Alzheimers or Grief

Discussion in 'Welcome and how to use Talking Point' started by chelseagirl, May 16, 2018.

  1. chelseagirl

    chelseagirl New member

    May 16, 2018
    2
    Hi, I'm new to the forum but would welcome advice. My mother is 80 and up until a few months ago was caring for my father full time who had a lot of medical problems including the onset of demential himself. My mother isn't in the best of health herself, she too has real issues with health, mobility and memory loss but was caring for my dad full time with little professional support - my dad refused to leave the house or have any help and my mum only left the house if absolutely necessary and only for up to an hour at most maybe once a week. When my dad died my mum was understandably grief stricken and for the first couple of months we all rallied round as much as we could and tried to help her as best as we could, she started to seem a bit better and was talking to neighbours more, started to pop out to the shops etc and we thought she was beginning to improve however now she seems to be rapidly declining. She has begun to act as if my dad is still alive, she talks to him all day and refers to him as 'being asleep' whenever anyone is there, even popping out of the room to 'check on him' regularly. She has stopped going out again as she can't leave him alone, and keeps telling me how exhausted she is from caring for him full time. Then in the last couple of weeks she has begun having regular episodes where she has locked herself out (or thought she had but had the keys on her all the time), lost bank cards and pills (again, found in her handbag or right in front of her) forgotten appointments at the doctor etc. The list is endless and getting worse by the day, she spends her days phoning everyone (starting at the crack of dawn) constantly changing her story every five minutes so nobody knows what is really going on and then when you go round she acts like nothing has happened and that we are making it up and starts getting quite aggressive accusing everyone of being rude to her. We have booked her an appointment at the Doctor after raising concerns which is next week but I'm wondering if anyone else has a similar experience or if anyone has any views on whether this is the start of alzheimers or largely grief related. Both my grandparents had alzheimers and were cared for at home so I've seen it first hand but they never had the grief side of it so it's hard to compare. My brother has expressed thoughts that it could be due to the initial support after my dad died waning a bit - at the beginning she had visitors every day checking on her but this has quietened down now although she still gets several calls a day from family and friends. He has wondered if it is loneliness kicking in and the need for contact as whenever people are physically with her she seems fine but yet she doesn't want to go to bereavement groups etc which would help. Any advice would be appreciated.
     
  2. Shedrech

    Shedrech Volunteer Moderator

    Dec 15, 2012
    6,342
    Yorkshire
    hello @chelseagirl
    a warm welcome to TP
    my condolences on the death of your father
    from your description, I can see why you are so concerned about your mother, and grief can certainly have a strong affect
    I think you are wise to have contacted her GP, who will be able to check her over - the symptoms you mention may be due to dementia but could also be down to stress, depression, a deficiency in vitamin B12
    maybe give the GP a list of all your concerns before the appointment, so they have clear info to refer to - are you able to attend with your mother, as she may not be as forthcoming with the GP as is needed
    if dementia is present, there is a term for the ability of someone to present perfectly 'normally' when in company, yet be confused afterwards and generally, it's 'hostess mode' after the way we can all 'put on a show' for guests
    I hope the GP is helpful
     
  3. love.dad.but..

    love.dad.but.. Registered User

    Jan 16, 2014
    3,275
    Kent
    It could be a combination but to me it sounds from your description of the way she is presenting as though it is confusion that her grief has accelerated. Dad was well into his dementia progression when mum died suddenly at home and he was alone with her for 24 hours...I certainly saw a dramatic acceleration of his dementia which his GP says was most likely caused by the shock and trauma. Hopefully the GP will have some advice based on how your mum appears but I would also let him know your concerns with the above examples
     
  4. chelseagirl

    chelseagirl New member

    May 16, 2018
    2
    Thank you so much for your replies, her appointment is later on today so we will see what he says. When I saw her yesterday she seemed ok, she was still a bit vague and a couple of things she said didn't really ring true but on the whole she seemed a bit less confused and seemed to have a grip on her appointments this week. She was still asking the same questions she always asks but she had put the TV on to watch a bit of the Royal Wedding which was a real surprise as she has only turned the TV on once since my dad died previously! she also knew the cup final result and had written my daughter out a card for her new home - it was like talking to a different person to last week when she didn't know who my daughter was or have a clue what was going on. Fingers crossed she was just going through a bad patch last week and things will improve.
     
  5. lemonjuice

    lemonjuice Registered User

    Jun 15, 2016
    1,532
    England
    That's definitely your first port of call.

    I agree, at this stage it may be difficult to tell and I believe any 'hdden' dementia which they are able to 'cover up' can be accelerated after a death of a spouse, or even a child.

    Wishing you luck. hopefully the Dr can start some tests and possible medication to rule out some other possibilities and then the situation may become clearer.
     

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