Dear Family Resource,
I’m confused. My mom was diagnosed with dementia and when I share the news with people they ask, “What type of dementia?” Her doctor said that it is still early and that it does not matter what type of dementia it is; that we should just love her, take away her car keys, and give her some help around the house. He wants to see her again in 3 months.
Mom is still pretty capable, but I want to make plans for down the road when she will need serious care. Also, I’m wondering if she shouldn’t be on some medication to slow down her dementia, and wouldn’t we need to know the type of dementia she has to know what medicine might help? I’m so confused and think maybe we should change mom’s doctor but she’s been with him for years and trusts him. Do you have any ideas for me?
~Worried and Confused
Dear Worried and Confused,
You and your mother may want to shop around for a new doctor, gerontologist, or primary physician who has experience working with an older population. Dementia is a general term that describes a wide range of symptoms associated with a decline in memory or other thinking skills, including judgment, reasoning, and complex motor skills.
There are many types of dementia affecting different parts of the brain. Identifying the type of dementia in the early stages does matter! Early detection allows an individual to participate in long-term care planning, learning about the disease, options for treatment, costs associated with treatment and care, and resources, guidance, and support for living with dementia as the disease progresses.
My best to your mother and to you.