should I be worried?

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by Rach, Apr 23, 2004.

  1. Rach

    Rach Registered User

    Apr 23, 2004
    2
    My Grandad is 84. Over the last year he has been in and out of hospital with diabetes and prostate problems - had a prostate op 3 weeks ago (partial removal) which will hopefully solve that issue. In hosp he usually gets urine infections and his blood sugar sometimes reaches 25+ ... since these episodes he has got increasingly confused, thinking he lives somewhere else, forgetting names/faces of his grandchildren, getting muddled between past/present tense (eg talking about war experiences as if they are now, not then)...virtually no short-term memory etc etc. He repeats the same conversation topic over and over...He goes to get his pension and then takes 3hrs plus to get home (15 minutes gentle walk) because he 'stopped to chat' (losing track of time?) and displays what could be construed as odd behaviour - deciding he HAS to have a bath at the strangest times of day and insisting he can manage himself when he can't really, gets ideas in his head and can't be dissuaded, can get very awkward.
    ...I wonder whether he is in the early stages of dementia but when I broach the subject with family they are very resistant to the idea 'it's just old age' 'even if it is dementia there's nothing we can do so we're better off not knowing' 'he just gets a bit confused' etc etc.
    Am I going off the deep end to think it might be dementia in some form? Or just making a storm in a tea cup?
    Sorry it's such a long post! I would just appreciate a bit of outside input from people who know a bit more about it than me!
    Thanks,
    Rach
     
  2. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    12,413
    near London
    Hello Rach

    You don't say the circumstances - is your Grandad living with family, or alone?

    I'd be concerned if he was going out to get his pension by himself, whether or not he has dementia, in the situation you describe.

    The signs you have described made it at least sensible to explore a bit further, if only to ensure that he is safe in what he does.


    Sorry, this is not much help, but at this stage, just take it slowly, a step at a time. Practising that may well come in very useful in the days to come.
     
  3. Ruthie

    Ruthie Registered User

    Jul 9, 2003
    114
    South Coast
    Hello Rach

    I can understand why you are concerned that your granddad may have some form of dementia as many of the symptoms you describe are often present in dementia. There are many different sorts of dementia - it is not always Alzheimers, and some of them may be caused by other illnesses and can be helped.

    If it were to be Alzheimers it is not altogether true that "nothing can be done". For one thing your grandad and anyone who cares for him will need a lot of advice, support and help, and there are ways to access this help if he has been diagnosed. Also there are now medications which can slow down the disease or even help the symptoms to improve for a while, which may mean that life becomes easier for him and for his carer/s, although admittedly they do not cure the illness and may not work long term.

    It is interesting that you mention urinary infections and other health problems, as these can make the symptoms you describe much worse than they would have been otherwise.

    If you want to find out more, go to http://www.alzheimers.org.uk (the main Alzheimers Society website) where you will find lots of extremely informative information sheets on all the topics you might want to know more about.

    You don't say how old you are, or whether your family would take notice of your advice, since they are resistant to finding out what the matter is with your grandad, but if you are worried perhaps you could go to your own GP and talk to her/him about your concerns, and perhaps she/he could advise you.

    Do keep in touch, as it won't do you any good to bottle things up and keep things to yourself. You will always find a sympathetic and understanding ear on this forum, and some good advice, as many of us have been through the same or similar experiences.

    Kind regards

    Ruthie
     
  4. Rach

    Rach Registered User

    Apr 23, 2004
    2
    thanks!

    thanks for your replies! ...it actually makes a lot of difference being able to talk about it and know that people are listening instead of not wanting to hear what I have to say!
    In reply to your queries...
    no, he doesn't live alone; he lives with his wife (also 84) - and my aunt, their daughter, has just moved in with them as well. They hope to all move in to a new house together as soon as they can find a suitable one, where my aunt will take the role of main carer. I'm a bit worried that the change of location (they hope to move from West Sussex to Poole) will exacerbate my grandad's confusion.
    I am the ripe old age of 31...and talking to MY doctor is not something I'd thought of. Is she likely to have information on what sort of support/advice would be available for my aunt as main carer? Perhaps if I have a grasp of the situation I can make an entrance with timely information when it's needed and they're a little more receptive...

    Thanks again for replying - really appreciate it!
    Rach
     
  5. Val2

    Val2 Registered User

    Mar 5, 2004
    2
    Cardiff
    Rach

    I do know how difficult it is when you think there is something wrong and the rest of the family just don't seem to see it.
    My father doesn't have the standard AD symptoms, but has serious problems finding the right words to say what he wants, and also working out how to do things. So I would like to get the experts to assess him, it could be something they can do something about, or at least we would know. But my Mum and Sister just seem to say he's a bit better or a bit worse, and can't seem to see he's definitely getting gradually worse. It's so frustrating.
    My Mum was hiding it from my sister and me at first because she didn't want to be pressured to move.
    Then he had a fall and was in a residential home for a while and they could see there was a problem and started asking us questions, my Mum then wanted to disguise how bad it was to them too.
    It seems there is still a stigma especially for older people about mental issues, and she had this image that they might take him away and lock him up in some awfull mental institution full of 'mad people'.
    And they seem to feel they'd rather not know if it is dementia, and they don't want him to be upset by that knowledge either.
    He is home now and they have moved to near my sister which went well and my Dad has settled in, but I was worried he would struggle with a new house. But I felt they'd have to move sometime so it would be better before he got any worse.
    I keep mentioning to them that I think it could be dementia to get them used to the idea and that there are drugs that can help. I did get him as far as the Doctor's and got him to suggest of an assessment but that got cancelled because they were moving. Now I have to wait a while for them to settle properly in the new house and try again.
     
  6. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    12,413
    near London
    I have occasionally thought that it is everyone but the poor dementia sufferer that is in fact 'mad'. We try so to disguise the facts from them and from each other and the medical fraternity mostly, I think, because we are scared witless.

    The dementia sufferers are actually very clear in the thinking they do. They can think that everything around them is mad. Some of the things they say are so true, and are stripped of the 'civilisation' we bind them with.

    Things get better when we recognise the problems and make sure others do as well, so, difficult though it will be for your parents, it will actually get better ultlimately.
     
  7. paul g

    paul g Registered User

    Apr 26, 2004
    2
    durham
    contact his doctor/health centre, my mam was nowhere near as bad as this but her gp noticed her frequent visits and arranged the local CPN (community physchiatric nurse) to call and everything fell into place, especially after a brain (MRI) scan. Do it now as there are financial benefits for him along with help with care if anything like my mam`s alzheimers is proved. Good Luck.
     
  8. Norman

    Norman Registered User

    Oct 9, 2003
    4,348
    Birmingham Hades
    should I be worried

    Val
    I have looked after my wife now for 7 years,and I am only now accepting the inevitable.
    I do not believe that older people tend to hide away dementia because they are embarrased or ashamed, in fact it is sensible to let the situation be known to family and friends,older people tend to be very independent and try to mange on their own.
    One of the problems is that symtoms and bad spells come in stages.
    During a bad spell when all seems hopeless one is sure that they cannot carry on any longer,become desperate and depressed.
    Then the scene changes and all becomes almost normal again.
    It is then that one begins to think life isn't too bad after all, and the worries are put on the back burner.
    Then it all happens again only worse and we lurch from one episode to another so the sooner we learn to enlist all the help and assistance available and accept the situation as it is the sooner life will hopefully get little bit easier.
    I have just accepted help from crossroads and it is the best move I have made in years.
    Norm
     

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