Beginning The Journey

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My mother is 80. She has just been diagnosed with "advanced aging" by a neurologist who refused to call it dementia because it is "an old-fashioned term" according to him. My sister and I don't know what to think. All we know is that she doesn't have Alzheimers. We don't know what to do and are feeling our way through in this situation slowly and painfully. Mother has increasingly displayed symptoms of dementia. She lives in a town an hour away from the city in which my sister and I live. She refuses to move closer to us. We are so worried. Last Christmas, she got lost on her way to my place. I have lived here 15 years and she has driven the route many times. Her short-term memory is extremely restricted. There are many other symptoms. One minute, she is calling my sister or myself asking for our help in handling certain things for her and the next minute, she is extremely unhappy with us and accuses us of trying to control her life. She is easily agitated and more and more paranoid as time goes on. She is still fairly high-functioning in basic areas such as driving around the town she lives in, paying bills, making deposits, going to church, etc. She knows she has a "little bit of a memory problem" but feels my sister and I are greatly exaggerating her situation. She is currently taking Aricept which the neurologist prescribed but it's still too soon to tell if it will work for her. We have tried to discuss her situation with her (in a kind and caring manner) but she became very upset and accused us of thinking she was "crazy". In fact, she repeats this "you think I'm crazy" accusation quite a bit. We try to stay out of arguing with her but sometimes she is determined to turn a discussion into a fight and we are the bad guys. What's the best way to deal with her agitation? Do we just smile and agree with everything? HELP!!!!

Posted on 2002/11/30 1:31

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