My Mom has dementia and is losing the ability to express herself clearly at times. Any advice? - AgingCare.com

My Mom has dementia and is losing the ability to express herself clearly at times. Any advice?

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She loses her thoughts mid sentence. Other times she cannot find the words or substitutes words. Understanding what people are saying takes more time. I have seen some helpful ideas for communicating with dementia patients, but are there therapies for the person with dementia that can help with these issues? She has resisted going to a neurologist (sometimes even the primary doctor) as she doesn't want to be "found out" or labeled as having dementia. However, she has agreed to go to a neurologist to see if he can help her with her language. I feel like I'm tricking her to go along with this but think a more specialized diagnosis than the general dementia given by the primary doctor may help somehow. She is generally against medication and currently takes none at the age of 80. Anyone have advice for this situation?

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Not sure if this was mentioned yet, but even before I would consult any other doctors I would rule out a bad urinary tract infection. My mother complained of no symptoms except back pain, which no one connected to the urinary tract, but the reason I mention it is that the type of confusion that you describe is EXACTLY what was also plaguing my mother, who would have dementia episodes as well, but in these instances she was cognizant but couldn't express herself.
Please, please check this out with her regular doctor...could just need antibiotics. I can't believe how this link was overlooked by all her specialists, and it was only explained to me in the hospital as she was dying, at the time the infection was finally discovered.
We had a last coherent conversation just before she died...but we sure lost a lot of time.
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I found 4 ml of Host Defence's Lion's Mane Mushroom extract to be ecceptionally helpful for my mother's alertness and interactivity and language skills.
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Love her, listen, & smile a lot.
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For Lisa Russo, the car ride thing gets me too (since I was in my 40s). For one thing, my husband drives like a bat out of hell and has an average of 1 wreck a year. Aside from that I discovered that my thyroid was low - my doctor told me that was the reason for my panic attacks. I'm on Armor Thyroid now much better. The other thing that helped was sublingual B vitamines 6,9,12. I'm vegan vegetarian so I don't always get the the Bs from food. Also elderly often don't absorb the B vitamins. Low thyroid or Hashimoto's is often the underlying cause of dementia and is OFTEN not discovered. It is possible to get a complete remission if the thyroid is operating at full or near full capacity.
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My mom has this problem. For one, I have to listen differently. Also, if she can keep calm, she has fewer problems. If she gets frustrated trying to find the word, it makes things worse. So, I always encourage her to take her time and not rush.
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When this happens to Mom (95 with dementia), I listen carefully in case I can figure out what she wants to say, despite her using the wrong words or forgetting them entirely.

When this doesn't work, I hug her neck, kiss her forehead and tell her it's all right until she smiles. Then change the subject.

The important thing is to listen to her (and everyone else for that matter) with the intention to understand rather than mentally grade her grammar and vocabulary.

The frustration of searching for words makes a person feel badly enough without also being judged or criticized for it. Blessings for caring about her self esteem.
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My husband w dementia seems to go very slowly downhill. He forgets mainly. Lately confused who I am sometimes. Has been on Aricept since he started to rep.eat his stories 6 years ago. He likes to play cards and put puzzles together. I know no cure but maybe because we started Aricept early his is slow. Who knows...Read a lot as it helps understand what we caregivers can do to make a good life for both of us. I try never to use the word remember, distract works and don't respond as they forget real soon so no arguments or agree. He does sleep a lot but Dr. said whats the matter w that. Sleeps at night too w potty stops & gets a cookie & back to bed. His teeth will be first to go I suppose. When we go somewhere I usually get him ice cream and its like a treat for being good.
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Speech therapists can sometimes teach compensatory strategies to patients families or both. Helped a little with my mom who had aphasia and made a lot of those errors, but we also had to play a lot of guessing games while being yelled at for being so dumb because we did not understand. Not much fun, those games, though a triumph when we actually did figure some things out. Also not fun to try to explain to staff how Mom sometimes said the exact opposite of what she meant, especially when trying to get the heat or AC adjusted to her liking, someone a little more patient and less likely to blame everyone else might benefit a bit more...
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I'm really amazed at how many people suggested car rides.,my 83 yr old mom comes completely anxious if she gets in the car. She will do and say anything short of screaming. Even if it's something as simple as changing lanes. She clutches onto the dash board and braces herself and shouts things like, watch out. We try to be very aware of her anxiety, but I've tried taking her out of the house, suggest going to lunch, but she would rather sit in this big lonely house and be left alone.
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This could be vascular dementia with lack of oxygen to the brain. We use oxygen when her O2 levels drop. You can get an oxometer at the drug store or Walmart and it is easy to use. Vascular dementia is easy to correct with just a whif or two of oxygen it's amazing.
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