My mother's memory - severe depression or the start of Dementia?

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I just wanted to put this out there. Some of you have seen that my dad has a myriad of health problems. Some of you may have never come across any of my threads. However, I'm always on here posting about dad. Well... this time it's about mom. My mother has suffered most of her life with what I believe is Severe Depression/Anxiety. She will not tell my father or myself the actual name of her diagnosis. She is very protective over this. However, I do know that she's on Lamictal (Lamotrigine) along with a couple of other medications. Mom and dad currently are in a pretty bad financial situation and I have been working with a local financial agency to help them get things in order. The financial advisor said that they can get my mom into a program - I promise you I'm going somewhere with all this - if she can hold a part time job and we can balance out her living expenses budget (trim a few costs down). The problem now... is this. My mother's memory is very bad. It's worse on days when she is even more depressed and tired... or at least that's when we seem to notice it. The financials are what really have my mom worked up. So the situation is very much like a merry go ground. She's depressed that her finances are out of control as my dad's health is not good and she was laid off. Therefore she needs to find a job at least part time, but she can't even get out of bed some days or motivate herself enough to go out job hunting. She then she sits around all day getting even more depressed and upset. "What am I gonna do?! What am I gonna do?!" Is the type of mentality she has. Now... comes the kicker. We're at a point where my once very sharp and intelligent mom is so confused that she's been complaining that her car is very cold when she starts it. Yesterday my dad got in the car with her and when she started it he said, 'Boy it is cold in here.' So he lifted up all of her notes on the dashboard that are all taped up and looked underneath. (And yes... she's ALWAYS had those notes there since I was little.) Anyway, he looks underneath and says, "Hey... your A/C is on. Why is your air conditioning on?" And she says back to him, "A/C... A/C... That's not air conditioning... that's 'ALL CLEAR.' " Now....... you tell me that something's not wrong with this picture. He was stunned. But then again, we've dealt with this sort of thing before from her. However, she can drive to a location and get herself back home no problem. Yes, she does get a little frazzled when it's somewhere new, but that's pretty normal for her. The other thing that just happened today is that I was on the phone with her. I told her a few things and when she got off the phone my dad says she began just SOBBING. He said, "Hey... what's wrong? Please tell me what's wrong." And she looked up and him and said, "I can't remember what she just said to me." Okay so here's the thing...... My mom has always suffered from this depression since childhood. My dad has taken her to many doctors even before I was born as she at times was suicidal. From what he gathers... she is dealing with Severe Depression/Anxiety. Where she goes now to her psychiatrist well lets just say in our opinion... he's a pill pusher. She rarely ever goes in and SEES the man. We feel she needs to actually consult with him from time to time, but she won't let us into that area of her life. I've even went as far as to call them but I didn't get much especially with HIPAA Regs. And I get it, I do. But we've also suggested she change to another psychiatrist closer to home who can manage things better and she gets very angry and defensive. The other scary part is that even though she is only 69, Alzheimers also runs very heavily in their family. We're thinking it's not Alz... at least hoping its not. My very best friend since childhood actually manages a Personal Care Facility for Alz and like conditions. However she says since I am not POA for them - I'm trying to work on getting POA - and she won't agree to get tested for Alz... there's not much I can do. Also, I want to mention that a few years ago when my mom was laid off for the first time she went into a grave depression and was suicidal. She actually checked herself into a hospital and my dad also took her to a local psychiatric type hospital and they performed Electroconvulsive Therapy on her and it seemed to help at the time. However, months/years later things started to get worse again. Okay... enough rambling. Any and all suggestions and help are appreciated. I don't even really know what I'm looking for here. This is just such a mess!

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Don’t let people who are not close to the situation (and those who are) gaslight you with “she’s only 69.” 😥

Dementia can take hold and manifest in the 60s. My parental grandmother was full-tilt not recognizing anyone and could not remember how to make a sandwich or heat up soup in her late 60s. 

My mother lost noticeable executive function in her late 60s. Sadly, I missed the cues. I thought she was just being more neurotic, more intractable, more selfish with her free time, etc.

Your situation is quite sad. The pill-pusher doctor sounds like a bad fit. But Mom will do what Mom wants to do, eh?

Can Dad somehow earn the extra $ that the financial advisor wants Mom to earn?

Can you persuade your father to kick their POA designations into gear?

Sorry — your to-do list is probably already a mile long. Keep your friend w/ the Alz Care Facility as a trusted advisor. She and her colleagues (and families of residents) are a wealth of resources and referrals. Don’t hesitate to tap their knowledge.

Good luck to you. Rough road ahead. No easy answers. Keep coming back to AC Forum for support.
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Yikes. You really have your hands full. Try to convince your Mom that she needs a neuro-psych workup from a neurologist to see if there are matters that can be treated. Sometimes there are. "Mom, if you want my continued help, you have to do this for me."
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