Our expert says:
It's really hard to advise in a case like this, without a doctor having made a proper physical examination. At 82, we're beyond the normal range of Alzheimers, but there can be Senile Dementia which arises in old age, whether from small strokes, following head injuries, or other disorders. This can give rise to problems with memory, and to some loss of inhibitions, so their discussions may not always make sense, and their comments can be cynical, cruel, or simply in bad taste, because their internal censor isn't working well any more.
But while some of the causes are irreversble, others can be greatly helped, een relatively cheaply. For instance, a severe form of dementia can arise when the thyroid is functioning poorly, and receiving supplmentary thyroid medication can make a very large improvement possible. Anaemia, from lack of iron and vitamins ( old folks ofen lose appetite and may try to live entirely on tea and toast ) can reduce the effectiveness of brain function, as there well be less oxygen available to it ; and adding iron and vitamins wither as pill supplements, or by improving the diet, or both, can again help a good deal.
Depending on what facilities are accessable to you ; seeing a good GP could help to identify whether these relievale causes of poorer brain function are present, and to find cheap solutions to these, where available. He/she could also recognize whether less reversible decline in brain functions is present, in which case the aim may need to be finding a suitable place for her to be cared for, or services to assist those caring for her at home, to the extent necessary.
There are some new and very expensive medicines which are prescribed for Alzheimer's Disease --- but their value in a situation like this has nto been properly evaluated ( and, as I say, its very unlikely that your mother has Alzheimers) and, at the best, they just postpone the arrival of more severe demtia symptoms, rather than actually preventing them.
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