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My mom was diagnosed with dementia about 6 months ago and she is aware that she has dementia. She is still able to laugh at herself for her forgetfulness and still has lucid moments where she is able to converse with us normally. But more than 70% of the time, she is telling the same story over and over, asking what day of the week it is about 10 times a day, makes up stories (but believes that the stories really happened) and other regular signs of dementia. I am wondering if there is a time to discuss this with her so that she understands what will happen to her as time goes on (the regression she will incur), not necessarily all the "gory details" but to let her know what is going to happen with her memory as time goes on. How much should we tell her or should we just let her live her life and not burden her with the details of dementia? I am the sole caregiver of both my parents (she is 86 and dad is 90) and they are still in their own home. So if it's to be discussed, I guess I will be the one to do that. Does anyone have suggestions or been through it where they did tell the person about the condition? I would appreciate any input anyone has about this.

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My husband was fully aware that he had dementia, the type of dementia, the research going on about that type of dementia (he donated his brain to that), and that he was impaired. He did NOT want to know in detail what to expect and I never brought that up.

I reassured him about his worth and value as a person. We blamed the dementia for his problems. I never talked about his strengths in the past tense. I said, "You have an excellent brain and a very good memory. You graduated from Purdue and you won awards as an engineer. Of course you have a good brain! But right now the dementia isn't letting your good brain work quite right. That's OK. I'll be here to help you when that happens."

IF your mom notices her lapses AND it bothers her, then you can mention the dementia and reassure her that she is safe and loved. "Oh dear. I think I've already told that story. You must think me really dumb." "Mom, you are certainly not dumb and never have been. The disease you have makes your forget things some times. It is OK. We understand. We love you no matter how many times you tell a story."
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I would not advise to tell them. They are living thru it. It appears at least from what I read her tortured period of what's happening to me is over. Why burden them.
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Thanks for your Answers. They have been very helpful. I do have POA's, but it's doubtful Assisted living will be in the near future b/c my dad is still with us and they could not live without each other.
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And for heaven's sake, do not delay in getting any powers of attorney documents done, health care living will/advanced directives, and the like. You have no idea how long she still has as "competent" and will be legally able to sign papers.
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Trying to point out to them that they have dementia only inspires resentment and denial. Nor will they remember the details you present. But the MD would be very interested in knowing how often she is disoriented and how long it lasts. Keep a log and share that at office visits. We went through the same thing with mom and were relieved when she agreed to move to assisted living.
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You said that your mom is aware that she has dementia. If she's not able to comprehend that to the point that you feel you should elaborate I'd skip a discussion about it altogether. She's not likely to remember it or it could upset her.

Allow her to enjoy her lucid moments. She doesn't need to understand what this cruel disease may do to her.
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