Hello - another newcomer joins...

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by Hatshepsut, Jan 12, 2009.

  1. Hatshepsut

    Hatshepsut Registered User

    Jan 12, 2009
    North Somerset
    Hello. I've just registered this evening.

    First, a big thank you for BEING here! I have already read so much that has proved useful.

    I believe my mother (aged 78) is developing dementia although, as far as I know, she has not been formally diagnosed. My parents live in Somerset and I visited from Surrey this week-end as my mother had an appointment at the memory clinic today and I wanted to be there to ask a lot of questions. Somewhat ironically, she had forgotten that she had received a letter postponing the appointment until February. Heigh-ho. That, coupled with watching Fiona Phillips' fine documentary this evening, has prompted me to register here.

    As far as I know, she scores okay in whatever tests she has previously been given at the clinic (this would have been her third visit), but it is not just that she forgets where she's left her glasses. They have just returned from a month-long trip to Australia and Malaysia, and she can remember little about it. Since returning, she has shopped for provisions but bought little in the way of real food, because she doesn't seem to make the connection that she has to buy potatoes before she can cook them. Having said that, she has forgotten how to cook very basic meals.

    This has been developing over the past 18 months or so. I have been concerned by instances such as: forgetting what a bottle of lemonade looks like; falling asleep for a short nap after Christmas lunch a year ago and, on waking, forgetting that she had eaten; and, the day after my father's 80th birthday party last summer, forgetting what she had done the day before. There have been lots of other examples. She no longer does the crossword (she used to do really difficult cryptic crosswords) or even reads books any more. On another thread, I saw the seven stages of dementia and would tentatively place my mother between stages 3 and 4 (ie, confusional).

    She has been tested for UTIs and had a scan (not sure whether that was a CAT scan or MRI). She has also developed macular degeneration (although she is quite positive about this and says, 'oh, it's only in one eye'). She has to be coaxed to eat at the best of times because she has lost her sense of smell (and therefore of taste).

    My father gets very cross with her inability to remember things. He knows it's pointless, so then feels guilty about getting cross, but doesn't seem able to stop himself. Sound familiar? He has also relied on her utterly to do the nurturing role, so I'm not sure if he has ever even realised that somebody has to buy the potatoes so that he can eat them!

    Sorry, this is becoming a long post, but I wanted to set the picture before asking the questions:

    1. How difficult is it to get a diagnosis? I suppose there must be some concern in medical circles for them to be sending her follow-up appointments for the memory clinic, but might they have chosen not to tell her yet?

    2. How can I help? My parents believe they are usefully situated between their three sons in Cornwall and two daughters in London, but the truth is that they inconveniently situated for all of us. I will make sure I'm there for the next appointment in February, but what else can I do?

    Again, my apologies for the length of the post.


  2. Annoula

    Annoula Registered User

    Dec 4, 2008
    welcome to the TP!

    i can't really answer your questions, i live in a different country and don't know policies.

    i wanted to say that a couple of years back when i first took my mother to neurologists i was afraid that they would not understand she has a problem. i was just making a tiny difficulty to a problem! she wasn't doing very bad but she will drive me crazy by loosing things all the time. i felt guilty for this and still feel guilty when i yell when i can't tolerate any more repetitions.
    they are just repetitions. "you don't give up money" she tells me.

    guilt is a usual feeling for dementia carers.
    unfortunately we are not bionic-men and women. we are ordinary beings with various toleration levels.

    i was not really of help.. but i wanted to welcome you to the forum.

    keep strong!
  3. Norman

    Norman Registered User

    Oct 9, 2003
    Birmingham Hades
    Hi Hats
    welcome to TP.
    At this stage ,not much more.
    You could talk to the GP,and also social services.
    It is a good idea to look ahead as to what help may be available and the GP and social services is the first move.
    Keep in touch

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