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My 84 yr old mother, who is hanging on by her toes to her independent living apt and her beloved cat (such a good boy!) is becoming very forgetful and blames it on her pain meds, which she does need for a deteriorating spine - very painful at times, and debilitating when her arms and shoulders don't work and are very weak, also bad leg cramps. I want her to be able to stay in the apt, but how do we know whether it really IS the drugs, or dementia coming on? She is very private, covers well, and tells me nothing she isn't forced to. She and her social worker manage most everything, along with several paid helpers, which helps me, as I have my own health issues and cannot take on much of her care. Do I just let her weekly RN evaluate her and stop worrying? Her doctor just retired and she hasn't even seen the new one yet; he won't have any idea.....

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Dear Mally,

I hear your concern and its good that you are trying to advocate for your mother. I would have a serious talk with her social worker and begin there. If you feel they are not doing a good job on your behalf, I would seek out a second or third opinion.
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She may need to move on to an Assisted Living.
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Pain medications can cause forgetfulness.

It's good that your mom has a social worker. That's an objective 3rd party that you can count on to tell you the truth. Have you asked the social worker's opinion? Same goes for the in-home help. Wouldn't they tell you if they thought your mom had onset dementia? And a weekly nurse! Lots of professional folk in this situation who are unbiased.

Yes, I would let the weekly RN evaluate her and stop worrying.
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