My mom has recently been diagnosed with dementia and Alzheimer's. Should I tell her, or is it best not to?

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I have always been honest w/her.

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oh i thing i goofed! we were suppose to be answering the other person's question.. i had asked this question myself and was just giving some info so the group could help answer my question. i am truly sorry to the person that asked the first question which actually helped me find this forum.. Thank you
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con't sorry i made some errors , hopefully you can understand the context
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I was at the appointment with my mother( 3 rd opinion, she had already seen a PCP that recommended she she a neurologist which did a bunch of cognitive tests.. mom did not like that doctor so requested to see another .. so we went to a 2nd neurologist that she got along famously with.. he did a bunch of tests but before he did he asked her if she wanted to know the results? She said no. Then when we came back for our follow up appt, she asked about the tests and asked if she was okay? He smiled at her and then at me, changing the subject and said why don't you both just go and have some ice cream and have some fun! Everything is fine here. We might need to make some medication changes but no worries go have some ice cream. So she doesn't know truly what is going on, nor do i except from the day to day things that prove without a doubt she is having memory loss and i am having to pick up the pieces daily.. she is bouncing checks, something she has never done in all her 80 years, she is getting notices to have utilities turned off, the bank manager even suggested to her that she at least in case of an emergency have me put on her account so that i could help her and make sure the bills were paid etc.. she adamantly refused because she said she was perfectly fine. I am Power of Attorney for my disabled brother and daily involved in his care and in my mom's. I am on 24 hour call and assist daily with the care givers we have for my brother. These same caregivers are concerned about my mother as well. My father had vascular dementia and my mother is so afraid of a diagnosis involving dementia. I take care of her medications and increasing amount of her bills and affairs. Her PCP has told her that she should just let me take care of everything for her and she just laughs and says she is fine..etc she has started accusing people of stealing, to the point she has called the police and made statements about care givers that may not even be true,which has resulted in them being fired from their jobs and one even serving jail time! One time i was helping her at her request clean up a bunch of boxes that were loaded with jewelry, some of which appeared to be some of the "stolen" items. I have a family and also care for a young grand child. She will ask me if she is fine, and also as i said call me and say she needs help which i provide to the best of my ability. My question is should i tell her after she told the 3 rd doctor she did not want to know, he did not tell her and it seems she wants me to lie to her too..but things are getting increasingly difficult to attend to all her needs that are growing by leaps and bounds. She calls me her advisor then laughs. sometimes in moments of clarity she will say she does not know how she and my brother would survive without my help and that she is grateful. Other times she cries and says the things i do to help make her feel stupid like she knows nothing and is worthless, and why is she even involved in anything i should just do whatever i want. in the distant past she did make a comment that both she and my brother should just die..just go to sleep and not wake up.. i discovered she was stocking up pills, which i took away. And also the garage remote after she mentioned how handy it would be to you know open and close the garage..i hope i have not gone on topic too much just need advise form people that have been involved in this.. i am so close to the situation.
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I have told my mother-in-law who has lived with us since February, if she asks. She will say, "why can't I remember?" She will scratch her head, so I tell her she has altizmers, but you are takeing medicine and I give you nuts and berries to help your memory....she says...Oh is that why I get so many berries and nuts....Bless your heart. - It would worry me if I had memory issues and noone bothered to tell me...I would hate not knowing.
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Just saw your update, congratulations. Hugs to you and your mother. Thoughts and prayers go out to you both.
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Ultimately, each family has to walk that road alone and make the decision that they feel is best for their family member and themselves.

We have dealt with two parents so far and a third showing signs. One was extremely controlling and it only got worse as the disease progressed. Because she knew her diagnosis, there were decisions that had to be made and we were happy many legal aspects were handled prior to her becoming incompetent and not able to make her wishes known or wise decisions. Currently, my mother is a hospice patient living with us and we also handled what legal matters we could prior to her diagnosis. Mom was pro-active because she knew she wouldn’t live forever and wanted to have her affairs in order before it was too late. For those reasons alone, I suggest you, at the very least, speak with your mother about talking to a lawyer so there will be no questions or possible unrest with siblings when she can no longer make her wishes known. The government is clamping down on finances and if you don’t take some steps and your mother needs long term assisted living or nursing home care, she will lose every penny she may have saved throughout her lifetime to leave to her family. Once that is gone, then the government will kick in financial assistance.

For numerous reasons, I suggest you have a discussion with her doctor prior to speaking with your mother. The doctor can advise you as to the degree of her dementia so you will have an idea how far it has progressed and her current mental acuity, what medical interventions are available, and what her long term prognosis might be. This will help you cope with the road ahead. I don’t know if her physician is an internist or specialist, but another avenue you could look into would be scheduling a consultation for an evaluation with at geriatric specialist. They are often more versed on testing procedures, medications and treatment options specifically designed for the elderly. The doctors can also offer suggestions as to what help and support groups are available in your community. Believe me, you will be needing help in the months and years ahead.

Another reason for having a discussion with her physician is to relieve you of the difficult burden and have the him / her inform your mother of her illness. Sometimes hearing the diagnosis from an expert / professional helps the person accept it as fact rather than having family present it. Of course, you should be there and invite other immediate family members to attend the appointment for support and ask questions they may have. Your mother may still deny or protest, but, at least, it will have come from a professional, the door will have been opened for later discussions and you will not be looked at as the bearer of bad tidings that may leave hard feelings or questions.

You said you had always been honest with her and, personally, I have always felt honesty is the best policy, no matter how uncomfortable. Even if she may outwardly protest, inside she will have an understanding of what is happening and she will appreciate your honesty and know she can trust you. Dementia often fills patients with the feelings of being alone, lost and very confused, especially in the early and mid-stages. They need to know there is someone they can count on and turn to during those terribly unsettling times. From my experience, you will have many days ahead when answers to illogical questions are going to be required, over and over and over. Last night was another one of those for me. Mom kept asking where in the house her parents and siblings were, insisting she had conversations with them that afternoon and they were here. I had to tell my 95 year old mother they had all died many years ago. Still, she was adamant I get them for her. My only recourse was to tell her I had never lied to her and I loved her too much to ever do so. It may not have helped her mental state as much as it helped mine. Yes, there comes a time when you will give up on the orientating them to person, place and time because it just won’t work and you will go along with the current “story”, but when they ask you about long gone relatives and other difficult questions, you need to tell the truth and deep down in their extremely insecure and frightening world, they need to have the security your are there for them and they can count on you for protection.

Long winded answer, but this isn’t an easy or simple decision. IMHO the kindest thing you can do would be to tell your mother of her condition because there may be many, many affairs you may need to get in order while she can still participate. Only you will know how to best break the diagnosis to her, be it alone, or with family and physician present. Good luck and my heart goes out to you as you begin the journey and travel the long road ahead.
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Did you ever have something in the back of your mind that made you happy or sad but you had to think about what it was for a minute? People with Dementia often think they have "unfinished" business, they need to "go" or "get home" or see their mother, etc. I wouldnt ever add to that by telling my Mom. I believe when you think you are ok, you are better off. IF someone tells me I look tired, I am tired, if someone tells me I look great, I feel great. Why plant something in their minds that they will dwell on, yet will NOT be able to express it soon, yet it will still be there in the back of their mind. The only thing I ever told my Mom is she is a "little forgetful sometimes, just like me," and she says "oh you always make me feel so good. " Why add to their burdens they will be facing, somewhere in their minds they will remember that awful news. We learn as they progress we have to lie about everything to please them. Heck my mom thinks her husband and mother are alive.
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Mom and I met with her PCP and discussed the testing results and the need to consult a specialist for further follow-up, ecause she was in early Alzheimers. We had an appointment with the neurologist and he confirmed the status and prescribed medication to help slow the progression of the disease. She was frustrated with her condition before the diagnosis, because she knew something was wrong. She seemed relieved to finally have a name to what was going on with her mind and body. She and my siblings understand that this disease continues to debilitate and we try to do our best and stay one step ahead. Mom understands that we need to make the most of each and every day and keep our memories close to our hearts.
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Update: I sat down with mom yesterday, and told her. It was the right thing to do- she thought she was in the nursing facility because we didn't want her anymore. I, of course was crying as I talked with her, and amazingly, she stepped into her mother role- never cried and said I am glad you told me. When I went back to visit her later in the day, she remembered our conversation, and she said she had been worried about me because I was upset earlier. She even spoke to her doctor and he told her to look at it this way- it's not cancer. I am so thankful I told her. We'll see if she remembers today.
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you could be right guess its a matter of opinion!
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