Am I seeing the start of Alzheimer's in my aunt?

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Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2004
Total Posts : 21
   Posted 6/4/2004 12:11 AM (GMT -6)   
She is 84, no physical in over 40 years and no Dr. contact since she retired as a receptionist/clerical in a medical practice.  She will not, and I mean not, go to a Dr.  I've worked quietly with an elderly coalition who checks on her and offers her services, mentioned concerns, etc.  About a month ago now I found out that she fell and it took her about 3 hours, per her, to get to the phone.  She did not call me for help nor 911 but called a friend who told her to call a neighbor, who got the apt. manager, whose daughter is an RN, and they got her up and thought she was "fine" but she wasn't sure about what day it was, etc.  Now I know she also has a drinking problem.  My two cousins and I are the relatives she has.  The female cousin out west has been on SSDI for mental illness for years, is bipolar, and has a history of hospitalization and suicide attempts.  My male cousin lives here--he isn't job hunting yet (2 years) but is all over the country at auto races.  She is not his priority.  This leaves me--and I have fought my second recurrence of ovarian cancer since 8/03 and now the chemo has failed and we are in MAJOR decision time (as in should I quit, etc.)  Today I went to take her some gift certificates for the grocery a woman takes her to and some newspaper sections.  The day of the fall, her dinner burned on the stove as it boiled dry.  Today she checked when I came and she had nearly waterless macaroni.  She rationalized away what looks to be an infected eye as "well, this looks like something the man upstairs had, and they had to take it off, and it was nothing.  After that I've been more sensitive about my eyes and I scratched it cleaning the mucous out."  Not when it's read around the eyelid and underneath.
As I say--"doctor" is a forbidden word.  I've given her materials to get her equal care from two local HMO's to save money--but she has decided not to bother with that as she "lives today and not in the future" and part of her financial squeeze (I pay her gas and electric bill and the food certificates; the others contribute from time to time) is due to a $585 quarterly policy that is overpriced and she'd have good care at either HMO one at $290 a quarter or HMO2 at $411 a quarter.  Today we were discussing the shopping trips and she said, "I keep the gift certificates in my purse along with my wallet so if Dee calls during the night I am ready to go shopping."  Dee has a rigid schedule, every other Friday, pickup at such and such a time...  This makes no sense.  I am wondering what I am seeing here,  I see her maybe weekly.  Does this sound more like mini-strokes and alcohol effects or may I be starting to see the onset of Alzheimer's or something similar. 

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2003
Total Posts : 335
   Posted 6/4/2004 10:22 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Margaret.

I am by no means an expert,but i think if it was me in your situation i would be firm but fair with your aunt,and tell her that all though you want to continue to help her in anyway that you can,this MUST include taking her to see a doctor.She sounds stubbon and i realise that it will be difficult to persuade her,so you could be honest with her about your own health problems,and explain that if you don't have the advice and backup of a doctor in the care of your aunt then it may come to a stage where you will nolonger be able to visit her.She will probably respond with "but i can't manage without you"Then you can say,"well you know what must be done then"
I know it sounds harsh and easier said than done,but somtimes these things just have to be done.Your own health is also at stake here and you realy need to have some back up where your aunt is concerned.

I hope things work out well for you.


Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 1539
   Posted 6/5/2004 10:25 PM (GMT -6)   
Do you have POA on her???

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