Alzheimer`s Disease/Dementia

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Question
My step mother seems to be in the early stages of dementia, although there has been no diagnosis. One symptom is that she is making irrational accusations against me. How should I deal with this?

She and my dad have been married almost 20 years, after the deaths of their fist spouses. She and I got along really well most of that time, and I was thrilled that my dad found someone to be happy with. Now she is accusing me of things like stealing from them or trying to "sell the house out from under" them. My dad's mind is OK but he is physically frail and just not up to dealing with this.

Should I just ignore it? Try to reason with her (For example ask why I would do something like that)? Or is there something else I should be doing? I know she needs to go in for a full evaluation, but I live 200 miles away and have little influence over things like that.

Thanks,

Jo

Answer
Hi Jo,

I am so sorry for your situation!  It is difficult when it is not really "your" challenge..but you are wonderful to want to help.

No, you should not try to persuade your step mother in to believing that what she is saying is "wrong"...in her eyes..it is the truth.  perception is reality, even with a dementia...which I think she does have.   

Now...you have to be very careful.  Can you get her to a family physician that will diagnose her with a dementia?   Your father must be a part of this....because when and if  she is diagnosed with dementia..there are so many changes that need to be made.  For instance, their POA...who is first in line...the step mom?  Well, if she is not capable, then another person needs to be representative....who will be second?   

My first thought is to get her to be diagnosed "unable to make good judgments and fiscal responsibilities" for your dad...from there it should follow what your dad wanted in his will or POA to be the first in line to help him.

While a spouse is a wonderful and lovely event in older age...most don't realize the implications of the other becoming incompetent in helping them.

Get a good Elder law attorney and I think you will find you will have things in order!

With Best Regards,

Michalene Peticca, MA

Alzheimer`s Disease

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Michalene Peticca

Expertise

I'd be happy to help with any questions about Alzheimer's or Dementia diseases. I can also help with Medicare, Long term care & other insurance questions.

Experience

I have my Masters degree in Geriatrics and am credentialed through the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Pennstate Milton Hershey hospital and the American Geriatrics Society. I've been in healthcare for over 20 years and worked directly with Alzheimer's and Dementia individuals for most of that time. I am also a licensed insurance agent in PA and MD. Currently i train healthcare professionals to care for Alzheimer and Dementia individuals and i have been a care manager for guardianship services in PA

Organizations
American Geriatrics Society

Education/Credentials
Masters degree in Geriatrics Licensed insurance agent in PA & MD.

Past/Present Clients
PHI Homes in Pennsylvania York, Dauphin & Adams County Area on Aging The Jewish Home of Harrisburg

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