My 94-yr-old mom is quickly showing signs of dementia: believing her cat speaks to her, accusing my brother-in-law of stealing groceries from her, believing people break into her apartment to use her bathroom, just some recent examples. Should I confront her with it and say that yes, we do think she is starting to have a serious problem? She has refused to go to a doctor for many years now, and I don't know how we would ever get her to go now. But if we made her aware of her actions, would that help her to think about what she's doing? It will certainly make her violently angry. She is in an I.L. apartment complex, and never leaves her apt.

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Lightingrod, first of all, you have my deepest sympathy. I know how hard it is to see someone you love change before your eyes. When we first started noticing my Mom showing mental decline I think it had been progressing for many years already. By the time we started to notice the changes it was inevitable that she needed help we could not provide her.

My suggestion to you is don't suddenly come at your Mom with your concerns because if she is at the point that you have described she will probably feel attacked.

What I did was meet with my Mom's Doctor privately to voice my concerns and arranged to meet with him together with my Mom. My Mom's Doctor was very protective of my Mom which is what you would hope for your parent. But after meeting with us a few times he agreed with us her mental health was at a state where she couldn't take care of herself properly anymore. So we had a healthcare social services worker meet with Mom to evaluate her and proceeded from there. We ended up transitioning my Mom to a nursing home where she lived comfortably for about a year until sadly she died at age 92 due to complications of old age.

Start gently. Try not to let your Mom get to a state where she feels threatened. I know this is hard but you can do it.
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Paranoia and delusions are a part of the dementia process. When she tells you these things, don’t try to dissuade her because she believes they have happened. Telling her you believe she has dementia won’t change a thing. Her brain is broken and it can’t be fixed. And, it gets worse.

You mentioned she becomes violent. It may be time for you to re-evaluate her living arrangements. I agree that telling her she needs an “insurance physical” or they will cancel her policy might work. Speak with the doctor’s secretary before you go to let the doctor know what you’ve been observing.
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If someone has developed dementia, their ability to reason according to logic is pretty much shot. Pointing out to her that you think she has dementia isn't going to allow her to reason.

If you tell her that her Medicare will be cancelled if she doesn't see a doctor once a year, night that work?

Have you watched any Teepa Snow videos on how to deal with the illogic of dementia?
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