Query early onset

Peg53

Registered User
Nov 16, 2023
16
0
My partner is 53 and has been experiencing memory issues for 2 to 3 years. He has a very stressful job that put a lot more pressure on him during covid and that pressure hasn't eased at all, if anything it's increasing so he's potentially on the brink of burnout. He gets anxious about doing small things, likes to make sure he knows where everything is and needs precise details of what we're doing but doesn't retain it. His work have noticed so he finally agreed to see the GP who did the MMSE test, his score was 23 which I know isn't a good sign.

Could it be stress? He has a consultation booked for January - that's the earliest they can see him and that's through a private firm so I'm feeling a bit helpless and frustrated today. He won't ring again to see if they can see him any earlier because he doesn't know what to say. I had to write it all down before he rang for the appointment but I don't want to make him feel like he can't do it, I want to respect his feelings and abilities but at the same time it's so frightening to see him not knowing what to say, or not understanding the paperwork he's got from the GP.

I think he's scared, possibly in denial, he doesn't want to be signed off from work, he doesn't want to let anyone down or feel like he's failed but another few years of the pressure and he'll decline even more.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
24,669
0
South coast
Hello @Peg53 and welcome to the forum

I think at this stage it is impossible to tell whether it is dementia or something like stress. The symptoms you report could be either, although the result of the MMSE is concerning and warrants further testing. He should get a scan and more detailed cognitive testing before someone can make a diagnosis.

BTW, being in denial (or losing insight) is very common with dementia and I know that we want to respect our loved ones feelings, but it is very important that the doctors know what problems you are noticing so that they get the full picture. I send in a letter outlining my concerns to the doctor before OHs appointments so that I dont have to say anything in front of him.
 

SeaSwallow

Volunteer Moderator
Oct 28, 2019
5,174
0
Welcome to the forum @Peg53 you must be so worried about your husband. From what you have described it could be that the stress and anxiety and memory problems are due to burnout from the constant pressure of your husbands job. However, it is also concerning that the memory issues have been ongoing for 2-3 years but again this could be due to the ongoing stress. Would you be able to contact the private company on your husband's behalf to see if the appointment could be brought forward.
 

Peg53

Registered User
Nov 16, 2023
16
0
Welcome to the forum @Peg53 you must be so worried about your husband. From what you have described it could be that the stress and anxiety and memory problems are due to burnout from the constant pressure of your husbands job. However, it is also concerning that the memory issues have been ongoing for 2-3 years but again this could be due to the ongoing stress. Would you be able to contact the private company on your husband's behalf to see if the appointment could be brought forward.
I've thought about calling to see it it can be sooner but we're not married, I don't know if they'll let me talk on his behalf. I don't want to do anything without his permission either, I don't want to overstep - but at the same time I feel like I should be more proactive, he doesn't seem to understand the seriousness or the urgency.
 

SeaSwallow

Volunteer Moderator
Oct 28, 2019
5,174
0
That is difficult @Peg53 Have you asked him if he would let you contact them on his behalf. If he has refused all you can do is to support him as best you can until the appointment.
 

Peg53

Registered User
Nov 16, 2023
16
0
Hello @Peg53 and welcome to the forum

I think at this stage it is impossible to tell whether it is dementia or something like stress. The symptoms you report could be either, although the result of the MMSE is concerning and warrants further testing. He should get a scan and more detailed cognitive testing before someone can make a diagnosis.

BTW, being in denial (or losing insight) is very common with dementia and I know that we want to respect our loved ones feelings, but it is very important that the doctors know what problems you are noticing so that they get the full picture. I send in a letter outlining my concerns to the doctor before OHs appointments so that I dont have to say anything in front of him.
Thank you for replying. I've wondered about talking to the dr to explain how I see the progression and what happens to him when he's stressed. I'm sure there is a stress correlation, he can't really focus during the week and won't remember conversations but on a Saturday, when he's had a day away from work, he's much more lucid. Other people are noticing though, even on what I would call good days, so I think my perspective is a bit skewed now, my sense of what's normal isn't what it was because I'm becoming more used to his behaviour and the changes.
 

Peg53

Registered User
Nov 16, 2023
16
0
Welcome to the forum @Peg53 you must be so worried about your husband. From what you have described it could be that the stress and anxiety and memory problems are due to burnout from the constant pressure of your husbands job. However, it is also concerning that the memory issues have been ongoing for 2-3 years but again this could be due to the ongoing stress. Would you be able to contact the private company on your husband's behalf to see if the appointment could be brought forward.

That is difficult @Peg53 Have you asked him if he would let you contact them on his behalf. If he has refused all you can do is to support him as best you can until the appointment.
I haven’t, I think I need to. I don’t want to do anything in secret and I want him to feel supported so I have to have a very open conversation with him.

I don’t know if he knows how serious it is or if I should tell him and just say we really need to try hard to get past this initial stage so we get some answers.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
24,669
0
South coast
I don’t want to do anything in secret and I want him to feel supported so I have to have a very open conversation with him.
I understand this and I tried to do the same, but it just caused problems because OH didnt believe that there was anything wrong with him.

If he has dementia it is important to get the diagnosis, especially if he is underperforming at work. Does he get very angry when you try to discuss your concerns and just deny it all?
If not, then you are very lucky.
If he does, then you risk either telling the doctor in his presence and triggering his wrath, or else saying nothing and risk not getting a diagnosis.
 

Peg53

Registered User
Nov 16, 2023
16
0
I understand this and I tried to do the same, but it just caused problems because OH didnt believe that there was anything wrong with him.

If he has dementia it is important to get the diagnosis, especially if he is underperforming at work. Does he get very angry when you try to discuss your concerns and just deny it all?
If not, then you are very lucky.
If he does, then you risk either telling the doctor in his presence and triggering his wrath, or else saying nothing and risk not getting a diagnosis.
He doesn’t get angry but it bothers him if I push.

This is so hard to get my head around.
 

dirtmother

New member
Dec 6, 2023
2
0
My guess would be that there is no value in anyone pushing for him to be seen earlier than the appointment he's been given for January. I know when work and you and he are all anxious it can't come soon enough and sometimes it is appropriate to let people know you can accept a cancellation. But I reckon he'll need some calm preparation time. If he's having memory issues, what he might remember is more being pushed and that there's a stressful atmosphere than the positive things about an appointment (answers, explanations, support)
 

northumbrian_k

Volunteer Host
Mar 2, 2017
4,299
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Newcastle
Hi @dirtmother and welcome to Dementia Support Forum our friendly and helpful community. Thank you for taking the time to help other members and getting into the spirit of what this Forum is all about. If you have questions of your own, something that you would like to share, or need to let off steam about your situation that is what this site is for.
 
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Peg53

Registered User
Nov 16, 2023
16
0
My guess would be that there is no value in anyone pushing for him to be seen earlier than the appointment he's been given for January. I know when work and you and he are all anxious it can't come soon enough and sometimes it is appropriate to let people know you can accept a cancellation. But I reckon he'll need some calm preparation time. If he's having memory issues, what he might remember is more being pushed and that there's a stressful atmosphere than the positive things about an appointment (answers, explanations, support)
Hi @dirtmother Thanks for your reply, this makes sense. He has some time off over Christmas so we'll relax and have some downtime. Appreciate your response :)
 

Lawson58

Registered User
Aug 1, 2014
4,223
0
Victoria, Australia
Thank you for replying. I've wondered about talking to the dr to explain how I see the progression and what happens to him when he's stressed. I'm sure there is a stress correlation, he can't really focus during the week and won't remember conversations but on a Saturday, when he's had a day away from work, he's much more lucid. Other people are noticing though, even on what I would call good days, so I think my perspective is a bit skewed now, my sense of what's normal isn't what it was because I'm becoming more used to his behaviour and the changes.
Stress can aggravate dementia and as the person struggles to cope with work or even social situations, things can get worse. When he’s away from work, he can allow himself to relax and the pressure eases. When you have been watching for 2-3 years, you start to question everything you are looking at and wondering if you are reading too much into each little thing.

However, it’s never just one little thing on its own, it’s the sum of all that stuff together that is the true picture. I think you will find that with Christmas, January will come around soon enough and the break will give you time to write a few things down while you have a chance to relax a little.
 

Peg53

Registered User
Nov 16, 2023
16
0
Hi. I just wanted to post an update. We saw a neurologist yesterday and my partner’s been referred for an MRI. He had some time off over Christmas and was really chilled, engaged in conversations, funny and interested in everything going on. Since then though he’s been right back up to pre Christmas stress levels, lots of overwhelm with work pressures and unfortunately he didn’t do so well in the tests, he got his age wrong and the day and time. A few images he couldn’t identify and then couldn’t remember any of them later on.

I was so sure it was stress because of how much better he was with two weeks off so I was shocked to hear that it could be Alzheimer’s. The dr said usually he’d be able to tell pretty quickly if it’s extreme stress or Alzheimer’s but my partner’s “somewhere in the middle” and he couldn’t say at this point.

So MRI hopefully in 4 weeks and we’ll know more by the end of feb.
 

Weasell

Registered User
Oct 21, 2019
1,776
0
Have you seen the compassionate communication? I find it always worth a read.
Should he receive a dementia diagnosis it can be very difficult in the future without lasting power of attorney forms completed. You can do them online easily enough.

 

Peg53

Registered User
Nov 16, 2023
16
0
Have you seen the compassionate communication? I find it always worth a read.
Should he receive a dementia diagnosis it can be very difficult in the future without lasting power of attorney forms completed. You can do them online easily enough.
I've seen this on here before, it's so well written and really good advice, thank you for sharing it, it's good to read it again. I've made a copy to print.

This line is heart-breaking though - "they are scared all the time" - is that true?
 

Weasell

Registered User
Oct 21, 2019
1,776
0
I've seen this on here before, it's so well written and really good advice, thank you for sharing it, it's good to read it again. I've made a copy to print.

This line is heart-breaking though - "they are scared all the time" - is that true?
I would say it isn’t true.

It would be fair to say they may be scared.

but like us they are all different, there is no one size fits all with dementia.

Anosognosia can occur in dementia ( lack of insight) why would you be scared of something you don’t have? Much more likely that the emotion you feel is anger because your stupid partner/child is causing everything to go wrong in your life.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
24,669
0
South coast
This line is heart-breaking though - "they are scared all the time" - is that true?
In mums case it was certainly true.
She thought her cleaner was coming and stealing things
She thought I was shouting at her and hitting her
She thought the neighbours to doing things to purposely upset her
She couldnt understand why they were doing it and why things kept going wrong so she was scared of everyone and wanted to go home to her childhood home where she would be safe.

Saying that all people with dementia are scared all the time is a sweeping statement and not true of everyone, but I would say that a lot of dementia behaviour is due to underlying anxiety and fear
 

Jess2023

Registered User
May 4, 2023
28
0
Hi. I just wanted to post an update. We saw a neurologist yesterday and my partner’s been referred for an MRI. He had some time off over Christmas and was really chilled, engaged in conversations, funny and interested in everything going on. Since then though he’s been right back up to pre Christmas stress levels, lots of overwhelm with work pressures and unfortunately he didn’t do so well in the tests, he got his age wrong and the day and time. A few images he couldn’t identify and then couldn’t remember any of them later on.

I was so sure it was stress because of how much better he was with two weeks off so I was shocked to hear that it could be Alzheimer’s. The dr said usually he’d be able to tell pretty quickly if it’s extreme stress or Alzheimer’s but my partner’s “somewhere in the middle” and he couldn’t say at this point.

So MRI hopefully in 4 weeks and we’ll know more by the end of feb.
Hello just wanted to reach out as I found myself in your position last year and I know it’s a very dark time worrying and speculating on what it can be, it’s good you have the mri coming up and that will hopefully give you more clarity. In the meantime this is a wonderful place to ask questions as there are so many experienced volunteers, it was so helpful to me and made me ask the right questions to professionals and feel less isolated. Sending you a hug as it’s a hard time for us spouses too xx