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Friend has dementia?

jwongster

New member
Mar 12, 2021
2
0
I've been friends with a woman who's a few years older than me for 25+ years. She's now 72 and I'm having a hard time in the friendship.
There are two issues: 1) when she tells a story, she tends to repeat herself over and over. For example, I saw her yesterday and she
told me a story about a man who had a stroke and she told me 5 or 6 times that she doesn't know what caused the stroke. (I didn't ask).
It's not so much that she repeats stories she's already told me from a month ago, but that her way of telling a story is now very circular. She will say the same thing over and over, first one way, then another, then back to the first way, then back to the second way. This isn't how she used to converse when we first met 25+ years ago.

2) The other issue is that she asks many questions when I tell her stories. I assume she gets confused easily, but sometimes it seems like a passive-aggressive thing, as if she's pointing out I haven't been specific enough. She seems to have problems with pronouns, so that if I'm talking about two people, she has trouble understanding which person "she" is. She has lost her powers of inference and I have to spell
everything out. It's quite exhausting and after an hour of this, I'm ready to say good-bye to her. We used to meet once a week, then every other week and now I'm trying to see her just once a month.

Does this sound like early dementia? And if it is, what can I, as her friend, do about it?
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
739
0
Harsh answer I am afraid. Yes, and very little. To support your friend a fair bit of patience will be needed.
 

Shedrech

Volunteer Moderator
Dec 15, 2012
10,119
0
Yorkshire
hello @jrosewong
welcome to DTP
you clearly care about your friend, so one thing you can do for her is keep seeing her as often as you used to if you are able ... an hour a week may mean a great deal to her, and will give you a chance to monitor how she is
I agree this may be a result of lockdown, stress, depression, even a vitamin deficiency ... might you find a way to gently suggest she have a chat with her GP ... maybe say you know of someone who was having a few memory issues and their GP sorted out their vitamin levels and they're right as rain now ... and maybe mention your concerns to a family member
 

jwongster

New member
Mar 12, 2021
2
0
hello @jrosewong
welcome to DTP
you clearly care about your friend, so one thing you can do for her is keep seeing her as often as you used to if you are able ... an hour a week may mean a great deal to her, and will give you a chance to monitor how she is
I agree this may be a result of lockdown, stress, depression, even a vitamin deficiency ... might you find a way to gently suggest she have a chat with her GP ... maybe say you know of someone who was having a few memory issues and their GP sorted out their vitamin levels and they're right as rain now ... and maybe mention your concerns to a family member
She is married, has an adult daughter and friends. She's active, so I doubt this is the result of not getting out enough or not having enough to talk about. Also, the above 2 issues (repeating herself ad infinitum and not following a story) seem to be worsening. I know that the lockdown has been hard on all of us and we forget what day it is, etc. but this seems more profound. Thanks for the ideas re: how to help.
 

Sarasa

Volunteer Host
Apr 13, 2018
2,877
0
Hi @jrosewong , welcome to Dementia Talking Point. It could well be that your friend, as @Shedrech says does have a vitamin deficiency or is suffering from stress rather than showing the first signs of dementia.
I was wondering if you are able to talk to her husband or daughter discretely and find out if they are also concerned. I was worried about my mother for several years before things became obvious. At first I thought no one else who saw her regularly noticed, but when I managed to ask her best friend when mum was out of earshot for her thoughts on my mum's behaviour, she was concerned too. She told me of several worrying incidents when they were out that mum hadn't mentioned at all.
I know it's hard, but if it is dementia I'm sure the family would appreciate you continuing with the friendship. Until mum moved into care her her closest friends kept up the friendship, though these have now fallen away apart from occasional emails and phone calls to me as mum forgets more and more of her past and no longer knows who they are,
 

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