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My 70 year old mom was diagnosed with vascular dementia Oct. 2010. My father recently passed away and last month I moved her to the state I live in so we can be closer to each other. I took her to a new doctor, it was actually a team of doctors that specialize in geriatrics memory care. They did a two hour evaluation and said she passed the memory tests with flying colors. One of the doctors even said he could not diagnois her with dementia. He is looking into what he called delirium from a gall bladder surgery she had 3 years ago. Does that sound realistic? She really does have a lot of symptoms for dementia. We have the same conversations every day, she forgets plans we make, she can't remember paying a bill, I have taken over her finances completely. I catch her doing odd things like burning her checkbooks inside the home, going for a walk barefoot in the snow,. The worst thing with all this is she hears voices at night and she thinks the government is behind everything to drive her crazy or make her die. Any thoughts from anyone? I am at a loss.

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Thank you, I found it pretty sad when our PCP just bluntley wrote my husband off. I always thought this PCP was so understanding. My friend had the same experience with this PCP. I am going to seek out a specialist. God Bless
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lotto27 I can understand delirium after the surgery and that is what got her diagnosed with dementia three years ago. But the delirium would eventually clear up, wouldn't it? So what accounts for her apparent memory loss today and other odd behaviors today, if it is not dementia? Have you described her behavior in detail to the doctors?

sharirose, your PCP's attitude is very common, unfortunately. This is what Dr. Brad Boeve, a behavioral neurologist at Mayo Clinic has to say:
"It pains us greatly to think of the LBD patients who see physicians who have the all-too-frequent view that "this patient has dementia, none of the drugs work so there is little to do, so get your finances in order and plan for a painful next few years when you won't recognize your family, will need to live in a nursing home....." This is the view of so many MDs, including neurologists and psychiatrists, and it is our (LBD specialists) obligation to educate the public and the medical community that LBD is very different than AD, and it is absolutely unacceptable to do nothing or take a nihilistic approach. We must also maintain realistic optimism, since there is almost always something we MDs can do to affect quality of life - through medications, education, counseling, behavioral modification, etc."
He is speaking of Lewy Body Dementia, and each kind of dementia has its own responses to different kind of treatments, but I think if you have a PCP with the attitude that nothing helps you would be better served by a doctor who specializes in dementia. I sincerely wish you the best of luck getting significant help managing your husband's symptoms.
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Look up post surgical cognitive decline on a good medical site (Mayo,John Hopkins) this is rarely mentioned but it seems to fit my spouse. He did have deliruim after a long surgery then on the second surgery a year later, he seemed to experience cognitive decline. Our PCP seems to think he suffered a mild stroke. He did not think a MRI was called for? He also told me no medication for Dementia, or Alzheimer' will really help stop these diseases for long. I am not an expert, but I agree delirium lasting 3 yrs after surgery seems difficult to wrap my mind around but I am no expert. God Bless.
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I'm sorry you're dealing with this in a mother still so young.

As "Daughter" said, when a person with memory problems has a stressful event, such as loss of close family member or a change of environment, it can create a great deal of confusion. Your mom has experienced both so that is probably exacerbating her condition.

My mom has a combination of Alzheimers, vascular dementia and aphasia (from a fall). Even when the symptoms were much milder, anytime she had a change of routine, she got nervous, more forgetful and confused. She is now experiencing paranoia.

It is possible for your mom to score high on the memory tests, if she happens to be having a good day. My mothers PCP, whose father had vascular dementia, told me that one day his father could give him sound financial advice and another day he would make no sense.

It was very frustrating for me when my mom would go for testing. She always did well. I knew what was going on at home but it never seemed that bad in front of the doctors.

If it were my mom, I'd let the doctors go through their diagnosis process. Since they specialize in geriatrics, they know how much patients' conditions can vary from day to day.

I don't have a medical background so I don't know how common it is for delirium from surgery to go on for 3 years after surgery. That surprised me. If it turns out to be delirium after all this time, then you've dodged the dementia bullet.

The doctors are probably going through their diagnosis process to rule out certain things before making a final diagnosis. Since she's a new patient, they are starting from the beginning. Good luck.
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The stress of losing her husband and how that changes who she is and how she now lives her life could be contributing to her state of mind. A big move could have been hard for her too. My mother was so confused for at least a few months when my dad passed away. It was alarming. Hopefully your mother will feel better as she moves through the grieving time.
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