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Mom was diagnosed with dementia 2.5 years ago. Her short term memory is gone but she is still very pleasant. At times she asks what wrong with my memory. I tell her that she fell and hit her head a while ago and some of her memories have been affected which is how this all started. My sister ( who shares care with me) was told that we should tell her that she has dementia and that it is the disease that is causing her memory loss. The word dementia is very upsetting to her as she has had several friends go thru this terrible disease. My feeling is why upset her with this terminology. She accepts the fall and memory loss theory and moves on to other things. I know that she will not remember after a period of time so if I can keep her as happy as possible thats what I want to do. Any suggestions/opinions would be of great help. Thanks.

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I would absolutely tell her. She may be pleasant now, but there may come a time where she experiences mood swings or depression and it scares her. Explain to her that dementia is just a fancy word for memory loss/issues. She has every right to know what is wrong with her. Especially if she is in early stages. My mother knew there was something wrong and it frightened her and depressed her. She ws a bit angry when she fould out and actually went through most of the stages of grief (which was good as her 'old self' died to her). Now she can use it as a coping tool. I believe that your mother absolutely has the right to know, but I dont know her. Think back to the mom you grew up with, would she want to know? Or would she want to know if her diagnosis was cancer or mental illness? Good luck, whatever you decide.
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I think you have to go with what you think is best for her. My loved one was told she had dementia by the neurologist, but she didn't seem to really process it. He told her he didn't know what was causing it and that more tests would be needed to find the cause. He read off a list of things including Alzheimers that could be causing it. After the MRI, I told her that she had suffered several strokes. She said, okay, but it didn't seem to phase her. I don't think she understood what a stroke was at that point. She told me a couple of times that she hated to lose memories of her parents, because they were such great parents.

Almost 2 years later, she doesn't remember any of that. She doesn't know she has anything wrong with her and communication is limited. She has no concept of health. She does still remember her parents though and can answer some questions about them.

So, whatever you tell her, will be momentary. I wish you the best.
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I think your explanation is perfectly acceptable! My 96-year old mom has no short-term memory. I haven't had her formally diagnosed and I never use the dementia term, even though she clearly has lost a lot of cognitive function and I'm sure would be diagnosed as having dementia. I just tell her she's got no short-term memory and it's probably from the medications she's on for her heart condition (atrial fib) that slows her heart down. And she's fine with that explanation.

Why use the dementia term if there are other, kinder ways to get the same idea across? I do reassure my mom that she doesn't have Alzheimers, which would have her putting things in odd places or totally forgetting people, etc. She doesn't do any of that.

I personally strongly believe in being kind to our elders and telling them what they can handle, when there is no real benefit to telling them the "full truth" of their situation.
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I completely understand your reasoning behind not telling your mom about her condition. Why upset her? Chances are that she will forget what you've told her anyway.

But in the back of my mind is a niggling feeling that your mom has the right to know about her own health. It's her body. It's her mind. She should have all the information.

If she's not tortured by why she can't remember things and is happy and healthy for now I think it would be fine to put the conversation off for a while and see how things go.

Tough situation.
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