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Riding4Him Riding4Him is offline
 
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Aging parents
Old 12-01-2019, 03:30 PM
  #1

So my mil is 79. She lives on her own, has a 83 year old boyfriend and a few friends. The last few years we've noticed a decline in her short term memory. It's tricky because she's had a habit of repeating her questions due to 1) she didn't like the first answer and 2) she is hard of hearing. We took her to my son's girlfriend's house for Thanksgiving. Our youngest was home from college and left early Saturday morning. In the car ride home she asked at least 5 times when she was going home. (2 1/2 hour ride) Our daughter would patiently answer and then the question would be repeated after some time had passed. Near the end of the ride home she asked our daughter what she was doing for Thanksgiving. ???? She acted as if Thanksgiving hadn't happened. We both work and she goes into the doctors on a regular basis but I'm wondering how thorough they are in seeing if she has dementia or not. Do doctors check for this when someone reaches a certain age? Is there any medication that will help in this matter? Should I contact someone or can I not do that due to HIPA laws? It's frustrating since she is so stubborn. Her boyfriend has his own medical needs but is very sharp mentally. Don't wan her to feel like I'm going around her. Any suggestions?


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Old 12-01-2019, 03:49 PM
  #2

It does sound like early stages of dementia. One of her children should go with her to next doctor appointment and suggest/infer she have a neurological work up.

Aricept can delay complete dementia for a while, but not permanently. There is no magic pill or cure.

This would be a very good time to get all legalities in place: power of attorney, trust, will, second person on bank account, etc. if she is on Medicare, get the paperwork started that allows someone else access to her info. I couldnít get info about my momís doctor bills because I wasnít authorized. And she was too far gone to sign any legal documents.
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Old 12-01-2019, 03:52 PM
  #3

Some county health departments can check on and evaluate seniors for "safety issues" in their homes. We called my aunt's county health department because she was in her early 90's and living alone. They came to her apartment and checked on her safety. The check included some memory evaluation. She lived in Minnesota and that state seems to have some pretty advanced senior care policies.

Doctor visits have some pretty quick memory assessments that may not catch your mom's memory issues. She sounds like she needs an in-depth evaluation.

Last edited by Renea; 12-02-2019 at 10:48 AM..
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Old 12-01-2019, 03:56 PM
  #4

It is time for your mom to give her medical providers authorization to talk to you including the hospital. I'm 71 and have given my doctors and hospital permission to talk to my DH and daughter about everyday stuff. There is also Medical Power of Attorney and other legal papers that should be decided.
I have been evaluated for dementia because of the extreme headaches and other heath issues...my mom had vascular dementia. Mine was found to be a type of migraine. It was a series of tests much like we do when referring a student. Our local hospital has a memory program that does the screening and it is covered under Medicare.

Being away from the familiar can trigger anxiety and the 2 hour trip was no doubt tiring for her. Make a list of the things you've seen. Check with her current doctor and see what they say. You might start by saying mom doesn't seem like herself... UTI's can fuzzy up older people real quick. Intervention is a good thing and you are a loving daughter to be concerned. Message me if I can help more.
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Old 12-01-2019, 04:03 PM
  #5

I’m sorry. Try to remember she’s frightened because her world is out of control. DH had vascular dementia (Alzheimer’s also causes dementia). I think this is a very good initial checklist. If you want more info google the AARP article that explains each.
Quote:
Here are some of the warning signs identified by dementia experts and mental health organizations:
Difficulty with everyday tasks.
Repetition.
Communication problems.
Getting lost.
Personality changes.
Confusion about time and place.
Troubling behavior.
Good luck!


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Old 12-01-2019, 05:41 PM
  #6

Yes, it is sad to watch this decline.

If her primary is one she has seen for years, he or she may already have noticed the decline. I donít believe this is a regular screening as part of the aging physical. At least my parents doctors didnít have one. Aricept is the med given to slow the decline.

If MIL has signed the release form from the doctor for her family to talk to them then someone can. She needs to list who the doctor can talk to about her health care needs. It sounds like you are the one that would deal with this and not DH. If so you need to talk to her about putting both your names on the form. I agree that itís time for a family member to accompany her to appointments and let her know the disclosure forms need to be signed.

Good luck, itís not easy when this decline starts. Is she remembering to take her other meds on a regular basis if she takes any? What about personal hygiene or money management issues?
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Old 12-01-2019, 07:03 PM
  #7

Great advice given here. We are going through the same with FIL. It is most likely early stages of dementia. Get the POA for health and finances lined up for her. It can be a rough road, but it is so helpful to have your ducks in a row ahead of time.
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Old 12-01-2019, 10:48 PM
  #8

With my parents I contacted the dr. Prior to a checkup appointment I knew was coming up. I was clear that I knew they wouldn't be able to talk to me or even confirm that they were patients, but identified myself and my concerns. The nurse confirmed nothing but obviously listened and my parents were given memory tests at that appointment and given paperwork encouraging them to consider having a family representative on their accounts in case of an accident, etc.

Even then I had to push from my side, asking them about the appointment etc. My dad got a dementia diagnosis and it still took a while for mom to allow me access. One symptom that wasn't mentioned above that played a heavy role with my dad especially was distrust. All of a sudden he was very private, nothing was any of our business. Etc.

My parents, first dad and now mom, faked normalcy really well to others long after I noticed issues. They were in deep denial too.


I plan to do paperwork for my own children giving them access now that they are adults. That way it will be in place when they see the need and I wont be able to fight them!
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Old 12-02-2019, 06:43 AM
  #9

Quote:
....faked normalcy really well to others
This is enormously important. DH was very good at “playing along” and pretending he understood. You need to take charge and make sure doctors understand the changes.

The doctors we had in hospital didn’t know DH before, so my word held a lot of value for them. Here’s what I did: I stood just behind DH when doctors were questioning him. This way I could signal doctors that his responses were incorrect. DH appeared very earnest and thoughtful to doctors. And I stood behind because I didn’t want to humiliate him—he was still very aware, just a different kind of aware. So, example:
Dr: How many steps lead to your house?
DH: (thoughtful pause, then with assurance) 11
Me from behind: (shake head, signal 3)

DH didn’t know me, but he was still smart. One of the questions doctors first asked was, “What day is it?” or “What’s today’s date?” DH had no clue but quickly learned to sneak a look at the hospital chart right next to his bed where the day/date were prominently displayed.

I don’t want to be the bearer of bad tidings, but given the things you’re noticing, her condition is probably more serious than you suspect.

Last edited by amiga13; 12-02-2019 at 07:21 AM.. Reason: I can spell
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Old 12-02-2019, 10:27 AM
  #10

I have been going to my momís doctorís appt. with her. I think the doctors appreciate it.


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Old 12-03-2019, 01:40 PM
  #11

Amiga - Looking at the chart for info! It's kind of amazing how smart people with dementia can still be. My dad doesn't know much, but he knows to look at his watch to help him draw a clock face. He can't tell the time anymore though.
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Thanks for the suggestions
Old 12-05-2019, 08:03 PM
  #12

Thanks everyone, my hubby and I have been discussing this the last week. We made progress on getting a poa last year and then one of her "friends" convinced her that we would just put her into a home. ugh, we do not have a plan to do that. Thanks again.
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