Quality CareFind out why Mayo Clinic is the right place for your health care. Make an appointment.
Meet the StaffFind a directory of doctors and departments at all Mayo Clinic campuses. Visit now.
Research and Clinical TrialsSee how Mayo Clinic research and clinical trials advance the science of medicine and improve patient care. Explore now.
Visit Our SchoolsEducators at Mayo Clinic train tomorrow’s leaders to deliver compassionate, high-value, safe patient care. Choose a degree.
Professional ServicesExplore Mayo Clinic’s many resources and see jobs available for medical professionals. Get updates.
Give to Mayo ClinicHelp set a new world standard in care for people everywhere. Give now.
Mayo Clinic offers appointments in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota and at Mayo Clinic Health System locations.
Subscribe to our Alzheimer's Caregiving e-newsletter to stay up to date on Alzheimer's topics.
Let's clear up some confusion about "dementia" and "Alzheimer's disease." The words are sometimes used interchangeably, or people think that if they are told they have dementia that means they don't have Alzheimer's.
Dementia is not a specific disease. Dementia is simply a word for a group of symptoms that affect cognition and thinking. These symptoms can include:
These symptoms can be caused by conditions that include underactive thyroid, vitamin deficiency, brain tumors and depression. Even certain medications can cause dementia symptoms.
If these conditions are present and treated, dementia symptoms often improve. However, if during an evaluation these reversible causes of dementia symptoms are ruled out then the probable cause may be due to a progressive, non-reversible disease such Alzheimer's, Lewy body dementia, frontotemporal dementia or vascular dementia. For a description of each of these causes, please see the dementia article in the See Also area below.
Selecting "Submit" signifies that you have read and agree to our posting guidelines.
We are having to move my mother, with dementia, into a group home since she is in need of continual care. She will not be able to keep her two cats, and we are wondering whether to tell her a week or two before the move or simply mention it when we move her in. Any thoughts? Her cats have been her world for four years and she will be very upset and confused. Is it best to give her time to dwell on it?
My husband is 51 years old and was diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment 4 years ago. Today, that has progressed to worsening symptoms of confusion, memory loss (names, putting things in the wrong places), inability to concentrate, inability to be in a group of people because he can't focus on a conversation, poor balance, poor reflexes, emotion spells, unable to work because his driving is unsafe. Yet we are having a hard time getting a diagnosis and help for him. I think because of his age, the neurologists we've seen are hesitant to diagnose him with alzheimers/dementia, or whatever he has! He has applied for SS disability for which he's been denied like a million times. This is a very frustrating illness. Does anyone have any advice that could help us??? We are desperate and at a loss. We live in NW Indiana so the doctors are limited (and so is money available to pay said doctors now that he isn't working). I sincerely appreciate any help. Rita
Hello. I'm a 26yr old mom & wife. I've been forgetful since I was 13. At age 18, I was diagnosed with ADHD. Have tried several medications but nothing seems to help. At age 25, I was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome hypermobility type with some classical type symptoms. I have a few secondary conditions like Fibromyalgia & POTS. My memory is worse now than ever. I can't even remember how often & when my husband has helped me with laundry. I have almost all of the symptoms of Dementia. Who should I consult with, a neurologist? Thanks.
My Step father is 73 will be 74 in November, We have had him back and forth to the doctors. No one will give us a for sure answer. He has admitted that he knows there is something wrong with him while talking to my sister one day and knew what he was talking about. Its like he has certain phases and will go in and out. He will call my mom his mother (MA) & will look right at my mom and ask her where she is and she is standing right there. I have a nephew that is 11, the oldest one out of all four grand kids to my step father. He asked my mom and sister if my nephew ever got his car started, we stated to him that my nephew does not have a car and at least he dont even have a drivers license and that he is only 11. He said no I meant his little remote control car. My step father also will be sitting somewhere and we can hear him talking and we will ask who he is talking to and he will tell us that he is talking to his sister or his mother anyone that has passed away basically. He thinks that my mother is His mother and he thinks that my sister is his girlfriend. There are times that he will be talking abt things that do not make sense, repeats him self a lot, He sleeps a lot, during the day & when it comes night time he cant sleep but he is out for hours during the day. we have noticed when he sleeps that his mouth droops to one side He's very delusioinal, there is no sense of location & does not know where he is half the time. he also have no sense of money either
Did any of your loved ones take Chantix?
Having memory issues including unable to state address but able to write it. Unfamiliar with computer site I had been familiar with, forgetting phone numbers I give or use often. Saw my MD was referred to specialist not covered by any insurance. Curious whether hormones,concussion that read neg.,and /or low b12 could have this much affect on me or should I spend all my savings on specialist
If someone is exposed to carbon monoxide in smalls doses but over a long perid of time but is diagnosed with AD due to symptoms that mimic each other, would a PET Scan be able to tell the difference - possbile misdiagnosis of AD? Would that be treatable?
I tried to discuss with my mother's neurologist that her symptoms to me seem more like vascular or frontalobe demention. The neurologist snapped that it did not matter whether my mother's diagnosis is Alzehimers or some other type of dementia because it is all the same and treated the same. He prescribed Namenda. Any comments or insight about this woule be welcomed.
My dad may have had a stroke about 5 yrs ago (the drs seem to waffle and i cant get a straight answer from him), and he did have a heart attack last year. He is 73. He has always been one who has to be right and in charge, but recently he has to challenge everything anyone says. If i say "thats a nice red flower," he is sure to argue it isn't red, not a flower or say i'm wrong for liking it. This challenging is driving a lot of us in the family nuts. He also falls asleep alot during the day now, and often has problems finding the right word, usually longer or more technical words though. His memory seems fine, though he has been losing things for years. Last, we have small kids and have noticed his judgement with them is just getting bad. Things like telling us were silly for making a 5 yr old wear a lifejacket in a boat. Are these signs, or is he just getting older. Any thoughts?
Just curious...what accounts for occasional lucidity with a dementia patient???
my husband was diagnosed with Lewy Body dementia last month at Mayos Rochester. I need input from other Lewy body caregivers in terms of progression, longevity, etc. Thank you.
january 12 2011 I wrote along with add/adhd and memory loss I was allso abused as a child with beatings to my head 5yr off head baging against the walls on concrete and my head being pulled down the flights of stairs. If cat scan is not showing any shrinkage to brain then what other test can be taken
age 51 women that has ADD/ADHD severe clinicl dignose case is having on going memory loss slow over past 4 years but has been getting worse. went for cat scan of brain shows negitive in shrinkage of brain. took test for neuropsychological below average woking memory verbal comprehension below woking average score
My uncle at the age of 65 has severe dementia (it runs in my mother's family). He is going blind because of cataracts and eye pressure. His wife is concerned about what this will do to his confusion issues. We can't seem to find an answer of whether it is wise to put him through the surgery, or allow him to continue to go blind. Which is the intelligent choice? His doctors have not been able to answer that question.
my husband who had had very mild dementia has gone from mild to very serious in the period of two weeks. four weeks ago he was driving. he fell and injured his arm. after he came home i got exhausted and over my objections he was put into a nursing home. two days later he was halucinating and continuall talking. usually thinking he was the pope or speeking german. he is continually saying that he is dead or that we are all dead. he was in the hospital for 8 days and has been home under 24 hour nursing care and getting worse every day. the cat was negative. except for the shots given him in the hospital and a reaction to both seraquil and namenda there are no causes. any suggestions.
To Linda, many times the stress or lack of sleep of caregiving can impact your own physical or emotional health. Talk to your own doctor about the word finding difficulty, and if s/he doesn't find anything wrong, it may be the stress of caregiving. Your doctor can also track your changes over time to see if it's getting worse in purportion to the stress or sleep loss etc.
Is there such a condition as the caregiver's dementia? I feel like I can't find words as I am talking when doing business and is embarrising. My husband and I are taking care of his 94 year old mother with dementia. She has been in our home for 2 years. I am very stressed.
I understand that dementia is a condition and Alzheimer's is a diagnosis, but what is the advantage to a nursing home or home care client to have the Alzheimer's diagnosis? The client is in the FAST stage 7d and is going to be evaluated for hospice Monday. He is private pay, so I'm hoping to keep costs low with Medicare helping with the bill. He has used his Medicare hospital-to-nursing care days.
I think one of the scariest aspects of both Alzheimer's and dementia is the fact that, as the loved one becomes progressively more confused, the chances of them wandering off/getting lost increase dramatically. I mean, the chances of finding a missing person alive after 24 hours is around 54% according to the American Alzheimer's Association (reported in '08, I believe). That's frightening.
Wandering and personal safety are reasons why I would definitely invest in a GPS tracking bracelet for my parents if they start to become a danger to themselves. It does make me feel like I'm taking on an even bigger parenting role than ever before, but if Mom's safe, then I'm happy.
I like the bracelet offered by Adiant Solutions (http://www.adiant-solutions.com) because it works indoors, offers two-way communication, and has specialty features like a sensor that notifies you when your loved one falls or is in a speeding vehicle.
What do you guys think of GPS tracking devices for loved ones suffering from Alzheimer's/dementia?
In response to Rhonda's comment. I am the sole caregiver of Mom and Dad and my brothers live out of town/are too busy/etc. It's taken a year to adjust to living in their home to be their full-time caregiver without regular respite. My brothers would "attack" me with their "concerns" and "advice" on how I "should" take care of our parents. It took a near-death experience with my daddy to bring us together. To the Rhonda's out there I would say these experiences are unfortunately "normal." Uninvolved siblings mask their guilt and sense of loss by taking it out on the live-in caregiver/sibling. It is hard for them to see their parents age and change, and it is especially hard on the caregiver who sees it daily and also sees the new symptoms emerge. If it hadn't been for discovering other CT's at my church, through networking, through hospital outreach groups, I would be in need of a caregiver of my own by now. God has blessed me with a few well-chosen friends. I've even gotten closer to my brothers through all this. I hope the Rhonda's of this world find help in a similar way. This journey with our parents is more than difficult but I believe they deserve it...they never got a break when we were growing up. God meet all your needs (caregivers) today.
Thank you so much for all the information you provide! It's really helped me- I'm researching how to become a caregiver for my elderly parents.
I found this website, ShareWIK.com, which has offered a lot of helpful suggestions and information.
I just wanted to pass it along to anyone who might be interested.
ShareWIK stands for Share What I Know, and the site offers information from doctors and other experts as well as stories and advice from people who've had to go through the pain of 'parenting your parent.'
http://www.sharewik.com/videos/1705225 (This links to a really interesting video featuring several individuals who share their experiences)
http://www.sharewik.com/blogs/item/tips-for-a-smooth-transition-from-independent-to-assisted-living (This links to a blog post by a woman who shares her experiences transitioning her mother from independent to assisted living. Very insightful.)
Hopefully other readers find these links as helpful as I did!
About 15 years ago my wife, then aged 55 was diagnosed with high blood pressure and started medication for it.Every time her blood pressure was tested it read high so her doctor kept increasing the dosage of her medication.She started having dizzy spells and symptoms of low blood pressure,but every time it was tested it still read too high and so the medication was increased again.I felt this was wrong but the doctor ignored me.I then read an article about "white coat hypertension". I put this to another doctor who agreed with me that this was the case with my wife,so he stopped all the high blood pressure medication,but too late.After years of over medication for high blood pressure she started having symptoms of dementia.I believed that her brain had been starved of oxygen for so long that this caused the dementia symptoms.Doctors wont agree as they like to cover each others backs.They started treating her for Parkinsons and associated dementia,but that medication only made her symptoms worse.She was eventually hospitalised and after 3 months they diagnosed that she had Lewy body dementia.She had 2 falls,one in the hospital, and broke her pelvis twice.She can not walk now and her mind and personality are completely gone.She is now in fulltime hospital care as I, at 72 years am unable to care for her.I blame the over medication solely for her condition.I do wonder how many other people have been destroyed like this because of inefficient doctors.
IS there a true difference, or is it a bad joke among doctors that there's a real, distinguishable difference between either kind of dementia (Alzheimer's being one kind)?
My mom ended up in the hospital for severe confusion. Blood tests revealed postassium and sodium levels so low that they affected thinking. IV treatment cleared her mind. Unfortunately, before release a neurolgist had to examine her. He labeled her with Lewy body dementia and put her on a dementia drug that made her suicidal and catatonic. My sisters dimissed the neurologist and had the drug stopped. Eight years later she is now eighty and her mind is still clear.
When it became obvious that my Mom was 'failing', we moved into a house with 2 apartments. I was the sole care-giver because my brothers lived away/ were too busy/removed from the situation, so I took care of everything. Mom continued to exhibit problems, while her one doctor put her on Aricept for ALS, her regular doctor stated that she had vascular dementia from previous situations and injuries. It wasn't easy to care for her, as she was very unpredictable, but I did what I had to do. My brothers' were sporadic in keeping in touch with her and NEVER consulted with me. Whenever there was a major decision to be made, I made it with Mom, since the 'boys' were too busy. I tried to keep Mom feeling as independant/ vital as I could for as long as possible and as far as was safe. My brothers NEVER spoke to me about Mom's state of mind and refused to be helpful, not realizing how irratic Mom's thinking was getting. They began to accuse me of all forms of elder abuse because Mom's mind wandered a lot when she was with them. Since they didn't pay attention to my knowing what was happening, they went off on a tangent of abuse towards me. I gave up a lot to care for Mom and my brothers made my life HELL during the entire time because THEY WOULD NOT TALK TO ME. Yrs. since Mom passed away, my brothers are still being abusive towards me by refusing contact, even over legal matters. I loved Mom, but she had problems that should have been discussed as adults, without jealousy.
age 73 ,7 years ago could not find mine keys for mine car ,turn the house upside down ,have them in mine hand ,vrinds say hallo ,did not know them ,watnt to go to sleep could not find mine bed in mine own house slept on the floor,started with .vitamins 4 fish oil, 1macnesium ,1 vitaminine .b12, 1vitamin b6, 3vitamin .d 3000iu,1 calcium ,in the morning and at night ,for 2 years for 4years only 1 in the morning, except fish oil 2 in the morningand 2 at night AND FEEL GREAT TO DAY AT 81 YEARS OF AGE do you have a answer for this started computor at 80 ,bernard
Don't forget urinary tract infections as a cause. My friend's father was being admitted to a care facility when they discovered a uti. He's fine now and living at home.
Ohio State University has developed a self-administered test for MCI and dementia called SAGE. There are four formats, any one of which can be used by any person suspecting they may have a dementia issue. In my opinion, it beats MMSE all to heck.
Who does the cognitive testing for memory, etc? Does one need a prescription from their Dr. to have memory testing done?
Thank you for clarifying. My mom has been diagnosed with dementia, but my siblings seem to think because she hasn't gotten an alzheimers diagnosis that all the great information on alzheimers doesn't apply to her situation.
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Proceeds from website advertising help support our mission. Mayo Clinic does not endorse non-Mayo products and services.
Check out these best-sellers and special offers on books and newsletters from Mayo Clinic.
A single copy of these materials may be reprinted for noncommercial personal use only. "Mayo," "Mayo Clinic," "MayoClinic.org," "Mayo Clinic Healthy Living," and the triple-shield Mayo Clinic logo are trademarks of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.
We comply with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information: verify here.