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How should I broach the subject of dementia with my Mom in Law?

My mother-in-law (67 years old) is exhibiting symptoms of the early stages of dementia. She has trouble finding words and following a conversation, sometimes gets lost in familiar places, has trouble calcuating numbers. She still lives on her own and is functioning reasonably well, but I am starting to worry for her. How do I address my concern with her? She is a very independent, proud person and I want to be careful and sensitive.

Also, how quickly does the disease typically progress?
Status: Open    Nov 07, 2016 - 07:37 AM

Dementia

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Nov 10, 2016 - 12:08 PM

You don't state it in your question, but something you should consider is what you hope to accomplish by attempting to convince your mother that she has dementia? If you bring the subject up, will she remember it later? You will likely find that it's difficult to convince her that there is a problem, and to have her believe that she should do something about it. If your goal is to get her into a different living setup, you'll probably find it easier to sell her on the benefits of the change rather than focus on dementia. IE: socialization, activities, less demand from home upkeep, etc. Alternately, if you're seeking some sort of medical treatment, and she's resisting the thought of memory loss as a disease, try another reason for a doctor visit, but alert the doctor to your concerns. In a nutshell, you'll be best served if you progress as non-controversially as possible.
Dementia progressess differently for each sufferer. Generally however, slow or fast, you can expect it to progress. New developments are constantly coming to light to aid in controlling it's advance, and it will behoove you to not delay getting her medical attention if she hasn't already. Good luck!

Nov 10, 2016 - 03:24 PM

You may want to raise the concern with her primary care physician and let them do an assessment. Her doctor may be in a better position to share these concerns with her.

Nov 15, 2016 - 09:08 AM

You might begin by sitting down with her and gently pointing out your observations. Find out if she is aware of the same difficulties. I have found that early on, people with dementia recognize that they are having problems. Frequently, they recognize the problem sooner than others who are close to them.

Does she see her primary physician on a frequent basis? The test that the primary health provider uses to detect dementia is simple and easy to administer. If that test indicates a problem, your Mother-in-law will be referred to a Neurologist for diagnosis and treatment, as indicated. It is helpful if a family member can accompany her throughout this process. Not only does this provide support for your Mom-in-law but also to obtain information, in case decisions need to be made to provide for her safety.

If she is starting to get lost, you do not want to put this off. I have seen some sad situations occur because the family put off taking action in a situation like this.

It is not easy to take that first step but once you do, I suspect that you will be glad that you did it. Another benefit to getting your Mom-in-law some help is, if she does have dementia, there are medications that can help her. So far the meds do not cure dementia but they help the individual function better. The sooner the meds are started, the better.

I wish you luck with helping your Mom-in-law.

Voted Best Answer

Nov 10, 2016 - 12:08 PM

You don't state it in your question, but something you should consider is what you hope to accomplish by attempting to convince your mother that she has dementia? If you bring the subject up, will she remember it later? You will likely find that it's difficult to convince her that there is a problem, and to have her believe that she should do something about it. If your goal is to get her into a different living setup, you'll probably find it easier to sell her on the benefits of the change rather than focus on dementia. IE: socialization, activities, less demand from home upkeep, etc. Alternately, if you're seeking some sort of medical treatment, and she's resisting the thought of memory loss as a disease, try another reason for a doctor visit, but alert the doctor to your concerns. In a nutshell, you'll be best served if you progress as non-controversially as possible.
Dementia progressess differently for each sufferer. Generally however, slow or fast, you can expect it to progress. New developments are constantly coming to light to aid in controlling it's advance, and it will behoove you to not delay getting her medical attention if she hasn't already. Good luck!

Answers

Nov 12, 2016 - 04:08 PM

Just in case you haven't done this have you had a pharmacist go over her med list. I am assuming there is a med list. If not please disregard. Many medications can interact and over time with different doctors it is not uncommon to have prescriptions, over the counter medications and supplements that don't work well together. Wishing you the best with your mother-in-law.

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