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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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If I were you, I would resist taking her to a neurologist or any other kind of "ologist." They cannot possibly hault the process of what eventually takes place at the end. There is no cure, nor will there ever be a cure; we are being fed a pack of lies. I strongly urge you to read "The Myth of Alzheimer's;" the author is a neurologist, whose name I can't think of right now. You can Google for more information. The book is an eye opener. The fat cat pharmaceuticals are raking in the money while "we the people" keep contributing to this fiasco.
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Oh, and the other thing the Neuro suggested, was to have him exercise every day. Raise the heart rate for at least 10 min. He said it would help him more than anything else...who knew??
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This sounds very similar to what my Mom went through. She was eventually diagnosed with Frontal Temporal Lobe Disorder, known as FTD. The evaluation was ulimately made by a Geriatric Psychiatrist. It's an uncommon form of dementia and worth looking into. Check out the book "What if it's not Alzheimer's?" as if gives a lot of excellent info.
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I've heard that something as simple as reading aloud for 10 minutes a day can slow down the progression. I can't get my Mom to do it though. Her doctors don't seem to be able to do much in my Mom's case. The doctors blame it on the strong pain killers she takes. I try to be understanding but it sure can be frustrating.
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Mom will soon be 93, and is also unable to "find" words, and she says it embarrassing. She knows what she wants to say, but can't get it out. She was tested and the results were Dementia or Early stages of Alzheimers'. That was six months ago. She had stomach problems with Aricept, and is now on a daily patch of some other med, but it doesn't seem to be helping at all. Downhill progress is evident, but she doesn't know she has dementia. MRI of her brain showed "moderate to severe white matter disease". MD says that in her case, the blood flow to the small vessels in her head is not good, and they just disappear. Looking at that MRI picture, I'm amazed she does as well as she does. Still handles activities of daily living well. Haven't tried taking her for rides, but maybe I'll suggest that. Always took a Sunday drive when I was a kid, but that was in her hometown. She doesn't really know my town where she lives in an ALF, but just the chance to get out is something to look forward to. Great suggestion. Thanks.
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I agree with jeffery20832, rides are the best medicine, it stimulates them but at the same time relaxes them. I found getting them out is better than any drug given, and the only side effect it gives is being happy.
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Just had FIL in to the Neurologist last week as recommended by the primary who suspected dementia. It was easy as could be. The exam brief and very telling. He will be given the blood work and MRI this week. So far he says mild to moderate dementia and started him on Arricept. It is a tiny pill once a day and while it cannot reverse damage hopefully it will slow it down. FIL is almost 88 now and was and is a real handful to start with. I guess the point of all of this is that the exam part was really no big deal. The only part that FIL did not like was that the Neuro suggested that it was time to hang up the car keys!
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DeeDee55 - this is has been a common symptom of my 83 year old mother with Alzheimer's Disease. Of course your mother may have something totally different. I do have a geriatric psychiatrist who has been treating her, and that is good advice. But as the disease progresses, I find these symptoms increase. She will start to tell someone something, and loses the train of thought in mid-sentence. It is a cruel disease. At some point, with Alzheimer's Disease, there is really only so much you can do, and the best you can to do is to try keep them safe and comfortable, and do what you can to manage anxiety, and help them continue to find moments of joy in the simple aspects of life.

One thing I have found is that mother really likes going for a ride. It helps manage her anxiety. I would say that she is able to speak better in the car sometimes, because she is less anxious. I also use the car rides to help her sing along with songs, which is a good way for her to communicate. In my case, one of the "best medicines" for her dementia... is gasoline - she loves to ride in the car and see the countryside. Thank goodness I drive a hybrid!
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Please be very careful with the Drugs. Keeping her active with reading and computer brain games will help train her active brain cells to make connections, this is imperative.
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Wow. She could be having strokes, not dementia. Does she even know what her blood pressure is? Yes, I would go to a geriatric neurologist asap. This could be something reversible and treatable, but not if she's not willing to look. Does someone have poa? There comes a time when, after a lifetime of being taught by our elders how and when to do the right thing, we have to do the very thing they are currently saying they don't want to do.
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Goodness, yes see the neurologist who specializes in the aging brain. He can evaluate and prescribe meds that will help. You are not lying! You see the primary MD and get a referral to a Neuro Clinic ASAP. They will do an MRI and some bloodwork and you will have some answers!
I admire her tenacity for resisting medication, because most of the time MD's give way too much, but ask her if just a little helps, would she try it?
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