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Don't know where to turn

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Old 10-28-2012, 12:19 PM   #1
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Arrow Don't know where to turn

I don't know what to do but found these boards and hope to connect with someone else who has gone through what I'm going through. My 69 year old mother appears to be suffering from dementia but won't get help. My siblings and I noticed memory lapses about 2 years ago which seemed to increase after a ground level fall (no injuries). Over these last 2 years it has gotten to the point of asking the same question multiple times in the same conversation. I just had a baby and feel like my hands are full with my new family and now having to help my Dad take care of my Mom feels daunting. Both of my siblings took jobs out of the country and will be gone for 1-2 years and I feel like I am left to "fix" this. I have had multiple conversations w/ Mom- she insists she doesn't have a problem, that she "isn't there yet," and that her memory lapses are normal forgetfulness. Yesterday she invited us over for dinner and had a full birthday cake there from the store- icing was smeared because apparently she had the baker write "happy birthday" to me on it and when my dad saw it he removed it before I arrived (my bday was in March and we had a party at that time). Then my Mom was talking to her friend at the dinner table and asked what time her son was going to arrive as she was concerned he was running late. I screamed "He's in Australia!" just absolutely mortified that she'd forget. I guess I feel so ashamed and defeated seeing her slip away... I miss my Mom. She was an accountant and head of her civic organization who raised a family, traveled the world- all of those memories are still intact but she can't recall what she ate for breakfast. What do I do? Please help.

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Old 10-28-2012, 07:05 PM   #2
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Re: Don't know where to turn

Hello nit, first of all you are not alone, all of us on this board are or have gone through what you are experiencing! It does sound like mom is have problems for sure, can you talk to her doctor, if not can you go with mom to the dr, how is dad handling all of this? Mom really needs to be assessed as soon as possible, denil is a big part of it and although mom knows something is wrong she is probably scared to death of the prognoses. Let's face it the is no cure and you can not fix this but there are meds out there that can slow down the effects of Alzheimer and the sooner you get mom assessed the sooner she can start on them. There are some great people on here who will chime in as soon as they see your post so hang on, I just what to tell you that you have come to the right place. I am in Canada so best to wait intil one of your country men come on board and help point you in the right direction. The one thing I can say is never get mad at mom as this is a disease and she is doing the best she can and it will make for a hard situation harder.

Hugs Judy..

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Old 10-28-2012, 10:14 PM   #3
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Re: Don't know where to turn

Hello Nitalong, You have come to the right place. There are people who care and will be here to talk with you and give you some ideas on how to cope with this horrible disease. It has helped me more than I can say. So hang in there.

Old 10-29-2012, 09:15 AM   #4
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Re: Don't know where to turn

At some point if she is not in early stage, it doesn't help to tell her the son is in another country. At least say it nicely. Screaming can only scare Mom. Usually it is the short-term memory that is damaged first and then later on her long-term memory about her past will be gone too. It is part of this disease. It is good that dad removed the wrong b-day message. I am afraid that you will just have to deal with her delusions or faulty memory down the road and it will be a long time. Sometimes you can just say the son is not here and redirect her to do something else. I am sure Dad is under a lot of stress now taking care of Mom. Please make sure you check on Dad and Mom and maybe one day Dad needs to hire a part-time caregiver to help out so he is not burned out.


Old 10-29-2012, 04:20 PM   #5
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Re: Don't know where to turn

Thanks everyone for your replies. I feel a lot more at peace today and realize that each day with my Mom, forgetful or not, is precious. I know she's not doing it on purpose and can't help what's happening. I think this is helping me cope, along with knowing that there is a place I can get support if I need it. I am also reading Dr. Colin Iosso's book on Alzheimer's which is supposed to be really good. Any advice would be great, thanks!

Old 10-29-2012, 09:13 PM   #6
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Re: Don't know where to turn

Nita, I agree that the first thing you need to do is to get her to the doctor. You don't have to tell Mom that you are going to have her assessed for dementia. Just take her for a physical. Be sure to tell the doctor what is going on with her and ask him to do a MMSE (Mini Mental Status Exam). This will give a quick view of her cognitive status. There are 30 questions with 30 being a perfect score indicating no problem. The lower the score the worse the problem. Then her physician can make the necessary referrals. Yes, it is a scary diagnosis but knowing what you are dealing with will help you tremendously to make the necessary plans for the future.

Know it is typical for those with dementia not to realize they have a problem. Because of the damage to their brain, they believe they are functioning well. It is NOT normal aging or forgetfulness. If something "slips our mind" we can retrace our steps or find a way to access that memory. We know that we have forgotten. For them, it never happened, it never existed. So they have no clue what they don't know. There are holes and gaps in their recent memory that just do not exist. Their mind will fill in the blanks so it makes sense to them. Their reality is as real to them as yours is to you. If they can not accomplish a task they make an excuse or ignore the problem. At times they seem almost normal and at other times they can not function. It not only affects their memory. It also affects their ability to make decisions, their ability to reason, their behavior, their ability to follow directions, and so much more. Some of the things to look for is inability to keep a check register, pay bills, or keep track of money. New technology such as computers, TV remotes, and telephones become difficult for them to use. They may put something away and then accuse you of stealing it. They may put a pot on the stove and then forget it is there. They may not take their medications or may take too many. They may wear the same clothes repeatedly, refuse to take a bath, or change clothes repeatedly. As you have seen they may forget important information. They can also get lost in familiar surroundings. If she is driving you definitely need to have her assessed for her cognitive ability to drive. To know what to do in an emergency situation.

Yes, it is overwhelming, especially at first. You are busy with your life and this takes time to sort out. Typically it is one siblings that ends up with the brunt of the burden. Yet it is something that is done and that you can do. It just takes time to get your bearing, bet your diagnosis, and get a plan in place.

I would advise that you get outside help for your Dad to help him with Mom. Introduce them as a new friend. Let the care giver come with you a few times until Mom gets used to having her around the house. Then she can come in to "visit" when Dad need to go out or just needs a break. As the disease progression you will want to add additional help as needed. At some point it may be necessary to place her in a facility so you need to investigate what is available in your area and how to pay for it. It is always better to be prepared than to be scampering at the last minute.

No, you are not alone, and Yes, you have found the right place All of us here are dealing with the same. My Dad was diagnosed with Vascular Dementia in 1998 and passed away in 2010. Mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2006. She is now in a specialized locked dementia unit in the final stages. Back in 98... it was rather overwhelming. Today... it is my normal It is not what we want to do but what we need to do and what we do!! Welcome, and hope to hear from you often...

Love, deb

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