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Old 08-08-2022, 04:26 AM
 
2,238 posts, read 1,010,416 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frostnip View Post
Dementia is just a broad term for impaired ability to think and remember - it's not a disease in and of itself. Some types of dementia are much more severe and rapidly progressing than others, so for purposes of planning for future care needs, it is useful to have a proper diagnosis. There are also medications and therapies that, while they can't reverse dementia or stop it, can help the person think more clearly and retain more function for longer.

There are also a ton of of diseases, disorders, injuries, deficiencies, etc. that can impair mental function, particularly in the elderly, and many of those are eminently treatable, in many cases curable altogether.

Additionally, her doctor might conclude that she's within normal parameters given her age, and set her mind at ease.

Sounds like your mom is making a smart choice to confront the situation head-on and I'm glad you didn't discourage her. How would you feel if she didn't seek out treatment, and it turned out to be something like a thyroid deficiency or a UTI, easily treated to give her back full quality of life?
But can they accurately distinguish one form of dementia from another? I know that there really is no fool-proof test for Alzheimer’s. It is all based on clinical suspicion. Besides, even if they can pin down exactly which dementia it is — Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s Lewy Body or what have you — still no doctor can predict the course of the disease or tell you “what you can expect” since the course of all these diseases is unpredictable and individual (also, I have read that there are doubts as to whether Alzheimer’s is actually one disease). Also, whether this be Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Lewy Body, none of these have any truly effective treatments.

I know second hand about Parkinson’s because my father was a sufferer (albeit without the dementia component). It was never clear any treatment he took had any effect. In fact, it is almost impossible to know if any treatment for dementia is actually having an effect on an individual level.

Her mind is not going to be set at ease. She obviously has a problem with memory.

I doubt it is something like a UTI or a stroke as my mother’s memory has steadily been getting worse for at least 10 years now. It is not a sudden thing. In all these years, she has had a gazillion doctor’s visit (for ills both real and imaged and for “preventive medicine” both potentially helpful and probably not).

The situation is that she recognizes she is having a problem with memory and with functioning in every day life. We, her family, agree. The solution to this, IMO, is not to get an official diagnosis, but instead to recognize that she needs help and to get her the help that she needs. They have money. They can simply afford to hire someone without having to involve insurance. Maybe they will need more round-the-clock care in the future and which point they may need Medicare to pay, at which point she will need a diagnosis. But that is not the case now.

I just worry that by running to a neurologist with memory issues now while she is still actually functional, she will be setting herself up for additional scrutiny from social and health care services. Let’s say she falls or has an accident and winds up in the hospital? Maybe this fall wasn’t dementia-related. I mean the elderly without dementia fall frequently as well. But if these is Alzheimer’s on her medical record, I can see a hospital or long-term care facility refusing to release her back to her home.

I know we had lots of problems with my father in this regard … and he didn’t have dementia. Just Parkinson’s. My mother had to work really hard to get him “released.”

When my mother sees a neurologist about her memory issues, the only thing that is 100% guaranteed is that her doctor in particular and the health care field in general will benefit. There is far far from a 100% guarantee that she personally will benefit.
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Old 08-08-2022, 04:55 AM
 
Location: interior Alaska
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Well, as you said, she can make this decision for herself, and she has. Now you have the choice of either letting your personal prejudices about doctors cause you to act all persnickety about it, or genuinely supporting her. Given that at 87 she probably don't have much longer on this earth and that stress exacerbates memory issues, I'd strongly suggest the second. You're not going to look back ten years from now and think "I wish I'd argued with my mom more about health care, or infantilized her by not letting her deal with things in her own way."
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Old 08-08-2022, 05:00 AM
 
Location: The Driftless Area, WI
5,961 posts, read 3,183,213 times
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You're absolutely right, Jill. There are precious few treatable causes of dementia, and they're all pretty obvious without fancy tests....Things like good nutrition, regular exercise, etc may have their roles, but they're good advice for everyone, not just just those with problems.

The so-called Mental Status Tests are not very sophisticated or discriminating. They merely ask a few basic questions, like what's your address, what month is it, and subtracting serial 7s....By the time a pt shows a deficit, it's already obvious to everyone that theye're failing. The test merely tries to put a number on it for future comparisons of progression, as if we need a number for that. It's more for legal considerations than medical.

While anxiety and depression often secondarily complicate the aging process, the treatments often cause even more serious problems in the elderly and should be only prescribed with extreme caution.

Loneliness is the one remediable problem the elderly face, and unfortunately, circumstancers often prevent its remediation....Families should make contingency plans early on for the day when it's obvious that Ma can't live on her own anymore.
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Old 08-08-2022, 06:55 AM
 
2,238 posts, read 1,010,416 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frostnip View Post
Well, as you said, she can make this decision for herself, and she has. Now you have the choice of either letting your personal prejudices about doctors cause you to act all persnickety about it, or genuinely supporting her. Given that at 87 she probably don't have much longer on this earth and that stress exacerbates memory issues, I'd strongly suggest the second. You're not going to look back ten years from now and think "I wish I'd argued with my mom more about health care, or infantilized her by not letting her deal with things in her own way."
I am not acting “persnickety.” I am voicing concerns online. I know for a fact that she is not privy to this conversation since she has always been an Internet refusenik and has no connection, nor cell phone for that matter.

I think people have an image in their mind of a nice, typical grandmotherly type that we all need to support. My mother is the antithesis of this. (Side note: It is extremely difficult to buy her Mother’s Day cards since very few are appropriate.) Most of her life, she has been a fiery ball of eccentricity, truth-telling (as she sees it), meanness, narcissism, controlling behavior, fear, etc. with occasional flashes of genius, wit, creativity etc. that kinda sorta maybe make up for everything else. She is not some sweet little deary. Mostly I just try to stay out of her way.

I laugh when I read that I should not be “persnickety” and instead “support her” because that implies I actually have room to get the proverbial word in edgewise on the few occasions we actually speak with each other.
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Old 08-08-2022, 07:58 AM
 
Location: NC
3,257 posts, read 2,269,235 times
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I know that before my dad's LBD had advanced to where it is now, Aricept did help him with his cognitive function. It doesn't cure dementia, but it does slow the progression. It gave him a couple of years of clearer mind. When he was in charge of his meds, I could tell when he wasn't taking it. When I became in charge of his meds, his cognition improved again with regular Aricept. When his cognition was better, his anxiety and depression eased up. So yes, there is something that might help her.

I was also glad to discover that he had LBD because it's different from other dementias and I was prepared for the hallucinations, delusions and all the other things that are specific to LBD.
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Old 08-08-2022, 08:10 AM
 
2,077 posts, read 2,734,585 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jill_Schramm View Post
I am not acting “persnickety.” I am voicing concerns online. I know for a fact that she is not privy to this conversation since she has always been an Internet refusenik and has no connection, nor cell phone for that matter.

I think people have an image in their mind of a nice, typical grandmotherly type that we all need to support. My mother is the antithesis of this. (Side note: It is extremely difficult to buy her Mother’s Day cards since very few are appropriate.) Most of her life, she has been a fiery ball of eccentricity, truth-telling (as she sees it), meanness, narcissism, controlling behavior, fear, etc. with occasional flashes of genius, wit, creativity etc. that kinda sorta maybe make up for everything else. She is not some sweet little deary. Mostly I just try to stay out of her way.

I laugh when I read that I should not be “persnickety” and instead “support her” because that implies I actually have room to get the proverbial word in edgewise on the few occasions we actually speak with each other.
Wow. This is so not about her going to the doctor. You would probably benefit from a few visits to a therapist to learn how to distance yourself. Good luck.
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Old 08-08-2022, 08:26 AM
 
Location: Juneau, AK + Puna, HI
8,777 posts, read 5,294,534 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jill_Schramm View Post
Turmeric as a treatment for dementia? LMFAO.

No, but possibly could help with memory in general. There is something known as the inflammatory index that can be assessed, and a higher number correlates with increased incidence of developing dementia. Turmeric is anti inflammatory.
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Old 08-08-2022, 08:34 AM
 
6,672 posts, read 3,427,222 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jill_Schramm View Post
I spoke with my 87 y.o. mother on the phone last night. She said she is having memory problems and so made an appointment to see a neurologist. As she is the one in charge of her body and still mentally competent as far as I can tell (although I do think she is having some problems w memory) I just listened without interfering.
She should look into Dr. Mary Newport. She is an actual doctor that prolonged her husband's mental capacity after being diagnosed with Dementia -- with Ketosis and MTC / coconut oil.

Basically the medical theory is that as we age we lose energy to the brain running on just carbs. But, ketones offer another source of energy to the brain... making up for the missing energy.

https://charliefoundation.org/does-k...imers-disease/

This makes sense as a Keto diet is used for seizures.
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Old 08-08-2022, 08:48 AM
 
2,238 posts, read 1,010,416 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guidoLaMoto View Post
You're absolutely right, Jill. There are precious few treatable causes of dementia, and they're all pretty obvious without fancy tests....Things like good nutrition, regular exercise, etc may have their roles, but they're good advice for everyone, not just just those with problems.

The so-called Mental Status Tests are not very sophisticated or discriminating. They merely ask a few basic questions, like what's your address, what month is it, and subtracting serial 7s....By the time a pt shows a deficit, it's already obvious to everyone that theye're failing. The test merely tries to put a number on it for future comparisons of progression, as if we need a number for that. It's more for legal considerations than medical.

While anxiety and depression often secondarily complicate the aging process, the treatments often cause even more serious problems in the elderly and should be only prescribed with extreme caution.

Loneliness is the one remediable problem the elderly face, and unfortunately, circumstancers often prevent its remediation....Families should make contingency plans early on for the day when it's obvious that Ma can't live on her own anymore.
Yes, that is what I’d like to do … make contingency plans with as little medicalization of the issue as possible. Of course, it’s not my call …

Also, what’s with the counting back w serial 7s on Mental Status tests? I’m not sure I could do that easily and I know I don’t have dementia. I could see someone getting stressed out, freezing up mentally and screwing that up without having dementia.
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Old 08-08-2022, 08:50 AM
 
2,238 posts, read 1,010,416 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reebo View Post
Wow. This is so not about her going to the doctor. You would probably benefit from a few visits to a therapist to learn how to distance yourself. Good luck.
I have already learned how to distance myself, thank you very much.

Also, believe me, this is fairly objective description of my Mom. Even my husband, who is one of the most mature, kind people I know — someone who makes it a practice never to say anything bad about anyone behind their back — calls her “mama Mussolini” and “completely intolerable.” And my sister agrees and my cousins agree and most assuredly whoever the strangers are who leave dead animals in her mailbox agree too, but I digress.
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