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Thelma

A series of strokes left Thelma with memory loss and limited mobility

Thelma is an independent woman with a big personality. But when she had three strokeh2 within a few months, she lost her memory and much of her muscle control.

Her daughter, Catherine, said she no longer seemed like herself. “Her short term memory got very bad,” Catherine said. “There were times she didn’t know where she was, couldn’t remember names.”

At the time, Thelma lived in Orlando, Fla. Catherine decided to bring Mom home to Belleville, MI. But, before leaving Florida, a social worker told Catherine about the Dementia Program at Harper University Hospital in Detroit.

“She said Dr. Benson is the best. That’s how we found him,” Catherine said.

Even before they met with Randall Benson, M.D., Catherine started taking better care of her mother. She reduced the number of medications Thelma was taking and improved her diet. Thelma lost 30 pounds in a few months, which dramatically improved her mobility.

“Even before I saw her, she’d made a lot of improvement,” Dr. Benson said. “A lot of that is because of her daughter. Having contact with her daughter on a constant basis has been very good for Thelma.”

Dr. Benson is a behavioral neurologist specializing in stroke and dementia. “The goal of our Dementia Program includes early and accurate diagnosis of the cause of memory impairment and aggressive treatment aimed at slowing or in some cases stopping the progression,” Dr. Benson said. “We also help patients and families cope and plan for the future.”

“Since seeing Dr. Benson, that’s when she started coming back to herself,” Catherine said. “Even in the last month she’s been more energetic, asking for things to do. She just keeps getting better and better.”

Dr. Benson believes the cause of Thelma’s dementia is a combination of stroke damage and a degenerative disease – a mixed dementia. “We used to think that something like this was either one or the other. But, more and more we’re finding these two conditions together,” Dr. Benson said.

“It’s been tough for Mom because she’s an independent person,” Catherine said. “But Dr. Benson has been great. He treats her more like she’s family than a patient. She’s quick to say she loves Dr. Benson. He’s been so patient and so nice. Of all the doctors, he’s the best. And there’ve been a lot of doctors.”

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