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Alzheimer's Disease & Dementia Message Board

Alzheimer's Disease & Dementia Board Index

Exactly Concrete :) If you try to fight against her she will push back against you... and you will not win. She feels that you are not validating her reality or hearing her. We all need to be heard and validated... especially in the confusion of dementia. If she thinks you are working with her rather than trying to do something to her, you may get a better response from her. We have to remember, as unrealistic as their reality might seem to us, it is their reality. We will not convince them that they are being unrealistic. Their brain is as convinced they are right as we are convinced we are right. See the impasse? Since we are the ones that can change what we do, and they can't, then we have to change our approach to circumvent their unrealistic views.

Every conversation needs to start with...."Mom, tell me about it!" And then listen. Validate that she is upset with the situation. She truly is upset whether it be real or delusions. Then let her know that you are with her to find a solution. This is not just once, but over and over and over. She needs to see you as an ally and not a conflict. We think we are helping and push what we want onto our loved ones. What they see is you attacking them rather than helping. So try to look at how she perceives what is being done to her.

From what you are saying I expect you are dealing with FTD. Frontal Temporal Dementia. I am not a doctor and can not diagnose but it is my best guess. The memory issues are less evident because it starts in the frontal temporal area of the brain. Alzheimer's starts in the Hippocampus of the brain which does control the new memory formation. FTD starts in the frontal part of the brain that controls behavior, social responses, right and wrong, good and bad, and determining similarities between events. Delusions are a symptom of this particular type of dementia. They do tend to respond inappropriately to the input they receive.

Here in lies the need for an accurate diagnosis. Different types of dementia present differently so knowing the diagnosis will help you know how to deal with the situation. Also different medication can work differently on different types of dementia. The medications (Aricept, Namenda, Exelon) that are prescribed for Alzheimer's are not effective for FTD. They may become even more agitated if they take these medication. Benzodiazepines, which include Xanax, Ativan, Halcion, Restoril, and a long list of other medication typical used for anxiety have been linked to increases in behavioral problem. Anti Depressants and some Anti Psychotics can be used effectively. So Knowing which dementia is important in knowing how to appropriate medicate.

Make sure to talk to the office or clinic that you plan to take her to first. You need to know that they understand dementia, the difference between Alzheimer's and FTD. You will be surprised how many doctors are not aware of the differences and it makes a huge difference in successful treatment. Yes, I have ask doctor's to tell me what they know about FTD :) So much that is happened in the world of dementia is NEW! If the doctor is not up to speed on current information they can actually make life worse for the FTD patient and family. Just a word of warning there :)

Good luck on getting what you need to help your Mom.... and let us know how it is going :)

Love, deb

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