How do you know what to look for whether or not mom may be in the beginning stage of dementia? - AgingCare.com

How do you know what to look for whether or not mom may be in the beginning stage of dementia?

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This subject is totally off limits to my mom as she is paranoid about someone trying to take control of her life. She won't make me (her caregiver and daughter) or anyone else her poa. She has a living will but no poa. I have tried to explain to her that even though I believe she is of sound mind right now, what will I do when that is no longer the case and she hasn't prepared for that? I have 4 brothers who have no interest in helping with her care. She lives with me in my home and I get no help either physically or financially. My two eldest brothers are in her will as executors of her estate (She and dad did this many years ago). However, she really doesn't have much of an estate. One of my younger brothers had her to put his name on her bank accounts. I am beneficary on her very small ins policy to cover her funeral costs which will not be enough. The money in her bank account is susposed to be used to make up the difference but I know it won't be. I seriously want home to get things in other before it is too late but how do I get her to understand this without her thinking I am trying to take her. (She is paranoid because of a situation that happened between her sister and her daughter, I keep telling her that I am me not her neice)

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A memory test usually includes asking the person their SS#, birthday, what day it is, what month it is, what year, what city are they in, what state, fold a piece of paper exactly as told and place it in certain place, draw a clock with the time on it, draw the copies of geometric shapes like an octagon or triangle. There are usually 30 questions and a score of 27 is normal.
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sorry, not tell to her, talk to her. I am losing it.
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Thank you so much Jinx and Sharynmarie, mom did not get an attorney to do her living will. When Hospice came in and did one for dad, she had them do one for her too. So that was handled by Hospice. I just don't know about her, she can act like she is fine one day and then act like she can't remember a darn thing for a few days. Always at the doctor, she is on her best behavior. I have spoken with him and he is to tell to her on her next visit and just kinda check out her memory. She will probably know the answer to all his questions. I don't know what kind of question he will ask her. What is her birthday? She knows that kind of stuff. She has a hard time remembering what day it is but once she is told, she can remember it long enough for a doctor's visit. She does things like say the food I cooked last night was cooked last week, so no left-overs for her. Gives things away and then doesn't remember giving it away. If she gives something, I mark it with the date and time and situtation in which she gave it to me, else she will think I just took it from her. No one else is hardly ever around her as she is here and mostly in the bed all the time. I know I am jumping around, my mind is boggled from trying to spend some time talking with her just now. Makes my head hurt. I know that none of these things are probably gonna take place and one day sh*t will probably hit the fan when I can no longer do this or something happens to her. Partly because I see a therapist myself and have my own issues and am disabled and in a lot of pain, (no ins). It causes me to fall behind on my own responsiblities, much less hers. Thanks for being there, it helps just to have someone to talk to.
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Your mother has a living will, why not make an appointment with the attorney who did the living will and have her/him explain to your mother about having Springing DPOA. It is set up so that you cannot step in to take control of your mother's finances and medical until she has been diagnosed as mentally incapacitated. This diagnosis will usually be done by a neurologist. This is what my mother did. It was not easy the last 1.5 years she was still living at home by herself, but we made it through it with the help of this site and others. It is worth a try even if you leave the office and let your mother talk privately with her attorney.
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As far as what to look for that may eventually dementia (I am only going by what I experienced with both my parents), it started out with normal age related forgetfulness. They would forget the name of someone they had regular contact with, eventually they would remember the persons name. This is normal age related, or they forget a word when describing something to you such as refrigerator. This does not mean they will develop dementia. However, if they start to get confused on how to enter a building they go to regularly, get information all twisted up, then you need to start paying close attention as to whether bills are getting paid, are they losing cash, hiding things, rearranging things all the time. Are they losing weight because they are forgetting to eat, no longer want to go places for social activities like they did 2 months ago. If they have gone through something traumatic for them, like a simple surgery and since the surgery they are confused about where businesses are located. Keep a watch on things very closely , talk with other people who are in contact with her to see if they have noticed anything different. If it is dementia, you will know in time.

As far as my mom's funeral arrangements, she prepaid for a casket, made arrangements and set the money aside in a separate savings account that my sister's name is on as well as mom's. My sister is primary on the DPOA plus she is executor of mom's trust.
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I'm sorry you're stuck in this situation, trying to care for someone who won't give a penny's worth of cooperation.

I have a few ideas. Do you have a local senior center that has programs? They might have one on the plans a person needs to make as they get older. If she would agree to go to something like that, it might plant some ideas in her head. Do you have a friend who is a lawyer, insurance agent or other professional that she might listen to?

When I finally get around to it, I'm going to take my slightly demented husband to the elder care lawyer to set things up for when I need care. Oh, while we're here, maybe he might want to do the same. Seriously, you could be hit by a car and end up unable to care for yourself, so "model" good behavior for her by letting her know about the plans you're making for yourself, as any responsible adult would.

By the way, most of us came to this website knowing nothing or next to nothing about these issues. I had never even thought about a POA, much less knowing how long it lasted. People don't think you're stupid. They just want to mention all the things you might need to learn.

About dementia: my husband was diagnosed with Alz. A common sign of that is forgetting over and over again what day it is. Repeating the same question several times the same day is another one. Does Mom do anything that makes you wonder?
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No, there is no one on her documents stating anyone has a medical poa. I guess she thinks I will pick up the bill if there isn't enough. She pays her own bills with my assistance. No, my brother is on her bank accounts as a beneficiary. I am just wanting some guidance, that's all, because I have no one else.
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The living will (advance health care directive) forms I've seen have a place to indicate who should make medical decisions if the person cannot. Isn't that included in your mother's document?

If you can't convince Mom to set aside more money for her funeral, then I guess you'll have to do a budget version. Or your brothers will. How important is this her?

Who is paying her bills now? The brother on her bank account? Is she content to have him on her account?

Here are a couple of helpful articles about noticing signs of dementia:

https://www.agingcare.com/articles/alzheimers-disease-dementia-warning-signs-144253.htm

https://www.agingcare.com/articles/Alzheimers-Disease-signs-symptoms-treatments-95734.htm

Not all forms of dementia start or progress in the same way, but these articles provide a good general view of what to look for.
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I am not saying that I think she has dementia, I just want to know what to watch for? This is for various reasons including the fact that I want to make sure she has her affairs in order before it's too late. Yes, she does have reoccuring bills to pay and needs help with them. Also, she has made no one her medical poa, she has no poa of any kind. Only a document stating that she does not want resessatation (sp?), no life support system and such. That's it. I know poa ends at death, geez. Have I made myself sound that stupid? Mom has most of her funeral already paid. There is still the cost of casket, obits, the service and all the add ons, I just went through this with daddy and I know she doesn't have enough to cover these costs unless we go very cheap on the casket. I would want hers to be just as nice as daddy's was. I really don't know what I want, I am just scared of shit hitting the fan with my brothers at some point in time. Mom and dad both lived with me and I took care of daddy. They didn't help at all. The week he was passing, they all set up camp in my house. When daddy passed, they took charge of funeral arrangements, and then talked mom into coming back to her house long just long enough to get all of daddy's things and to get most of her money and pain pills. She came back to me two months later, broke and sick. I guess I am just worrying about things I shouldn't be. But mom is narcistic and cries wolf a lot. I am always taking her to the dr for no reason, I am just concerned that she may need some medical attention that the drs are missing and I don't know about because of the 'cry wolf' thing. Daddy never had dementia and I don't know how to reconize that either. I am full of self doubt and fear.
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Oh, about the question in your title: What makes you think Mom may have dementia?
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