Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.

How Do I Deal With My Mother's Dementia?

Wednesday, 09 June 2010 11:40 AM

Question: My 90-year-old mother has had dementia for the last four or five years. How can we best deal with her during these difficult days?

Dr. Hibberd's Answer:
Late onset dementia at the age of 90 is best dealt with conservatively. Alzheimer’s medications usually don’t improve dementia, but some may slow its progression. Be sure your doctor has checked your mother for correctable causes of dementia.
Conditions include those that relate to brain disorders (aneurism, stroke, hemorrhage, infarction or tumor), infection (local or generalized including syphilis), and alcohol or drug use. Other conditions include nutritional deficiencies, vitamin deficiencies (thiamine deficiency, B12 deficiency), undiagnosed metabolic disorders such as hypothyroidism, circulatory disorders, or even untreated psychiatric disorders.
Avoid overmedicating and treat for comfort. After treating any underlying medical conditions, seek a neurologic consultation without delay. Above all, maintain a sense of familiarity, calm, and comfort in her surroundings. Maintain your own health, and teach your children to treasure life now, as only God knows what the future holds for all of us. Maintaining her diet, nutrition and activity will provide you and her with the most comfort in these last years of her life.

© HealthDay

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