Is mums depression linked to her memory problems/dementia

Discussion in 'Health and wellbeing' started by annielou, Oct 10, 2019.

  1. annielou

    annielou Registered User

    Sep 27, 2019
    119
    Mum seems really depressed this week, is this linked to her memory problems increasing or do you think it's seperate?
    She's not been diagnosed with any sort of dementia yet as we only just got her to gp on friday but has been having problems over the last couple of years and the last few months struggles to remember most things we say to her, has trouble following conversations and tv programmes, changes her mind frequently and gets quite annoyed at us for doing the original thing and the last few weeks forgot her house, my house, whether she has a job, her age and had a few big panics about losing keys and how to do things.
    She has been increasingly low in her mood over the last few months especially as her memory has been getting much worse over the last couple of months. For the last few months she has been talking about how lonely she is and she was either ringing me lots wanting me to talk to her because she was bored or asking me to go over more and more. I now see her for some of almost every day, and some of every day this week. It doesn't seem to be helping her feel any better though. As soon as I'm not there she's bored and lonely again and saying she doesn't want to be on her own. When I say I'm going over she asks if I can go over sooner. Even when I'm with her she is still bored at times, when I'm not talking she'll say she's bored or your not talking to me. I don't know what to do to help apart from be with her 24/7 which I'm sure is what she wants but I don't think will solve her low mood completely.
    She never seems to know what to do to fill the time she's on her own. She's stopped doing most of her housework and only seems to do a little bit or let me do something if I go on and that's only been a few times in the last couple of months. She was always BIG on cleaning but now doesn't seem to bother, at first I thought it was due to her forgetting when she had done it or forgot that it needed doing, but today she said whats the point, no one sees it, its only me, nobody comes to see me. (I see her nearly every day and so does hubby but we don't count). She says she's cleaned for 70 odd year and where has it got her. She said she knows it would pass some time but she can't be bothered so she just sits and stares at the wall instead and cries.
    She used to puzzles a lot but doesn't do them as much now as not as good at them, she doesn't seem to be reading as much and tends to put the tele on and either constantly turn over or just leaves the same channel on for hours, she barely seems to watch it.
    She keeps saying that she's just so lonely and doesn't want to be on her own and wishes she had friends and more people around her, she said maybe she'd be better in a home then there'd be people around her but usually as soon as I mention doctor or memory team she goes back to her default of they'll stick me in a home and I don't want to go in a home.
    That happened today as someone rang from memory services while I was there to arrange coming to see her after her gp referal. I answered the phone as I was sat next to it so arranged appointment for her and when I hung up mum said, have you been telling people about me. I told her we'd been to gp on friday and they had referred her to memory clinic and that was who had rung. Told her about appointment. She wasn't happy, said they would stick her in home, If I told them she was mental she'd not talk to me anymore and I just wanted stick her in home. I'm not sure how the visit with memory nurse will go as at gps on friday she more or less said nothing wrong and it was me.
    She rang tonight to ask if she was seeing me today, seems she'd forgot I had been over today. She was upset and fed up and said she didn't know what to do with herself, what to do and who she was, she was so fed up. She asked me not to leave her on own too much. I told her about todays visit and that I'd be going tomorrow but I didn't know what else to do to make her feel better.
    Is this part of the dementia or seperate depression. Should I try to mention it to memory lady when she comes?
     
  2. karaokePete

    karaokePete Registered User

    Jul 23, 2017
    4,995
    N Ireland
    Anxiety and depression are common bedfellows of dementia. My wife is medicated for all three issues.

    There is a Society Factsheet about the issue and you may find that of use. You can read it by clicking the 2nd line of the following link

    Apathy, depression and anxiety (444)
    PDF printable version

    It's always worth talking to the GP about this.
     
  3. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    10,687
    Female
    South coast
    Dementia and depression often go together, so its worth mentioning it to her GP.

    I have to say though, that her answers of "why bother" might just be a way of covering up the fact that she no longer knows how to do things" OH will often say that he is lazy, or he cant be bothered to do something . At first I took it at face value, but then realised that he actually couldnt do it and he was confabulating a reason.
     
  4. annielou

    annielou Registered User

    Sep 27, 2019
    119
    Thanks @karaokePete that was an interesting read, it reads like mum has either apathy or depression, I think more the depression as she is tearful, lost her appetite and other things mentioned in the factsheet too. She did go through a period of not sleeping and feeling very low and depressed about 15 years ago (way before her memory problems started) and got some tablets for a few months from nurse at gp surgery to help her mood and help her sleep and they did help her.
    I think this maybe could be it returning and the memory problems are making it worse as @canary says, maybe she forgets what she could do to entertain herself/pass the time and her ability to do those things has reduced too.
    I will try my best to mention it to memory nurse when visits mum, long as mum lets me speak to her and doesn't send her away saying nothing is wrong :eek::(
    Thanks for your replies xx
     
  5. nae sporran

    nae sporran Volunteer Host

    Oct 29, 2014
    5,988
    Male
    Bristol
    Sorry to read of your mum's struggles and your concerns @annielou.
    My partner has vascular dementia and some days the frustration of not being able to remember anything or to be as active as used to be gets her down so badly she talks about ending her life, but thankfully it never lasts more than a few hours. It is hard to take, and as your mum is felling worse than that that then speaking to her GP and her memory nurse would be good. Can you meet the memory nurse at the door for a separate chat, or send a letter to them or to your mum's GP outlining your concerns to get round the problem of the hostess mode denials.
     
  6. annielou

    annielou Registered User

    Sep 27, 2019
    119
    Mum is still really low and told me again today she doesn't want to be here anymore. She hates her house, hates her life, doesn't know what to do with herself and has no friends and no one to talk to. It doesn't seem to matter how much time she spends with us, as soon as she is alone she feels sad and depressed and says she just sits there and crys or stares at the wall. I just don't know what to say to her and how to help, I feel like whatever I say and do we just keep arguing and getting upset when I visit and she still feels like this.
    She seeemed to be waiting for an argument when I arrived at her about 12 today. She was in a mood because despite us talking that morning about me going over to hers with something for lunch she had decided we had said she wanted to come to my house and I wouldn't let her. I said we could go but it would take us an hour on two buses as hubby is at work so we can't go in car, we had a ten minute to and fro about going, not going, if she'd said she wanted to go etc before I finally took my coat off and sat down as she'd said we'd stay at hers.
    But this led into a very long talk and sometimes argument over all sorts of things to do with her being depressed and forgetting things, which is when she said again she just didn't want to be here anymore.I tried to calm her down and comfort her and asked what she wanted to do but it wasn't helping and she just angrily shouted the same thing at me 'I just don't want to be here anymore'
    I then did something I feel extremely bad and guilty about. I ended up telling her I too didn't want to be here anymore. That at times I felt I was useless and pointless because I can't help her, I just don't know what to do for her and trying to help her is taking over my life and no matter what I try it's not enough and doesn't work so I might as well not be here.
    She said well at least you have 'hubby' I said yes but I don't spend any proper time with him, if I'm not with you, I'm talking about you, or thinking about you and so he would be better off with someone else and if I wasn't here he could be.
    She said 'oh so it's all my fault then' I said 'no it's not your fault, it's nobodys fault it's just whats happening to you mum which you've no control of, but ignoring somethings happening and you acting like there's nothing wrong and blaming everybody else for things isn't helping.
    Of course that set her off on another round of why whats happening to me, whats wrong with me, what she was doing, she doesn't do that, there's nothing wrong with her, I was wrong, I make things up, she just wanted to do this, that and the other and I didn't want her to.
    We did both say we were sorry for shouting a couple of times during and after we finished talking and that we didn't want to upset each other and we loved each other and apart from being a bit quiet we didn't have any more upsets during the afternoon.
    But I feel so bad for saying that to her now as she was feeling low anyway and me saying that probably just adds to her bad feelings and although she was quite argumentative and defensive about it at the time, if she thinks about it later she will probably feel guilty about it. She does at times say she knows she puts on me and feels bad that she asks to see me so much etc so me saying that just seems so cruel and bad. I don't want her to feel guilty, I don't know why I said it or what I wanted to achieve, maybe I was trying to say it's not just her feels low, I don't know, but I know that I now feel absolutely horrible.
     
  7. Rosettastone57

    Rosettastone57 Registered User

    Oct 27, 2016
    1,047
    My mother-in-law was like this. She had been diagnosed with a personality disorder in her early twenties and with dementia, this just enhanced the worst aspects of her personality. No magic answers I'm afraid, other than I empathize. It's very difficult to deal with, but I've found that my mother-in-law was never going to be happy whatever I or my husband did. I suspect that this is probably the case here. I could count the number of times my mother-in-law expressed a positive emotion in her life, as a handful.
     
  8. Bikerbeth

    Bikerbeth Registered User

    Feb 11, 2019
    360
    Bedford
    Some of what you said in your original post was similar to me and my Mum. She wanted me to be with her more than I could be. Mum complained that the mattress on her bed was heavy and made the bed hard to change. Using that as an excuse I arranged for carers to come in and do housekeeping twice a week. Part of the remit really was just to have a good matter with her. Mum is self funding and we are fortunate that she can afford it. The ‘company’ has certainly helped her. Could you look into getting one of the Alzheimers society step by step volunteers to visit/ take her out or someone similar. Although I have now got Mum on low dosage anti depressants having other people did help her. Just some thoughts ....
     
  9. annielou

    annielou Registered User

    Sep 27, 2019
    119
    thanks @Rosettastone57 and @Bikerbeth for your replies xx
    I think if she would accept it mum definitley would benefit from some help from a carer or someone coming for a bit of the time when I'm not there. So far we've not got anyone involved other than us as we only just got mum to agree to seeing the gp recently and even that didn't go great as she told gp she was fine and it was just me.
    She did agree to tests and a referal to memory clinic though but does still keep saying they will put her in home so she wont go, I cant tell them anything, she doesn't need togo, there's nothing wrong with her and other negative things about it.
    The memory nurse is coming to mums for the first time on Monday so I will try to get mum or me to mention her low mood then. She has today received a letter with appointment to attend memory clinic next month too so hopefully I will get some information, even if it's only a leaflet about carers or things available that I can show to mum and hopefully she may come around to.
    I'll also try my best to keep myself under control tomorrow.
     
  10. annielou

    annielou Registered User

    Sep 27, 2019
    119
    I still cant believe I told mum how I feel today. I'm supposed to be helping her and looking after her and I can't believe how bad a job I am doing of it.
    Some one told me that people with denentia become focussed on how things affect them more than other people, they can't help it, but I feel I am doing the same.
    I worry about mum constantly but am shocked by how upset and fristrated about not being able to make things right for her and not being able to make her happy as well as myself.
    I get upset and think about how hard I'm finding things but its so much harder for mum and I don't feel like I'm helping or doing a good enough job.
    I thought I would be better at putting mum first and not thinking of myself but today when I told mum how bad and how useless I felt when I should have been trying to help her feel better just shows how selfish I am.
    Mum deserves better
     
  11. Bikerbeth

    Bikerbeth Registered User

    Feb 11, 2019
    360
    Bedford
    It is easy to say but please stop beating yourself up we are all only human. What you have just posted I have frequently felt the same. I am a ‘doer’ so I get so frustrated with myself that I cannot make Mum’s world right for her again. I can solve her practical issues such as shopping, paperwork, inability to cook etc but frequently tell myself off for not being more understanding and patient when she stops the washing machine half cycle, tells me the t.v is broken again and expects me to fix it over the phone, when I never told her, her friend was visiting but it was on her calendar and she had made the arrangements etc. 9 months on I am only just getting the hang of most things that go wrong in her world are my fault. I just keep trying to do my best as that is all I can do and always tell her every day I love her.
     
  12. Sarasa

    Sarasa Registered User

    Apr 13, 2018
    558
    @annielou I used to have those sorts of conversations with my mum all the time , they ended up making me feel like I was total rubbish at handling the situation. Mum had no concept that anything was wrong with her, so it must be me. Like @Bikerbeth I'm a dooer and I wanted to get things sorted for. My solution was to move her to a care home and not tell her. It was probably a risky strategy, in that if she had been deemed to have capability she could have insisted on leaving, but it was the only way I could keep her safe.
    Try not to beat yourself up too much about it all.
     
  13. Pete1

    Pete1 Registered User

    Jul 16, 2019
    157
    Male
    Hi @annielou, what you are going through is commonplace in my experience. We take it all on our shoulders and it is our responsibility to get resolution on every problem for our loved one(s) with dementia and to seek the temporary state of equilibrium. Sadly it often takes sometime to get the PWD to accept external help to relieve some of that burden, I know when I got Attendance Allowance for Mum that helped, as I was able to badge it as 'money the government have given you to help you out a bit'....reluctantly at first I managed to get her to agree to a cleaner then gardener, and then a single visit carer in the morning to help get her ready ensure pills and breakfast. Even then she wouldn't recognize the dementia which after a while I realised was actually OK, as long as there was additional support for BOTH of us. I hope you can make some progress with Mum, and as the others have said don't beat your self up over it....all the best.
     
  14. annielou

    annielou Registered User

    Sep 27, 2019
    119
    Got a call from mum about 6 am all upset and unsure of herself saying she needed me, she dint no wot to do. She hadnt seen me for ages n wanted to see me, she dint no what she was doing, didn't know if she ate or what she did. Would I come. I told her I'd go over just give me ten minutes for hubby n i to get up n dressed n we'd go over and I'd ring her on way. She sed oh you're in bed. Go back to sleep I'll wait here for you. Then started worrying again n said I'm sorry 'annie' I dont know what i'm doing I said its ok I'll come over I'll not be long.
    When I got here she wanted to sleep because was all upset and didnt know what doing so just wanted to stop thinking and sleep.
    Shes got up a few times and keeps telling me she wants to die, shes tired and has had enough. She doesnt know what to do anymore she doesnt want to live on her own, she cant live with me and they'll put her in a home n she doesn't want to go in one. They give you wrong clothes n arent nice. There are some nice ones but they cost a fortune.
    She keeps crying and when she's in bed she keeps muttering to herself. She keeps saying I can go home cos she'll be in bed and I'll be bored n tired. I've told her I'm ok I'll read a magazine or look on internet on my phone and might nod off myself.
    She just got up because she thought she had no clothes, that she'd put them all in the wash. I told her she has plenty but she wasnt sure till she looked in wardrobe. Shes gone back to bed again now but still muttering cant sleep so will probably be up again in a minute bless her.
    I don't know if this is because she was so upset yesterday afternoon or if it was brewing anyway but the poor thing is really upset and I don't know what to do other than be here with her
     
  15. Pete1

    Pete1 Registered User

    Jul 16, 2019
    157
    Male
    Hi again @annielou, it sounds as though she may have been up during the night wandering. It might be worth contacting the GP to see if she has an infection, which can be the trigger for added confusion. It does sound as though the time has come where she needs (at the minimum) some home care support and it may be worth looking into that support for her, either get Social Services to do an assessment of need or commission your own care directly. It is a very worrying and anxious time for you, but these things do tend to come to a head in one form or another. Let us know how you get on. All the best.
     
  16. nita

    nita Registered User

    Dec 30, 2011
    1,811
    Female
    Essex
    Reading about your mother, reminds me very much of how my poor Mum was too. In the initial stages she kept saying over and over again "What's happening to me?" I think there is a horrible realisation that something is going wrong with their brains - it must be terrifying. With this, at other times, there is a failure to realise they are ill - this comes, I think, with many mental illnesses although dementia is more properly a physiological problem with dying brain cells. It must be that bits of realisation come to and they can't piece it together properly. The apathy definitely comes in the early stages and is what you notice at first. My mother stopped wanted to wash herself - she would let me do it but totally indifferently. She had depression for years before she actually displayed dementia symptoms.

    The sooner you get her to the GP and get any treatment available, the better. You can go under some other pretext such as a general health check up or having a flu jab. As other people have said, take a letter with bullet points of all your concerns and the GP should give her a short memory assessment. She may not even realise that this is what it is. This will then give you access to specialist services. The doctor should also point you in the direction of Social Services but you can get them involved yourself for an assessment for your Mum and one for yourself as carer. You both need the help urgently.

    I am afraid there will be more pitfalls ahead - it is a long and arduous road - but with any luck your mother's symptoms will lessen as the memory worsens, which sounds awful but is how it seems to go, at least in my case it did.

    You could, finances permitting, get someone in to help with housework if you put it in the right way as your Mum may not like the idea. This could be a home help/carer person who would give her some company at least for an hour a day, perhaps. As others said, the Alzheimer's Society and Age UK, etc. have befrienders - people who will visit to chat with your mother. I think though she may be right when she says she'd be better off in a care home with company at all times though it may be difficult to get to that stage.

    Does she take prescription medicines and, if so, is she remembering to take them? A carer can make sure of this. You also need to think about getting Power of Attorney/Court deputyship for her as this is helpful as things move along.

    I do feel for you as my own health suffered through my Mum's illness. My anxiety levels when through the roof and I also got raised blood pressure possibly as a result. You should consider counselling/some help for yourself as you will find yourself getting increasingly stressed. I had no one to turn to for specific questions about Mum's problems but I've now found out I could have spoken to someone at the local voluntary services carers' hub. Consider joining something like this yourself.
     
  17. nita

    nita Registered User

    Dec 30, 2011
    1,811
    Female
    Essex
    I agree with @Pete1 - she may have a UTI (water infection) which will exacerbate her symptoms. Take a water sample to the GP when you go. I would try to get an urgent appointment. Tell her you are worried about her.

    I found it best not to mention myself or how I was feeling - I admit I did that too. It doesn't serve any purpose as it just makes the person more upset, as you have found out, and they are so overwhelmed by their own problems they can't possibly put themselves in another person's place.
     
  18. Petunia59

    Petunia59 Registered User

    Oct 11, 2019
    15
    All of this sounds very familiar to me. My Mum can now only occupy herself when she's alone by watching TV. She's been on anti depressants for a couple of years. Earlier this year the GP increased the dose but she's still getting depressed. I found a day centre for her to go to 1 day a week and am now thinking of increasing that. The problem is that I have to take her as the transport is too early, (her morning carer comes at 9) then there's the cost too.
    I go through all sorts of emotions with Mum and find it hard to keep my cool with her; I feel resentment at the time she takes up and that the rest of my family seem to be just getting on with their lives, then comes the guilt and sadness and feeling so sorry for her followed be resolve to be kinder next time I'm with her.
    It's very comforting to read the comments on the forum and to know I'm not the only one.
     
  19. annielou

    annielou Registered User

    Sep 27, 2019
    119
    #19 annielou, Oct 15, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2019
    Thank you so much for the replies. I'm still at mums and am spending the night as mum was scared to be on her own. She got confused again as to where she is and how come she lives on her own still. Got quite upset a few times over things cant rememberhow to do n why its happening and what going to happen to her, will she have to go in a home. Doesn't know what to do on her own anymore and wants to die.
    So I said I'd stay here with her, couldn't leave her on her own like this poor thing.
    Told my sister what had happened and she thinks I should try ringing drs and seeing if can get appointment tomorrow to speed things up.
    We went to gps friday before last for first time about this, went back last wednesday for blood tests and take urine sample in.
    The memory nurse is comin to mums house next monday,
    We have appointment at gps (day after) next Tuesday as gp sent letter to go talk about results of tests. (Don't think mum has a UTI as think woukd have suggested antibiotics straight away before appointment next tuesday)
    And we also got appointment through post to go memory clinic on 18th nov so she is in system already and they may say thats it and cant go any quicker.
    She is extremely scared of whats happening but has agreed tonight to us trying to see GP but that could change tomorrow.
    She is scared stiff of going in a home and them being nasty to her taking all her things and keeps saying they'll put her in anyones clothes not her own.
    She flips between saying cant be on her own to saying ok overnight as long as see people in day so maybe carers would work.
    She has asked about coming to live with us but as I mentioned in other posts I am worried about it especially about how wobbly she is on our stairs. She says she knows cant come to mine it isnt fair i cant look after her but at other times says shes fine with stairs.
    She says she knows they will put her in a home as cant stay here in own n cant come to mine so nowhere else ither than home.
    Its been a very sad day, things seem to be getting worse for her and I know things need to happen now just not sure what and how.
     
  20. Pete1

    Pete1 Registered User

    Jul 16, 2019
    157
    Male
    Good Morning @annielou, it sounds as though things are moving forward, I would just double check with the GP that they have tested for a UTI. I hadn't realised but my Mum was also concerned about being 'put in a home' she said this to the GP when we went to see him in similar circumstances, he reassured her that the policy is to do everything to enable individuals to keep living in their own property but did say that some support would be needed. If you are self-funding you do have the option of arranging home care to fit Mum's needs even if it is 24-hour live in care. There are other support services such as most local authorities offer a paid Helpline where the individual can wear a pendant that they can press if they require assistance and will automatically trigger if they fall (you mentioned that you were concerned about Mum's mobility), so if you decide on Home Care that can be part of the package. By the time I looked at 24-hour live in care Mum no longer recognised her bungalow most of the time so there seemed little benefit and the residential home offered far more in terms of activities, facilities and proper diet for the same cost. I know at the moment your Mum is against the idea, but it might be worth researching care homes locally and perhaps speaking to a few to ascertain availability (many have waiting lists, I only managed to get Mum into my second choice, although it proved to be very good) and even pay them a visit, then at least you will be fully informed should that be a route Mum may wish to consider in the near future. It is a stressful and worrying time for you....the constant 'am I doing the right thing?', ultimately the decision will rest with you, Mum and the family, although in reality Mum's decision making will probably now be flawed as she won't remember the issues that she has or even last nights traumas. Stay strong and keep posting.
     

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