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LO doesn't want to be diagnosed
It can be very helpful to have a diagnosis because some forms of dementia are treatable. And some drugs that are helpful for some types of dementia are harmful for others.
We went through neuropsych testing and as a result found out my mother has a type that is treatable in may cases (NPH). Unfortunately the treatment didn't work for her, but for many the treatment makes a huge difference.
When we met with the neurologist he emphasized finding out what specifically is going on because sometimes you can do something about it. Maybe you could use this logic with your LO.
I don't really understand what you are asking. If she is impaired, she needs to be cared for. This can be done at home, with just family/friends helping, or by hiring in home care. She wouldn't need a diagnosis for this.
If some other entity will be paying for her care, like Medicaid, she would need a diagnosis.
If you want to get her prescription medication, which may or may not be beneficial, she would need a diagnosis.
If you want to invoke Power of Attorney, I would definitely encourage a diagnosis. Without a letter from a doctor attesting to her decline, POA can be revoked at any time.
If you can, consult an elder care attorney where they live. Certified if at all possible. I wish I had done so before my dad got really bad, but I finally did retained one right after my dad was almost arrested for assault.
You must get a diagnosis.
A medical diagnosis is needed for many, many aspects of what you’re entering into. At the least, it rules out causes that can be treated—or sets up treatment if needed.
When my DH was going to be diagnosed, I told him early on we were going to memory clinic. Like you, this was 3-4 months ahead.
He didn’t like it, but soon forgot about it (or dropped the subject or ignored it, whatever). After that, I just told him we were going to the doctor for some tests and/or follow-up; he did not seek specifics. I just set it up and told him (not often, just maybe a day ahead) we were going to the doctor for some tests his other doc wanted.
There are varying reasons for getting the diagnosis. I tend to think it's a good thing. But, even if mother refuses to go, eventually, she will get diagnosis, as she will eventually visit doctor for other issues and he will see her cognitive decline first hand. A physician with the right personality can conduct an office evaluation in an unthreatening and pleasant way.
My goal after, my LO was diagnosed in office of primary with significant dementia, was to figure out why. Her doctor said Vascular, but, I wanted to make sure, since my LO was only 62 years old! So, I took her to Neurologist for confirmation AND to rule out something like a brain tumor or some other condition that could be treated, like fluid in the brain problem. So, she had tests and MRI, which confirmed Vascular Dementia. So, we knew what we were dealing with and were able to get the services we needed.
I'd keep in mind that if mother is too fearful and not interested to know, it may be that she just isn't equipped to handle it. I would respect that, as much as possible, but, her caretakers may need to know more.
Hello Amy; this is a difficult situation and I am sorry for all that is happening. However; yes, it is very important for your mother to have an accurate diagnosis for what is happening and also to obtain an accurate diagnosis for type of dementia if that indeed does become her diagnosis.
You have already been given much good input. If your mother is balking at such testing and being diagnosed, it would be best to not mention dementia to her again, but to let her feel that she is going for a general medical referral. Sometimes this is best.
There are meds that can slow down memory loss for a period of time for some people. However; one needs an accurate diagnosis for dementia type as meds for one type can be contraindicated in another and even make things worse. There are multiple types of dementia of which Alzheimer's is only one.
Hopefully your mother has already had a thorough exam by her primary MD with extensive labs run to rule out any possible physical causes for the changes she is experiencing. There are many different physical conditions that can mimic dementia that are often easily treated.
The Alzheimer's Assn. has a Helpline that can be reached at, (800) 272-3900. If you call, please ask to be transferred to a Care Consultant. Consultants are highly educated Social Workers who specialize in dementia and family dynamics. They are very supportive, have much information and can often assist us with our problem solving.
I send best wishes to you; let us know how things are going, we will be thinking of you.
You really must get as accurate a diagnosis as you can. How do you know that your mother does not have a B12 deficiency or a thyroid disorder or any number of other things causing the behavior you are seeing.
Additionally there is AD, LBD, VD, PDD and more and they are not treated with the same drugs.
This will help explain;