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You helped me before with questions about caring for my 88 year old mother. She lives alone, but is still fairly active physically (two walks a day!) and socially in her gated community. Still. She has become increasingly forgetful these past few years. Books she has read, physical issues she's had, experiences, dates seem to be missing from her memory bank. Recently, she's had a lot of problems with remembering appointments - a walking date she's set up, for example, with a friend for the following day, an appointment with her dentist - wrong day, wrong time. And a book she read two months ago, she's just picked up to read it again, saying it's been along time since she'd read this book. These seem like small things. Are they? My grandmother, her mother, had Alzheimer's. I understand it can run in the family. If my mother just having normal aging memory issues that's one thing. If it's Alzheimer's though, is this something that we should know now? And if so, how on earth can I get my mother, my very proud, uncomplaining, strong-willed mother to go in and get tested? Best to let this all go and just wait it out for a crisis? Maybe all I need to hear is that there is nothing to be done, that I don't have to do anything about this. Anyway, your thoughts would be appreciated.


Thank you,
Beth

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BlackPine, what will you do with the results of the test? It is already apparent to you that some issues are developing. Spend your time and energy making sure she is safe and comfortable. Help her set up a system to remember appointments. A large calendar? There are med dispensers that ring a reminder for her to take the meds. Check the house is it clean and does she have groceries in it. We checked a senior's house one time and LITERALLY there wasn't anything edible in the entire apt. She did get one meal a day, but . . .
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She sounds pretty active at 88. That's great. Do you ever chat with her friends who might offer their perspective. They may see more than you.

Is it possible to spend a couple of days with her in her home to see how she's managing things like the stove, the clothes dryer, heat theromstat? If she's having difficulty with some things, it might mean she is at risk of some dangers in the house.

Does she take medications? If so, can you be assured she is doing it correctly?

Who keeps up with her bank account? Are her bills being paid? Is she susceptible to undue influence by strangers. My cousin would talk to strangers in the grocery store about her bank account funds! She would give too much info to strangers on the phone. No amount of warnings made a different.

I went with my cousin to the doctor and took a list of my concerns and observations. The doctor conducted a mini evaluation. It consist of some oral questions and having her draw something on paper. It's short and not invasive. It might provide some answers.

I think it would not be unusual if it was age related decline. Still, I would make sure I had her Durable Power of Attorney, Healthcare POA, Living Will, etc. while she is still competent.
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My Dad is 85 and it's quite clear he has some form of dementia but he's always refused any tests. His doc and others tell me he has classic sgns of alz and I suspect they are correct. His short term memory is practically gone but he still functions on some levels and is quite fit for his age. He dug up a small stump in the yard last week for example. But to me it's not worth world war three to get him officially tested as I don't think it would make much difference at this point. There are various meds used that get mixed reviews. Dads doc doesn't think they will help him, but others have seen good results.


If she will cooperate or there's a way to use a little deception, maybe get he examined. It couldn't hurt, but like us, is it worth the battle?
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