I know I haven't been here for a long time. I was taking some time off from reading about alzheimer's . Well, now I know my Mom has it. I kind of knew she had it but hearing it is so different then just feeling it.
I went to the doc yesterday with my Mom. We talked about all of her tests,that came out normal. Ct of her head. U-sound of her neck,blood work. Anyway the Doctor knows that my Mom is very scare of hearing she has Alzheimers so the doc didn't say the word at all. The doc just told her that she is putting her on a medicine for her memory.
I called the Doc today and she told me she thinks it is Alzheimer's and that she even notice my Mom has changed, I said how do you mean she said "your Mom used to have a lot of confidence, now she has none" I asked the doc what is the DX she said Early Dementia.
I 'm not telling my Mom she has Alzheimer's because I think she she would decline very fast, she would be thinking the worst. Like I said before, my whole life I've heard my Mom say I'm going to get Alzheimer just like My Mother. She took care of her Mother and as I'm sure you all know it was very hard on my Mom. Being an only child she did everything.
If anyone thinks this is wrong of me please tell me. My Mom saw on one of the papers DX Dementia, she was getting upset and I told her "Dementia is forgetfulness" she felt better about that.
It's so hard I don't know what's right or wrong. I feel like maybe the Doctors wrong then deep down I know it's true. Thanks Liz
Baseball... you are doing exactly what I did in the very same situation I had... and I have absolutely NO regrets at all. My grandmother also had Alzheimer's and Mom was her caregiver. It was my Mom's worst fear, to have what Nannie had. When she realized something was wrong she convinced herself and the doctor that it was depression. By the time she was diagnosed she could not understand or remember the diagnosis. When she did see the papers I just made them disappear. For those that fear this disease as a caregiver can... why torment them with telling them they do have it. Soon enough they will be beyond understand and you will spare them so much grief. So from my point of view... you and I did the right thing for our Mom!!!
Baseball... you have two other major hurdles. Driving is a biggie. Suggestion... call your local Alzheimer's Association and ask them for the local driving test agency. They evaluate her ability to drive both physically (actually operating the car) and cognitively (what to do in situations) and will give recommendations on her ability to drive. If she passes then you know she is ok for the time being. If she doesn't pass then it is their fault and not yours I'm all for taking the monkey off our backs if possible. The other will be deciding when to find full time care for her and what kind. Can you keep her at home? How long can she stay there alone? How long can she stay there with help? Does she need facility care. You just need to start thinking about what is to come and lay plans now even if you don't need them today.
As shocking as that diagnosis can be when you hear it. At least you now know what you are dealing with. You can start planning what needs to be done in the future. This way you don't get caught taking just anything. Even though right now you are probably overwhelmed with it all... you did the right thing in getting the diagnosis
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My mom has vascular dementia. When she was well enough to realize something was wrong with her, she would say "I can't believe I don't remember--I must be going crazy." That was her big fear.
I always told her that with all the things she was trying to keep track of, it was no wonder she forgot things sometimes. That played right into her reality, as she was tidying things incessantly and becoming more obsessive-compulsive by the day.
As far as I'm concerned, anything you can say or do that provides comfort and security for your Mom is the right thing to do. Honesty is for people well-grounded in reality, and most of us "normal" people aren't all that fond of it either!
Sorry that you got that news.....and that it is sinking in now......it's a strange sensation, isn't it? I'm glad that your doctor was sensitive enough to not blurt out the diagnosis in front of your mom.
The first neurologist we saw for my stepdad very rudely just blurted out - right to my stepdad "you have Alzheimer's." What a jerk . We changed doctors. I'm so glad we did as my stepdad had a year of testing in front of him and it turns out the proper diagnosis was Frontal Temporal Lobe Dementia. Our family would not have wanted to take our journey with the first jerky neurologist.
I'm with everyone else - and I like KrenM's comment - honesty is for folks who are well grounded in reality. It's all distressing enough without rubbing salt in the wound for now. Take good care. Let us know how you're doing. And again - sorry for the bad news you received.........
Last edited by TC08; 10-25-2011 at 08:15 PM.
Reason: needed to correct a sentence
So sorry your Mom has dementia. It is shocking and tiring the first time you hear it. My FIL had symptoms in 2004 and his lady friend said it was Alzheimer's. His wife just died so we were not sure. I knew something was fishy and I read books about Alzheimer's. My husband didn't want to think that way until late 2006 when his Dad was diagnosed. The doc. told my husband it is AD and my husband was kind of shocked. Well, his Dad was told this by my husband. As a professor who studied brain, his Dad said oh, the doc is wrong! I would know it if I had it! Yet my FIL knows his memory has something wrong.
He has never admitted it. Anyway, it does not matter in the end because he does not understand the disease himself. He is involved in this disease and only once or twice that he seemed to admit it but it was for a short time. He worries about survival. It is good that he likes his new home.
It is hard indeed. Everyone is different, but overall the person does not understand the disease Alzheimer's. People with vascular dementia may understand it in early/moderate stage, but not Alzheimer's.
Nina... my Dad had vascular dementia and he never knew. He thought he was just fine Before diagnosis Mom, with her Alzheimer's, knew there was something wrong but convinced herself it was depression. By the time she was diagnosed she no longer had the cognition to comprehend. Yet my great aunt knew she had Alzheimer's and discussed it readily in the earlier stages. It depends so much on the individual and the stage of the disease as well as which dementia they have.
Part of the problem is that we seldom get early diagnosis. Many look for the sever memory issues as the first symptoms when in fact behavioral changes and lapse in judgement is more common in the early stages. Many may suspect there is something wrong but chalk it up to something else. By the time they are diagnosed, the ability to comprehend has already gone. I would say that early diagnosis is probably the number one factor in acceptance.
You are right, early diagnosis helps. I know one lady who has vascular dementia. She is an expert and blogger in another Alzheimer's website, and she is great in telling us her struggles about her memoy problems. Somehow with vascular dementia, she got worse slowly and is able to voice everything regarding dementia.
The sad part is in late stage, they no longer know what is exactly going on or understand anymore.
Also my FIL had this old school thoughts and he didn't believe that Alzheimer's can be diagnosed.
Old school thoughts and he didn't think Alzheimer's could be diagnosed... I guess that means he can't have it. Now that actually made me laugh. That so fits into demented thinking!
I know several Alzheimer's patients who are doing the same thing.... verbalizing on the web their struggles. I have even run into Norrms again. It's the early diagnosis and the temperament of the loved one that makes a difference. My Mom would never accept that she had it because she feared it so. My aunt just said ok... what can we do to make it easier. She was the queen of post it notes and kept a detailed journal to remind her of what she didn't remember.
Yes, some Vascular Dementia progresses slowly but some goes VERY fast. It all depends on the underlying physical condition that is causing the blood shortage to the brain. Dad was diagnosed for 12 years and only the last year or so was sever. Yet there was a sweet lady in Mom's unit who went from functional to gone in just a matter of months.
Each is so very different and you have to know your loved one, what type of dementia they have, the stage of the disease they are in, their medical conditions that complicate the disease, their temperament, and their personality. It all factors into their reaction to their little world
Again thanks to everyone for your replies, I still can't talk about my Mom having this without crying. Today when I was an hour late for my Doctors app,I almost cried to the lady at the desk. She was very nice,she said we called you yesterday and you said okay I'll be there at 1030. Well today I woke up thinking 1130.Have no idea why. I saw the doc it just took a lot longer.
Someone asked me if I was POA for my Mom, I said yes. My Mom had told me I was a long time ago. Now I'm thinking, I better make sure I am. I've never fill out anything.I don't know how it works. would I be going somewhere to do this or could my Mom have wrote me down? I don't want to ask her right now. If I call the lawyer will they tell me?
POA is complicated. You could be a POA in one bank where your Mom has some savings or CD, but you may not be the state POA or health care POA.
Finance POA is more complicated than health POA.
For dementia, you need to be the health proxy POA for your Mom. Ask an elderly attorney to set it up. There are papers in the state that are standard and can be downloaded. But both your Mom and you have to sign in front of the notary. In this kind of paper, your Mom would also need to indicate how she wants to die with/without articifial aids or write up a DNR and etc. She can state what she would wish in the end. (Note this is just paperwork, don't need to worry about it too much now. It is like a living will.)
You don't have to sign, I think. She needs to put down your name as POA.
For finances, frankly each financial co. has its own POA papers.... So check out her finances and see what needs to be done.
If you feel very bad, you may ask the doctor to give you a little antidepressant for a short time.
Join a support group and talk about it.
Liz, POA isn't that complicated. There is a durable power of attorney that covers everything except medical. There is usually a separate Medical POA. These legal documents are done by your Mom. There is nothing that you have to do. She will probably have a copy of the POA in her important papers or you can call her lawyer. He will know if she did the legal document and can tell you since you are the POA. Yes there can be other POA's but they are secondary to the durable.
One of my sisters has the Medical POA and another has the durable POA. I don't have either. What I do have is a specific POA from her financial institution so I can handle her money. It is unnecessary except Mom wanted me to deal with the money and my sister to handle anything else.
What you might want to do is to have your Mom go with you to have your name put on her accounts (checking savings etc) This just makes it easier and you don't have to carry around the POA to get things done! My name is on Mom's account. There are two ways to add your name. You can be a co-owner of the account which is what I am. That way, when she dies, half the money in the account transfers to me so I can pay any last minute bills Or you can have a courtesy signature which means you have permission to sign checks but the account is hers.
A word of warning. POA's are instruments of the state and do not apply to federal issues. They are no good when it comes to social security, medicaid, medicare, military retirement. They have their own system which is not difficult to navigate. You will need a letter of incapacity from her doctor for social security. This is not incompetency. It just says she is incapable of dealing with her affairs. They will assign you as payee. When you fix social security the medicare/medicaid follows it. The same is true for military retirement and insurances.. you just have to jump through their hoops separately.
It might do you well to talk to her lawyer and be sure all the legal work is done so you can easily handle her affairs.
Deb, my husband has this state POA (durable) for my FIL. However, the banks didn't like it. They have their own paperwork. I have to say the only way to do banking in this case is to share the account like what you said. I ddin't know the money will be split half after the elder dies. Thanks for the tip. (I thought it goes with whose social security number in the account. So it goes to the person with this SSN.)
Since my husband is also a trustee, it makes it more tricky. For IRS, I hope durable POA works. Anyway, we have experienced many rejections. Finally this financial co. takes the durable state POA for IRA matters.
So the letter from a doctor mentions the incompetency or incapacity helps a great deal.
Each state is a bit different Nina so it is best to check with a local attorney but I have had very few problems. My sister's POA has been sufficient to do anything we have tried to do as long as it was not federal. That was handled with the letter and being assigned payee for the social security and military. The specific POA for the financial agency just lets me do it and not have to ask her for the POA permission The only problems we have had was an insurance company that didn't see the validity of the document until he got a call from the lawyer and one power company that wanted to make life difficult. With the power company I gave up doing it right, signed in Mom's online account and did what I needed to do Otherwise it has been clear sailing.
Mom added my name as co-owner of her checking account. My sister had a courtesy signature. Dad's name was also on that account as a co-owner. When he died I notified the bank. They immediately notified social security which triggered his military retirement to stop. I didn't have to do anything there. Since there were three names on the account, 1/3 was considered Dad's, 1/3 was considered Mom's, and 1/3 was considered mine. Therefore 2/3 of the funds were unencumbered for me to use for Mom.
Another tip. At least here there is what is called a "transfer on death". It is done in lieu of a regular beneficiary. I had one on the checking account. When the dust cleared the other third of the money automatically went to Mom without going through probate. I now have one on Mom's financial account. When she dies that money will be split four ways and distributed to the sisters without going through probate. Sure will make life easier
But I do know that states vary so it's best to check with your lawyer in your area.