Alzheimer`s Disease/dementia


My mom had 2 minor strokes. Still was doing well, but started getting dizzy a lot. 7 yrs. ago had rotator cuff surgery & never seemed same after that...slurred speech when tired - strangled easily-small falls etc. 2011 she fell off her porch & suffered a brain hemorrhage. Did not require surgery. Went to rehab & then moved in with my sister. In 2012 became incapable of walking w/o walker & assistance. Now in nursing home because she can't walk - can't talk except occasional yes or no; when she tries it's whispers & I can't make out what she's trying to say most of the time - incontinent - on mechanical soft diet with nectar beverages & still strangles constantly - has trouble even opening eyelids - nose always runs - but can remember things better than me. They have dementia as her diagnosis, but I thought your memory goes 1st with dementia.  She knows what we are saying & will laugh at appropriate times etc. Although does "fade" sometimes & I have to get her attention. I guess I just need to know what it deteriorating her body  & functions like this w/o taking away her memory.

Hello Terri:  I'm very sorry to hear of your mother's ongoing decline.  If she has been given the diagnosis of "dementia," that means that there is damage in her brain causing her inability to do things as she used to.  Dementia is the umbrella term and Alzheimer's is one type of dementia, as well as vascular dementia--caused by strokes.  Your mother has also suffered damage from head trauma, so she probably has "mixed" dementia meaning there is more than one cause for the brain damage.  Depending on the type of dementia, her short term memories may or may not be intact.  In Alzheimer's the short term memory often diminishes first, but not so with vascular dementia.  That's likely why you don't see the memory issues.  Her problems will all depend upon which area of her brain is being affected.  I hope you and your family have done the legal paperwork and someone has legal and medical Power of Attorney for her since you will be needing to make some hard decisions about her care.  The areas of her brain controlling walking, talking, swallowing and balance have all been affected, and they will continue to decline as she will likely have more strokes.  You may not even know when she has a stroke, but each time she does, she will lose more of her abilities.  
I urge you and your family to visit her often, play her favorite music, sing with her, massage her hands or feet, allow her to cuddle a small child or an animal if she used to enjoy it.  Give her a manicure and apply her favorite perfume--do anything you can think of to enrich every moment you spend with her.  Reminiscing with a photo album is a wonderful way to conect.  Let her know how much you all love her.  I wish you much luck Terri as you and your family move forward with your dear mother on her journey.  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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