I'm not a medical professional but it's clear that my mother's headed down that path. She gets very angry if anyone, in any way, suggests she might be elderly. The couple times I have suggested maybe she might not be acting rationally or that it would be good to plan for aging she gets very, very agitated and is in complete denial, "I am not old." "I am not crazy!" "I am not losing my mind!" "I do not forget things!" She lives with my dad who is more friendly but has always been utterly passive and is now disabled with memory issues of his own.
Is there any point to getting her to a psychiatrist or neurologist for a dementia diagnosis? She will be very, very angry at both the doctor and me. Already there is a total lack of trust when it comes to family, though she is all too happy to trust friendly strangers and keeps falling for scams, so it's not like I'd be losing that.
Is she getting any medical care now? Her regular doctor should be noticing the symptoms and giving advice on her mental state.
Does she have other physical problems that she is in denial about?
She may be hiding those as well in an effort to not appear to be “old. “
Everyone should be seeing a doctor for checkups.
That info could be used to explain a person's behavior and enable the doctor to know what medication might help. Some conditions are not amenable to medications for dementia and you wouldn't want to have those conditions and take the wrong med.
Also, with dementia, the patient may qualify for certain programs, facilities or other services, that a person without dementia wouldn't.
The information would help with the courts if the patient is living alone and unsafely. It could help convince the court to appoint them a guardian.
And, it's good to know the cause for sure, because the patient may have a vitamin deficiency, UTI, brain tumor or pressure, or some other condition that could be treated. That's why I took my LO to her primary and then to a neurologist. I wanted to rule out things like brain tumors.
I would let the fact that your LO might get upset dissuade you. Sometimes, they have to be taken care of, even if they are not on board with it. Especially, if she is the caretaker of her husband, who has more advanced dementia. I'd see to it that he is safe as well.
Mom had the assessment...was furious with the results for about a week or so, and then forgot about the whole thing. I had a detailed report with official diagnosis that helped with placement to a memory care assisted living community as well as future medical appointments. In the past 2 months shd has had falls, pneumonia, and a broken shoulder. She is too risky for assisted living and is now in a well staffed, new skilled nursing community where the food is wonderful and she will receive physical, speech, and occupational therapies.
Years of arguments questioning mom's behavior prompted me to get her assessed (it's how they hide the symptoms, I've read). She hid it so well, I thought it was dementia, until it suddenly accelerated. Now that I know, I take her comments and outbursts less personally and my side of conversations take an easier path to avoid some of the conflict. It's hard "knowing", but she is actually a little calmer now; so am I. She's late stage now, . . . just a waiting game at this point.
It may also be a step towards getting the legal authority you may need to protect and support both of your parents in future. Go for it. You've nothing to lose.
A competent screening exam and some more-than-routine bloodwork would go a long way toward finding out if this is treatable or permanent.
The goal of the test is not to “diagnose a problem” but to provide treatments to help the symptoms that are problematic.
Mom needs a full check up. Its probably a Dementia but could be other things too. A UTI, she could be diabetic, etc.
See All Answers