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How to get tested when mum appears lucid?

EMcG

New member
Apr 23, 2021
3
0
Hi, I’m new here - sorry long post alert.

My mum is 85 and has had increasing memory loss for years. She was aware of it a few years ago spoke to her GP who fobbed it off as normal ageing and being down because my sister had passed away. She lives with my dad who is a fit and active 87.

She’s shown erratic behaviour in the past but it is getting more and more problematic. Not sure if these are all dementia symptoms but she has stopped making any meals, lost interest in her appearance, lost her ‘tact’ filter (eg constantly telling my expectant niece that she might miscarry her baby, repeatedly telling me that my dad had affairs when I was young, telling my kids she wants to die). She’s also having fraught episodes with my dad, where she accuses him of moving her things, hiding her underwear etc and then putting them back again. She’s also started shredding stuff. Lots of it. Last year she arbitrarily threw away all her prescription medications saying they were out of date (they weren’t) and my dad had to hurriedly get replacements from the pharmacy.

When you chat to her she seems perfectly lucid, maybe a little dotty about names for things, but you could meet her and have a conversation and all would seem relatively well.

The problem is that she hates my dad, and has done all my adult life. They co-exist in their house, and although he makes her food, washes her clothes etc she won’t allow him to go with her to any doctor’s appointments, or even tell him what has been said on the phone if she gets a call about a blood test result etc.

I’ve been doing their shopping since March 2020, and although she came to our house a couple of times last summer between lockdowns, the only other times she’s been out has been to medical appointments and to get her Covid jabs. She now refuses to even come to ours to have a coffee in the garden, she says she just wants to curl up and wait for it all to go away.

So my problem is, if we get her to talk to her GP there is no way she would allow my dad to go with her to explain l what has been happening. There’s a slim chance she might let me go with her, but because I’ve not experienced her mood swings first hand it would be hearsay and we would deny it. There’s a chance dad has exaggerated but there have been lots of other things my sister and I have seen.

I’m at a bit of a loss what to do. I think without my dad relaying the day-to-day behaviour changes I think they would again just fob her off as having old age related memory loss.

Any advice or suggestions would be very welcome, thanks for reading 😊

ps I have LPA care for both my parents
 

karaokePete

Registered User
Jul 23, 2017
6,026
0
N Ireland
Hello @EMcG and welcome to the forum.

Many of the behaviours you outline are typical of dementia.

In circumstances similar to yours I know that many people have documented all symptoms and concerns to the GP. The doctor may not discuss the issues with you but they do keep the record and can call a person in for some routine check-up and take it from there. That's well worth a try.

I wish you strength and the best of luck to the family.
 

Old Flopsy

Registered User
Sep 12, 2019
204
0
@EMcG I made a record of the odd things OH was doing and saying and took it to the GP to get the ball rolling.

The GP kept my notes and said they were so useful. He called OH in and then referred him to the memory clinic. OH has never accepted the diagnosis but is now getting the care he needs.
 

nae sporran

Volunteer Host
Oct 29, 2014
7,747
0
Bristol
Welcome to DTP @EMcG.

There are many potential causes of memory loss and confusion, but that does seem to be very concerning to you and your dad. The ability to seem lucid when in the company of doctors or social workers is normal with dementia and it's usually referred to as hostess mode. Can your dad write to the GP outlining his concerns and even if your mum denies it then they have something on record.
Sorry that's not the best answer, and good luck to you.
 

EMcG

New member
Apr 23, 2021
3
0
Thanks for the replies.

I managed to convince my mum to phone for an appointment with her ‘favourite’ GP today, to discuss her bad back and insomnia.

But after being told it would initially be a phone consultation (which I’d warned it would be) and not until the end of May because she wants a specific GP, she said not to bother!

I shall talk to my dad about putting a letter together and try and book an appointment for her myself.
 

Sarasa

Volunteer Host
Apr 13, 2018
2,873
0
As suggested by other posters I sent the GP a list of my concerns about my mother and went with her to an appointment about something else.
As to the mood swings it sounds like your mother may be sundowning. I know my brother didn't really believe that mum could act in a totally irrational manor as he had never seen it. My brother changed his mind when mum spent the whole of one Christmas evening accusing us of freezing her. She was in a coat, the heating was on maximum and the rest of us were in t-shirts. Mum screamed about how awful we were for hours and nothing would calm her down. The next day it was though nothing had happened. She was bright and breezy and the rest of us were wrung out.
I hope sending in a letter with your concerns will get your mum the appointment she needs. If she hasn't already done so keeping the appointment for the end of May would at least be a start. If you put the phone on speaker at least your dad will hear what is said. If she doesn't want your dad listening in maybe you could be there. For years mum went to the doctors and hospital appointments on her own. There came a time when it was obvious she hadn't really taken in what was said, specially if it was quite nuanced. She always remembered the flattery about how young she looked though!
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
14,980
0
South coast
Hi @EMcG

I agree with others that sending in a letter is the best way of letting the GP know what is going on.

One thing that occurs to me is - are you sure that the GP fobbed it off as normal ageing, or are you only going on what your mum said? This sounds very much like the sort of thing that a lot of people with dementia say. My mum was told quite clearly that she had Alzheimers (I was with her), but she denied that she had dementia and got very cross if anyone suggested that this is what she had. She would, however, accept that she had some memory loss, but put it down to "normal ageing"

I also had terrible trouble with OH who always went to appointments about his epilepsy on his own, but I discovered later that he was telling untruths to the doctor and saying that I was not concerned, and then coming back to me and telling me that the neurologist said his epilepsy had gone away (also untrue). It was a few years before I discovered the truth.
 

silkiest

Registered User
Feb 9, 2017
280
0
Hi @EMcG , I agree with canary. My MIL went to memory clinic and was diagnosed with cognitive impairment but it was only when I went with her for re assessment as she deteriorated that I found this out. She had reported at the time there was nothing wrong. My mum was diagnosed with Alzheimers last march and was clearly told so in my presence but denies it now.
I have POA health for both mum and MIL, because of this their GP's, memory clinic staff, assorted paramedics and hospital staff have all agreed to talk direct to me on production ( and sometimes even just the mention) of the POA. Mums care now is a mix of GP telephone appointments and home visits to her, with the surgery ringing me to double check there is nothing else and to arrange follow up with me. As both of them have deteriorated I have even managed to get all medical correspondence to come directly to me ( although I must say missed appointments did help with this).
During the worst of Covid restrictions hospital staff wanted to leave me outside the consultation room, but after being informed that they would then need to relay all medical information to me after the consultation as nothing would get followed up after they relented and I was present for all assessment and decision making.
 

EMcG

New member
Apr 23, 2021
3
0
Thanks for your replies. I have heard of sun downing, I think my husband’s aunt was like that, but I think in my mum’s case it’s the mornings that are the worst. Dad thinks it’s because she doesn’t sleep and spends all night brewing things in her mind.

I was with mum when the GP fobbed her off before, and he made me feel a bit like I was making it up, but that is a few years ago now.

My mum is a master at being a ‘brave soldier’ as I call it. She has breast cancer, and throughout her treatment she’s always thrived on telling people how she’s dealing with it so well, doesn’t need painkillers, having a mastectomy was just a ‘minor inconvenience’, and she loves the medical staff saying how well she is coping with it all at her age. It’s like she creates this bravado persona and if anyone asks how she is, she is always fine, no problem, don’t know why other people make such a fuss, doesn’t want help from anyone (especially my dad).

She’s now got it into her head that her breast care nurse can deal with her insomnia, back pain and possible thrush/urine problems and she doesn’t need to see a GP at all.

It’s made worse because it’s hard to get dad on his own to talk about it, but I will try over the weekend.