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“Mild” Cognitive Impairment - Struggling To Cope

BR5

New member
Feb 20, 2022
2
0
Hi
After seeing several concerning changes in my mother-in-laws behaviour and memory, late last summer we somehow managed to get her to speak to her GP where after assessment she was eventually diagnosed with MCI in September.
This is something she has never came to terms with or will admit to. She lives alone, My wife sees her every Sat and sometimes I am there. When we can we/my wife will make an occassional midweek visit. No other family members visit or are really interested. Other than her 82-year-old neighbour that she would go a 30 minute walk with a few times a week when weather permits, she really has no one else.
She is 68, was never what you would call a social butterfly but now barely leaves the house. She will no longer drive, doesn‘t want to go to shops or eat out etc. We help her with bills and things around the house etc.
She has lost all confidence, forgets important things and obsesses over non-important things. Tells us things have happened that clearly haven’t - it’s like she’s dreamt it but is convinced it’s happened. Says companies have phoned her about things that aren’t relevant and it transpires a junk email is the trigger.
Over the last few weeks she says she needs to get car insurance. We show her proof she has it and that fine - the next again week she says the same, and the next again week! That stopped but was replaced with wanting to cancel her broadband and home phone with Virgin. Her reason was cost but said she’d been trying to call for 4 wks but couldn’t get through. I phoned and after she gave permission for me to speak I got her costs down to what she was happy with and all good. Two weeks later (yesterday) she said she phoned Virgin and cancelled as it’s too expensive. Has no recollection of what occurred 2 wks prior. There are several other examples and we humour the incidentals but there’s now too many important and financial things she’s messing with but as I’ve said her denial and anger amongst other things means she will not entertain Power of Attorney or other such help.
My wife and I are so frustrated and really can’t see any light and we know it will only get worse.
Sorry for wittering on but any help or shared experiences would be most welcome.
 

nae sporran

Volunteer Host
Oct 29, 2014
9,148
0
Bristol
Hullo and welcome to DTP, @BR5. My first instinct was to suggest external carers and a sitting service or something similar to help your mother in law, but if she won't accept help that is a hard one I hope someone can advise you on. The hallucinations are common with different types of dementia. My partner used to regularly wake up and talk about a dream she had as if it was real and still happening. Seeing the junk mail and saying someone called sounds like a form of confabulation where things don't make sense so your mother in law is filling in the blanks herself.
You are always free to witter away on here, we all do it to try to get thoughts down on paper.
 

Jaded'n'faded

Registered User
Jan 23, 2019
3,414
0
High Peak
Your description is more like mid-stage dementia than MCI.

The denial/non-compliance is one of the most difficult things to handle - they need help but really can't see it. Could you introduce a carer as a friend of yours who needs some work experience and make out she'd be doing you a favour to have this person there for a few hours a day? Please continue to try to get PoA as you'll need access to her finances to keep things in order and for money to pay for care. (If she has less than 23,500 in savings she will be partially/fully funded by the LA.)

The only other thing I can think of is to write to her doctor (I'm guessing she wouldn't go of her own accord!) and detail the considerable changes in behaviour you are seeing. Ask that she is called in for a 'check up' with the intention of referring her to the Memory Clinic.
 

Sarasa

Volunteer Host
Apr 13, 2018
5,031
0
Nottinghamshire
Hi @BR5, and a warm welcome to Dementia Talking Point
If you can I'd try to get Power of Attorney sorted. Do you think your mother in law's friend might help you persuade her? I managed to get my mother to agree to taking it out as a friend told her it was a good idea. If it had been my suggestion I'm sure she never would have agreed. I'm worried that from what you've siad she will make bad decisions about financial matters and maybe even end up getting scammed.

I agree with what @Jaded'n'faded said about contacting her GP with your concerns. Mum could come across as being far more capable than she actually was, specially as she has vascular dementia and at the time her memory was actually pretty good. It was her logic that was awry. However when the GP, with some prompting from me, started to ask questions about her delusions, mum thought the neighbours were stealing from her, he could see that she was having difficulties.

Do have a look round the site. It's a very friendly place and you'll get lots of help and advice here.
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
2,026
0
65
London
She will no longer drive but needs to get car insurance?

Getting somone to stop driving is important but very difficult so if she has voluntarily given up driving do try your best to take the opportunity to get rid of her car and cancel the insurance before she decides she wants to drive again.
 

Rosettastone57

Registered User
Oct 27, 2016
1,746
0
This has gone beyond MCI , as others have said, I recognise this sort of behaviour when my mother in law was mid stage dementia . The denial aspect is very common and very difficult to deal with. Do try for lasting power of attorney, it's essential.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
18,875
0
South coast
When your MIL went for her appointment at the memory clinic did a family member manage to tell the doctor about family concerns? One of the reasons that a diagnosis of MCI might be made is if there are problems shown on tests, but there are very few impacts on daily living. So if the doctor was left with the impression that there were no problems at home this might cause them to diagnose MCI, when if they had known about concerns they might have diagnosed dementia.

I would get a re-referral to the memory clinic and, to make sure that the doctor is aware of your concerns, write a letter bullet-pointing problems and either send it so that it arrives several days before the appointment, or take it with you and hand it discretely to someone in the clinic when you first arrive.
 

BR5

New member
Feb 20, 2022
2
0
Thanks to everyone for taking the time to reply.
I think my wife will definitely need to contact the consultant from the memory clinic or her GP in the first instance and let them know things seem to have escalated from the original diagnosis.
The hallucinations and confabulations along with her paranoia are becoming more often and more crazy-sounding as the weeks progress.
Denial is the main sticking point. She’s said weeks before something like “oh I can’t remember the last time I’ve been out in the car” and then sometimes in the same conversation, next hour or a week or two later we could say to her “you don’t use the car and you have a bus pass so why don’t you get rid of it” - she would snip back that she does so. That’s obviously one of many examples.
Power of Attorney is a big thing we need to sort out but as many of you know it’s easier said than done and we can’t drag her to a solicitors. When it’s mentioned she can say yes one minute then fly off the handle the next!
We are conscious of not trying to constantly tell her what to do nor appear to be taking control as again this only antagonises things.
Would anyone advise having a white board or a list stuck to the fridge with say important dates or when insurances run out as these are the types of things she seems to be obsessing about? She writes thing on a wall calendar which sometimes helps but not if she’s writing things in the wrong date! Or how about creating a folder with print outs of such documents?
 

SERENA50

Registered User
Jan 17, 2018
156
0
Hi
After seeing several concerning changes in my mother-in-laws behaviour and memory, late last summer we somehow managed to get her to speak to her GP where after assessment she was eventually diagnosed with MCI in September.
This is something she has never came to terms with or will admit to. She lives alone, My wife sees her every Sat and sometimes I am there. When we can we/my wife will make an occassional midweek visit. No other family members visit or are really interested. Other than her 82-year-old neighbour that she would go a 30 minute walk with a few times a week when weather permits, she really has no one else.
She is 68, was never what you would call a social butterfly but now barely leaves the house. She will no longer drive, doesn‘t want to go to shops or eat out etc. We help her with bills and things around the house etc.
She has lost all confidence, forgets important things and obsesses over non-important things. Tells us things have happened that clearly haven’t - it’s like she’s dreamt it but is convinced it’s happened. Says companies have phoned her about things that aren’t relevant and it transpires a junk email is the trigger.
Over the last few weeks she says she needs to get car insurance. We show her proof she has it and that fine - the next again week she says the same, and the next again week! That stopped but was replaced with wanting to cancel her broadband and home phone with Virgin. Her reason was cost but said she’d been trying to call for 4 wks but couldn’t get through. I phoned and after she gave permission for me to speak I got her costs down to what she was happy with and all good. Two weeks later (yesterday) she said she phoned Virgin and cancelled as it’s too expensive. Has no recollection of what occurred 2 wks prior. There are several other examples and we humour the incidentals but there’s now too many important and financial things she’s messing with but as I’ve said her denial and anger amongst other things means she will not entertain Power of Attorney or other such help.
My wife and I are so frustrated and really can’t see any light and we know it will only get worse.
Sorry for wittering on but any help or shared experiences would be most welcome.
Thanks to everyone for taking the time to reply.
I think my wife will definitely need to contact the consultant from the memory clinic or her GP in the first instance and let them know things seem to have escalated from the original diagnosis.
The hallucinations and confabulations along with her paranoia are becoming more often and more crazy-sounding as the weeks progress.
Denial is the main sticking point. She’s said weeks before something like “oh I can’t remember the last time I’ve been out in the car” and then sometimes in the same conversation, next hour or a week or two later we could say to her “you don’t use the car and you have a bus pass so why don’t you get rid of it” - she would snip back that she does so. That’s obviously one of many examples.
Power of Attorney is a big thing we need to sort out but as many of you know it’s easier said than done and we can’t drag her to a solicitors. When it’s mentioned she can say yes one minute then fly off the handle the next!
We are conscious of not trying to constantly tell her what to do nor appear to be taking control as again this only antagonises things.
Would anyone advise having a white board or a list stuck to the fridge with say important dates or when insurances run out as these are the types of things she seems to be obsessing about? She writes thing on a wall calendar which sometimes helps but not if she’s writing things in the wrong date! Or how about creating a folder with print outs of such documents?
Hi

I think denial is very very common. POA would be good definitely but how do you reason with anyone who is unable to reason I have no idea lol.. My dad completed his before his memory started to get worse, mainly he got into trouble with his gas bill and asked for help. You can ask to be added to accounts as a third party ? The gas people spoke to dad with me there and then added me as a contact to speak with. Maybe that might help as an interim measure.

You could try a white board. My dad has a calendar on the wall and we have written eveything on it bill wise but he just doesn't look at it now. He relies on me and my sis reminding him . He has a bin calendar on the wall but then texts to ask what day the bin goes out and which bin. We do keep a folder with all his bills in etc but I don't think he looks in it. It is the cognitive part that probably means he may look at these things but cannot work out what they are for, what they mean. Then with clarity he may cross the days off on the calendar , you do see that as well.

I watched a u tube video called 12 minutes with dementia which (it is a USA video) shows how it feels to do tasks when your memory and physical skills are not what they were. That made me think how difficult every day stuff can be. I also found the link on here communicating with someone who has memory impairment a really really good tool. It changed the way I talked with dad and he has become less stressed. We were guilty of asking questions too much, testing his memory out and his thinking, amongst other things.

I wish I had a hand book that said just do a b and c but there isn't one, just have to take one day at a time and keep trying different things.
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
2,026
0
65
London
It sounds like it may be too late for POA as the person involved does not understand the fundamental information given to them that they have what the law calls an "impairment of, or a disturbance in the functioning of, the mind or brain." If she does not understand that she cannot make decisions about matters where that is essential understanding and granting POA would be such a decision. So it is time to apply for deputyship. It takes some time to get it and by the time you do, she may have deteriorated further.
 

try again

Registered User
Jun 21, 2018
511
0
Thanks to everyone for taking the time to reply.
I think my wife will definitely need to contact the consultant from the memory clinic or her GP in the first instance and let them know things seem to have escalated from the original diagnosis.
The hallucinations and confabulations along with her paranoia are becoming more often and more crazy-sounding as the weeks progress.
Denial is the main sticking point. She’s said weeks before something like “oh I can’t remember the last time I’ve been out in the car” and then sometimes in the same conversation, next hour or a week or two later we could say to her “you don’t use the car and you have a bus pass so why don’t you get rid of it” - she would snip back that she does so. That’s obviously one of many examples.
Power of Attorney is a big thing we need to sort out but as many of you know it’s easier said than done and we can’t drag her to a solicitors. When it’s mentioned she can say yes one minute then fly off the handle the next!
We are conscious of not trying to constantly tell her what to do nor appear to be taking control as again this only antagonises things.
Would anyone advise having a white board or a list stuck to the fridge with say important dates or when insurances run out as these are the types of things she seems to be obsessing about? She writes thing on a wall calendar which sometimes helps but not if she’s writing things in the wrong date! Or how about creating a folder with print outs of such documents?
You can apply for poa online and get a doctor to sign she can make the decision. Make you you tick the take control straightaway.
A bit sneaky, but I'd do this first while the doctor thinks it is mild and then go for a proper assessment.
Tell your mum that it means you can help her with her bills in the future and make it easier for you to help