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Getting help for my mother

Discussion in 'Memory concerns and seeking a diagnosis' started by Sarasa, Apr 14, 2018.

  1. Sarasa

    Sarasa Registered User

    Apr 13, 2018
    150
    Hi,

    I'm new here and a quick read through shows me that the difficulties I'm facing with my mother are pretty much the same as others are facing, but I didn't want to hijack someone elses thread so have staretd a new one.
    My mother is ninty and physically pretty fit for her age. She can walk, albeit slowly, a fair distance, doesn't use a stick and can touch her toes which is more than I can do. Her main physically disability is her eyesight. She has macular degeneration and is registered as partially sighted. She can see enough to get about (just), but not well enough to read or to notice how grubby her flat has become. She lives in a purpose built flat, which while not sheltered accomodation houses a lot of elderly women, all of whom look out for each other. It is very near shops and public transport. Although I've been a bit concerned about her mental capacity for a few years a lot of the concerns could be put down ot her inability to see and shes coped pretty well up until a few months ago, doing her own shopping, getting about by bus etc etc..
    Since November there has been a rapid decline. About that time her good friend in the next door flat moved into sheltered accommodation, and mum immediatly took against the new occupants. One day she was convinced they'd stolen her bag and my brother had a two hour drive to go and find she'd left in under a table and just couldn't see it. Since then she keeps on telling anyone who will listen that they come in, take and move things. Recently she showed me a bracelet that she said they'd left there, she'd even been and tried to give it back to them. It was one I'd last seen on her wrist at her birthday party. She didn't believe me and she can't see well enough to see the photographic eveidence of her wearing it. She complained to the company that manages the flats and they contacted me as they were concerned. My sister in law had a phone call a week or so ago from another neighbour to say that mum had stopped her in the street to say she couldn't find the chemists. Mum didn't recognise the woman and has lived in the same place for over ten years and hasn't had such problems before as far as I'm aware.
    All the above leads me to believe that mum probably has some kind of dementia. I went with her to a routine doctors appointment last month and expressed my concerns. The mini memory test he gave her produced a score of 26/30 which I wasn't surprised at, mum seems very good at that sort of test. He asked to see her in three months time, but my brother and I are so concerned that we've made another appointment to try and push for a referal to the memory clinic. Any suggestions as to how to persuade him that should happen? Also how do we get mum there? She insists there is nothing wrong and gets extremely angry if challenged or pushed to do something she doesn't want to.
    My other concern is getting some help in to clean the flat, check she is eating properly etc. She seems to manage at present to get herself up and is still very insistent on doing a full make up routine every day. I think I've almost persuaded her to get someone in for a short while, but none of the companies I've contacted by email have got back to me. I have the added complication that I'm deaf, so using phones is pretty tricky for me, but I guess I'm going to have to bite the bullet and start phoning.
     
  2. karaokePete

    karaokePete Volunteer Host

    Jul 23, 2017
    2,706
    Male
    N Ireland
    Hello @Sarasa, I have given a partial reply to your query on the welcome thread. You are correct to start your own thread as more people will see it and I hope you get a reply to the rest of your question.
    One thing I can say is that it can take a very long time to get a diagnosis if anything is amiss so it is necessary to be both persistent and patient.
     
  3. Sarasa

    Sarasa Registered User

    Apr 13, 2018
    150
    Thanks @karaokePete . I went to see mum today and told her about the doctors appointment next week. She was fine with it all, though I think she suspects I fancy the doctor and wanted to see him again.
    Having read a lot of other people's stories, I realise that at the moment things aren't too bad, though they could get worse rather quickly.
     
  4. karaokePete

    karaokePete Volunteer Host

    Jul 23, 2017
    2,706
    Male
    N Ireland
    I had a laugh at that one - makes a change from my wife(Alzheimer's) as she thinks every woman I speak to fancies me - not a problem I ever had!!!!

    As to your last comment, don't assume the worst as there isn't any 'normal' timeline with dementia. Things may develop more slowly than you fear. 'A day at a time' is the mantra.
     
  5. pinkdaughter

    pinkdaughter New member

    Apr 30, 2018
    2
     
  6. pinkdaughter

    pinkdaughter New member

    Apr 30, 2018
    2
    Hi,

    I am new on here too and have just read your post. I started to notice little things in mums memory loss 4 years ago when she couldn't remember her bus route. I eventually managed to get her to the GP about 2 years ago, after her partner passed away. this was a rouse to get her to gp as she too couldnt accept she was having memory issues. Fortunately the GP was vety good and referred her to the memory clinic. Her first scan and cognitive tests showed no significant memory issues, and she scored 28/30, but they kept her on and she went every 9 months for a check up. 2 years down the line mum struggles with all her short term memory, and with processing info, and after attending the memory clinics etc, and further assessments they eventually referred her for a further scan last month (her score went down to 26 on cog tests) and have just diagnosed dementia/alzeimers, and has been put on meds to try to slow the process down. we were then sent away to contact age UK and social services ourselves, and am still waiting for assessments to be made.

    all I can suggest is that you try to find another reason initially to get ur mum back to Dr, and speak to Dr before hand to express your concerns again, and ask for a referral. it is a long slow process ununfortunately. good luck
     
  7. karaokePete

    karaokePete Volunteer Host

    Jul 23, 2017
    2,706
    Male
    N Ireland
    Hi @pinkdaughter, I just noticed your reply to this thread and wanted to say welcome to TP. I hope you will continue to contribute to the forum.:)
     
  8. Sarasa

    Sarasa Registered User

    Apr 13, 2018
    150
    Hi @pinkdaughter . We got mum back to the GP last week and he has refered her to the memory clinic. I hope she'll be happy to go when the appointment coems throuigh, but that's a battle we'll face when it happens. What sort of support has your mum got in place, or is she still living independently?
     
  9. Sarasa

    Sarasa Registered User

    Apr 13, 2018
    150
    Mum now has an appointment for the memory clinic. the letter said it would be an hour and a half interview with a specialist nurse. The letter also mentioned the likelyhood of a referal for a brain scan.
    As mum is partially sighted I read all her post for her, so I told her about clinic but not the scan. She was happy about the appointment, mainly because I dressed it up as a day out with my brother and I with lunch included. I don't think she'll be so happy about going for a scan, but I'll cross that bridge when we get to it.
    The letter said she was welcome to take people with her, but didn't mention anything about actually talking to us. As this is early days I guess we'll play it by ear.
     
  10. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    6,974
    Female
    South coast
    Im glad your mum is OK with going to the memory clinic
    Please do go in with your mum. Many people with memory problems/dementia do not admit to any problems. The doctor will need to hear your side of the story too. Some memory clinics will allow time for you to talk to the doctor on your own, but not all do. When I go to OHs clinic appointments I usually write a letter outlining in bullet points the latest developments and my concerns and give it in to the receptionist asking that it goes in with OHs records so that the doctor can read it before calling OH in.
     
  11. Sarasa

    Sarasa Registered User

    Apr 13, 2018
    150
    Oh botheration. I've just had mum on the phone shouting at me about the meory clinic visit. She is refusing to go, saying she won't be treated like a child etc etc. I've tried the as one adult woman to another we sometimes have to do things we don't like, and do it for my brother and I as we are concerned about you. She isn't having any of it and in the end I've put the phone down.
    Her best friend phoend the other day to express her concerns about mum. I'm wondering if I should call ehr and get her to convince mum the appointment is a good idea? As it is I've contacted my brother, he's better at sweet talking her than I am, so I hope he can talk her round.
     
  12. Shedrech

    Shedrech Volunteer Moderator

    Dec 15, 2012
    6,417
    Yorkshire
    hi @Sarasa
    is the appointment today? - if so can your brother just take your mum for a treat and happen to pop into the clinic 'just to check on something' for him, either on the way there or way back - so your mum focusses on the treat and not the clinic appointment

    if not today - I'd suggest no-one talking to her about it at all - she's unlikely (as you've had so far) to respond to anyone reasoning it through with her (in her mind what she says on any subject is RIGHT so why would she change her mind) - and talking to her about it risks building up her resistance
    if she mentions it, maybe play it down eg 'it's just another short visit to prove how well you are ... right now, can you help me with x' .... or some other distraction
    then, on the day, resort to my initial idea - aim to keep your mum as stress free as possible; if that includes a few slights of hand, so be it
     
  13. Sarasa

    Sarasa Registered User

    Apr 13, 2018
    150
    @Shedrech - Thank you for that reply. I find it so hard that she won't listen to reason. My degree was in philosophy and I do tend to try and argue things logically. Useless with someone with dementia I know.
    The appointment is next Thursday. I've been trying to dress it up as a nice day out and until today she seemed fine. I don't know if she found the letter where I hid it and managed to read it. I hadn't mentioned to her that she is due for a brain scan the week after. I hoped my brother and I could tackle that one after the memory clinic visit.
     
  14. Rosettastone57

    Rosettastone57 Registered User

    Oct 27, 2016
    431
     
  15. Rosettastone57

    Rosettastone57 Registered User

    Oct 27, 2016
    431
     
  16. Rosettastone57

    Rosettastone57 Registered User

    Oct 27, 2016
    431
    My husband and I had something similar with my mother-in-law who is now 92 with mixed dementia when she was diagnosed about 3 years ago. Due to her pre-existing mental health conditions we became attuned for the sort of strategies to get her to co-operate with medical professionals. She never wanted to be seen as different to anyone else so we used these strategies to get her to co-operate with a memory clinic test. The GP had referred her to the memory clinic who had decided on a home visit due to her mobility. We already had power of attorney in place so all her post was redirected to me so she never got any of the letters inviting her for the clinic. I used a trusted neighbour to come in and talk with her over a period of a couple of weeks to tell her and discuss with her how normal and routine these tests were for anyone over a certain age. I primed the memory clinic beforehand and asked them if I could take a test as well at the same time in order to relieve her anxiety and again give the impression that these were routine. This actually happened and I did the memory clinic test in a separate room with a nurse after my mother-in-law had completed hers.

    The follow-up appointments unfortunately were actually at the clinic so when the letter came through redirected to us we never discussed it with her. The day before the appointment I told her that I was going to collect her on the pretext of going to a local cafe for a coffee and at the same time I was going to the clinic to find out my test results. When we got to the clinic of course my test results were ok according to the nurse my mother in law's were not ok she didn't give her the full diagnosis and we then awaited an appointment for a brain scan. My mother-in-law at the time refused to believe of course there was anything wrong with her but she did agree to the brain scan because I said I would come with her.

    I'm afraid that you have to forget about any sort of reasoning and logic. You will also need to learn to lie because there comes a point where your mum's needs outweigh what she wants. We never discuss anything with her for example finances or appointments we always say that my husband and I are now in charge and this is what's happening. It's not easy but eventually you will find the lovely lies come even easier
     
  17. Sarasa

    Sarasa Registered User

    Apr 13, 2018
    150
    Thank you @Rosettastone57. I think these are routine tests for your age (she has just turned 90) might be the way to go if I haven't blown it in my phone call with her this morning. I'm a lousy liar and I think she could tell from my answers that I wasn't telling her the whole truth.
     
  18. Sarasa

    Sarasa Registered User

    Apr 13, 2018
    150
    Oh dear. My brother messaged me today to say he'd had mum on the phone telling him she'd phoned her doctor's surgery to complain about me. Apparently I'm not medically qualified to refer her to the memory clinic. Well I thought it was the GP who had done that, even if I was the one who'd raised concerns.
    My brother and I are standing strong through this and she is going to the clinic next week if we can get her there. In the meantime I've hit the wine bottle.
     
  19. Sarasa

    Sarasa Registered User

    Apr 13, 2018
    150
    Well we managed to get. mum as far as the clinic. The appointment was for 9.30 so my brother got up at silly o'clock and picked me up at 6.45 so we could get to my mothers in time to chivvy her her out of the door. She went off happily thinking we were going out for lunch (at 9.20?) but as soon as she realised where we were refused to see the nurse. Her reasoning was that she was perfectly fine and she didn't want people talking about her. My brother and I saw the nurse separately. The nurse bascially suggested going back to the GP, and did say that we could still get mum to the scan next week as a diagnosis didn't have to be done in a particular order. I'm not at all sure that we'll manage that, but we'll give it a go.
    Most of the day was spent with her telling us all the things the neighbours do. She'd taken her skirt into the bathroom with her in case they came in and took it while she had a shower.When I picked it up she told me to hid it in the bed in case they came in while she was showering. She dismissed my brother's and my concerns out of hand, saying that it is really happening. My brother did promise her that if she felt she had to see the neighbours about something that was missing she phoned one of us first. She is also re-imagining the past. She called the police a few weeks ago because she thought they had taken some money, which of course she had just hidden. Now, according to her, they did steal it.
    On the way home my brother and I were discussing what to do next. At the moment we are both fairly flummoxed, though we do think we've put the wheels in motion, albeit very very slowly.
     
  20. Rosettastone57

    Rosettastone57 Registered User

    Oct 27, 2016
    431
    Oh dear I'm so sorry it didn't go very well. I'm not quite sure what to advise next I'm sure others will be along soon who can give better advice than I can. Unfortunately sometimes it has to be a crisis before things really get moving
     

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