Follow
Share

Or should I just let nature take its course as there is no magic pill for what is coming. Which is kinder?

Are you guessing she has dementia or has she actually been screened for it by her PCP? There is no stress in being evaluated for dementia. It's family history and some cognitive paper tests. Dementia is not a disease. It refers to symptoms that are caused by an underlying condition. Dementia is caused by over 70 different reasons, some treatable and even reversible and some not (e.g., AD, DLB, VaD, and others). Would you want to know the cause of her dementia? Would you want to know the cause of a headache, whether it's stress, a brain bleed or a tumor? If you don't know the cause, you don't know what you're dealing with. Once you know the cause you can educate yourself about it and become a better caregiver. What if it's a medication interaction, vitamin deficiency, thyroid problem, would you just let it take its course? You say "there is no magic pill" but there is if it's treatable. Her PCP will try to eliminate all the treatable conditions first, and if there are none, he/she should tell you and refer you to a neuro dr. So follow up and find the cause of her dementia.
Helpful Answer (12)
Reply to sjplegacy
Report

My dad has Alzheimer’s or dementia. Years back he asked his reg. Doc whether he should go thru extensive testing. Surprisingly, his doc said some drugs can preserve cognition for a time, but behaviors tend to tank and get worse. When you stifle the behaviors cognition tends to decline more. He said he’d administer them, but to talk it over with our family. My dad hasn’t had ugly behaviors and we decided to let nature take its course. He receives 24/7 help in his own apartment and continues to decline cognitively, but he’s also 90 now. Not sure if we did this right; perhaps we should have gotten results then acted, but we made a choice and are living with it. I believe for our family we did it right.
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to DadsGurl
Report
rosadelima Sep 29, 2020
That 24/7 care must be crazy-expensive?!
(3)
Report
My mom at 85 yr old took the non invasive tests and was so happy to know she had not imagined what she had known. She had kept saying “something is wrong with my brain”. She could no longer do math {was an Accountant}, Forgot how to write a check, could not read and comprehend, kept losing stuff and began hoarding..She was diagnosed with Lewy Body dementia. She cried for a few days and then starting preparing for the changes. We had frank talks on how she wanted me to find a good memory care unit when the time was right. She said “you will know when I need to go...do it with no guilt..and do not listen to me when I object!”...and I did as she said..Covid pushed her over the edge with the isolation. I found a lovely memory care facility and she now says she likes it there, feels safe and content.
I feel sad for what has changed..
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to Sadinroanokeva
Report
graygrammie Sep 29, 2020
Gosh, your mom sounds like a gem. My husband is in denial and we cannot even talk about it. I'm impressed that she gave herself some time to mourn the loss of the future she had anticipated and then stepped up and began planning for the new future to come. What a priceless gift she gave you by being willing to have those frank talks with you. And you have every reason to be sad about all the changes. It is not easy, is it?
(3)
Report
Do what you want, BUT make certain to get all paperwork in shape before testing.  Wills, POA, etc.  Agreement to pay caregiver if needed.   Once she is diagnosed, she cannot sign contracts.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to FloridaDD
Report
disgustedtoo Sep 29, 2020
Depends on the level of dementia. We already had most documents in place, but had to make some changes. The EC atty took mom aside and queried her. She was still able to understand and he was okay with her signing the new paperwork. It did help that we already had a relationship with this atty, but he still did what he needed to so as to ensure no problems later!

It certainly doesn't hurt to get everything in place first, however a good EC atty might also determine that she isn't capable of understanding and signing even if done before any testing.
(2)
Report
Not all dementia is untreatable. I saw my dad get better with proper care and treatment for his medical conditions.

I don't think that it is wise to assume that anyone has dementia because they have symptoms, get her a full physical and determine if this is caused by something very treatable, then she can make the decision about how she wants to proceed with her health care.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to Isthisrealyreal
Report

"https://www.agingcare.com/questions/my-mum-just-wont-make-conversation-its-exhausting-trying-to-get-her-to-talk-i-constantly-have-rattle-461893.htm"

Just posted the link to ur other question so members are aware of it.

If Mom has not been formally diagnosed she should be. Like said, there are other health problems that mimic Dementia. There is no cure for Dementia. In the early stages medication may help with the cognitive ability but as the Dementia progresses the meds no longer are effective.

Mom needs a good physical and labs done to rule out anything physical causing the problem. A neurologist can tell you what type of Dementia she has. The type depends on what medications may help.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to JoAnn29
Report
disgustedtoo Sep 29, 2020
https://www.agingcare.com/questions/my-mum-just-wont-make-conversation-its-exhausting-trying-to-get-her-to-talk-461893.htm?orderby=oldest

Copy/paste this into the search bar.

I think the quotes throw this off - found it by going to OP's profile and selecting following link. The link posted above isn't really a link. I did the copy/paste and was able to get to the discussion.
(0)
Report
See 1 more reply
Testing will give her doctors important information that can help in dealing with her care. Also, other issues which are treatable can mimic dementia and tests will reveal those. Her neurologist will be helpful in guiding your family thru this.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to Nanja1
Report

You think she is showing early signs of dementia.

And you're qualified to diagnose this, are you?

I don't know what you know about the tests, or what you know about the management of the various kinds of dementia, or about planning care. But wouldn't it at least be worth finding out whether your first supposition is correct?
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Countrymouse
Report

A full checkup is probably the best place to start. There are several conditions that could mimic dementia, so we don't want to assume anything. Many of these conditions are treatable.

UTIs are common (I was skeptic until mom had her first one after moving to MC - oh boy!)
Electrolytes - before dementia my mother was not feeling well, seemed out of it, confused, etc. Turns out her potassium was low from drinking TOO much water! Once stabilized, she returned to her usual sometimes not to nice self!
Hearing loss - I mention this because of your other post. Perhaps she doesn't converse much because she can't hear you. Hearing loss can contribute to dementia, but it would be wise to ensure her hearing is okay and there's no wax buildup.
Simple dementia testing can be part of her checkup. My mother was already in MC for almost 2 years when we changed docs. They attempted the test - no go. My checkup was a few months later, and they administered the test to me as well. Always good to have this done even when no symptoms, as then they have a baseline.

Symptoms can vary from one type of dementia to another, but also from one person to another, even if the underlying cause is the same. You don't want to assume anything, even dementia. My clue was my mother repeating herself, often. There were some other subtle signs, but I knew nothing about dementia at that time. I started with research on these observations and all combined (plus some other subtle signs that were hindsight - specifically accusing others of taking items - it wasn't much and not often, but clearly after the fact these could have been minor signs of impending dementia.)

What we/I did was to find an agency to bring aides in - none of us live close enough to check on her every day or even every few days. Her hearing loss and forgetting to replace the hearing aid batteries would make phone calls useless! One neighbor was a godsend - I didn't overuse her help and later gave her a gift card for a local restaurant, but there were times I would call her to check on mom. I even had to contact the local PD - officer was smart enough to use the name on the phone (place for pic/program phone number) to call me and then request a call back. Mom had managed to turn the volume off on the phone!

Anyway, before scheduling us, they sent a nurse to evaluate mom. She administered a test, seemed to be more than that simple mini test the docs do in office. She did it in mom's place, with 2 of us present. Medicare WILL pay for this test. Nurse told me that Medicare also would have covered some in-home care IF mom had agreed to personal care, such as help with bathing. Mom was NOT agreeable to that! She was okay with most ADLs, but finances, cooking, losing items, etc she was not good with.

So, if possible get her in for a checkup. Ensure they test for UTI and administer the mini-test for dementia. IF she has a UTI, treat that and have them redo the mini-test after - she may pass it then. Have her hearing/ears checked. Have doctor rule out any other potential causes for mom's withdrawal. Hopefully you have a decent relationship with mom's doc. You don't want them to just willy-nilly prescribe medications unless they REALLY know what the cause is. If you're not comfortable with the Dx, request more testing or referral to a specialist.

IF she really has dementia, keeping her occupied, pull her out of her shell and keep her busy can help. It won't cure it, but being isolated can certainly hasten the decline.

From your profile you are not comfortable with care-giving. You need to get to the truth about her condition and then plan accordingly. Nothing says YOU have to provide the care, but you CAN oversee her care, find a place for her to be safe and cared for, etc.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to disgustedtoo
Report

you cannot go wrong either way.I found the tests to be fun and easy. Others who really did have some dementia were not at all disturbed by taking them. If the administrator of the tests is at all competent, the tests would not be at all stressful. Please consider having your mother take sublingual methyl B12 every morning and take it yourself. The so called antisepressant meds and also the so called alzheimers meds do no good at all. They may even be harmful.B12 sometimes works miracles.; and it is always totally harmless.Also, include a lot of magnesium rich foods in your and your mother's diet every day. A handful of delicious nuts every day plus frequent spinach can do wonders for the brain and nervous system.Also, avoid statins, diuretics, narcotics, or any other nutrition draining substances.Most brain and nervous system disorders are caused by malnutrition. Malnutrition especially in the elderly is often caused by nutrition draining so called meds.Finally, eat an iodine rich food at least 2 times a week. I eat 2 whole eggs every day and either wild caught cod or shrimp at least once a week.a well functioning thyroid is essential to a well working brain.The thyroid needs iodine.All of this good nutrition has lovely side effects. Your hair will never turn whit e nor even completely gray. You will have very few wrinklesI am just now beginning to turn gray at 86.Some people with thyroid problems have white hair in their 30's. Love to all
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to BobbieSena
Report

See All Answers
Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter