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She forgets everything. Can't remember where she put things. Then tells the neurologist my daughter thinks I have a problem with my memory.

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Denial is not a river in Egypt . My mom goes to a dementia care group where they have a rule where they don't talk about dementia, they don't bring up the fact they have dementia. What I am trying to say is that it is easier if you don't talk about dementia with your mom. You can't argue with someone who isn't well. Especially with someone who has a cognitive disability like dementia.

Take care of yourself first. This one you can't fix it is an inevitable decline and there is nothing any person or doctor can do to undo dementia. Doing other wise will drive yourself insane (I speak from experience) . I had to stomp and push my weight around at the doctors office in order for someone to listen to me and my concerns about my mom because she presents so well in the doctors office (her hair is done because I make appointments for her, she can pay her bills because I pay for them for her, she eats and bathes because I have someone do it for her etc ettc etc you get the idea. and she is young and very beautiful for her age she is only 68). I had to make an appointment without my mom for not only so the doctors would listen but so that I could speak freely with out my mother there.

Let her be in denial, enjoy the moments when you see your "old mom" somewhere in there......if only for a second. try to be patient with her like stevensmom said. Trying to convince your mom will only make you both frustrated.
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Jinx.
I'm an RN, and saw many patients with Alzheimer's. Confabulation, along with denial of needing to remember things like days of the week, were common.

I often found that a component of that confabulation and denial was a tone of smug belligerence.

I bring this up because it drove me crazy too. That petty belligerence, for whatever reason, got my goat. I don't think I betrayed my anger and resentment, but it was there.

Has anyone else had experience with this dynamic, either on the part of the patient or themselves?
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Admitting one has a memory issue is not someone with memory losses wants to act. Don't let it worry you since you already know she has memory deficits. I hear this all the time from my husband when he gets angry at me.
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The word "confabulation" hasn't been mentioned. This is when the sufferer is confronted with a situation, like a bag of groceries. He/she has no idea who shopped, but will make up a story to explain how the groceries got there. They may claim to have done the shopping, or may claim that their now-dead spouse brought them home. There is no intention to tell a lie. It is just an attempt to fill in information that is missing.

I understand this phenomenon, but it still drives me crazy. My husband will return from a walk and describe non-existent rocky ridges and valleys and rivers in our neighborhood. I've started to say, "You can show it to me the next time we go out." I can't force myself to agree that it's there, so I needed something non-committal to say.

He insists that 55 years ago, his aunts brought him to spend a vacation in the house we live in now. I can't prove that he's wrong, but it's an unlikely spot for a vacation! As I get used to each story, it's easier to yes him to death about it, but then he starts in with a new one!
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I have found that even though my parents don't appear to have dementia, they often deny that OTHERS might have it. I find that even in extreme cases. For example, a friend of theirs is a patient in a nursing home who has no idea where he is, he talks of people who are not present as if they are, has hallucinations, is not oriented to time and place, cannot follow any instruction as to sitting or standing, is fully incontinent and yet my parents don't think this person has dementia. They say things, like, "I'm not sure if Kenneth will be able to live alone again." Are you kidding me? They actually entertain that a person with this progression can live alone. When I suggest that dementia is a horrible thing, they say, "Well, it might not be dementia." They actually think he will return to his normal state. I don't argue with them, but man....it boggles the mind.
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If a person feels he or she is becoming forgetful and wants to schedule an appointment with an Alzhiemer's facility, the facility always ask for the person to be accompanied by someone who knows the person well .
We worry we'll, but we cannot diagnose a memory problem accurately ourselves.
When we recognize a problem with a parent or a spouse, we have to understand a few things.
1. There are 10 signs of early dementia. Look them up.
2. Your relationship has shifted. You are o longer the child/spouse, you have become a caregiver.
3. Caregivers need to remove their personal feelings from caring for a person whose short term mEmory and reasoning skills have diminished.
4. Reduce your expectations of receiving anything from the person to zero. Concentrate on keeping the person content and comfortable.
5. Ask for help from family and the community. You will have problems trying to do this yourself.
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Vstefans: Good one!
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Yes.

Being eager to confront the reality of progressive dementia would be pretty weird.
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Oh, yes, it is ABSOLUTELY normal! They don't want to turn into a person that they won't even recognize!
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Read and absorb every single one of these responses, as you will need this advice and information as you travel this road. DoctorJC laid it out very well. The person you knew will soon become sly, paranoid, and very difficult to deal with if you don't find ways to agree with him and then do what needs to be done. Stay with us here, and vent when you need to, and come to the great people in this group for advice. My dementia-care days are over with the death of my dad, but I still hang on here for my mental health!
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I agree with lovingmom42, its not denial... IT NEVER happened, cos its isnt in the memory bank. The seem to teter from being able to cope with assistance in remembering like the large calendar, the notebook the labelled products.
THEN its just not there any more.
The morals and ethics of life seem to stay........ such as its the bad neighbour coming over and stealing things. Keeping clean, which means that the same clothes get washed time and time again having never been worn etc. My Ma could recite that she had done the washing. and that was when I ph'd to check at 6am she had been up and had a cuppa. Oh yes she had had her breakfast etc. but we would find it in the pantry carefully put away, she just forgot to eat it.
AND of course they can protest and get so upset when any hint of weakness in the system is mentioned. then the lies come in to cover up. But they are not lies, they are explanations because there is no memory of it having happened so a story is needed to explain it
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Yes it's a very common my mother would not except the diagnosis she told the doctor that she was lying and that she didn't need to take her medication or anything. To this day my mother still feels that she doesn't have to dementia and that there's nothing wrong with her and that I am the one with the problem. You just have to be patient.
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Denial of the illness is typical. It was so of my wife and my father-in-law as well as my patients. There are three commonplace complaints that dementia patients have:
1. People are out to take their money and/or their "stuff;"
2. People are plotting against them and lying about them; and
3. Someone of the opposite sex is having a sexual affair with their spouse.

Luckily, my wife never got to number 3 but it is commonplace none the less.
These accusations are irrational and cannot be addressed rationally. In general it is most helpful to go along with them with schemes that reassure them rather than worsen their fears. For example, when my wife's father was accusing his wife of taking his money, we all went to their bank and had the bank officer issue 10 $10.00 traveller's cheques for him to carry. He left feeling he was back in control and was always able thereafter to look at his cheques as a way of reassuring himself. Let me tell you. It ain't fun!!! Still, people with dementia fear (correctly) that they are losing EVERYTHING which is a terrible feeling to have. People are accustomed to being self-sufficient and independent. Now, that is no longer the case, and they know it despite their protestations to the contrary. It is one of the things that makes a caregiver's life so difficult.
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I would definitely have to say yes on this one because to her things seem normal. Therefore, everyone else but her will see that there's a problem.
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Yes it is. Even when they admit that, there's more they won't see. My 88-year-old mother knows and finally admits her memory is a problem but does not recognize all the fabrications and unrealities she tells and believes. In her angry and paranoid moments she rails about why she must have someone with her 24/7. Repeating and repeating and repeating the evidence does not convince but simply makes her angrier or sullen as she must be attempting to process the painfulness of the truth. Hence now we just tell her it is because my brother and I care about her and her welfare, leaving the understanding/acceptance of THAT truth to her and her often twisted perceptions. We can't change or fix that.
Her stories to doctors/psychologists/friends rarely match(ed) what she may have said or indicated even 10 minutes before, e.g. after complaining constantly about some pain or other then tells the physician, "Oh, I'm fine. I do X amount of walking everyday, go to church every week, etc.) None of which is true.
My advice from here is to see her problem from your vantage point, not try to convince her of the breadth of her memory issue, do what you can to protect her physically and financially, and let life take its course. Investigate all possible medical reasons for her memory loss as some have temporary or permanent solutions; educate yourself about legalities, help, and resources if her condition progresses; and protect your own psyche and health going forward.
Many wishes from this blog for strength, understanding, well-being for you.
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Denial is very common among those who are having memory problems. Often they don't remember what they have forgotten. Then they often deny what they had said or promised-even the day before. Right now I am having this problem with my SO about very important topics, including moving.
For me, forgetting is a significant problem--how can one plan when dealing with someone who doesn't remember what they said yesterday. I have considered recording significant conversations, so that my SO can't deny or go back on what he said. Then I wonder if a court would recognize his decisions as decision with his degree of memory impairment.
One of 95 year old clients simply says "I don't remember," when asked about her past. But she "forgets" that her younger son visits everyday or that her DIL orders her food or arranges for her apartment to be cleaned or makes sure that she has clean clothes. She claims, with a good deal of anger, that she has to do these tasks herself.
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It's absolutely normal. You have to remember that when you have problems with your memory, you don't remember that you have problems remembering stuff! My mom can't remember anything but is constantly telling us (about every 10 minutes, it seems) that she can still do everything she wants to do. You will need to be very patient and not argue with her because even if she did accept the diagnosis, she won't realize how bad her short-term memory really is.
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Yes of course it is normal. For any one of Us to be diagnosed with Alzheimer's must surely be Our greatest fear. My own Mother had been diagnosed with this awful disease in 2013, and I was told by the Nurse that it would be better if I did not tell Mother. Oh soon after I noticed that Friend's faded and then disappeared like mist, Neighbour's too. Family remain. In the Ireland that We live can You believe there is still a stigma attached to Alzheimer's.
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My mother has no short-term memory and KNOWS she has no short-term memory. But she'll continually say, "Oh I'll remember that." No she won't.

So yes, it's very common and probably the norm. Having someone admit it would be the unusual thing!
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My mom accused the neighbor sneaking into the house and taking things. Things she had hidden somewhere in the house. Took me awhile to figure this out.
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Yes, from my experience it is part of the disease. My MIL that has dementia starts every conversation with " Dad's dementia is getting worse" . He is fine.
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My husband not only denied that there was anything wrong with him, he also accused our doctor of not knowing what he was talking about Our dr was very open and straight forward about the diagnosis - moderate to severe alz and when we left my husband had a temper tantrum and refused to see the dr again.
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Both my parents went through a period of denial; as Vegaslady notes, it's VERY common and almost expected. Their generation very much relies on the authority of physicians, so in both cases it helped to remind them that they had an official diagnosis. When they would deny their memory loss, I would remind them that "your doctor has made a diagnosis of mild dementia," and let them process the information over and over again. Eventually, the denials tapered off, although my Dad still likes to say there's nothing wrong with him. Now it has become a bit humorous, even for them, and if you can get to that point, it's a bit of a relief. Hang in there, Vicky54! Of course, it might NOT be dementia or Alzheimer's, so you'll want to be sure that your mother has the right diagnosis. Memory loss can also be a result of stroke and/or head injury, among other things...
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If I forget things sometimes (more than "normal" senior moments) then I am likely to forget that I do this. With few episodes that I can recall, then I will not think it is a big deal and that others may be blowing it out of proportion (or have some more sinister motive).
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My dad has had it for a number of years and unfortunately so has my mom. Because his was not as advanced as hers he never would admit he had it and would always talk about how bad mom's memory was. It would actually be humorous if it wasn't such a devasting disease.
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Of course it's normal. Most of us want to deny there's anything wrong with us and a problem like hers lets her forget it anyhow. Learn more about the disease...it's likely to get worse and you need to be prepared.
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