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My mother who is 82 has been declining for several years, it started with repeating herself and now has progressed into having what I call timeline issues. For example things she showered yesterday when it really has been two weeks. Do I confront her with the reality? I tried to talk about it and she denies anything is wrong. She refuses any medical tests including basic memory tests from the doctor so we cannot get an accurate diagnosis.

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Today actually went pretty well. I used the "eyebrow twitch" to let Rn know something was up when mom said something,, so we could ease into it. So when Dr came in he asked her about "anything else besides the pain bothering you?" She told him I was worried about her memory, used the "I am 88 " excuse,, but he was very sweet in explaining that there is forgetfulness, and then there is memory loss that can affect your independent living.( as in taking care of herself some, he knows she lives with us) . Like your pills, your rollator and exercizes ,, etc. He told her there are some tests they can run,, she asked if HE could do them, and he said yes. So we're thinking about it.. not an outright rejection. We don't mention ALZ, just memory decline. I actually don't care what an official diagnosis is,, the end result is basically the same for most dementias. I just want us all on the same page
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Reply to pamzimmrrt
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It amazes me how my mom would seem totally 'normal' when drs or other people would speak to her for a short time. I had my mom accessed in her own home, I told her it was my friend coming for a visit. My mom denied any memory issues, I just say we all forget things sometimes when she's anxious about her memory.
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Overthehill May 17, 2019
I recently went to a 2 hour workshop on Alzheimer’s and this very thing was discussed. For some reason these “patients” can act perfectly normal when going to a Dr. or when visitors stop by. The social worker actually denied care for my friend’s mother for this very reason! Yet it takes 2 people to care for her 24/7 because she can’t be left alone. Eventually it got straightened out. The workshop was by the author of the book “The 36 Hour Day”...a must read for anyone who is a caregiver of someone with dementia.
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Has she asked directly?
If she has you can honestly say since you will not go to the doctor for tests we don't know for sure.
But will she remember that? Probably not
If you tell her she has dementia will she remember that? Probably not.
She wants to know she is safe.
Her world is shrinking. She will be happier with smaller groups, with familiar places. Less noise and confusion.
Confronting her with reality...her reality is now totally different than your reality. As difficult as it is try to "go with the flow" and pick your battles. Dig your heels in when it is truly important. And you will find that there really isn't a lot that is TRULY important.

You can get aids that are great in getting someone to shower if it is difficult for you. The CNA that helped with my Husband while he was on Hospice seems to have the "magic touch" when it comes to getting people to shower or bathe from the stories she told me. (I asked because this comes up in the support groups I go to and I asked if she had any words of wisdom)
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Reply to Grandma1954
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I/We do the opposite actually and find it very helpful. When loved ones/clients realize that something is wrong and that they're no longer the same person, I just assure them that I/everybody forgets too and that is normal. Whenever I visit our clients, I always share with them how I keep forgetting where I put my eyeglasses and what I did yesterday. They'll smile and I find it very sweet that they just start reassuring me that it's ok as long as I don't forget to visit them. A little white lie isn't bad if it will make them feel better. Giving them stress or something to worry about will not help.

Celestial In-Home Care, Inc.
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Reply to WeTrulyCare
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My mom is becoming aware she is having memory issues, and she will even mention it. But tomorrow we have a Dr apt about her pain, and overall situation ( every 4 months). I told her we need to mention her memory situation to him.. she yelled " I am not getting ALZ!" OK, mom,, I'm not saying that,, just that he needs to know for your chart,, She passed the short questions at the Dr last time,, but boy o boy can she forget stuff here in 15 minutes! So I will indeed mention it to him,, and I am sorry to say I do it in front of her.. but otherwise I feel sneaky, and we all need to be on the same page. And things are moving fairly fast lately. I don't "confront" her with it per se, but I also need her to know if there is anything we can do, we should do it now not later. She is a retired RN, I am in medicine also, and we watched my dad decline from ALZ. I jokingly told her I needed it to be known in case I find her walking along the road some day like we did Dad.. she quipped" I cant walk that far !" Will she be peeved at me? Probably,, but she was always tough love with me, and she raised me this way.
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shb1964 May 16, 2019
My mother "passed" one of the short tests, too. When she ended up in the hospital this past Jan for what ended up being a severe UTI and a broken bone below a knee, the doc had in his chart that she had cognitive issues. He asked questions about her home life, which she answered as though nothing were wrong. Said she cooks, cleans, drives, does everything around the house she always did. My sister and I were biting our tongues. The doc seemed to take it all in, but he tapped me on the shoulder on the way out. He said, "Okay, tell me the real story." Which I did and which didn't include all the things Mom said.

So your doc tomorrow is liable to see through her ruse. They know people cover up because they're scared and/or because they really think nothing is wrong. If you can find some way to accompany the doc when he leaves the room (you have to go to the bathroom!) and give him the real skinny, you'll feel better. I even wrote a letter to Mom's geriatric general practitioner cautioning him about what she would do. The ones who care will hear you out and see through their cover-ups.
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I wouldn't try and confront her with anything, even the sound of it sounds like an argument waiting to happen. If you were able to arrange a home visit from someone who could do an assessment they would be able to do the tests without her even realising they were taking place, alternatively perhaps she could "accompany you" to the Dr and he/she could talk to her without her realising it was actually her appointment. I don't know what you would hope to achieve by confronting her, it isn't something she can do anything about, and will simply sound as though you are criticising her for something she may know but not want to accept. Good luck in finding a way to get her an assessment, but it isn't going to change a lot for you regarding having to deal with her situation.
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Reply to TaylorUK
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Angec, I would not suggest your tell your Mom that she has dementia, that would only terrify her if she understands what is dementia.

Any time my Dad would call me saying he can't remember something, I would tell him I have that same problem, too. Told him that as we age that the file drawers of information in our brain are full, and sometimes the drawers get stuck :) Got Dad laughing so that made him feel a bit better.
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Reply to freqflyer
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This is the typical. You can't talk with her about it. Just agree with her. And in sone states POA's can't be issued as the person authorizing the POA (your mom) has to be of right mind. I petitioned the court & was ordered guardianship.
What you can do is tell her the doctor appointment she set a month ago is tomorrow or in a couple of days. That she wanted to make sure that she made her appointment because medicare wants to be certain she gets her annual exam, etc.
Redirect as much as you can.
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Reply to LuvingSon
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Do you have a signed Durable POA and Healthcare POA? I'd try to make sure those are in my possession as you move forward. The reason being that it's more difficult to work on her behalf and promote her medical care, if you don't. But, if you have that, I might focus on getting her a regular check up with her primary.

You can give her doctor the heads up before hand. I typed up a list of my observations to the doctor, so she would know what to look for when she sees the patient. The right doctor can conduct an office eval in a very calm and nonthreatening way. The doctor can also check for infections, medication issues, nutrition issues, hormone problems, etc. The doctor may be able to rule out other causes for the cognitive decline. And, if appropriate, he can refer her to specialist or place on medication if she would benefit from it. Some types of dementia don't respond to medication. She might resist, but, it just takes trying different things to get them to accept. Things coming from her doctor might be easier for her.

That's what I focused on with my LO. Her doctor wanted her medications administered correctly, proper nutrition, physical therapy, proper rest, etc. I reinforced that all of this would help promote better health and memory. So, even though, her doctor told her that she had dementia, she didn't really understand what it meant. And, I didn't keep mentioning it either, because, she would have forgotten it. Even when the neurologist told her that she had dementia, she just said that she didn't want to lose memories of her parents, but, she seemed to forget about it a little while later that day. She never mentioned it again.

So, even if you tell her, there's no guarantee that she will accept it, believe it or even remember it. So, to me, it just depends on what works for your situation at the time. Getting through each day with the LO being protected and cared for, is really all you can really hope to achieve. Getting a PWD to bathe, is often an ordeal and is addressed with different strategies. Having them understand, process, accept and work with you on things......I suppose it happens, but, I don't see it that often.
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