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Aimbru
Posted: Monday, April 4, 2022 8:25 PM
Joined: 4/4/2022
Posts: 3


My mom has been showing signs of Alzheimer’s or Dementia for a couple years now, she noticed it and mentioned it to our family that she can’t remember simple tasks anymore. This was right before Covid hit, she talked to her doc and they got her referred over to a neurologist to do some testing.. the testing was rough for her, it really stressed her out and made her frustrated.. the results came back and they were all over the place, first it was early onset dementia, then it wasn’t, then maybe it was and the final diagnosis was depression and stress.. so they started her on meds, well she’s been a couple meds since and nothing has changed, it’s been 2 years. She is struggling at her job, she is struggling to do her job, she no longer pays the bills, cleans or cooks, all she does is laundry. My dad has taken all of that over, my mom has always been the caretaker so this is very odd.. she says she can’t do the bills because it is to much.. she no longer will go to store by herself or drive anywhere except for work. She is just not her self anymore.. she struggles with sentences, she can’t find words that she’s thinking of and then just gets frustrated and gives up. She remembers something’s but has to be reminded or she doesn’t remember at all.. she can remember her childhood very well but current life, she doesn’t remember. We recently traveled to Texas and on the way home she was confused to where we were. I have tried to sit down with my family and figure out what is going on, I don’t think this is just stress and depression, there’s something more and idk of it is Alzheimer’s or dementia or something else.. I am struggling, as my family is the type to sweep it all under the rug but that’s not going to help my mom or anyone… how did you guys approach this topic with your loved one that is showing signs of this terrible disease! Any advice or help would be great. I’m only 29, idk what to do.. I feel like my mom isn’t my mom, her personality has changed so much and it’s so heartbreaking and no one understands
Iris L.
Posted: Tuesday, April 5, 2022 1:39 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 18243


Welcome aimbru.  This has gone on for too long.  The diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease or one of the other dementias is made by ruling out the medical diseases that mimic dementia.  This is what the primary care doctor should have done, by doing a good history and physical exam and by doing laboratory tests.  

 

Was your mom tested by a neuropsychologist?  This involves extensive testing of various aspects of brain function.  A brain MRI is usually ordered by the neurologist to look for a brain tumor or evidence of a stroke.

 

Sometimes the signs of dementia and depression can overlap.  In thus case, the patient should be treated aggressively for depression.  This may take four to six weeks to see if there is improvement.  If not, then the diagnosis will likely be, dementia consistent with Alzheimer's Disease.  There is no one test to say definitely, this is AD. 

 

A very important point in the diagnosis is that there will be observable decline over time.  It would be interesting to repeat the neurocognitive testing at this time to note where the changes are.  

 

Be aware that AD is progressive and gets worse.  If your mom is struggling now, she will struggle more in the future.  You might see if she can access her annual employee performance review, to see if errors or others changes had been noted, and if she had received any warnings.  If so, consider her taking sick leave pending completing of her evaluation.  If she has a treatable medical condition, she could return to work with work accommodations.  If, instead, the diagnosis is AD, she can apply for long term disability.  She would need to consult HR and possibly an appropriate lawyer for guidance.  The aim is to not lose benefits.

I hope someone else is handling the bills and the finances.  And someone should dribble with her to see if she is still safe behind the wheel of a vehicle and in traffic.  Does she get lost?

 

That's all I can write now.  Best wishes to you and your mom.

 

Iris L.


Michael Ellenbogen
Posted: Tuesday, April 5, 2022 1:45 PM
Joined: 11/30/2011
Posts: 4345


You are right as another course of action is needed. What city & state are you located in?


Aimbru
Posted: Tuesday, April 5, 2022 3:10 PM
Joined: 4/4/2022
Posts: 3


Hello,

We are located in East Bethel, Minnesota 


Aimbru
Posted: Tuesday, April 5, 2022 3:20 PM
Joined: 4/4/2022
Posts: 3


Thank you for the response and advice. She is looking into retirement, she can retire early because of the number years or services (she works for the state of Minnesota) we have been trying to get things in line for her to retire but we can’t get into any accounts because she can’t remember the passwords so it’s been taking a little bit to get new passwords.. she thinks retirement will fix everything and I’m scared it will make it worse… 

She did go back to the neurologist and they want to repeat testing but she has been putting it off, her primary hasn’t really done much for her except refer her out. I feel like no one is doing anything and when I try to get involved my dad says he’s got it covered but he’s doing it all so I’m trying to help out but feel like I’m getting nowhere.. 

She has gotten lost like twice, but she really only drives where she is familiar with like to work and back otherwise she doesn’t do much driving anymore. She used to do things by her self, go places without anyone and now she won’t.


Michael Ellenbogen
Posted: Tuesday, April 5, 2022 5:30 PM
Joined: 11/30/2011
Posts: 4345


Don’t retire yet as I have great conations in Minnesota that can help you if you want. Reach out to me privetly with an email adress and contact information and I can share it with some key peole that cah halp direct you.  


GothicGremlin
Posted: Tuesday, April 12, 2022 5:56 PM
Joined: 4/7/2019
Posts: 423


Hi Aimbru - A couple of things in your original post really resonated with me. My sister was diagnosed with early onset in August 2018, and one of the things she'd commonly say back then was that something was "too much."  And she did end up taking early retirement - work had become "too much."  Whether that's the right case for your mom, I don't know, but it was the right thing for my sister.  She was "struggling" with her job, and I remember at the time I was worried that she might get fired. What was at state was her pension - better to retire early and keep the pension, than get fired and put it at risk. 

Good advice from Iris, btw.