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Old 07-14-2011, 10:01 AM   #1
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Mom diagnoised with Dementia and I'm confunsed

I am so glad I found this thread last night. My mom has always been a little bit forgetful, she's never worked dad always took care of her so we always felt she remembered what she wanted to. Well last fall she started losing weight, asking the same question repeatedly, and by the new year my dad and sister felt like her symptoms were due to her taking 5mg of Xanax daily for the past 8 years also she had been on blood pressure medicine for the past 15 years, her blood pressure went years without her treating it and that was her being in denial. So when I carry her to the doctor and we discuss problems he runs test and the out come is hypothyroid (yes he had never test her thyroid and she is 69 years old), gallstones, and vascular dementia so he puts her on Donepzil and an aspirin a day which long story short she had a HUGE ulcer that had went undetected due to arthritis medicine (thats what stomach dr thought) so she ends up in ER with upper GI bleed out. All this takes about 2 months to finally end with gallbladder surgery and the dementia seems like it has progressed rapidly, DR says because of stress. Then in late April her in Alabama we had the day of deadly tornados, no power for days, my daughter in Tuscaloosa so mother is worries about her till she is home and by the end of the week we have seen a rapid decline, DR still says because of stress that stress makes it worse so try to keep her calm during these times.

Okay now it is July, he has added namenda to her meds and she seems to be getting worse. This week she had another thyroid test and now it is too low so we have adjusted meds.

Now here is where I want your thoughts and experiences. My dad has been in denial about the Dementia from the start so he wants me to find doctor in Birmingham cause he feels if she gets off all her medicines she would be better. What I have read on internet I think she does have Dementia but I don't understand while the rapid decline unless it might be turning into alzheimer's disease so that worries me. My brother lives behind her and is a big help but when it comes to the doctor stuff he doesn't say anything. My sister just says what ever you want to do.

So do you think we should go to a specialist in Birmingham and what kind of specialist should it be? How do I handle telling her why she is going? She or none of us has mention Dementia since the doctor told her she had it, a friend whos father had alzheimer's said they felt the little he knew about what was wrong with him the better, do you agree with that?

Thank you for any help, I have been looking for a support group here to get people's opinions but I don't know if its because its summer but I have yet to find one. Hoping things will settle down in fall.
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Old 07-14-2011, 10:37 AM   #2
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First off, start with this link to the Alzheimers Association for the US. It should take you to looking for a group or support in your community.


Second, dementia/Alzheimers.....it's the same thing.

You need to find a Geriatric specialist. Or someone who specializes in dementia/Alzhemiers patients. Dealing with a regular MD will only get you so far. While they are fine at times, you have far too many complex questions to deal with an MD.

In my experience, the BP medication should have no bearing on her memory or cognitive function. I have never seen that with long term care patients before. The Xanax......it's not a new medication for her, she has been on it long term, but it can have effects, but to acutely have a decline. Sounds more like a dementia issue, than a medication issue.

She needs to be more closely monitored for the thyroid issue.

BUT, she needs to be followed for the dementia/Alzheimers. There are 5 stages of Alzheimers. And while some can go through them rather slowly, some people can cycle through them rapidly, becoming very severely declined and unable to care for themselves.

Your dad needs to be able to face the reality that there MAY be a cognitive issue there. He needs to face the reality that things can and probably will get worse. While it can be medications and other physical issues at times that impair peoples memory, he needs to come to terms that there might be something wrong. BUT continue to seek out answers!!!!

Stress is a HUGE trigger for people with cognitive problems.....In long term care, when a new person moves from their own house into a nursing home, you tend to see a decline in the personality, ability to care for themselves, eating habits.....over time, they tend to adjust and slowly gain what they lost. Some dont. The less stress there is, the better they will do. You can't help a tornado:P BUT, you can help with calming them after and reassuring that everyone is ok.....

I dont believe in not telling the person the have Alzheimers. How much does she understand? Is she still understanding conversation and things being told to her? If so, I would tell her. She has the right to know! After all, it is her care and her mind. Tell her in a non stressful way. Her mind is slipping, she's getting the old age forgetfullness....give her the name of it. When she gets to the point she doesn't understand, and it would just upset her more than do her good to know, just tell her she is forgetfull. We are all allowed to be forgetful at that age:P

But mostly, for your family, you, your dad, find a group!! Talk to the doctor, go to the local hospital.....they should have the info for you. the more educated you are, the better off you are. I hope you get the answers you need, and the help you need.



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Old 07-15-2011, 12:42 AM   #3
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I am sorry your are facing all these worries with your mum and medicgoofy has given you some wonderful information.

In my experience with my dad we found it so helpful to see a geriatric specialist, it made a huge difference when sorting out treatment options and medication.
A local support group can be a great resource for finding out available help and services in your community.

Sending you a big , your mum is blessed to have such a caring daughter.

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Old 07-15-2011, 09:33 AM   #4
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Thank you so much for the info and hugs MedicGoofy and quasar4legs.

I have read and re-read your post MedicGoofy. I am going to start looking for a geriatric specialist this weekend, hopefully I can find one someone has used and recommends. Also thank you on the advice about my dad, sometimes I feel very harsh and mean to him but I want him to help me find answers that can help her rather than running away from the problem. I did go to the website that list support group in my area, there was not one listed in Decatur but one 45 minutes up the road. So I will call our hospital today to see if they know one, also thought I would check local rec center to see if they have any support group meetings there. I know I need one not only for emotional support but also as a resource of other experiences.

My mom can still communicate very well and understands what you are saying to her entirely but forgets it almost as soon as the conversation is over. Some things she will remember, like if it has to do with the life of her kids or grandkids she can recall everything. My nephew recently broke up with his college gf and has a new gf and she remembers the whole story but her dogs had fleas and she had to put flea collars on and have her backyard sprayed and I was going over everyday to check for fleas on them and kill any I saw and everyday I showed up and started checking she would ask why I was doing that and then go "I have fleas, I need to get the yard sprayed and some flea collars" which she already did.

Once again thank you, thank you for your reply.
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Old 07-15-2011, 09:50 AM   #5
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a neurologist that spealizes in Alzheimers would be a good idea. That is what we did here in NC for my Granddaddy.

My Mother is showing signs too, but she refuses to go to the doctor to be tested.
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Old 07-16-2011, 02:02 AM   #6
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Many hugs your way I hope things get better.

I would say that your Dad has a point. Xanax - especially at 5 mg/day can cause these symptoms over time. I agree that the first step is getting her off all the meds and then seeing where she's at.

Normal GP won't usually do this but a good AZ doc will. Just search Xanax and memory loss and you'll see it is very common and can get very severe.

I unfortunately have first hand experience. Once off the meds the memory came back for the most part - not all the way but mostly. Good luck.

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Old 07-17-2011, 10:19 PM   #7
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I think you have been given some great tips here. I am sorry that I don't have any, but will keep your family in my thoughts and prayers.
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Old 07-25-2011, 07:07 PM   #8
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My mom has dementia also. I wish we had taken her to a specialist in geriatric before she declined so badly she can't make the trip, or leave her nursing home. My db and I went thru much of what you are going thru. I kept thinking I HAVE to know I did everything I could for her. (like she would do for me). Today I am comfortable with the fact my db and I did all we could with the knowledg we had at the time.
As far as what to tell her. I'm sure others can help more. But my Mom already said she was afraid she had Alzheimers. We would talk about it and agreed there are worse diseases to have. She isn't in pain. We are not watching her suffer. She is on meds that are greatly helping her now. She is happy 98% of the time. Once in a while she gets a little anxious. She thinks she has to come help me with my kids. The nurses call me I talk with mom & remind her how old the kids are, thank her, and reassure her we will be over to visit as soon as I can.
Good thoughts and well wishes are with you.
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Old 07-25-2011, 09:45 PM   #9
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I would suggest that stopping all medications is a mistake. She needs medication for her blood pressure and thyroid function, at least. Vascular dementia can be related to longstanding hypertension so stopping her anti-hypertensives would be counter productive. Please don't do any of this without consultation with her doctor. If she has a hypertensive crisis off her meds she will wind up in the ER and probably in the hospital and you will all feel pretty silly for having stopped her meds. (It could potentially become a legal issue as well.)

As for the rest, others have given good advice. You have a lot of research to do. It is a tough road to travel. Best wishes to you and your family.

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