Her Diagnosis Left Her Speechless

United States
May 25, 2016 5:41pm CST
One component of my job is to accompany clients to doctors appointments. Last month I went to an appointment with my client to have her memory tested at a local clinic that specializes in diagnosing and treating memory loss. Because I am with her more than anyone else, I had to fill out paperwork about her daily life. She had to do a battery of tests. When she finished she said she didn't do very well. I tried to reassure her that it would be okay. They just wanted to test how her memory was. Today we went back to get the results of the test. Sadly, she has been diagnosed with Dementia due to Alzheimer's. She was prescribed Donepezil, which is the generic derivative for Aricept. My heart went out to this 84 year old lady. She had known she was experience memory loss. I told her to ask her doctor for a referral to get tested. She didn't expect to get the news that she has Alzheimer's. When we got back to her home, I got her settled in. Told her to start the medication tonight as directed by the doctor. Her son called when I was there and she asked me to tell him the outcome of the appointment. He had so many questions. I advised him to call the clinic to talk to someone about his mother. He has her written permission to speak with them about his mother's diagnosis. This weekend I am scheduled to see her again. I know she will be quite depressed. I have to work to get this lady's spirits up again. Although she was diagnosed with a devastating disease, she is by far not as bad off as others who have it.
11 people like this
11 responses
@Corbin5 (78383)
• United States
25 May 16
My mother had dementia, and my father now has dementia, exacerbated by hearing loss. The medication really does help. I know my dad has also been given an antidepressant and that also has made such a positive difference regarding his mood. I think I would tell her that so many people are dealing with dementia and that help is available to make things so much better.
4 people like this
• United States
25 May 16
I believe she thought the medication would stop the progression. It does not. The doctor tried to explain that to her. Having me there to talk to will help ease her anxiety. My mother has Alzheimer's. So, I do know a thing or two about it.
3 people like this
@Juliaacv (21989)
• Canada
25 May 16
That's tough, but thankfully you were with her and I'm sure that you helped ease the pain of hearing what it sounds like she suspected all along. When I worked with the elderly, especially those with dementia, I used to find that the simple tasks, stirring a batter to make cookies with, folding laundry and rolling yard into balls would really help on their bad days and they would settle. When they were settled I could communicate with them very easily, and it was like an oasis in the dessert. Good luck with this special lady.
3 people like this
• United States
25 May 16
Thank you. Her son was grateful that I was able to go with her. He lives 18 hours away from her. I hope that one day he can have her move closer to him. He is the only one of her 4 children that is active in her life. Calls her several times a week. Sends her gifts. Worries about her constantly. He is at ease knowing I am there for her. He and I went to school together. So we have that connection. I am at her home more than anyone else. She appreciates the care I give her. Thanks me after every visit.
2 people like this
@Jessicalynnt (48190)
• Centralia, Missouri
27 May 16
I am sure the son was glad you were there for her
1 person likes this
• United States
27 May 16
He thanked me several times. I didn't want to tell him that it was my job, but it was part of what I do.
1 person likes this
• United States
28 May 16
@Jessicalynnt her nurse initially said I should be the one to go with her to the clinic. Afterall, I do spend the most time with her and I have known her longer than any of the other aides. One of her aides that said she would go with her has only been seeing her for about 9 months now.
1 person likes this
• Centralia, Missouri
29 May 16
@ElusiveButterfly she prob was more comfie with you because of that
1 person likes this
@trivia79 (7945)
• El Segundo, California
26 May 16
dementia have a cure?
1 person likes this
• United States
26 May 16
There is no cure for dementia. There are treatments to improve their memory.
1 person likes this
@trivia79 (7945)
• El Segundo, California
26 May 16
@ElusiveButterfly but have to maintain it?
1 person likes this
• United States
26 May 16
@trivia79 no, it only helps to improve their memory. The disease will continue to progress even with the medication. There is no cure for Alzheimer's. I am an advocate for Alzheimer's research. My mother also has the disease.
1 person likes this
@Susan2015 (18286)
• United States
25 May 16
Hopefully the medicine will help her out a lot. Sorry to hear that.
1 person likes this
• United States
25 May 16
I am hoping that she does see improvement. My mother's condition improved from taking the medication.
1 person likes this
@Susan2015 (18286)
• United States
26 May 16
@ElusiveButterfly It's supposed to work pretty well so I hope it does for your client.
1 person likes this
• United States
26 May 16
@Susan2015 if she takes the medicine every day it could help her quite a bit. Won't know until she goes back for her 3 month evaluation.
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (96471)
• Bunbury, Australia
25 May 16
That is very sad for her - and you and her family. Some learn to manage quite well for a while even with this diagnosis.
1 person likes this
• United States
26 May 16
They said they believe that she has had it for about 15 years now. This is based on her brain scan. She has done amazingly well all things considered.
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (96471)
• Bunbury, Australia
26 May 16
@ElusiveButterfly Wow! She really has. I know it's not really helpful or kind but at least she has functioned well for as long as she has. Some are diagnosed much younger.
1 person likes this
@Tampa_girl7 (21242)
• United States
26 May 16
My mother was diagnosed with this last month and both my parents are in denial.
1 person likes this
• United States
26 May 16
My mother was in denial for a long time. She was so angry with me because I was the one that took her to the clinic for an evaluation. For nearly a year she would say that she didn't have it. Then slowly, she forgot. Brings me to tears. I really am having a hard time with it. Mom is not her old fun self.
@marguicha (80216)
• Chile
25 May 16
I hope she has a supporting family. This illmess is the worst.
1 person likes this
• United States
26 May 16
I know it all too well. My mother has it. I know I can offer this woman a lot of support. She has 4 children. One is closest to her, but so far away.
@marsha32 (6780)
• United States
25 May 16
I'm kind of surprised at that age that they diagnosed it. We all start losing some memory capabiity as we grow older. We recently lost my moter in the law at age 75...4 years after diagnosed with dementia. It was very apparent with her and I think was going on at least a few years before the diagnosis.
1 person likes this
• United States
26 May 16
My mother is 77 and was diagnosed almost 5 years ago. She is further along than this woman.
@marlina (60609)
• Canada
25 May 16
I feel bad for this lady, it must be quite a blow to hear this.
1 person likes this
• United States
25 May 16
You could see it on her face Marlina. It was a difficult pill for her to swallow.
@sharon6345 (105830)
• United States
25 May 16
That is sad news and I hope someone makes arrangements to care for her over the next few years.
1 person likes this
• United States
25 May 16
Because she is able to care for herself still, she will remain home until she can no longer do that. It will be up to her or her family to decide if she will need to move to a facility.