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A story about NOT dementia

After reading that 70% of Canadians with dementia have NOT been diagnosed, a nice young woman sent this to us. She realized that denial, and refusal to get tested, can have ramifications far beyond the lack of support for dementia. The situation can literally be one of life and death.

From Ainsley:

"We thought my Mom had dementia. She had many of the warning signs – memory loss which was impairing her ability to work, forgetting conversations we had earlier in the day. She was having difficulty finding words and was misplacing her glasses, wallet and keys. She didn’t appear to have any clear judgement when it came to her health needs; something that was very important to her before.

Once the head of our household, she was now secluding herself from the rest of the family. We were used to her making us laugh and telling the most incredible stories. Now, she barely wanted to be around the grandkids. This was one of the most shocking things. Mom had dreamed so much of being a grandmother once we had all become adults.

She had experienced some pretty significant health crises over the last few years – including mini-strokes which we knew had impacted her daily functioning already. We finally convinced her to go to the doctor, where she scored 24/30 on the MoCA. [The MoCA test (Montreal Cognitive Assessment) is a tool used by health care professionals to help detect the possible presence of mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer's Disease, and other dementias. Any score less than a 29/30 is a cause for concern.]

It took this pretty scary trip to the hospital to prompt everything to change. It turned out Mom was drinking – a lot. More than we had imagined, and it was far more serious than we wanted to acknowledge. It was impacting everything so strongly and she had become a person we could not recognize. She was a shell of herself.

But then, after this serious scare, Mom stopped drinking. And she slowly started becoming herself again. She returned to the doctor. Now sober and recovering, she scored 29/30 on that same MoCA test.

She is happy now, and we are overjoyed to have Mom back. This could easily have become dementia – this remains a worry because her body has still been damaged by the drinking. But we have a life with her again and we are so thankful we began the process of having her assessed. Otherwise, Mom might not be with us right now."

Thank you, Ainsley, for sharing.

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