Concerns about my mother in law

Discussion in 'Memory concerns and seeking a diagnosis' started by MrsB911, Aug 12, 2015.

  1. MrsB911

    MrsB911 Registered User

    Aug 12, 2015
    I was looking for someone to speak to about my mother in law. She has not been diagnosed with anything and, when recently visiting the doctors they did a memory test on her and have just said her memory issues are just old age, but she is getting very concerned.

    She's in her mid 60's and recently she has been getting a lot worse with her memory. She has become very forgetful, forgetting simple things and losing her thread in conversation. She gets muddled up easily now and will repeat something she has said this morning that was spoken about last night.

    I know that she is very concerned about her memory and that sometimes this is made worse by her husband who has began getting frustrated with her inability to remember some things.

    Also, her son, my husband is getting upset too as he is finding it difficult seeing his mother getting muddled and confused.

    I am a little unsure where to go from here or how to help her, I don't know a lot about dementia or Alzheimer's but thought you might be able to help me or give me some advice.
  2. Long-Suffering

    Long-Suffering Registered User

    Jul 6, 2015
    Hi Mrs B,

    Sorry to hear about your stress.

    Considering the circumstances, if I was in your situation I'd suggest your MIL went to another doctor for a second opinion. If the other doctor comes to the same conclusion that there is nothing to worry about, that should reassure everyone including MIL, and if the second opinion finds that she does actually have some kind of dementia, then the ball can start rolling towards treatment and dealing with that. Either way, it should help the current situation.

    Best of luck,

  3. Tin

    Tin Registered User

    May 18, 2014
    You should suggest a second opinion especially if your mother in law is more than willing to find out whats wrong. Did the gp take any bloods for testing, other things need to be ruled out,like Pernicious Anaemia.
  4. PeggySmith

    PeggySmith Registered User

    Apr 16, 2012
    Erm... mid sixties? A month short of 69 that makes me older than your MIL and I don't have any real memory problems so her GP's comment made me really cross. Get her to see another GP pronto. There are other things that can cause memory loss/confusion but if those are ruled out and she does have dementia of some kind, there is a lot of help out there for all of you and it's best accessed as early as possible.
    Grrrrr! That GP!
  5. Long-Suffering

    Long-Suffering Registered User

    Jul 6, 2015
    LOL, Peggy, you made me laugh! I'm only 47, but my memory is up **** creek already! But that is because I had a nervous breakdown in the spring :p

  6. MrsB911

    MrsB911 Registered User

    Aug 12, 2015
    Thank you for your responses so far.

    So a second opinion sounds like a good idea. The GP did a test where they told her to remember three things and then recall them, she did struggle but eventually recalled all three so they said that it was just normal for her to forget things. It's just for us we are seeing an increase in this muddle and confusion. :confused:
  7. Sammyjo1

    Sammyjo1 Registered User

    Jul 8, 2014
    The GP should give her a full MMSE test which looks at various things such as being able to copy a diagram, asking what month it is, what season it is and so on. The total possible score is 30 - it may be that they will use a different test but just asking her to remember 3 words isn't a full test. My OH got 27 which is borderline but got a CT Scan and other things done which proved he did have Alzheimers.

    Stress can cause a lot of the symptoms of dementia so it is worth looking at that side of things but I agree with everyone else that you need a second opinion if only to reassure her as she's obviously very anxious about it.
  8. MrsB911

    MrsB911 Registered User

    Aug 12, 2015
    I think the stress is coming from her not being able to remember things, she gets very worked up about it and then her husband has a habit of questioning her. So he'll tell her she's fine and doesn't need treatment but when she forgets something he gets angry and puts a lot of pressure on. I don't think him asking why she can't remember is helping, she's been getting very upset and stressed about that, and also he will just look at her expectedly which is putting too much pressure on her I feel.

    Can she request a more in depth test or would that just be the doctors decision to take that path?
  9. Sammyjo1

    Sammyjo1 Registered User

    Jul 8, 2014
    You don't say which country you are in but if you are in the UK I wonder whether it would be worth ringing the Alzheimers Society Helpline on 0845 300 0336 as they will have better knowledge of what your options are.

    If you're not in the UK, I'm not sure what the protocol would be for you to request a fuller test. Would it be possible for you to accompany her to the doctors with neither her husband or her son present? Is she accepting of your help and support?
  10. cragmaid

    cragmaid Registered User

    Oct 18, 2010
    North East England
    Hello and welcome to TP....we often say to people whose relatives are waiting to be tested, keep a diary. Write down the unusual and concerning things...the repetition, the losing things, the dangerous or risky things...
    These are indicative of Dementia but not solely...there are many pointers. Equally so, they can point towards other illnesses such as Thyroid deficiency. or Pernicious anaemia...a whole range of tests should be performed to eliminate physical problems.

    So keep a diary and make an appointment with a different GP and try, if possible to not let your MIL be too stressed.:D
  11. Long-Suffering

    Long-Suffering Registered User

    Jul 6, 2015
    Hi Mrs B.

    1) This test sounds pretty bogus. Not at all professional.
    2) If your MIL struggled to remember just 3 things, I would be worried about that.
    3) "It was just normal for her to forget things?!" What a bizarre thing for the doctor to say.

    It sounds like your MIL either does have some kind of dementia/memory problem or else she is so super-nervous and stressed that she has trouble remembering, but she would have to be REALLY stressed for that to happen, I would have thought.

    Get that second opinion ASAP.

  12. kentf

    kentf Registered User

    Mar 4, 2014
    I had to fight for my mother's diagnosis. I knew she had some form of dementia but the 10 question test at the GP's she passed with fying colours (twice!)

    I went behind my mother's back and phoned the GP, as well as write, giving examples of behaviour and memory that could not have come out in the test. I knew the earlier she could be put on medication, the better. An appointment was duly made with a psychiatrist and she made a 'barn foor shut' disagnosis of Alzheimer's.

    So never give up! Doctors are mostly brilliant, but some lack .... and we know as carers what is best as we KNOW the person.

    Good luck and blessings.
  13. Mrsbusy

    Mrsbusy Registered User

    Aug 15, 2015
    I was told the classic way to find out if dementia is present is to ask the person to draw a clock face. Then ask them to put a time on it. Eg. Half past two.
    My own mother struggled with this even the circle was hard to make out, not all the numbers and not a clue where the hands should go.

    I agree that her husbands attitude probably isn't helping, but they maybe out of fear on his behalf that she has dementia so he would rather not know, and as my sons say about my father will try to bully her out of it rather than admit it. He feels it's out of his control so is scared himself but has to play macho.

    If your husband sees the difference in his mother, he must be a caring son and well done to him and you. This would also encourage me to seek a second opinion, has she been referred to a memory clinic if not insist on it. By the way if she does go into hospital as emergency they too will ask her ten questions to assist her ability, eg who is the prime minister? I'm not suggesting she goes into emergency department, but making you aware that it maybe picked up by professionals in those circumstances.

    Keep supporting like you are, maybe read up a little on other symptoms as there others besides memory loss that most of us notice years before diagnosis eg anxiety, lack of confidence , not liking new places or routine, staying in more as well of course silly things like keys in the fridge, butter in the oven, using wrong word for items or saying six words before they get the right one. Does she understand other things like following conversation and join in? Can she operate TV remote or microwave or cooker still?
    It's the little things that sometimes make us sit up and question what's going on. Good luck and keep us informed.
  14. MrsB911

    MrsB911 Registered User

    Aug 12, 2015
    First of all I'd like to thank everyone for their comments and helpful posts, and apologies for not replying. I am just about to get a cuppa tea and read them all properly.

    After this appointment my mother in law was very put off with seeing a doctor and absolutely terrified there might be something wrong, however she returned to the doctors on Friday just gone after she felt she was still struggling quite a lot. She is finding it difficult to write and remember things even more now and little things have become noticeable, like she struggles when she paying for items to get the right change out of her purse for instance.

    This doctor has taken the situation more seriously and referred her for more texts but they have told her that they feel it is probably Alzheimer's. They have not confirmed anything yet, they are referring her for blood tests and to a dementia clinic. She is devastated, as are the family and I guess I'm just looking for some advice on what we do next if that does turn out to be the diagnosis. :(

    Thank you again.
  15. ab23

    ab23 Registered User

    Mar 8, 2016
    #15 ab23, Mar 8, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2016
    Help please

    posted on wrong part, sorry

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.