Alzheimer`s Disease/tia


My mother-in-law has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. When we looked at her medical records from her general physician, a MRI disc showed TIA and damage around the outer edges of the brain. Can she be misdiagnosed? Her memory or Alzheimer's symptoms have progressed very quickly. She was taken to a doctor in August. She is now in a locked Alzheimer's unit and is loosing her memory quickly. She has difficulty remember her grandchildren and did not remember that her brother had died 15 years ago. Should we worry about a misdiagnosis?

Hello Jo:  I'm sorry to hear of your mother-in-law's rapid decline.  Doctors are getting much better at correctly diagnosing the different types of dementia now.  They usually do a dementia work-up that includes blood tests to rule out a lot of other causes, they listen to the family and the patient describe behaviors and symptoms, and they may also take scans of the brain. The fact that she has TIA damage indicates that her dementia symptoms may also be coming from strokes in her brain as well as from the damage of AD.  That may be why her dementia is progressing quickly--she may have two different types of dementia at the same time. This is not uncommon.   
I hope you and your family are not continually trying to re-orient her when she doesn't remember you, or family members who have passed on. That's one of the reasons I wrote my book "Love, Laughter, & Mayhem - Caregiver Survival Manual For Living With A Person With Dementia."  When caregivers can learn some of those simple things, then their lives, and the life of the elder with dementia is greatly improved.  
Speak with her doctor if you have questions about the diagnosis and don't be afraid to ask any questions you have until you're satisfied--you are her advocate no matter where she is living.  I wish you and your family much luck Jo as you walk on this journey through dementia with your mother-in-law.  Cindy  

Alzheimer`s Disease

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Cindy Keith, RN, BS, Certified Dementia Practitioner


As a nurse and dementia consultant, I can answer most questions on all types of dementia. If I cannot answer your question, I will attempt to find someone who can. My passion is to help caregivers of people with dementia, which in turn helps all those wonderful elders with dementia live better lives. When caregivers are better educated, they are able to better care for themselves and their loved ones, so education is key to decreased stress levels and healthier, happier families.


I have worked as a nurse in various disciplines of nursing for over 20 years, most of which was with the elderly. I was a health care coordinator in a dementia dedicated assisted living facility for 4 years before I started my own business (M.I.N.D. in Memory Care) as a dementia consultant six years ago. As a dementia consultant, I help families nationwide through phone conference calls as they struggle to care for their loved ones with dementia.

Alzheimer's Foundation of America Geriatric Interest Network Sigma Theta Tau International

Published "Love, Laughter, & Mayhem - Caregiver Survival Manual For Living With A Person With Dementia" which is a collection of stories about people with dementia I have known, loved and worked with. Every story has a lesson to teach and this book gently teaches family caregivers lessons about how to better care for their loved one, as well as themselves during their caregiving journey. Published "Love, Laughter, & Mayhem In Eldercare Facilities: The Master Key For Dementia Training" Created "Bringing Nurturing To Memory Care" staff dementia training video Created Ebook: "Hair Stylist's Helpful Tips For Working With People With Alzheimer's & Other Dementias"

Registered Nurse with Bachelor's degree in Nursing; Certified Dementia Practitioner; Author of 2 books and an ebook

Awards and Honors
Sigma Theta Tau National Honor Society of Nursing

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