What to Do If You Think Your Mom Has Alzheimer’s

What to Do If You Think Your Mom Has Alzheimer’s

When mom doesn’t appear to be as sharp as she once was, or seems to forget topics you just discussed, or begins to falsely accuse you of taking her things a red flag goes up.  Is this normal behavior for the aging or could she be suffering from Alzheimer’s or some other form of memory loss?

People tend to second guess a call to her doctor, but you shouldn’t.  Proper care as early as possible is critical. There isn’t a cure, but there are some treatments that can help to slow a degenerative condition.  However, before you pick up the phone for professional advice make sure to document what you are seeing and hearing. Keep track of your observances for a short period of time.

Observe and keep a written record of memory loss problems.

Memory loss is a rather generic term to describe Alzheimer’s, but it doesn’t mean that’s the diagnosis.  We all experience a moment of memory loss here and there. It is when memory loss is so significant that it impairs everyday life when we need to take notice.  That’s when doctors begin to suspect someone needs dementia care.

Here’s what you want to look for:

  • Forgetting to go to appointments
  • Forgetting how to navigate to a frequently visited destination
  • Asking repeated information
  • Poor judgment
  • Problems managing money
  • Forgetting task just done
  • Difficulty completing familiar tasks
  • Problems with planning
  • Disorientation to time or place
  • Withdrawal and other changes in personality

Talk to your mom’s doctor.

Adult children are often unsure about how best to get involved with an elderly parent’s healthcare or if they are violating HIPAA laws. Everyone in the U.S. has the legal right to keep their medical records private. However, it is not a violation to meet with your mom’s doctor, with or without her.  If you are not ready to discuss your concerns with your mom yet, you can still share them with her doctor. That’s where the above list of observations comes in handy. The doctor can consider whether your observations about your mom’s memory loss warrant referring her to a neurologist for screening.

Talk to your mom.

“I’ve noticed a few times lately that your memory isn’t as sharp as usual.” Those are scary words for anyone to hear. It is very common for older parents to resist the idea of getting tested for Alzheimer’s. If your mom is among them, try saying something like this, “You are right, mom. I am sure there is nothing to be concerned about. I just think getting screened would give us both some peace of mind.”

The Diagnosis

There is a possibility that the symptoms are actually a sign of something else like vitamin deficiency, vision or hearing problems, and medication side effects.  See a specialist who will look at the whole person conduct diagnostic testing.  This is an important diagnosis that deserves a full understanding of what is going on with your mom.

Empower your mom to direct her own care plan.

One fear of newly diagnosed individuals is that they will eventually have no say in what happens to them. Let your mom know she is still in control of her own life and her care plan. Tell her that you want to make sure you are able to follow her wishes in the coming years. Touring memory care locations while she is still able to process information well is an important step in the process. Choosing where she will eventually live may help her come to terms with the diagnosis, and it can give you peace of mind knowing that she will be well taken care of in a place she approves.

Avalon Memory Care is privileged to be the assisted living location of choice for Dallas, Arlington and Houston families. We offer gracious living options within a home-like setting. Call (469) 373-8671 to discuss our unique approach to continuous care.

By |2020-04-20T09:03:53-05:00April 20th, 2020|Categories: Alzheimer's, Avalon Memory Care, Memory Care|0 Comments