Think my Mum has dementia..where to begin!

Discussion in 'Memory concerns and seeking a diagnosis' started by Angiefee, Feb 10, 2016.

  1. Angiefee

    Angiefee Registered User

    Feb 10, 2016
    4
    Southampton
    Hi all,
    This is my first post as I am a newbie here but really have no clue where to turn at the mo. Ok long story:
    I believe my Mum who is 67 has the early stages of dementia - her Mum had Alzheimers and I feel like I am repeating the whole process my Mum went through with her Mum.
    Lots of pointers that make me think this is what she has; the repeating over and over, forgetting things that she has been told 10 minutes before, leaving supermarket without paying for shopping (only happened once so far), not knowing how to drive to places that are 10 minutes from home - even though she has driven there in the past. Never knows whether I am at work or not even though I text her telling her - making up stories about my Dad and visa versa saying things about me to my Dad that are not true - this is a huge thing for me as my Mum and I are best friends, tell each other everything and now its like she is saying nasty things behind my back that arn't true and that it tough to hear. As an example, she met me for lunch last week as I was working all day - went home and told my Dad "why would I want to meet her for lunch whats the point in that - she kept me waiting an hour in the freezing cold" none of this was true and its hard seeing her change like this.
    I wrote my concerns to her GP and she never goes to the Doctor for anything, but she had hurt her leg and went..so I took my opportunity to let her GP know my worry. I went with her - but she told me your not coming in with me, the doctor will think I'm going gaga!! This is her favourite saying at the moment - people think I'm going gaga..The doctor telephoned me after her appointment and said he could not discuss her appointment with me unless she agree's and I know she would go mad if I let her know I was worried about her memory. All he could say was that he had 'done things from his end' and that I MUST get her to talk to me. She had a letter from the gp in her bag..but scurried upstair and hid her bag..denying she had a letter/test form from him. A couple of weeks later a doctor from the memory clinic rang and spoke to me and said they had booked her an appojntment but she rang and cancelled saying there was nothing wrong with her - I asked the doctor if her GP had concerns and he said yes - she failed the memory test and they wanted a brain scan..NO chance!
    She has now been called in for an asthma check - and they have said she needs a blood test - their way of getting her to do this without knowing the reasons I think. I saw the form and it is the normal B12, Thyroid etc which I think they request when diagnosing dememtia...I am still waiting for her to go...but will keep on at best I can without annoying her! There are so many things I could write but I think I have waffled enough..where do I go from here, I already feel like I am loosing her a little and she is getting closer to my Dad - even though they had a loveless marriage she is turning to him more than me? She went to the dentist last week for a scale and polish and came out saying she had a filling - thinks I live somewhere completely different to where I do...thinks we had a conservatory and we never had, lots of little things...but she has days at a time where she seems fine and remembers most things.
    I so hope you have managed to read this far and does anyone think this could be dementia or maybe something else..
     
  2. marionq

    marionq Registered User

    Apr 24, 2013
    5,908
    Female
    Scotland
    The degree of confusion and memory loss you describe does indeed sound like dementia and the doctors seem to confirm that without actually using the word. This is the time to start getting things into place for the future as it won't get better. POA and wills for both parents is the first step, an assessment from social services would be next but she may not cooperate.

    Can you explain to her that the rate of loss of memory can be helped by certain drugs but she would have to be willing to see the doctors in order to get these drugs eg Aricept?
     
  3. woodbrooklabs

    woodbrooklabs Registered User

    Aug 17, 2015
    45

    Hi, I am in a similar boat to yourself at the moment with my dad who is 67. All I can say is don't give up. Been battling with dad for 2 years to go to the doctor. Made the excuse that he needed a wee health check up. I said the doctor wouldn't be happy if he missed any appointments. Dad got it into his head that they'd strike him off if he didn't go which helped me greatly! So he got a full set of bloods done and every single thing came back normal. Had a chat with doctor about my concerns and he asked if I could attend with dad. Dad said absolutely NO WAY! Anyway fast forward 2 years and deterioration, loosing car, reporting him missing, he accepted a referral to the memory clinic. We went 2 weeks ago. He faffed about for 30mins saying he wasn't doing it and then finally talked him round. I used to cry a lot when dad accused me of taking various things from his home, mainly the Deeds of his house. I've learnt a lot from this site in how to deal with this. The best thing for me is that I keep calm and if he starts his nonsense I gently change the subject to something else. He still tells people behind my back that I'm out to get him, steal his money, house etc. But with me he is fine and we are getting on so much better. He goes through phases of being obsessed about certain issues, then its forgotten and he'll move onto something else.
    It is the start of a long road for us both. Just remember that your mum can't help what she is doing, though it upsets you a lot. People with this disease often take it out on the people they are closest to. Take deep breaths when it gets too much. You need to keep strong. Has your dad chatted to you and does he agree there is a problem with your mums memory etc? My grandfather died from Alzeimers, so although I have no diagnosis, I am 99% sure my dad has it. Symptoms etc are all the same. Luckily unlike my grandfather my dad is not violent........yet! My mum and dad divorced 38 years ago and he has been on his own. Apart from his sisters, he only has me to help him and he knows it. I honestly though I couldn't cope with it all. Each little step we've made has got me closer to getting him help. This time 2 years ago I never dreamed that he'd let me go to the doctor with him, let alone do a memory test. On his clearer days he does finally agree he has an issue with short term memory which is a humungous step for him.
    Keep your chin up. Your mum loves you. She is most likely very scared and can't understand what's happening to her. x
     
  4. Angiefee

    Angiefee Registered User

    Feb 10, 2016
    4
    Southampton
    I think I know in my heart this is the start but with her refusing doctors or that she even has an issue, I doubt i will get a firm diagnosis at least in the early days..thank you for your reply :)
     
  5. Angiefee

    Angiefee Registered User

    Feb 10, 2016
    4
    Southampton
    Thank you for your reply - it all sounds so similar - and OBSESSION yes I never mentioned that but she picks up on something and will not let it rest.. My dad speaks to me while he is at work as its hard to talk when they are together, but he has decided to retire next month - he was working tues, weds, thurs as he is 69 but she never knows if he is home or at work - he took the last 10 days off and not once did she ask why is he home, or should he be at work.. he too knows the problems, but because she can have periods where she is fine he struggles to believe it sometimes. Mum has shown aggression to my Dad - something she would never have done, she walked past him and for not reason whatsoever threw a hot cup of tea in his face..and carried on walking past..I've never in my 45 years know my mum hurt anyone! She thinks she has been doing housework all day, but in truth my dad says she will sit in the same place for hours watching tv but almost not taking it in...I know she is still my beautiful mum, but after watching my Nan go through the same process I know what is to come and its heartbreaking. Thank you again x
     
  6. woodbrooklabs

    woodbrooklabs Registered User

    Aug 17, 2015
    45
    Your dad I'm sure know there is a problem, but doesn't want to accept it. Its good that he is retiring and will be with your mum. He is bound to notice more when he's there every day with her. My Dad also sits in the house all day with the tv on. He used to watch the News every day and know what was going on around the world, now he hasn't a notion. When I asked him about the war in Syria, he said 'you mean Bosnia'. He knew nothing about the Syrian war or anything else. I just glazed over it. If your mum is showing aggression, that would be worrying. The sooner you get a diagnosis the better. If she is on meds it will help with everything. The big kick up the bum for my dad was when he lost his car. He had been at the shopping centre for hours one day searching for it. I rang the police and they brought him home. When it happened the second time, they referred dad to social services which was a blessing for me. She then contacted the GP and put the pressure on. Sometimes I have to be stern with Dad and not pussy foot around the issue. I've told him straight and honestly that I think he has Alzheimer's and needs medication or he won't be able to stay in his home. (I pick the right time for these conversations). He listens more now to me. When is mind is clear he can accept and admit his dad died from the disease. Its all a matter of taking one day at a time. Hoping in the coming weeks your dad will realise what's happening and try and seek help.x
     
  7. Autumnal

    Autumnal Registered User

    Jan 9, 2016
    16
    Gosh this sounds so very familiar. Like you I became worried about mum after she developed similar symptoms to what you have described. In the end I made a GP appointment without her consent after discussing my concerns with him because she would never have done so herself. When I arrived to take her, she point blank refused to go so I told her she would have to ring and cancel the appt. I also told her that I knew she was worried about her memory and that she couldn't keep denying there was a problem because it wasn't just going to go away. She then agreed to go with me without any argument. Fortunately her GP is amazing with her and was keen that I go in with her to keep her company. Like your mum, she failed most of the tests and has now been for a CT scan and memory clinic assessment (during which she completely denied there was anything wrong and we had to work really hard to get her to stay for the test). We are now waiting for results but mum is refusing any medication or support as she totally believes it is normal old age forgetfulness. That's difficult as she doesn't see or want to see that there is a problem and I worry that something serious will have to happen before she is then forced to accept help. I am learning that sometimes I need to be firm with her and other times I can let the confused thoughts etc just pass by and distract her. But I am also recognising that actually I can't force mum to get diagnosed or accept a diagnosis and I have to come to terms with that. And I do understand that it must be very frightening to be so confused and worried about losing your independence, or that people will think you are crazy. It helps if I can acknowledge that mum is afraid and let her know I get that. As others have said, bear with it and hopefully on one of your mums better days she may agree to things she is currently refusing. And remember you aren't on your own struggling with this.
     
  8. Angiefee

    Angiefee Registered User

    Feb 10, 2016
    4
    Southampton
    Thank you all - she had her blood tests done on Friday so just a case of waiting to see what the results are....although the Doctors will not talk to me or my Dad without her say so. But we will see what we can find out.
    Thanks again for listening.
    Angie
     

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