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Alzheimer`s Disease/Possible Early Signs of Dementia


Hello! My mom is 81 years old and lives alone in her home. She suffers from crippling arthritis in both knees and her entire right arm, has cellulitis of both lower legs and incontinence. And now, I'm getting worried that she's showing signs of early dementia. She will think that a certain situation has taken place when it hasn't. She'll call me and ask when I'm coming home, but I was never at her home. She once called and said that some ladies were in her house from a TV show that she watches. It's starting to really scare me! I'm not sure if it's just senior depression since she lives alone and is always saying she lonely. She has no friends or neighbors in the area, just me and I'm a 2 hour drive away from her home. I try to see her once a week and call her every other day. I was wondering what the best thing is I can do for her? Thanks in advance!

Hello Susan:  I'm very sorry to hear of your mom's current issues.  I know it's very distressing for you to try to manage from far away.  I believe the very best thing you can do for her would be to take her to either a geriatrician or a neurologist for testing.  You wouldn't tell her you're looking for dementia, but they would do the work-up to rule out a whole host of other things that could explain her behavior.  You would tell the doctor's office in advance of your suspicions so you don't need to be accusing her of forgetting or hallucinating while she's sitting beside you.  It may not be dementia, but she needs to have the work-up in order to get that answer.  It certainly sounds as if she's isolated and that's never a good thing for any elder.  I would begin to shop around for assisted living facilities near you or near other family members.  Just get your name on their waiting lists if you like what you see (you can always tell them she's not quite ready if they do have a bed/room available, but will keep her on the list).  That way, if the diagnosis is dementia, then you already have a lot of the legwork done and can get her placed more quickly.  If it's not dementia, then some medication could help her symptoms and if you want her to stay where she is is, then I would suggest some in-home care at least 3-4 days per week--companion care and/or some light housework.  Either way, dementia or not, it sounds as if her medical issues will likely continue to worsen rather than be resolved, so she will need care at some point. I'm hoping you or another family member has the legal authorization to move her if it's needed.  If not, please get that process started with an attorney right away.  She will probably not want to move anywhere, but once she's settled somewhere in a facility, she may improved in both cognition and in function as she makes friends and has something to look forward to each day.  I wish you much luck Susan as you search for answers for your mother.  

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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