. It is very hard to watch. Make sure his finances are in order, whether he has money or not. Make sure he has a Power of Attorney, and a will. Even if there is no money, a will can make paperwork much easier in the end. A lot of people don't like to discuss it, but death is the reality of the disease. Preplan his funeral. Having the diagnosis will help you to help him. If you are lucky, your parents were planners. Mine were not. The cleaning of their home was a paperwork nightmare. Good Luck with everything. You will find that you are on a hard road. My mother, who was up walking 6 months ago, is now in a wheel chair all the time, and in diapers. The diagnosis will help you emotionally because you will be able to take care of things little by little. There won't be that initial shock that everything has to be tended to this minute. When my dad died, his final wishes weren't known by anyone. Take time to talk to your dad while you still can, you may be surprised what he tells you that could help you with him. Keep us posted as to how he is doing!!
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