Now it is my Mom's turn to get this dementia question.
I visited my folks every Dec. My sister told me some 2 years ago my Mom failed some kind of MMSE test in the states. Dad passed it.... Dad is older and is 90.
Mom is 3 years younger. The thing is my sisters have no idea that she needs a proper diagnosis. Yes, some years ago, she had mini strokes and the specialist did warn her not to have dementia if she doesn't take med. Now she takes meds and is OK with her blood test.
However, my sisters didn't understand that GPs don't know anything about it
My sisters talked about dementia in my Mom's face (wanting her to do something about it like hiring a caregiver and stay put not traveling) and emailed to the doctor about getting dementia drugs in my Mom's eyes???
Well, I told them, now no dementia talk in my Mom's face since she denies it anyway. No talking about dementia with the doctor in her face. Try to get a diagnosis again if possible.
Well the thing is, Mom won't take more memory tests now. She told me she didn't realize she needed to remember the clock so she forgot the answers. She also may have language problem - she is not very American although she knows English.
(She could draw it though.) Maybe she needs to try MMSE in her own language?
Now this doesn't mean Dad has no dementia and Mom has dementia for sure. I told them the drugs like aricept can only make her perceptive. She is only in very early stage to me - she only forgets but her logic is OK.
I only understand Alzheimer's so this may be vascular dementia or not.
More likely our family will be stuck with "possible dementia" issue.
If she failed the MMSE several years ago then there is a problem and she does need a proper diagnosis. Yes, it could be Vascular Dementia related to the stroke. Yes, medication to treat the post stroke/circulatory problems will be beneficial to her. They will improve her circulation and therefore the circulation in her brain. That will help slow the vascular dementia decline.
Her logic is good but she forgets does sound like Vascular Dementia. It is different from Alzheimer's. The dementia affects the part of the brain which was affected by the stroke. So they will not show different symptoms related to the part of the brain affect. It does not follow that familiar pattern of Alzheimer's.
As for telling Mom... some can handle the information and some cannot. My Mom could not but my Great Aunt handled the information very well. It is obvious that your family, including your Mom, is not dealing with the situation. If Mom denies it then it is easy to just ignore it.
Yes, Mom does need a proper diagnosis. There may be something else that is causing the dementia like symptoms. Recently I had a friend who thought she was showing signs of dementia. She was but it was just a B12 deficiency. Now that she is on proper dosages of B12 her symptoms have disappeared. It would be a shame if Mom had a medical condition or medication side effect that could be reversed and nothing was done. If for no other reason she needs a complete physical with blood work, brain scan, memory testing, and medication review.
If her primary physician is not proactive in helping you with this diagnosis then you need a referral to someone that can and will diagnose Mom appropriately. Your sister needs to talk to the doctor and give him all the symptoms she is seeing before Mom goes into the office. There are other memory test he can give other than the MMSE.
A point about the language. Second languages are many times forgotten by the loved one with dementia. The second language will go before the native language. There is a resident in Mom's unit who is native German. At this point he speaks a strange mixture of German/English. Many of the English words have been lost but he can replace them with the German words. Lately he has been speaking more and more German. So expect her to revert back to her native language.
The Following User Says Thank You to Gabriel For This Useful Post: ninamarc (01-09-2013)
Nina, I went for years doubting mom's diagnosis as you have read in some of my past posts. It's nice that her logic is still okay. Just a question, can your mom still relate personally to you. Eg...how are you doing, how are the kids, Happy birthday, how are you feeling etc...my mom lost that almost immediately where she was not able to relate to any of those she once had a close relationship with, to herself yes, but not to her family. Also remember that at your mom's age, some memory loss is normal unless it's all considered dementia now a days?
My mom had several tests done, she hated them, yet even after failing and being diagnosed with dementia/with component of Alzh, she was still able to pull off a passing test every so often.
The one thing I did not agree with when my mom was sick, everyone was talking about her condition right in front of her, like she wasn't even in the room. One time I looked at my mom while the doctor was talking to me, and the look of desperation in her eyes, trying to get the doctor's attention to ask if she was going to be alright, broke my heart because I knew a small part of her still wanted some hope and to hear those words. I think she still understood during certain moments.
Something you mentioned Dorri is one of my pet peeves. Doctors and others that talk about Mom but not to Mom drove me nuts. Even if Mom's short term memory is impaired and she has trouble following a conversation, she is picking up words and non verbal signals that let give her a clue. I have ask doctors to step out in the hall or included mom in the conversation by focusing on her during the conversation. I actually ask one doctor to speak to her and not me. At least by him focusing on her, she felt included, even if she didn't understand all that was going on.
My Mom and Dad are still OK with their kids and everything. They are actually enjoying the family time so my Mom is not at that point yet. So far it is the memory loss according to my sister. I know it is at moderate stage when the demented person has trouble with family members. My late FIL had lost his cognition abilities about his own retired career and his elder son and everything. When it comes to this, it is pretty obvious. My parents are not like that yet.