We are all trying to deal with my Mom's and her recent diagnosis of dementia. It is hard. She is very lucid some days and seems like her old self. It makes me second question her dementia sometimes. Also she scares me because she threatens to take her life if she goes to a nursing home. She is not suicidal but how can we be sure she will be okay now that she isn't herself? How do we go about telling her she can not live alone and or be alone? I know this may be a long time back when or if anyone reading this had to tell their Mom's or Dad's this. Can anyone offer advice on how you may have gone about it?

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I take it from your post that your mother has been involved in her diagnosis and has some understanding of dementia. Is that correct?

You will find leaflets and books from the Alzheimer Society useful for explaining the disease. They publish one called 'Living Well With Dementia' - I must admit the title made my tut and roll my eyes, but all cynicism aside it is an upbeat, 'never say die' take on the subject.

As for discussing her future: well, there's no need to rub her nose in it. Be truthful, certainly, but you don't have to make her face her doom and sign up for it. What is the plan for her care?

If she will be staying in her home for the time being, you will have many opportunities to talk around the options as they develop around her increasing needs. Depending on whether the 24/7 supervision needs to start now, and on how many of 'you' family members there are, perhaps you could begin with a kind of relay or rota with one of you moving in for a week or two "just to visit" while the longer-term plan gets sorted out.

If a move to a facility is imminent, then you could suggest she gives it a fair trial with an initial stay of four weeks. She probably has a rather jaundiced view of what 'these places' are like. The reality may have many positives that she would never have considered or expected; and there is also the major advantage of getting to know the people who will be caring for her while she is still walking, talking and functioning like a 3-D human being.

What kind of things are important to your mother? What is she like as a person?
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My mom was just admitted to a memory care unit this month. We told her that her doctor wanted her to have some extra help and care until she was feeling better. She accepted this easily and seems at peace with it. We are keeping our fingers crossed that her acceptance continues.
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Jules, many folks realize they are struggling with their memory and mention it. At least both of my memory care folks did. At that mention, is a perfect time to address some things. For example, while I had POA and healthcare documents already, I did suggest my Mom putting me on her checking account in case I needed to write out checks for her. She thought that was fabulous and we went to the bank. (Who, by the way, asked her if she wanted me on her CDs as well and she did!) All of that made bill paying easier by a landslide. She asked me where she would go if she needed more care. None of the kids houses worked with bedrooms on the 2nd floor so I said I thought something closer to the 2 local kids would be best. AND I assured her we would always take good care of her. When she needed companions, I brought in 'friends' who were applying for jobs with seniors but needed letters of reference and we could help with that. And that worked too. After a hospital stay and rehab, we brought her to memory care and said the doctor wanted her to get more practice walking. We were blessed and she never questioned us.
All of this therapeutic story telling allows them to have dignity IMHO. And I would urge you to consider memory care assisted living when the time comes if Mom has funds for this. You can have help in the home as well to extend the time at home. The longer they can stay safely at home with help or in assisted living the environment is typically better --- or at least it is in my geographic area. Good luck
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First off, if mom's mental state is waxing and waning, make sure she's been checked for both a UTI and for normal pressure hydrocephalus. And if she's threatening suicide, she needs to be seen by a geriatric psychiatrist, asap.

I agree that the doctor should be the one to deliver this news. Certainly with family present for support and maybe with the idea that she needs to be there "for now, to get stronger".

When we first had to move mom to independent living, we did it under the guise of "just for the fall and winter, until the storms are over". By the time Spring came, mom was quite conent to stay where she was.
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Being lucid some days and not being lucid other days is typical of dementia until later on. Has her doctor not told her that she can't live alone? Really, the doctor should have told her first. The problem with dementia is that the mind looses its ability to be reasoned with. Thus, I don't have any suggestions on how to reason with her.
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