I constantly worry about my mom. She is prideful and stubborn and refuses to talk to her primary doctor about her memory loss. My dad ad submits notice it and I help her out and check on her daily. She recently got a jury summons in the mail and read the letter probably 5-6 times and it was like new news every time. I love her so much but it's exhausting to be around. She stopped taking her vitamin B12 a couple years ago because she didn't like the way her doctor talked to her and it makes me sick inside to know she's going downhill with no intervention. The movie The Notebook won't get out of my head; I'm never an anxious person but I lose sleep over this. I have a baby and husband to care for and sometimes I just want to move away but I love my parents too much to do that. Does anyone have any advice on how to manage your life and your AD family members without going nuts!?
The following user gives a hug of support to Nitalong: jack rabbit (04-01-2013)
I am so sorry that your Mom has memory loss. You can write to the officer and explain that Mom cannot go to the jury due to illness so they won't make her go. You can just tell her to sign it off with excuses.
It is hard if she doesn't see any doctor. B6/B12 vitamins are good for the brain. I think she needs care giving from Dad and you. Set up the POA (power of attorney) and health directive and living will while she can still sign.
The only med she can take now is aricept or namenda but she needs to have memory assessment like MMSE (verbal test on her memory.) However, the drugs cannot really do anything to help her brain and behaviors. So Dad needs to take care of her.
She may not have Alzheimer's. She could have any type of dementia like vascular dementia. Alzheimer's is just one type of dementia. If possible, a diagnosis by a specialist like neurologist or psychiatrist helps.
You just have to take care of yourself and your kid/family. You should never forget about your own responsibility. You can help Dad. Set up some schedule to check on Mom. Hire a part-time help to be with her so she doesn't get lost.
One day Mom will be too sick to be on her own to have her pride. She now repeats the questions but later she will be illogical and will behave "strangely". She has memory loss and she would behave according to her own reality and adds up with funny behaviors.
Don't argue with her or "remind" her. She will forget. Just handle things for her if possible (like the jury thing.)
In the mean time, Dad should try to get her see a specialist to find out about it.
Being worried cannot help. Don't get depressed. Try to talk to a home care agency or any nurse. Home care service usually understands dementia care.
Nitalong, the first thing you need to do is take a deep breath and calm down.
Do not expect Mom to talk to her doctor. If she does have dementia then she in unable to explain it to the doctor. You said yourself that she did not understand or remember the jury letter and repeats herself. This says that she will not be able to have a meaningful conversation with the doctor either. You need to talk to the doctor yourself. Explain to the doctor what you are seeing and what your concerns are. Tell him everything. Ask that he do a complete physical, with blood work, and a MMSE (Mini Mental Status Exam). He may also request a CT scan be done. You need to make sure it is not a problem that can be treated. If it is dementia, you need to know what kind and how far along she is. This may require a visit to a geriatric neurologist. Once you know what the problem is, learn everything you can about it. Knowledge is power. The more you know the more comfortable you will be. Right now you are scared of what might be.
I do wonder if what she didn't like was the doctor telling her that she had possible dementia. My Mom did the very same thing. The first doctor that picked up on her symptoms, she fired him. If she has a B-12 deficiency then it would be beneficial for her to take the supplement. But the doctor needs to do a B-12 blood test to be sure.
If it is a medical condition that can be treated then she does need treatment, but if it is Alzheimer's or one of the other types of dementia there may be nothing that can be done. But you need to know what is going on with her to know what to do next.
So my recommendation is to get her to a doctor, find out what is going on, and then learn all that you can learn about her condition. Keep typing and asking questions here as well. Put your energy into learning the facts rather than worrying. Call and make her a doctor's appointment
Thank you Nina and deb. I was certainly at my breaking point when I posted. I'm going to tell my doctor about my concerns and ask for a head CT and MMSE. I used to administer them years ago and I'd guess she'd score in the low 20's. You guys are right, knowledge is power. I will keep you posted and please know your replies warmed my heart!
Well it's 4mo later and things are worse. My dad said mom is hallucinating now talking to her mother (who died 7yrs ago). I called her doctors office and told them I wanted an MMSE and wanted to learn how to help her manage her diabetes so I went to her next doctors appt. Her doc talked about her like she wasn't even in the room, ignored the memory issues, and rushed through her whole visit. I'm feeling so defeated.
Nita, many General Practitioners/Family Doctors are unfamiliar with Dementia and do not take the time to listen. They rush them in and out never looking at the obvious. Many do not give the MMSE even when ask because they are unfamiliar with what to do with the test. I had that same problem with Mom's General Practitioner. Even when he did give her the test, he had no idea that a 24/30 was not a "good score"! I called his office and ask for a referral. I had the option of a Memory Assessment Research Service specializing in Alzheimer's diagnosis and that is where I finally had Mom diagnosed. I am not sure what is available in your area but you need to find out. Do a web search for Memory Assessment Clinics, Alzheimer's Specialist, or Geriatric Neurologist that specialize in Alzheimer's. Call the local Alzheimer's Association and as if they could recommend a diagnostic clinic. Then call the GP office and insist on a referral to the doctor of your choice. If he refuses, do as I did.... tell him then you are going to take her, have her diagnosed on my own, and then he could talk to our lawyer! You are Mom's advocate and this is what you need to do.
Hang in there! You will get the needed diagnosis, with or without her doctor, if you keep making appointments! This is for you, your Dad, and mostly for Mom! Keep going.....
Thank you. I got my mom and appt today and my brother went with her. Her MMSE score was 21/30. They got her in right away for a head CT and we should have those results Monday. Then a Palliative Care Outreach nurse should be meeting with Mom (and Dad) to discuss goals of care and next steps. Thank you for your guidance.