Is this dementia or is this something else?

Discussion in 'Memory concerns and seeking a diagnosis' started by Big02, Aug 19, 2019.

  1. Big02

    Big02 New member

    Aug 19, 2019
    3
    Evening all

    My inaugural post and it’s one asking for help, I guess a recurring theme here.

    My Nan turned 100 today, an event that should be joyous but over the last year, maybe even more she has changed in character. Our once strong family is now divided as the ‘untruths’ she tells are believed by those who’s agenda it suits.

    My Nan has always had a careless way with her words and praise is a rarity. However, over the last year or so she has developed a severe paranoia and has started fabricating stories. The stories are so real to her that they are told with such richness and detail that others believe them, why wouldn’t they?

    Stories usually centre around the women in our family. My Auntie was the first target - ‘she’s stealing from me, she’s taken my dresses, she wants to put me in a home’. Then it was the turn of my dear cousin (my Nan’s favourite grand child and only Grand daughter) - ‘she has told people that I’m going into a home’. I bore witness to a tirade of abuse that my Nan launched at my Cousin. My Nan even referred to my Cousin as her daughter. My own Mother has more recently come under fire - ‘you’ve stolen my tea service’ (stood pointing to a full tea service in her cupboard), on realising the service was there it changed to, ‘you’ve broken the cabinet’. Now I hear my wife is the latest to be accused - ‘she is stealing things from the garden’. Meanwhile she tells all and sundry these ‘untruths’. The most shocking is her assertion that someone is coming in through a hole in the fence and looking through her conservatory window. She asked a fencer to come and mend the hole, but there wasn’t one there.

    Whilst this is going on, my Uncle talks my Nan into setting up a PoA (Oct 18), where he and his son are recorded as Attorneys. This is done without any of the families knowledge and comes after years of my Nan saying she’d never have a PoA.

    Recently, my Great Uncle, who lives with my Nan and has late onset Alzheimer’s suffered a nasty infection. My Mum and Auntie provided immediate care and dealt with the District Nurse. The district nurse instructed my Mum to book my Nan a memory test.

    The doctor called last week and performed the test. My Nan was found not to be suffering from dementia. I would point out that she is an extremely clever and astute woman when she is lucid.

    When I last visited, this Saturday just gone, I witnessed the stories. In some instances I managed to move the conversation or I’d simply nod along. When she asked if I still had a dog I knew she really wasn’t well. My dog passed away in 1997!

    The question I have is, why is she concocting all of these malicious stories? What would cause her to do this if she doesn’t have dementia? Is the standard test performed by a GP a suitable measure?

    My Uncle and my cousin are unwavering in their view that there is nothing wrong with my Nan. In fact, they go so far to chastise us for even raising a concern about her mental well being.

    Any help or guidance with this is much appreciated.

    It reminds me so much of my paternal Gran who believed the old gentleman from across the road would break into her bedroom window and run off with clothes from her cupboard, ‘he’s faster than Linford Christie’. This was the late 80’s/early 90’s.

    Thanks in advance, a concerned Grandson.
     
  2. karaokePete

    karaokePete Registered User

    Jul 23, 2017
    4,892
    N Ireland
    Hello @Big02 and welcome to the forum. You have come to the right place for information and support.

    The best thing to do in this situation is have a chat with your GP. Many treatable conditions, such as depression, stress, thyroid problems, vitamin deficiencies etc., can cause dementia like symptoms so it's important to have a check-up beyond a memory test as used by many GP's. Please don't cause additional stress by jumping to the immediate conclusion that it's dementia. On the other hand, if it is dementia then a diagnosis may open up support for you.

    Here is a link to a Society Fact sheet about the diagnosis issue. Just click the second line to read or print the document

    Assessment and diagnosis (426)
    PDF printable version

    Now that you have found us I hope you will keep posting as the membership has vast collective knowledge and experience.
     
  3. Big02

    Big02 New member

    Aug 19, 2019
    3
    Thank you very much for your guidance.

    You’re right to the lay man it could be dementia, which has proven to be an inflammatory word with some family members.

    I will, with the help of family and family friends who have witnessed the delusions, compile a log of events and examples and I’ll raise this directly to her GP.

    I’ll also raise it to her PoA’s as well to enquire what, if any investigations have already been conducted.

    I think it would help soothe lot of heartache to a) identify a course of treatment/appropriate plan of care and b) put a label against this behavioural shift.

    My chief concerns with my Nan’s current state are
    1) She becomes quickly agitated and with no trigger, this will not be good for her physical health.
    2) She is pushing family members away at a time when she needs them all the more. This means she is not getting the care that she needs.
    3) Decisions that she has made and has the potential to make are not based on fact. So, her mental capacity to make a decision may be sound at a given point in time but it is based on delusions as opposed to reality.

    Again, thanks to much for responding.

    Chris
     
  4. Shedrech

    Shedrech Volunteer Moderator

    Dec 15, 2012
    7,876
    Yorkshire
    hi @Big02
    a warm welcome to DTP
    a late Happy Birthday to your Nan
    a good idea to keep a journal, evidence of someone's behaviour can help build a broader picture of what's going on and so be useful in making any diagnosis ... people who are well educated can have the ability to put up a good show in the initial tests, as brains use flexibility to tap into into other circuits to solve problems, if dementia is present that ability begins to diminish over time
    I wonder whether your Nan might be seeing her reflection in the conservatory glass and mistaking the image for someone outside ... any chance of a net curtain or film over the glass ... and consider other windows and mirrors
     
  5. Big02

    Big02 New member

    Aug 19, 2019
    3
    Thank you Shedrech

    Yes, I had heard that you present better the cleverer you are.

    That’s a good bit of thinking about the reflection, it may have only been once that she saw her reflection but now that is cemented in her mind she can’t shake it. Sadly she has Macular Degeneration and her eyesight is now very poor, she confused me for my Uncle the other day.

    I think the realisation has dawned on all of us that these aren’t just ‘stories’ or her being unkind, to her these experiences are are real. To know that someone lives in fear of their own family is so very upsetting, especially when they are in need of help.

    I’m going to take the advice from here and I will catalogue our experiences. I will broach this with my Uncle and Cousins, her PoA’s and I will raise to her doctor. At 100 years of age I suspect the doctor may be reluctant to help, I’ll have to see.

    Thanks again for the support.
     

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