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I'm realizing, looking back over the past five years, that a lot of what seemed odd or off about my mom, going back to 2009, was actually a result of Cognitive Decline. Her doctors hypothesize that she had some small strokes that caused changes in her brains. I'd like to post some of my experiences with her in the hopes that it will help others recognize this as a cognitive and not a psycho-social issue.

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Mom insisted on going to the eye doctor several times a year, always complaining of dry eyes. The doctor would giver her a script and samples, she'd say she was better, but two months later, she'd want me to make a new appointment. This was REALLY eating into my own sick day bank. I finally had a long conversation with her about her vision and what her fears were. Well, she's got "wet" macular degeneration, aka the good kind. She associated dry eyes with developing the dry kind. I found a simple grid that I was able to print out, which purports to check for the wavy lines you see if you are developing dry MD. She used it a couple of times and the worry seemed to go away.
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Captain, get your eyes checked. And clean the windows.

And seriously, my mom had to screw up a lot of stuff she would not have previously screwed up before I realized what was going on. She messed up my dad's meds, and I ended up being her representative for his Medicaid appeal because unlike the first time she'd had to do it, she could not get the papers together, apparently cussed out the lady who would have helped her, and just kept mailing them piles of stuff they already had instead of what they needed. She could not grasp that my dad could not help some of what he was doing because of his cognitive decline, she just got mad at him too. Her checkbook stopped making sense next...downhill from there...uphil for me on the learning curve about vascular and other dementia, POAs, rep payee, and all that...
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cognitive decline is where everybody in the county recognizes you but they all look like your reflection in the toilet to YOU .
i went to va early this am and someone stopped beside me at a stoplight in mooresville . i gave em a halfhearted wave but they didnt seem satisfied with that . we both cranked down our dirty windows and it was my son jake . i told him he looked like a little girl , his reply aint printable . meh . he looks like my other son who looks like a narc in the park , in rhinestones after dark . they both look a little like elvis who looks pretty much like my reflection in the toilet .
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Yes, I saw signs with my cousin too. I'm not sure if was due to her Vascular Dementia or Alzheimers.

She lost a lot of weight due to a lack of interest in real food. All she would eat were sweets, microwave breakfast sandwiches, popcicles and bananas. Stopped cooking. Would pick at food at family gatherings.

Would throw her banana peels in the front yard of her house! I would ask why and she would say, "Why not?" I never figured this out. I have no idea why she did this to this day.

Invited me to special turkey dinner PRE-Thanksgiving dinner, but had not cooked anything when I arrived. I thought she just changed her mind.

Stopped appearing for any family events.

Stopped driving except for very limited area. She kept saying the roads had changed.

Continued to wear very large clothes after her weight loss and thought it was fine. I regret that I told her once that if she didn't wear a bra in public, people would think she was crazy. Stopped bathing and brushing teeth, but said she did. Lied a lot.

Ordered way too many items like 35 air freshners. Had at least 50 note pads. 25 cans of Lysol. Mail order of all sorts.

Was terrified her cat would escape from the house or get stuck in a crevice inside the house. She taped many little crevices in the house out of fear. She would not accept that an adult cat could not enter into a space the size of a key hole.

She was convinced that food would never spoil in a fridge.

She repeated the same stories over and over. (But many of us do that.)

Became unreasonable and tried to start arguments over nothing.

Refused health care and medications. Said she didn't know why.

Sustained multiple falls.

Slept a lot.

Was uncooperative with rehab and recovery after foot fracture. Preferred to lay in bed in diapers, which were not needed.

Was confused as to how a heat thermostat worked.

Would become agitated and yell at things she disliked on tv like a commercial.

Created stories of friends who came to see her that didn't exist.

I could go on and on, but I think this gives people an idea. My cousin wasn't being difficult. She just didn't have the ability to know any better.
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Me too, Pam. I'm hoping to educate my kids about this so they can cart me off before I become a major annoyance.
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I clearly see cognitive decline every time I look in the mirror.
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I hope that there are others of you who have examples like this.
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Example 2 (this was actually post dementia diagnosis, but still illustrates the simplistic way of thinking that exists in Cog Decline or Dementia). Mom (now in NH, has a cold. She is scheduled to get her hair cut the next day in the facility. I remind her of this, because I think it will cheer her up. She says "no, I don't think I should get my hair cut; I'm sick". I ask her why not. She says "well, I wouldn't have gotten a hair cut if I was sick when I lived at home". I pointed out to her that here, she didn't have to go outside to drive to the beauty parlor and since it was all in the same building, it seemed fine to me. She deemed me very smart for figuring that out!
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Example 1. Mom was in the hospital and the discharge nurse came in to explain all the paperwork. She told us that they wanted to be very, very sure that Mom was going to get to her follow-up appointment, because "if you get re-admitted for the same problem within 30 days, Medicare won't pay". My mom looked very sad and I asked her what was wrong. She said, "then I guess I can't come back to this hospital, can I?".
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