The hard part is over.
I'm matching you with one of our specialists who will be calling you in the next few minutes.
If your parent has some degree of smarts then they will be able to hide the problem much, much longer - basically the higher the smarts on mom/dad then the longer it will take to be noticed because they can 'pull it together' for short periods of time - if your mom/dad is highly intelligent you may need to video some of their actions to show their dr so that you are truly believed
I hope this helps some of you in dealing with your parents [who become the parents from hell because of dementia] - try to bring out photos of better times to help remember those times & both for them & you
This forum has lead me to remember things of mom when she was her 'old self' & for that I'm truly greatful - it has also helped me keep a perspective on these things - I hope whoever reads this also gets these same rememberances
I feel that we (mom, dad and myself) might have been able to prepare for things better before he got so bad; if we had been told at the beginning. At least we may have gotten him to visit the facilities and to make some plans, now he just gets mad when we even mention it and tells us that he is not sick. Later the same day he will remark that he wishes the doctor would tell him what is wrong. As others, we now avoid the D word around him unless you want to get in an argument.
This site has helped me quite a bit! I do not feel so alone. I visit often to see what questions are asked and how other people are dealing.
My husband knew when I knew. As an engineer he thought in terms of cause and effect, action and reaction. Knowing why his brain was so muddled was a relief to him. It allowed him to make decisions such as donating his brain for research (which was very important and meaningful to him.) He participated in a Lewy Body Dementia study and took the various tests every year, to track his progress.
When he was having a particularly bad day I could hug him and say, "That ol' Lewy is sure tripping you up today! Why don't you just sit here and watch the Grand Canyon video. I'll bring you a snack. Tomorrow will be better and we'll go to park then."
We could both be mad/sad about Lewy. I could reassure him that none of this was his fault.
It was very, very helpful to his care and to our relationship that he knew and understood he had a disease that interfered with his normal functioning. But I know that this isn't always the best approach for everyone.
The only time I'm come close to saying anything is about 3 times when he was acting extermely irrational, and I said "granddad your mind is getting fuzzy", and he gets this hurt/surprised look on his face, then suddenly backs down.The first time I said he started to cry. I only use those words in extreme circumstances.
There is one point in discussing dementia with someone who has it. Jeannegibbs mentioned about how she would discuss problems with her husband. If someone was like her husband, it would be a good thing to discuss it. But if someone is like my mother, it is better not to even mention it.
My parents recently ran into a family friend who told them that she had early dementia and that she would eventually not recognize them, so she was saying her goodbyes now, before she progressed. It was so sad.
There comes a time in life when being frank is not the best course of action, especially if it will just upset the person to be told he/she has dementia.
The patients doctor can do a simple mini test to check cognitive ability. There are more extensive tests that can be administered by specialists to determine what type of dementia is present, vascular etc.
Then, before the appointment, I'd send the Primary a list of what you have observed and let them address at the next visit. The Primary may do office exam and may refer you to a Neurologist. The Neurologist will do office exam and order more tests. My cousin thought the Neurologist was to help with balance and memory and was fine with it. The Neurologist may make comments in the office as to whether something is going on or wait for more tests. My cousin's Neurologist said in the office that she had significant impairment, but he was not sure if it was Alzheimers or what was causing it. More tests were needed.
The Neurologist may order a Neuropsychological evaluation and an MRI. These will give the Neurologist more information for his diagnosis.
I suppose that if a person is in the early stages, say with cognitive decline, they need to know so they can make arrangements and put their affairs in order, with Durable POA, Healthcare POA, LIving Will, etc. They need to make their wishes known and plans for long term care. If they are advanced in dementia, they may not accept or understand that they have dementia and no amount of explaining will get through to them.
Eventually, the patient will forget that they have dementia and that they were ever told they have it, so, I would just concern myself with protecting them, comforting them and ensuring that they have their affairs in order. Each family handles it the way they feel is best.
I was very honest with my mother and made sure she understood what was happening to her mind, while she was still able to process and understand it. But then, Mom was always one to want to know what was going on with her body. Some people may not take that so well - depends on the person.