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Should we remind mum she has Alzheimer's?

sunny beach hut

Registered User
Jul 1, 2014
14
0
I think this is a decision I have to figure out for myself but wonder if anyone has any advice please?
Mum was diagnosed with Alzheimers just under a year ago. She lives at home independently and functions well, house is clean, personal hygiene good etc. She has lost most of her confidence now though.
She thinks no-one knows she has 'memory problems' which is what we call it.
She moans continually about how other friends have it easy because they have husbands (dad died 18 years ago). Any attempt to remind her gently about things she has forgot are met with extreme tetchiness and a tirade of 'woe is me' moans.
Her diagnosis is the 'elephant in the room' and I can't make up my mind whether she realises that is what she has.
Should I gather all my courage and remind her ??
Like I say no-one can really help but I feel frustrated, alone (despite having close family) and not coping well with her moods.:confused:
 

lin1

Registered User
Jan 14, 2010
9,350
0
East Kent
Hi.
When my mum occasionally asked "What's wrong with me"
She was in mid to late stages at the time. I saw no point in telling her that she had mixed dementia.
It would have caused her and me too much upset . I saw part of my role as trying to keep mum happy.
My reply was , you have problems with your memory .
That sufficed her and caused her no distress.

TBH I wouldn't say anything unless she asked , IMO I think it's much kinder that way.
 

malc

Registered User
Aug 15, 2012
353
0
north east lincolnshire
leave it has the elephant in the room,always remember your mum is mum and not the person with alzheimer's,if it's going to upset why tell her especially if she's coping well unaware that she is ill.
 

Kevinl

Registered User
Aug 24, 2013
4,762
0
Salford
No point in reminder her every time she gets on your nerves, it could be a recipe for fireworks. Is she getting medication like Aricept/donepezil? There are second line treatment that seems to take some of it away things like Citalopram, but on her own when all her piers still have partners must be difficult for her to deal with.
How many of us like to sleep alone given the snuggle option?
K
 

spuddle

Registered User
Mar 13, 2014
118
0
I'm also not sure about wether to mention alzhiemers or not. So far it hasnt been mentioned since mums diagnosis. Like others have said, i just talk about her memory problems and her memory pills. Rightly or not, Alzhiemers and Dementia are very scary words so I thought it best to keep it simple.
Having said this, im still new to this and learning all the time.
 

sistermillicent

Registered User
Jan 30, 2009
2,949
0
I don't think that knowing she has Alzheimers would make her any more ok about having memory problems, it certainly wouldn't make her memory improve so what's the point? Every now and then you meet someone who knows they have dementia, I was talking to an old friend yesterday who said he was quite aware of his diagnosis and what it implied and how it affected him, how very different from my mother, an intelligent and dynamic woman who completely denied there was anything wrong with her even when she was pouring her gin and tonic onto the gas fire.

Play it by ear, you never know, she may have a moment of insight and ask you, in which case telling her the truth is an option you have to consider. Until then, let each day come as it will.
 

Concerned J

Registered User
Jun 15, 2014
68
0
London
I just talk to my mum about her "memory problem". I asked her the other day if her memory had improved since she been on (Aricept) pills.
"Oh is that what they're for" she said !!
 

john51

Registered User
Apr 26, 2014
292
0
Dunstable, Bedfordshire
As somebody who has dementia I would say NO
On my good days I know about the diagnosis and would rather not be reminded. There are problems enough without the reminders
On my very worst days I couldn't care less and am totally unaware of the problems anyway
Regards
John
 

jeany123

Registered User
Mar 24, 2012
19,035
0
73
Durham
As somebody who has dementia I would say NO
On my good days I know about the diagnosis and would rather not be reminded. There are problems enough without the reminders
On my very worst days I couldn't care less and am totally unaware of the problems anyway
Regards
John

Sounds very sensible John, thank you for letting us know your point of view, I don't remind my husband he has vascular dementia either it serves no purpose,

Best wishes Jeany x
 

sunny beach hut

Registered User
Jul 1, 2014
14
0
Hi.
When my mum occasionally asked "What's wrong with me"
She was in mid to late stages at the time. I saw no point in telling her that she had mixed dementia.
It would have caused her and me too much upset . I saw part of my role as trying to keep mum happy.
My reply was , you have problems with your memory .
That sufficed her and caused her no distress.

TBH I wouldn't say anything unless she asked , IMO I think it's much kinder that way.

Thanks for your kind replies everyone. I'll bear all your comments in mind. It was especially interesting to hear John51'd comments.
 
Last edited:

foreveryoung

Registered User
Jun 14, 2014
3
0
from my experience with Mum, she'll forget within minutes of it being explained anyway! that is, if she understood in the first place. Don't stress about offering any explanations, just go with the flow. just keep having the same conversation over and over again, if that is what keeps her happy. clean up the messes, - she can't remember making them and remember that she did all these things for you when you were her child.
 

dood

Registered User
Oct 26, 2009
45
0
UK
www.deebs.me.uk
On a similar theme

There should be a couple of quotes here.

Credit where credit due especially the questioners and the answerers.

John Suchet describes it as "parachute in, evaporate out" in his book "My Bonnie". So basically don't make a big deal about leaving, just leave the room casually as if you are about to return. (from "how to exit from my wifes care home"
Link here: how to exit my wifes care home without a big fuss.


I think this is a decision I have to figure out for myself but wonder if anyone has any advice please?
Mum was diagnosed with Alzheimers just under a year ago. She lives at home independently and functions well, house is clean, personal hygiene good etc. She has lost most of her confidence now though.
She thinks no-one knows she has 'memory problems' which is what we call it.
She moans continually about how other friends have it easy because they have husbands (dad died 18 years ago). Any attempt to remind her gently about things she has forgot are met with extreme tetchiness and a tirade of 'woe is me' moans.
Her diagnosis is the 'elephant in the room' and I can't make up my mind whether she realises that is what she has.
Should I gather all my courage and remind her ??
Like I say no-one can really help but I feel frustrated, alone (despite having close family) and not coping well with her moods.:confused:
 

Pingu

Registered User
Sep 6, 2013
13
0
The sad truth is it probably doesn't matter whether you remind her or not as she'll either not understand or soon forget.

We never mentioned Alzheimers or dementia to my Dad for the first 5 years of his condition, but a few months ago he was officially diagnosed with AD. The geriatrician told him the diagnosis on the spot. Dad didn't react, as it turned out by then he had no idea what AD or dementia was or the significance of the disease. We've mentioned it to him a few times since (when he asks something specific where telling him about his condition is the only truthful answer) but it means nothing to him, he does not understand at all. Even if he did understand, he'd quickly forget the conversation.

The end result of it all is you end up where everyone ends up... dealing with the day-to-day symptoms in order to make life as easy as possible for the dementia sufferer and thereby making life as easy as it can be for yourself (the carer).
 

Cucu Mzungu

Registered User
Nov 11, 2011
63
0
London
Referring to dementia...

I have long wished that the word "dementia" could be replaced by the term "Memory Loss Syndrome" (Syndrome because we know that for many people it isn't only the memory that's affected.) When my mother was first prescribed Aricept she read the information leaflet and was upset to find that it said that it was for people with dementia. "I haven't got dementia", she said. I said, "Well, you do, in a clinical sense; in that your memory doesn't work as well as it used to (which she knew, then...not sure if she still knows it). She said "But it sounds as if I am demented and I am not!". And she was right....
 

Spamar

Registered User
Oct 5, 2013
7,727
0
Suffolk
When OH was first diagnosed (Alzheimer's and vas dem) he didn't mind talking about living with Alzheimer's. He hated the word demented, past meanings I'm guessing! These days it's just called a bad memory, and he's happy with that. I'm not sure he would remember what, specifically, is wrong with him.
 

AnneED

Registered User
Feb 19, 2012
80
0
East Yorkshire UK
The Alzheimers word.

Like most other people we did not use the A word with her, if we could help it after mum had been diagnosed in the early stages a number of years ago. After all, memory problems is also accurate and kinder, unless people have the ability of Terry Pratchett to manage the diagnosis.
We therefore avoided the word even when it would have been easier to use it in the context of what was being said.
A few weeks ago we went to a Memory Café for the first time and the staff there used the word, not surprisingly, quite a lot 'Organised by the Alzheimers Society' 'I am the Dementia Support worker' etc. I cringed but mum just sat happily listening to what was said, no issues.
Clearly context and stage of illness all have an impact on what you say. As someone who has found 'Contented Dementia' a useful book (and I know the A Soc have issues with the system) but much of it is good, bearing in mind where your loved one is at and what needs to be achieved in their best interests, I have no problems telling lies to my mum in her best interests, where that is likely to be the kindest and most effective way to proceed.
 

balloo

Registered User
Sep 21, 2013
227
0
northamptonshire
Mother in law with dementia

My mother in law moved in with us 2 years ago she was diagnosed with vascular dementia and since then only help we had was stair rails which we had to take down as were not safe and put stronger ones without splinters in up. She knows she has memory problems but does not know why a we keep it that way. She some times asks whats wrong and we just say her memory is not as good as it was. She is not any meds for the dementia only blood preasure and now we had to get her some sleeping pills as she started roaming round the house at night .Yesturday she was upset because she could not but her bra on herself so I helped .she managed today. its getting harder looking after her as it is mainly me that does it as her son works fulltime I work from home and have had to drop this to P/T . I lost my mum feb last year after I had to look after her and she had a brain bleed while I was looking after her . Some times I just feel like screaming as no one knows how I feel.MY husband cannot even get his head around her edication and when I went to my daughters for 1 night toi had to put then in glass ready labelled . Just wondering if we will ever get our life ac.SHe is 75 yrs old.:(
 

malcolmpr

Registered User
Aug 4, 2013
29
0
barnsley england
My wife was diagnosed with AD 18 months ago like others we call it memory loss there is no point in telling her the truth I have even asked our GP to call it a memory problem,
her medication is rivastigmine and as soon as I get the capsules i destroy the instructions as it states it is for patients suffering from alzhiemers, not that she ever reads them, perhaps I am over protective.
This deception has its downside though i cant get her to go to the local alzhiemers society functions her answer is " I dont want to go and mix with all those old fogeys "
 

Mr Rusty

Registered User
Jul 14, 2014
14
0
London
Agree with many people on here in that I’ve found it pointless to remind my mother that she has Alzheimer’s or dementia because she point blank denies it. It’s annoying when the doctor writes to her mentioning the A word because she doesn’t think that the letters relate to her and so she disregards them. I do think the doctors could be more sensitive in their correspondence, though I guess they think they are being cruel to be kind.

On the occasions when it has sunk in it has caused a lot of upset but then half an hour later she has forgotten all about it. And of course you have to ask yourself whether it is worth going through it all again.

What she does accept though is that she has memory problems – in fact at the weekend she told me cheerfully that instead of a ‘memory’ she had a ‘forgetory’ ! So I’ve found it is easier all round just to keep saying ‘memory problems’ rather than Alzheimer’s.
 

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