Did you tell your parent they had dementia, and why? Or if not, why?

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I told my mom in the beginning that she had a severe memory problem because when she couldn't remember she would ask"why am I so stupid" I thought it would help to know it wasn't her fault, but she didn't understand that. Now she thinks she is dangerous to others and should be locked up.
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SClck, I don't mention dementia to my mother. She will not accept that she has it and ignores any mention of it. I don't know if it may be because she doesn't want others to think anything is wrong with her. It was so strange this afternoon. We were talking about someone who had dementia and she said, "I hope I never get that." My mother is in an advanced stage of vascular dementia, but in denial that anything is wrong with her mind. She'll yell, "I'm not crazy" if anyone acts otherwise. So I never mention the D word about her. It's on all her medical printouts, but she never acknowledges seeing it. The closest she comes is when she says, "I'm starting to have some trouble with my memory." She has been saying that for 7 years now.

I don't think it's really important that she understand she has dementia, so I don't mention it. It wouldn't change the outcome even if it made it a bit easier on me if she understood.
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I found this post tonight, praying for an answer on how to work with my Mother. Her doctor phoned me last year and said she had been asking my Mother for my phone number for 2 years to let me know that she was in her 3rd year of dementia. I finally "got it" when, every time I called my Mother she was frustrated with all the mail that was coming in. Because I own a retail business (it really owns me) I called my Mother twice a day and went out on my days off as often as possible. But I didn't really know until I went out, only a few months after seeing her and taking her out for Mothers Day, that something was not right. All of her bills were past due and she had tried to hide all of them in individual brown sandwich bags in a guest room. I took over immediately and forwarded all her mail to me so I could pay them and get them on an auto-pay for her. I have been telling her that if she would not deny she had dementia ( her Dr. said she was in the 3rd phase), I could help her so much with what to not eat and supplements to make her memory loss not be every single day so bad. I am so grateful for having found this place tonight. Every time I tell her she has dementia and I want to help her so much because I love her, she raises her voice and says "I do not have anything wrong with me!". I read all 35 answers. I will do as so many of you have, so she does not feel angry or scared as she ages. Thank you all so much for your sharing...
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I have not told my mom because she doesn't believe anything I say that she doesn't want to anyway, and turns it around onto me. She accepted that my dad had dementia and had no problem talking about that and understanding that that was the reason for a lot of his behavior. She will put her memory up against mine anyday, even tho' I am taking care of virtually everything for her, such as bills, finances, mail, etc. She does not remember that my dad died, being at his viewing, funeral, wake or burial, and so she thinks that the family kept it from her. We can tell her 'til we're blue in the face that she was there for everything, but she just can't recall it. She thinks we're lying and that there is nothing wrong with her...we're just bad kids. So, for me, it's "what's the point"? She has no insight and wouldn't believe it and wouldn't recall the conversation after 5 minutes anyway.
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About being cold-----I really do agree with the idea that it is circulation. My mom also has a sweater on all the time and wears flannel night gowns at night-----Just make sure that she doesn't have a runny nose or swollen ankles that (I am told) is a sign of congestive heartfailure) I am bringing my mom's long sleeve winter tops and long pants to the nursing home this week because she is complaiining about being cold even with the sweaters on! Good Luck---and PS I haven't told my mom that she has dementia and she thinks she is in rehab because they call it Health Care there (which I make sure everyone uses that term)----She thinks she is going back to her apt sometime and I am not telling her that she is but I am also not telling her she isn't---
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My sister and I along with my brother and father have decided NOT to tell my mom she had Dementia (84 years old) For the most part we are happy with this decision She seems to be happy, She has good days and then bad days. But now her and my dad fight alot of the time. She doesnt want to take her pills which scares my dad. She is suspicious of alot of things, espeically with him (they have been married for 60 years) She doesnt want to be with her friends.. we realize after talking to her and trying to make out what she is conveying to us, it seems like she is gets lost in conversation, which makes her feel old. My mom has dementia due to a stroke. Which she doesnt believe happened to her. She has no memory from the day she went into the hospital. No memories of it at all. And she always ask what happened to her when she is having a bad day ( becasue she said she doesn't feel like herself.. ) So we tell her she has short term memory loss due to the stroke we never use the word Dementia (we are afraid she may give up and we dont want that to happen) But she blames my dad for everything... but in turn he is trying to take care of her and protect her. I did try to get help for them but they both refuse it. I was able to hire someone who prepares dinner meals for them. Which helps out alot. Since my mom has forgotten how to cook or she seems to get side track when she tries.
The Dr,. wants her to go to Silver Sneaker (senoir excerise class) which she gives me every excuse not to go. She spends everyday laying on the couch in front of the TV set. I also think that telling her will only upset her. We also noticed she has Dementia she is always cold. It is the summer now and she is wearing a warm jacket in the house and the temperture is reading 81 degress in the house. It is hard for me to visit (which I do anyway) because it is so hot. Dr. said its lack of cirulaltion... but I think it has something to do with the Dementia. Is everyone else finding that as well?
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From all of these fascinating postings, I think the really important answer is, "It depends." How's that for decisive? :)

My mother's main coping mechanism all her life has been denial. It has servd her well and she can't be expected to give it up in her nineties. All of her kids respect that and her doctor does too. She has mild cognitive impairment now, but I can't see what the benefit would be in putting this to her bluntly. She still lives alone in her little senior apartment and we arrange more and more services for her and keep a close watch on her. On the other hand, my husband, now 85, has Lewy Body Dementia for 8 years and has known from the beginning. He is still in early stage with mild symptoms. We personify the disease and I can say, yes dear, I know that you can do that by yourself and you've done it well for many years. But Lewy can't be trusted to let you do it now, so how about if I help you? It is Lewy, not me, that won't let him drive. And fairly often when he remembers something I've forgotten I say, "Tell me again, because I forget -- which one of us has dementia?" I can't imagine giving my mother a name for her condition, and I cannot imagine living with my husband without his knowing all he can about his condition. Different strokes for different folks, eh?
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Treading water that is what I do with my Mom,I tell her Mom I forget as well. I also will ask her to remind me of things, it helps her feel like she is not alone. I try to make it as normal as possible for her even if it isn't.

On another note I wish to "THANK" everyone who answered my ? did you tell your parent they had dementia or not. I am and always will be interested in all the feedback!
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I too am the go to person and my mom has forgotten almost everyone else.
I haven't told her that she has dementia but am at a point now with her that I must tell her something because she is starting to realize that she is forgetting everything and is getting panicky.......I've decided to console her and just tell her that she is getting older just like me and as we get older we forget things more frequently.......I'll fake a few examples with my memory and hope she gets the point--------wish me luck---------
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You know, luvmom, in his defense, my brother was trying to defend me to my mother. She was absolutely smothering me at that point and was continuously furious with me because she couldn't remember how much interaction we really did have. She was telling anyone who would listen how I was not taking care of her. He didn't say it to her unkindly, just matter-of fact - told her she couldn't remember everything and when she asked why, he told her. She didn't remember a few hours later. But we never use the "D" word now. She really does just think we're idiots most of the time now. On (my) good days, I just let it go.

My mom, too, dealt with a lot of guilt, but we have no idea what it was about. A horribly strict cult-like religion in her childhood probably made many things seem unforgivable in her years of mental illness prior to dementia. The good news on the dementia -, she has completely forgotten whatever grieved her, has completely forgotten my father, his anger and their difficult marriage and now, for the most part, has forgotten that she can't remember.

On her good days, she lives for bingo, what she's going to wear tomorrow, accessorizing her outfits and her cat. She doesn't long for grandchildren to call, because she can't remember them. She remembers that I am the go-to person and will call me to solve all her problems. Other than me, no one else exists.
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