Going downhill?

Linda M

Registered User
Oct 2, 2004
Hi again,

Me again with yet more questions! Mainly - is a rapid deterioration in memory to be expected in early dementia? I ask because my aunt seems worse than ever since coming home from hospital a few weeks ago. My mum came down from Scotland to help her the first week she was home and found it was a very difficult time. Anyway, she sorted out lots of practical stuff - pills, food, carers and what they need to be doing etc. But last week my aunt refused to go to daycare, saying she couldn't recall anything about it. Also, she seems now unable to tell the time - more than just confusing times - looking at her watch and not actually being able to tell (or even guess) remotely close.

Am I overreacting or is this to be expected? I know every experience is different.



Registered User
Oct 23, 2003
West Sussex
Dear Linda, it could be, then again, you need to check if she has a urine infection or is constipated, both of these can cause extra memory problems. Iron deficiency can make them worse so check that. Also, what medications she is on, do any of those point to more confusion? Has she had any chest infections or the like lately? Is she eating and sleeping properly? And then of course, she is back home and things are all different for her. As for the day care, my Mum denied all knowledge of this many times. If all these things and any other scenarios along these lines are OK, then yes, sadly it probably is due to a downward plunge unfortunately. Love She. XX


Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
near London
Hello Linda

It is often quite difficult to know exactly what stage a person is at in their dementia. Symptoms may get to the stage where they are noticeable only after they become drastic.

In my case, it was Jan being unable to sign her own name. When that happened I knew there really would be trouble on the way.

Funny, one can almost think - in the very early stages - "maybe this won't be so bad after all". Then the bads things start.

If your aunt has vascular dementia then there will be quite noticeable deteriorations at each step, though the distance between steps will be variable.

Over-reacting isn't a bad thing to do, but make your over-raction one of trying to discover if there is something causing the problems. Medication, perhaps?

Does she improve some days?

The clock thing can be a problem. With Jan it was the psychiatrist asking her to draw a clock face, and she couldn't even draw a circle. She couldn't copy a circle that he drew.

The early stages can be a bit of a shocker. One gets used to a lot more as time advances.

Finally, it always took me ages to bring Jan to normality after she had been to hospital on assessment. The hospital always knocked the stuffing out of her, especially when she found herself in among some advanced cases when she thought that she had only some mild depression herself.

Take it slowly, record things that occur.


Registered User
May 20, 2004
Hi Linda

hospital visits seem to be a bit of a catalyst for many. Dad was a changed person the moment he was admitted and Aunt also deteriorated seemingly overnight.

Maybe its because they have been fighting this thing off for so long (perhaps even before all those around realise what might be happening) and the change of routine or the trauma of whatever put them in hospital finally gets to knock them off balance?

Who knows? Check out the physical things first but if there is no enlightenment from that you may have to accept this is the first big step down.



Dear Linda

Dementia sufferers find relocation rather difficult and unsettling, I was told by Mum's psychiatrist, particularly at a stage where she was quite aware of her surroundings - a final visit to my sister's home proved this very point. We had a 700 mile trip, 24 hour turnaround because there was no way she could settle. I wouldn't force the issue of day care for now - maybe they could come to your Aunt?

As Sheila says, check the side effects of any medication to make sure this isn't making her worse. And if you notice continued problems with her vision, perhaps you could let the optician know as there may be a tweak needed to her specs.

And try to remember, your aunt will have her good days and some bad. She has had a pretty traumatic time of it of late and it may just be a matter of time before she settles down into a routine, which in itself is important in AD. Yes, changes will take place but I think this happens to everybody at a different pace so it is hard to say expect this or that at any given time. It is, as Norman often says, day to day (another learning curve).

Lots of love


Registered User
Sep 14, 2004
Linda, please do get your Aunt to see her GP for a physical examination. Every time my Grandma has had this done, they have found either a urine infection, low blood pressure and / or wrong medication. When they have treated her, we have been amazed by the improvement in her mental abilities and overall happiness, not to mention her physical comfort (which she probably wasn't telling us about).
Best wishes xx