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Jo C.
Posted: Saturday, November 30, 2019 3:35 PM
Joined: 12/9/2011
Posts: 10874

Hello Lone Daughter and a very warm welcome to you.   Since your first Post was buried in another Thread, I wanted to address this to you so you have your own Thread and will get more input.

It can be a difficult challenge when our Loved Ones (LOs) live far away from where we are.  You are a very compassionate and loving daughter as well as a good advocate for your parents in seeking input for the situation.j


For other readers, here is Lone Daughters Post regarding her parents:

 My parents live about 600 miles away. My mom was diagnosed with dementia this year, but we know she has not been the same since 2016 when she had a massive heart attack and a quadruple bypass with complications including a bleed out after the removal of a balloon pump. She was in the hospital/for 3+ months and then rehab nursing home before she finally starting coming back mentally. I am not sure that my dad is being completely honest with me about how much she is declining. This summer when she came to visit, she did not recognize me or my house for a few minutes, but then was ok for the rest of the 10 days or so she was here. My dad mentioned an incident where she was setting the table at home and set a place setting for my brother (who passed away in 2010). That was about it for major issues. Otherwise, there is forgetting where she put things, repeating herself, some mixing dreams with reality etc- some of which she has done for years.

     What prompted me to join this forum is that when I called them yesterday to wish them a Happy Thanksgiving, I could tell there was something wrong with my mom. She kept asking my dad to tell me who he was and he kept saying his name. She kept saying my dad wasn't there and she didn't know where he was, but there was this man there saying he was my dad's name. At the same time she was telling me what they made for Thanksgiving dinner and how she couldn't remember how to make our family noodles. My dad was on the phone too saying he was there all day. He made small talk and I told them to call me back this morning which they did not do. I called them and she was better, but firmly believed my dad was gone for part of the day yesterday and there was a man there wearing his clothes. She said it was weird and she was kind of out of it yesterday, but at the same time she was asking my dad to tell me how good their pumpkin pie was. She was sure of this other man and my dad being gone. Anyway, she was pretty much like her "normal" other than the thing about the man in my dad's clothes. I can't get my dad to call me when she is asleep or he is alone. Whenever I call, she answers or if he does, he puts her on the phone too. Not sure what to do, does this come and go? Is my dad covering for her? What do I do? I am so far away. I have a daughter turning 13 next week and am starting a new stressful sales job. I am overwhelmed with stress and worry. I will call again tomorrow to see how things are going... Any thoughts, advice or words of wisdom would be appreciated!


This is indeed a challenge.  A young daughter and a high stress sales position in a new job is no small thing; I am so sorry this is happening  . 

 It is not unusual for a person having bypass to have neurological changes; sometimes this can mean signiicant changes.  If she actually has one of the dementias such as Alzheimer's or another dementia in addition, this will certainly cause ongoing changes, but this does need medical assessment.

It may well be that your father may be "covering" for her a bit and he may be hoping for the best and be in a bit of denial for what is happening.  There is also the possibility that his reasoning and judgment are somewhat compromised, but that of course is just a thought; you will be able to assess that.

The most important thing that perhaps you can do is to contact the Alzheimer's Assn. at (800) 272-3900 and ask to be transferred to a Care Consultant.  There are no fees for this service. Consultants are highly educated Social Workers who specialize in dementia and family dynamics.  They are of great support, have much information and can help us with our problem solving.  They will transfer you to the office closest to you to speak to a Care Consultant there who will in all probability know of services that may be needed in your parents area.

The most important thing would be to have your mother seen by a dementia specialist.  A good Neurologist who sees dementia patients as a routine part of his/her practice would be a good choice especially in light of the cardiac bypass and the changes that can wrought.  If your parents do not have such a specialist, the Care Consultant may well have names of excellent ones in your parents area. Also, if you do not have the legal paperwork such as Durable Powers of Attorney, the Consultant may also have names of Elder Law Attorneys in your parents state/area who could assist with this.

If there are assets to pay for such a service there is also the option of hiring a Geriatric Case Manager.  Most of these are either RNs or Social Workers.  They will literally do an in-depth assessment of the clients in their home and of  their situation as well as identifying unmet needs and can contact you with feedback.  They can actually make appointments and conduct any business or other items needing addressing and get back to you.  These professionals even hire and oversee caregiver aides when and if that becomes necessary as well as finding appropriate placement should that ever become a necessity. They also follow their clients in their home and organize health care appointments, etc..  Here is the link to a professional association that describes the profession and you can find such professionals by using your parent's zip code.

You are sensing the changes and know that something is afoot and needs screening.  If you can gain your father's cooperation in getting your mother to her dementia specialist, that would be helpful in having this assessed.  It would also be helpful for her to be seen by her primary care physician.  She may have another medical issue that is causing or contributing to all of this.  Both physicans need to screen her meds to ascertain if there may be a med effect and also she would be best served having a complete panel of labs done to screen body systems as well a having a urinalysis to check for a "silent" UTI.  Sometimes, there is an easily addressed physical reason for such changes and it is always best to rule that out; not everything is due to dementia.

Those UTIs are called, "silent," because there will be no signs of pain or burning, but there is often a significant change in behaviors and sometimes even changes in cognition or function.  Many of us have experienced that in our LOs so it is worth having all of this checked out.

It sounds as though at this time, that the parents are physically safe and secure and physical needs being met, so you will have a bit of time to get the ball rolling on this while taking care of your own new job and daughter.   It may take a bit of time, but once your mother is seen and assessed, things may be much clearer.

Please do let us know how everything is going and how you are doing; we are all here in support of one another and that now includes you too.

With warm thoughts being sent your way from one daughter to another,

Posted: Saturday, November 30, 2019 6:56 PM
Joined: 4/1/2014
Posts: 5080

I am assuming your mother is still under the care of a doctor and her physical and brain issues are being addressed. If not, then she needs to be under the care of someone who can address changes in her behaviors.

If you get a chance, you should go to your parents' home and have a very frank discussion with your father about your mother's dementia and ask what you can do to help him. Go there with some books about dementia and read them yourself so you know about it enough to have a good talk and so you can help him with questions. I found that knowledge was power when it came to helping my mother.

 If your mother is "content" then the issue becomes how to keep her that way. We have to treat our LO with dementia differently than we would someone with a normal brain. I followed Jo Huey's 10 Absolutes for Alz Caregivers:

I also read as many books as I could about caregiving. You'll find your mother's behaviors are very typical for someone with dementia. Your mother has a disease that is affecting her brain which in turn affects her memory, skills and functioning. She is doing the best she can-remember that.  Good luck.


Posted: Sunday, December 1, 2019 10:32 PM
Joined: 11/29/2019
Posts: 3

Thank you for reposting this for me and for your advice. I will look at the links you provided and see what I can talk my dad into doing as far as having her evaluated. I was planning on calling my mom's primary care doctor tomorrow to see if I can get any advice from her. I know my mom has been to see her as well as her cardiologist within the last few weeks. Her primary care doctor was the one who said she had dementia so she is at least somewhat aware of the situation. They do have HCPOA's naming each other and me as the backup so hopefully, the doctor will talk to me.

I appreciate your kind words and help.


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