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I'm so sorry for your situation. My very youthful cousin of 68 was just diagnosed with ALZ. It was tricky because she was on thyroid meds and suddenly lost a lot of weight, which caused her dosage to then be off which meant she was overdosing. It caused her confusion and memory problems to be amplified. An in-law who she trusted and knew well (and is an RN) got her to go to the doctor on the pretense of it being for the thyroid issue and she accompanied her to several medical appointments, neurologist, endocrinologist, etc. Once her physical issues were sorted out and some of the memory problems and confusion remained, she was diagnosed with ALZ.

Stubbornness, irrationality, shadowing and paranoia can be dementia behaviors. Since she can no longer reason like she used to, you will need to use "therapeutic fibs" to get her to the doctor. Medicare does allow for an annual physical and you can show her the document or website where it says this (or whatever you think she'll buy). You can tell her it's mandatory and once at the doctor's office you discretely pass them a pre-written note telling them your concerns and then ask for a cognitive/memory test and also do one for a UTI.

She hopefully has an assigned DPoA. If she doesn't (and you don't either) this should be done before she gets a formal diagnosis. It's hard, as many on this forum can attest. Treat her like you'd want to be treated if it were you with the problem. May you gain wisdom and peace in your heart on this journey.
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Reply to Geaton777
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Jerry:
My bride of 30 years became suddenly ill on a Sept. night, 2020. It was the most scary thing I had experienced in our marriage. There was no fever, no signs of sickness, just SUDDEN confusion. It turned out to be that her TSH levels were off the charts. But that started us on many difficult, and sometimes, unwanted doctor visits. There were times I did have to trick my wife into going to the doctor. She would be so very angry with me over it, and I too hated it. She is the love of my life and I care for her very, very much. But I did what I had to do to get some answers. And everything I did do, I never did with anger!
After 6 months of doctor visits, two hospitalizations (again unwanted by her) 5 doctors (yes 5) all agreed that it was Alzheirmer's dementia, that was magnified by the high TSH levels. She recovered from an abnormal TSH level, but her confusion and forgetfulness have never returned to normal. I cannot tell you how sad this makes me.
Please disregard Riley's comments. You cannot threaten a person with dementia. Quite frankly, one who has a cognition problem is not able to reason. Treat your bride with tenderness and understanding. Treat her with dignity! Would you not want the same?
Luke 6:38 says, "Give and it shall be given unto you." Whatever you dish out the same will be dished to you. Oh, how I long for forgiveness for all the things I've done wrong in this very tough journey. May my wife know that I love her beyond imagination and may she feel secure in the love and treatment I show her.
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Daughterof1930 Oct 18, 2021
Your wife is blessed to have your love and care
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Jerry35: Imho, perhaps you could schedule a doctor visit at Anne Arundel Medical Center even though she is resistant, e.g. perhaps you can come up with a ruse akin to YOU have to be seen by the specialist/physician. Yes, I reside in the state of Maryland and I did see in your profile that you reside in the state capital.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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I don’t think abandoning a person because they “might”, have dementia is right.
Have her get a regular physical and let her primary decide.
He would be talking to her directly, with you in the room.
He would make any referrals or testing.
Then it’s not you saying it.
Married people are suppose to support each other, not run at the first sign of decline.
Even if she’s difficult it’s normal, and adjusting is part of the “in sickness and in health,” part of the marriage.
Hiring outside help is fine, so husband isn’t overburdened.
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Reply to KristineB
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Most replies to your post assume, like you do, that she has dementia. How do you know she has dementia? She won't see a neurologist so who said she has dementia? Did her PCP refer her to a neurologist and she won't go? Your wife may be frightened at the possibility of having Alzheimer's, but simply having memory issues does not mean she has dementia or any of its related diseases. Besides memory issues, what other dementia related behavior does she display? If you're not sure what those behaviors are, you might want to call your Area Agency on Aging. They are an excellent resource for elderly care and can send a social worker to the house to assess your wife's needs. Your wife won't have to go anywhere. There are many types of dementia as DrBenshir mentions, so don't assume anything until you and your wife get a more definitive diagnosis.
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Reply to sjplegacy
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You have some good advice and some scary advice. Get your "ducks in order" to be able to take care of her and yourself, and for someone else to be able to if you can't. Then tell her that most memory problems are caused by a medical problem and can often be corrected. You know she is frustrated and scared, and you love her and will help her. Then get a diagnosis. There are many types of dementia and many can be mitigated with the correct medical care, not just addressing memory but the underlying medical disorder. You need to know the best way to help her, and she needs to do this for you because you love each other. Then start with her PCP and a full physical with blood work. Take it step by step from there. Tell her the two of you will work together to figure out what is going on. Don't use the term dementia.
Don't assume Alzheimers, there are many types and causes. Also, you can try to get her to see someone who specializes in helping people with memory issues like a neuropsychologist. Tell her you want her to feel secure and good about herself. If she still refuses to see anyone who can diagnose or help her, see a geriatric social worker (by yourself) who can tell you what needs to be done and what can be done to keep her safe and to keep you sane.
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Reply to DrBenshir
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These people will NEVER ADMIT THEY HAVE A PROBLEM - It will get worse and worse and if you keep them around you, God have mercy on you. Trick her, via a lunch or whatever means, or take someone with you when you take her out and by whatever means get her seen by a specialist. Also talk with an eldercare attorney to see what you can do to "take over" as a POA, etc. This happens all the time and there is help available. Also contact the local Social Services in the Office on Aging. If nothing works, and you tried everything, I would lay the law down and set rules and boundaries and tell her she either cooperates or you walk away and leave her. Sometimes that works - and if not, consider it anyway. Don't let her behavior harm YOU. It is her problem, not yours. Get tough with these people - being nice does not work with dementia people.
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Daughterof1930 Oct 18, 2021
“These people” deserve kindness and compassion. This is a complete misunderstanding of what boundaries are and what they mean. Of course it’s not just “her problem” as it affects the entire family. We should all watch our judgments as this could any day be any of us
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Maybe go about it a different way. Mom refused to admit she had dementia although we all knew she did. We told her we needed to rule out any medical issues,,,brain tumor, clogged arteries in the neck, etc. That got her to a neurologist for and MRI and some testing. Once she got an official diagnosis the neurologist talked her into taking Aricept. She loves her neurologist so that makes it much easier. I keep the neurologist informed of what I’m seeing and we visit her office every 3 months. But she’s in the later stages now and STILL is in denial that she has ALZ.
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Reply to campbec
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Ensure that you have POAs as required in place, if she doesn't want to discuss the dementia but knows she has a memory problem then picking the right time and getting her co-operation in ensuring you have the paperwork "in case" you need it would be useful.
Other than that if she doesn't want to discuss it now or see anyone now, then all you can do is have some patience until she does agree to talk with someone, or arrange for someone to come to the house and assess by chat as opposed to in a Drs office. There is not a lot visiting a professional can tell you if you already have a diagnosis the time you will need them is when some medication may help with symptoms. Don't get stressed over talking to a professional join a local or online group where others are in the same position as you, see if there is a coffee morning or similar where people in your position meet and get used to going whilst she has early problems so that she feels safe in the environment as she gets worse. Look after YOU - and take things as they come, every situation is different, deal with things as they arise and try not to worry about doing the same as every one else at any particular time.
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Reply to TaylorUK
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How bad is her condition? Do you have to provide a lot of care? Is she safe to be alone? Denial is VERY common. Even when people are fairly advanced in their dementia. So, that really doesn't matter. You can see how she behaves and what the issues are. You KNOW she has an issue but she does not need to admit it or discuss it. It would be nice if she would, but don't push it.

If you need help, get it now. Get someone to clean the house. Someone to do errands. Someone to sit with her or take her somewhere. Get yourself a break. Caring for someone 24/7, if that's what you're doing, is exhausting and you deserve time for yourself too.

Do some reading about dementia and how to deal with it. Take care of yourself.
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Reply to againx100
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What do you think someone with dementia would be able to discuss? Nothing. There's nothing to talk about with her, and there are no magic pills to make it go away. A neurologist could possibly tell you what kind of dementia she has, but that's about it.
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sjplegacy Oct 14, 2021
Your comment about not being able to discuss anything with a person living with dementia simply perpetuates the stigma of the condition. It is a myth that one cannot converse with someone with dementia. Someone with dementia, and even early Alzheimer's, can still be productive, coherent, and live a near normal life. Never consider anyone with dementia as just waiting to die. There have been books written on the achievements of Alzheimer's patients long after they have been diagnosed.
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She is scared. Dementia seems like a death sentence. Let her know that there is medication to improve memory problems, but that a neurologist must evaluate so she can get the right prescription. This is not a therapeutic lie; it is the truth.
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You go to her PCP or whoever diagnosed her with dementia. If she has no abusive or emotional issues then she does not need a neurologist. All you will get is "nice to know' but not "need to know" information. Unless you want a prescription to slow the process however it will still progress.
Use the primary doctor to sign paperwork if you plan to put her in a facility. That is all that is needed.
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Reply to MACinCT
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sjplegacy Oct 14, 2021
Your post, MAC, is a little too simple. A PCP is not qualified nor trained to diagnose dementia or the reasons for it. That's why we have neurologists and neuropsychologists. Most PCPs are either general practitioners or internists who know little about neurodegenerative diseases and the behaviors that they cause. Many PCPs today are screening the elderly for dementia, but that is not a diagnosis. A PCP can, however, test for conditions that mimic dementia and possibly treat those.
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Has she been "formally" diagnosed with dementia?
This is getting to the end of the year, Open Enrollment time for Insurance. Can you tell her that she has to see a doctor before the end of the year?
There are medications that can slow the progress, not all will work, none will work forever and none will reverse the damage done.
If she has been formally diagnosed and she is on medications there is not much that a neurologist can do. Other than monitoring the progression but you can do that simply by observing her change.
I suppose the only exception to this would be to get the Correct form of dementia diagnosed. It does give you a better idea what to expect. And with Lewy Body Dementia (often associated with Parkinson's) there are some medications that should NOT be given.
The best thing you can do is be informed as much as you possibly can be.
Learn to ASK for help
Learn to ACCEPT help
Make sure you see an Elder Care Attorney to make sure all the paperwork you need is up to date. If you have chosen someone to be YOUR POA for health and finances make sure they know where the information is.
(great pamphlet called "5 Wishes" helps a lot with some of the information you need to organize.
Start early on getting someone in to help out. A caregiver a few hours a day 1 or 2 days a week to start you will need more help later but get your wife used to someone other than you helping her.
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Reply to Grandma1954
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I don't know if it would work I would tell her that there are medications that slow this disease down but we have to see a dr to get them. They do have medications to slow it down my BIL was put on Namzaric which has 2 different medicines in one pill that slowed down his. He was put on it about 3 yrs ago. I hope she will listen to you. Prayers
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Reply to Babs2013
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This can be the time a therapeutic fib may become necessary. In other words, a lie in her best interests. Tell her insurance requires a visit to maintain coverage. Give the doctor a heads up prior to the visit about what you’re seeing. It may be best to start with her regular doctor and have them refer her to a neurologist, a trusted doctor can often get this accomplished. And know that discussing her memory issues isn’t beneficial to either of you, she’s likely not capable of being rational about it, plus she’s in fear of what may be to come, so no more talk about it, just be supportive and reassuring.
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