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Life with Dementia: Before the Diagnosis

Updated: Jan 5, 2019

My journey with dementia began about ten years ago with my mom. It's interesting to think back on our introduction to this disease. The things that became so normal to us, left us with so many questions in those early days. One of the first signs that made me wonder whether something was happening was when I received a phone call from my mom about some stolen money. What shocked me was the fact it wasn't money that was stolen from her, it was money that she had stolen from someone else. While I knew this was impossible, she remained convinced that it was true, and it became more and more evident that she wasn't going to let it go just because I told her to.

I arrived at her home later that evening to find her disheveled and very confused. She was sure that she had stolen money, and she was making arrangements to return whatever it was that she had taken. I made several phone calls to my dad, my uncle, and my sister, and nobody had any recollection of any money missing, and each person was convinced that nothing like this had ever happened. I was so confused, but Mom was sure that something needed to be done. As she calmed down and gave me a few more details, I began to realize that this was more serious than I had expected. This so-called “robbery” had taken place at least seventy years prior… yes, SEVENTY! We concluded that paranoia had overcome her mind about this incident, and in order to help her try to find some peace about the whole thing, we decided to pack a suitcase and take her home with us for the next few days.

Mom was being introduced to dementia, the mind-robbing disease that takes a person's ability to reason and remember. I’m not sure how long before this episode that Mom was starting to get paranoid, but it was the start of a long walk down a road that was, at times, very lonely and dark. For those of you just starting this journey with a loved one, know that you are not alone. Whether you are just starting to suspect that something might be wrong or you've already gotten the diagnosis, we're here with you. Maybe you have a similar story of your own. Maybe your loved one has said or done things that seem a little off, but you've always brushed it off as normal aging. If you're seeing some of the signs and symptoms of dementia, it may be time to visit a medical professional. An early diagnosis has many benefits, and you can read more from the Alzheimer's Association on that topic here.

If you're looking for guidance or support with the next steps for your family, contact me today at

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