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KansasTherapist, LSCSW
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 566
Experience:  17 years experience with depression, abuse, and borderline.
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This week my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimers ... the

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This week my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's ... the last 2 months she has suddenly demonstrated significant short-term memory loss, including getting up and dressed for her beauty shop appointment but once dressed, she did not knowing where she was going or how to get there. She has gone the same day to the same place for 15 years. When given the mini-mental, she did very poorly. She said she felt very self-conscious, embarrassed and on the spot. Though never formally addressed, she does have a lot of depression but covers it up. She has always felt inadequate and such an event would render her totally humiliated. She was put on 1 Aricept per day this past Thursday (do not know the strength). When I heard about the pseudodementia, my spirits soared. There is no history of dementia in our family and before now, Mother has never shown symptoms. Please, what should our next steps be during this "one month on Aricept to see if she responds."Thank [email protected]

KansasTherapist : Hello
KansasTherapist : It is possible that your mom has puedo dementia, but that is fairly easy to differentiate and the doctor should have considered that as an alternive diagnosis.
KansasTherapist : If the Aricept doesn't help, that would be something to look at.

Hello to you. I agree, but he didn't and now everyone is in total grief and shock. Talking to her on the phone, she sounds just like my mother. We laugh, she is remembering things we talked about days earlier.

KansasTherapist : Is she having trouble sleeping or sleep too much?
KansasTherapist : Does she eat more or less than is usual for her?

A side note ... how I was namedCustomeris amusing ... my boys loved their real, liveCustomerfor 17 years.

KansasTherapist : Does she express feelings of hopelessness or seems to generally have a negative outlook?
KansasTherapist : I have two beagles and love them like crazy.

She said she is sleeping fairly well. Some nights she has trouble and gets up to not disturb my step-dad. Her appetite is poor, has been declining as she has aged. But about her age, she is a very YOUNG 88 year old. She still moves the furniture in her home for the change.

KansasTherapist : In order to trigger pseudo dementia, her depression would have to be severe enough that she is constantly distracted from every day life. Would you say that sounds like her?

I don't know if I would call her negative ... more sad on the inside but always yaks and smiles on the outside. Still sings in the church choir. This world is pretty hard and she has lost a lot of friends (through death) ... has never really gotten over her own Mother's death that was 20 years ago.


She spends a lot of time alone ... not necessarily by choice but my step-dad works so she is home alone. They do go out to eat every Fri night, generally to church and choir practice on Wed nights ... church on Sundays. But other than that, a lot of alone time. Cannot say about the distractions. She is just sad on the inside.

KansasTherapist : Unfortunately, I tend to agree with her doctor about the diagnosis. Sometimes these things seem to appear suddenly to family members because the person suffering is trying to hid what's going no.

Obviously not the answer I was hoping for.

KansasTherapist : I understand.

When would be a good time to start some type of anti-depressant to see if there could be an improvement?

KansasTherapist : She still has a lot of sparkle, so it's hard to accept.
KansasTherapist : After the 30 days on the Aricept.

That is oh so true ...

KansasTherapist : Is there a day program for the elderly she might go to, or a senior center in her area?

I am assuming it is to give it time to work rather than confusing the issue with adding a second prescription.

KansasTherapist : Exactly, you want to see the effect of the current med. an antidepressant is sometimes helpful with dementia anyway.

You have no idea how that thought breaks my heart. Until my family and I moved to PA in 03, I had an agency working with seniors, most of whom were in one stage or another of dementia. The day programs were filled with people sitting with drool coming from their mouths or blank stares. That would certainly push her right over the edge.


I took many of my ladies to phychiatrists (sp!) and I know when their medications were out of whack, so were they.

KansasTherapist : Elderly people do sometimes end up on too many meds, not treating the right problems.

With this coming on so suddenly, would we expect that the progression would continue on such a rapid pace? I was with many of my ladies from their fairly early stages until they were eventually totally uncommunicative and it took a lot longer than what we are seeing with Mother.


Am I providing solid answers or am I too close to be answer objectively? If I am not answering, prod.

KansasTherapist : As I said, she may have been having symptoms for a while and was hiding them. That's pretty common.
KansasTherapist : Though a rapid onset does indicate likelihood of rapid decline.
KansasTherapist : I think your experice with the illness does give you a lot of insight.
KansasTherapist : I think you're struggling to accept something that makes you so sad.

How would I not ... this is a death sentence. It is one of the most dibilitating and cruelest of diseases that drags all the graces one lived their life with down to the depths. My prayer would be for her to just go in her sleep before that could happen. She is so frightened of what is in store but putting up such a good front. As I said to my sisters, we can surround her but ultimately she is alone, we cannot go through that door with her.

KansasTherapist : I completely agree. In some ways, a fast decline would be a blessing, though the loss of your mother from you life would be so painful.

It sounds like we have completed our chat.

KansasTherapist : I hope you and your family can have some peace. It is a hard time.

Thank you for your time.

KansasTherapist : You're welcome.

Is there a way I can get a print-out of our conversation?

KansasTherapist : Not that I know of. If you same the URL for this page, you can always come back to it.
KansasTherapist : Por I can switch to Q&A format and you'll get an email with a link.

That would be great ... thank you.

KansasTherapist : If you could click Accept, that would be great.

Sorry, it was not visible on my screen ...

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