1. Ela

    Ela Registered User

    May 28, 2006
    I have just registered and I don't even know, whether I am hysterically making a mount out of a molehill, or whether my fear is justified.
    I am afraid that my mother (78) is 'loosing it'. I have not sought medical help yet, as I find it extremely difficult to come to terms with even thinking those thoughts.

    It all began app. 4 years ago, when my mother had a very mild stroke with no apparent after effect. However, I noticed and eventually admitted to myself that there had been changes. She was always very active and as fit as a fiddle and most people would say that she is doing remarkably well for her age (still enjoys going for long walks, etc), but I noticed that she was first slowing down physically and all of a sudden started to look her age. She had always been bad at remembering names and this got worse over the next few years to the point that she cannot remember names of places, streets, etc. where she has lived for the past 40 years. Don't get me wrong, she does not become lost or confused about where she is. However, if we arrange to meet somewhere, I can guarantee that she won't be at the place we agreed on. Always having (in her mind) a very good reason as to why she wasn't there and if I get angry with her, having finally found her after searching for 1/2 hour or so, she blows up and accuses me of being unreasonable, suddenly I am the one who wasn't at the appointed place, etc. and eventually I have to apologize, because otherwise she will not talk to me for days (until I apologize).
    However, it seemed to stabilize there and I thought this was only old age and I resigned myself to just having to deal with this.
    Then over the last 6-12 months things have started to deteriorate.
    She has started hiding money all over the place, despite the fact that she is a wealthy woman, she seems to be worried that she does not have enough money. She is as miserly as if she was on state pension alone.
    She now forgets the most simple of words, which I have to fill in. She is becoming confused about everyday things, like switching on a washing maschine.
    If something does not work instantly, she becomes all flustered and instead of trying again or trying to work out what is wrong (as she would have done 4 years ago) she calls me for help and of course expects me to drop everything, leave work just to explain to her that the vacuum cleaner does not work, because the plug is not in properly.
    For this reason I convinced her to move closer to a bungalow in our street (without telling her the real reason). As there wasn't that much to move, I hired a man with a van to transport the larger items. Afterwards my mother could not find her silver cutlery set and instead of looking carefully through all the unpacked boxes, she immediately suggested that the man had stolen it (even though I transported all the boxes in my car) and wanted to go after him for it. I managed to calm her down and lo and behold within the next 2 days the 'stolen' silver appeared miraculously in one of the boxes. This sort of thing now happens frequently.
    She is also forever looking for her keys, purse, handbag, etc.. I think she spends most of her day looking for things that is, if she is not totally engrossed in her day-time soaps. If one of those starts, she stops mid-conversation and stares at the TV totally mesmerized.
    In the new bungalow she had problems with the patio door locking mechanism, so I explained it to her, made her use it repeatedly until I was sure that she could do it. 2 days later, she was having the same problem and she denied that we ever had this conversation before. This is something that is getting worse fast.
    Naturally this means that in her mind I never help her and leave her to do everything by herself!
    Right now, she is not talking to me because, I refused to engage a solicitor to put pressure on the previous owner of the bungalow. He is a professional developer and had put a new pre-fab concrete garage on the old slab and yes, it lets in damp at ground level and the grout between the flagstones he put down is flaking a bit. I told her that despite the fact that she is not happy with the quality of workmanship, she does not have any comeback, so therefore it is my fault now.
    It does not matter that I worked myself ragged to organize the whole move, so she did not have to do anything but pack a few boxes. If I do not agree with her or go as far as expressing an opposing opinion, I am immediately at fault.
    She flares up over little things and I have a job biting my tonge. Like a few months ago we disagreed on the arrangement of a piece of furniture in my parents house more years ago than I care to remember. She got really irate about it and in the end I said to her to forget it, as we could obviously not agree on this and for me this was the end of the conversation. She is now totally obsessed with this and brings it up at every opportunity.
    She has changed in more ways, usually little things, that most people would not notice, but I do.
    Could someone please tell me that this normal and I shouldn't worry?
  2. Michael E

    Michael E Registered User

    Apr 14, 2005
    Ronda Spain
    Ela hi,

    There are of course 'senior moments' which happen for lots of us and the people that we look after although it appears your mum is a worse than that... The doctors do a mini mental test which scores points and can give an indication of problems - although somebody with AD can present differently on different days - better or worse.
    You also have the problem of getting your mum to see a doctor - but most of us resort to deceit in this situation - suggesting it is for something else... You would also need to alert the Doctor to what you think is going on so he can attempt a diagnosis... This problem can be overcome by handing him a brief note as you and your mum 'enter' the surgery together - or write to him beforehand...

    It is a pretty horrid thought that you are having - personally I found it better to know the devil than to just not understand... There are also drugs around which slow the advance so.... very difficult for you but maybe you should get a professional diagnosis - just in case it is what you suspect?

  3. Margarita

    Margarita Registered User

    Feb 17, 2006
    Try not to see it as a fear or that your mum is lossing it , I Understand where your coming from & that you must be in shock ,well you found the right place welcome .

    Could you not talk this over with your mum doctor? I know its going to hard to get your mother to see the doctor with you, that the first hurdle getting your mum to the doctors or you talking your concerns to the doctor about your mother
  4. Amy

    Amy Registered User

    Jan 4, 2006
    Hiya Ela, Can't say don't worry, because you know that mum is changing. I agree with Michael, you need to get mum to see a doctor, and let the doctor know your concerns in advance.
    I suggest you read this link http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/TalkingPoint/discuss/showpost.php?p=33502&postcount=62. Margarita posted it yesterday, and it gives some really good ideas abouthow to deal withpeople who have a memory impairment.
    As your mum has had a stroke in the past, it could be that she has had further mini strokes.
    Ela, try not to be afraid. If mum does have some form of dementia, you still have lots of good times ahead of you.
    Let us know how you get on.
    Best wishes, Amy.
  5. Libby

    Libby Registered User

    May 20, 2006
    North East
    Hi Ela

    Unfortunately, this is how my mum started. She had always had trouble with names, I'm one of 5 and she has always got our names wrong. However, about 3/4 years ago, she fainted whilst she was out bowling and I think that was the beginning of her AD. Her memory deteriated quicly after that, and she would find it difficult to deal with everyday routines. Having anyone over for a meal would put her in a complete panic. She too started hiding her money all over the palce, and accusing Dad of never giving her any.

    She would put things in the wasing machine then when it wasn't going fast enough, she would manually turn the dial so stuff would come out not washed and not thoroughly rinsed either.

    Dad eventaully got her to the memory clinic and she was diagnosed as being in the early stages of AD

    I suspect you think your mum does have AD, but it affects everyone differently, some people deteriorate quite quickly, others can carry on living their lives with just a little help.

    Sadly, you can't hide away from this disease, and the sooner you seek medical help the better not only for for your mum, but for you as well.
  6. mel

    mel Registered User

    Apr 30, 2006
    Hi Ela
    Can't offer you any more advice than you've already been given.
    hope you manage to get to the doctor to get a diagnosis...I always tell mum we're going for a routine check up (BOTH of us)when we visit the doctor and that seems to work
    As for this site...I've found it a life line!!
  7. Kayla

    Kayla Registered User

    May 14, 2006
    I agree with the others about getting your Mum to see the doctor as other things could be causing the confusion, such as urinary infections and some simple medication might make a big difference. It was a good idea to encourage your mother to move closer to you and she did co-operate with you. She may be feeling stressed after the move, which is making her worse at the moment.
    Some of difficulties with your mother's behaviour could be that she realises something is wrong and she is frightened or doesn't like to admit it.
    Since I've known more about the causes of dementia and have come to accept it myself, I've found my mother's illness a little easier to understand. In some ways the early stages of dementia are harder to deal with because there is less obviously wrong to outsiders. Mum used to tell people that she never had any visitors when I saw her most days and she often had several other people call in as well. You are not alone! We've all been through similar experiences.
    Best wishes
    from Kayla
  8. Bets

    Bets Registered User

    Aug 11, 2005
    South-East London, UK
    Hi Ela,

    Welcome to TP. I recognise many of the things you talk about with your mother. My husband, who has vascular dementia, exhibited many of them. I agree with everyone. It is essential you get her to a doctor asap. If there is a problem it's probably better to know about it rather than to wonder. (Having said that, I think I was in denial for some time before I had to face the fact that something was wrong.)

    I don't know about your mum, but my husband was very aware that his memory was getting worse (but to this day has no insight at all into his general condition).
    It may be that your mother would be prepared to see the doctor, "just to see if he can help your memory". Make sure he knows in advance what your concerns are.

    This must be a gut-wrenchingly worrying time for you. Everyone here will always be ready with support, advice and empathy.

  9. Kathleen

    Kathleen Registered User

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Sussex
    Hello Ela

    I agree with the other postings, you need to get your Mum seen and assessed by professionals to get any help she can as soon as possible, a "routine health check" after speaking or writing to her GP is a good way around it.

    I agreed with everything Mum said, however bizarre, from the very beginning of her AD, in her mind she was right and there was little or no point in dealing with it any other way, that just caused her more anger and confusion, it wasn't worth it.

    Whatever the diagnosis, it may well be better to know than go over and over in your mind what it could be.

    Good luck in taking that first step,

    Keep us posted.

  10. Helena

    Helena Registered User

    May 24, 2006
    One really has to wonder just what goes on in their twisted minds

    The kinds of incidents reported here are so typical of what we all endure one way or another .............they might be funny in the hands of a comic but they darn sure are not funny at all when you get the blame or you are expected to drop everything and run to fix their mess

    Equally what might be copeable with if you are 40 and your children are grown up and you have only time on your hands is one thing but when you are in your 60s with a cantankerous 90 yr old to deal with who thinks you know zero despite the fact you have a slew of grandchildren of your own to care for it becomes anything but funny and its exeptionally hard to accept its just the disease talking
  11. Lynne

    Lynne Registered User

    Jun 3, 2005
    Hi Ela

    My own Mum (87) shows many of the behaviours & symptoms you have described although, thankfully, she is fairly easy to get along with most of the time - it's me that's the crabby bitch! :eek:
    I know exactly what you mean by this. If visitors call, or I get her to the doctor, butter wouldn't melt in her mouth, and she can put on a public face for an hour or so, with effort. But if that person spent 3 or 4 hours with her, they'd notice all right.
    I've been concerned (as you are) for about 3 years, and have been actively trying to get a doctor's referral for a Memory Clinic Assessment for the past 12 months. We now have her first appt. at the end of this month.

    Is her behaviour normal? No, probably not, but not uncommon for an elderly person who has already had one stroke. It could be Alzheimer's Disease, it could be Vascular dementia, or it could be something else entirely. None of us here can give a diagnosis, or would attempt to do so.

    I can only reiterate what everyone else has advised. Write to her doctor & tell him/her everything you have told us, and that you are concerned she may be in danger as a result of her illness. Don't pull your punches or play down what you see & feel, you may only get one shot at this. Some doctors will take up a suggestion like that, and call in the patient on the pretext of a Good Health "routine check", or similar. You might ask if you can have an appt. with the doctor by yourself, better to explain your concerns. Patient confidentiality shouldn't be an obstruction to this, since you wish to give the doctor information about your Mum, not ask for any confidential information.

    Good luck, please let us know how you get on and if we can help in the future.
  12. DickG

    DickG Registered User

    Feb 26, 2006
    Hi Ela

    It all sounds familiar. I can only agree with what Michael says, welcome to the club of liars and deceivers, it is often the only way we can help.

    Thinking about you

  13. Amy

    Amy Registered User

    Jan 4, 2006
    Hiya Helena,
    Sorry, but had to smile when I read this.
    At 40 I was 2 years into a new job, three children 12 and under, no husband, and trying to support my parents. Was no fun then either. I think everyone is so busy these days with their own lives, that when a loved one does become ill, it is always a juggling act to make time and space to care.
    Best wishes, Amy.
  14. Ela

    Ela Registered User

    May 28, 2006

    Thanks everybody for replying to my worries.
    I will go and speak with the GP first about my mother and will then decide how to engineer a GP visit with her.
    This will probably take a few days, but I will let you know what the outcome was.
    Thanks again.
  15. mel

    mel Registered User

    Apr 30, 2006
    Good luck,Ela
  16. ellie 123

    ellie 123 Registered User

    May 25, 2006
    Hello Ela
    I'm new too and felt I needed the support because I feel I'm going mad.

    My mum's 89 and sounds very similar to yours, but I live 300 miles from her which makes everything worse. After dad died, she was resolute and still is about remaining in her home. I have health issues myself which makes getting in the car and whizzing up there impossible. My mum's giving away money and currently has 8 different people involved in her affairs, including various neighbours, her cleaning lady, ect. But she trusts all of them over me, I'm the devil as far as she's concerned.

    I'd be very interested to hear how you get on with the doctor. I can't get anyone to look at my mother. The solicitor tells me I have to speak to the doctor, the doctor tells me I have to speak to social services and social services tell me I have to speak to the doctor. It feels like a private club and I'm the only one that can't get a membership.

    Sometimes I'm actually glad I'm so far away though because the abuse I get from her just devastates me, sometimes it's pure venom. But most of the time I'm living on a knife edge waiting for the phone to ring and the pain to start.

    Good luck
  17. Amy

    Amy Registered User

    Jan 4, 2006
    Hiya Ellie, and welcome,
    You are not going mad!!! You sound to be doing the right things, but not getting the co-operation that you need. You are right; the GP is your first port of call; until he gets on and says your mum has a problem, others can't be involved.
    Have you written or spoken to the GP about your concerns - a letter explaining what is going on, what you observe in your mum may help. Could you arrange to make a visit, and make an appointment to see the GP - I understand the problem with he distance involved, but you have to get the ball rolling somehow.
    I am sure others will post soon with some further ideas.
    Best wishes, Amy
  18. mel

    mel Registered User

    Apr 30, 2006
    ""Sometimes I'm actually glad I'm so far away though because the abuse I get from her just devastates me, sometimes it's pure venom. But most of the time I'm living on a knife edge waiting for the phone to ring and the pain to start.""

    hi Ellie
    Sound advice from Amy...your mum needs to see GP before any relevant referrals can be made

    As far as the abuse goes....oh yes....been there so many times....so many times in fact that I've become immune....this venomous "woman" who so often stands before me is most definitely NOT my mum....hold onto that thought....I firmly believe that,like a child,dementia sufferers hit out at those they love the most....it's so hard I know but to push any thoughts of your mum from your mind when she's behaving like that eases the hurt....it works for me anyway
    Let us know how you get on
  19. Helena

    Helena Registered User

    May 24, 2006
    I suggest you apply to guardianship office for receivership of her affairs

    That will concentrate a few minds
  20. Margarita

    Margarita Registered User

    Feb 17, 2006
    good luck ellie
    learning about AD is

    Oh at 40 I did not know what to do with myself, took one years to sit in,then lost 5 stones & life was really beginning for me kids grown up was working at a good job for the last 8 year , was not in a happy relationship so ended it a year later he left in Jan , My dad died in the same Jan 2 weeks later , mum sold up moved to Gibraltar then was diagnosed with AD in October that year , so my whole like crash in one year, as the years pass to now ,saw another 4
    close numbers of my family die
    talk about life beginning at 40 , it sure did ,had to reprogram my life all over again, but as the song go I survived & am still alive .

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