What should I be looking for?

Discussion in 'Memory concerns and seeking a diagnosis' started by Smudge310, Jan 25, 2018.

  1. Smudge310

    Smudge310 New member

    Jan 25, 2018
    5
    Hi,

    I know my story is probably very similar to many on here but I feel I haven’t got anywhere to go and ive got to air this…

    My mum, 85, moved in with us 8 years ago. My dad passed away and she went into a spiral of depression wanting to move but the houses she was looking at looking at in the desperation of moving didn’t suit… Anyway my wife and I saw a place, where we live with an amazing annex (basically a 2 bed house on the side) we proposed it and we all moved in…

    Fast forward things are getting harder. Her memory is terrible and getting worse, we talk to her and within 3 minutes she is asking the same question. Within the conversation this could happen 2-3 times and if we leave the room, we’ll have the same conversation a day later. She has got bad hearing and her TV is always loud and we’ve suggested a hearing test as we’re hoping half the issue is her not hearing us but all we get is “what good will that do?” or “Liz (her friend) has got a hearing aid and it hurts to wear!”.. its seems she wont even think about it and gets quite angry about it.

    She has just retired (yes she was still working!) from a care agency providing respite care but she didnt like doing new calls as she could find them, or worried about finding them. When she got back she went straight to sleep in her chair. Which is another thing, she is sleeping during the day a hell of a lot.

    Her TV viewing is now predominantly ‘Murder She wrote’, ‘Miss Marple’ etc.. old shows. She never watches anything new stating ‘There is nothing good on’ and we’re worried it’s because she’ll find things too confusing and won’t be able to follow the plot. The volume goes on and off all the time. She mutes it during the adverts as shes says ‘it’s a load of rubbish’ and now mutes its during the programme… is this an issue?

    Her cooking is now all ready meals as her last few times of cooking (just basic cheese on toast or a cake) she forgets and it burns and she has a very sweet tooth, sometimes emptying a big pack of popcorn or marshmallows in minutes)

    My wife has talked to her doctor surgery about carrying out a test when she is next in (she has check ups due to her medication – pain killers for a hip replacement) you know…”due to your age were just carrying out these tests” that sort of thing but they said no, my mum has to ask for them..We cant ask her as she snapped my head off when I mentioned a simple hearing test. What will it be like if I went up to her..'mum I'm worried your getting dementia, can you get a test?'... she'll have a baby!!

    Sorry for the rambling… I can expand more but for now I think this will do! Lol! Also what makes things worse is both my children have been diagnosed with Autism so with that and worring about my mum I am slowly losing my mind….
     
  2. karaokePete

    karaokePete Registered User

    Jul 23, 2017
    2,083
    N Ireland
    Hello @Richsmith, welcome to the forum. You will find this a friendly and informative place. Don't be afraid to ask questions or air concerns as that's why we are here.
    Someone with more experience of your issues that me will be along. However, from what you say I think you are right to seek medical help for your Mum. The GP seems unhelpful - did you get that reaction from the receptionist or the GP? Can you try a different GP if the surgery has more than one? If your mum complains about anything, or on her next review, would she let you make an appointment and then you could go along and ask her to ask the doctor if you can come into the consulting room to assist with that ailment and once you are in you will get an opportunity to mention the issues of memory etc., as they can't ignore you once you are in that face to face situation. Of course your Mum may refuse but the effect of being at the surgery may make her amenable. I did that with my wife and it started us down the long road to diagnosis. Sometimes you just have to be canny.
     
  3. Tin

    Tin Registered User

    May 18, 2014
    4,673
    UK
    I did the same with my mum, took 2 visits though got her to gp for a review and while there gp started a memory test and she initially was upset and so gp stopped. 2nd visit and test carried out, but it is only a small one with a few questions, but sufficient enough results to refer her to see a specialist. Maybe keep a few notes about how she is at home and then deliver to gp a few days before her appointment. The hearing thing I can understand, my mum has an nhs hearing aid and it does hurt her! I did think about taking her to a High Street specialist and organise buying one, but for us just too expensive and with mum's dementia I was worried that we may lose it. She tends not to wear her aid these days.
     
  4. Kevinl

    Kevinl Registered User

    Aug 24, 2013
    4,324
    Salford
    Hi Rich, welcome to TP
    When my mother came to live with me I bought a set of headphones for her to use with the TV.
    Basically you just plug them into the side of the TV and they have their own volume control, something like the ones on the link below The TV I have does have a setting so the TV sound doesn't go off when you plug into the sound socket, but I think that's a fairly common feature these days.
    As it happens I agree with your mum too many TV programmes these days; dark, moody, brooding affairs with people either mumbling or banging music and the plots are so complex and they go from series to series so you can't pick them up other than from the beginning.
    Deafness does cause isolation and that can't be good for her so while hearing aids would be the best solution a set of "ear muffs" might solve at least one problem for a tenner.
    K

    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/like/122252571285
     
  5. Smudge310

    Smudge310 New member

    Jan 25, 2018
    5
    Hi, thanks for your replies...
    I have now started a diary of significant events eg we are going away this weekend (Fri-Mon) and for the past week she asks me at least twice a day (and my wife) “so when are you going? Friday?” And then last night she put a pasty in the oven to warm up (can’t see why she didn’t use the microwave??) and ending up forgetting about it a burning it... and setting all the smoke alarms in hers and our houses! My auntie is coming up to be with her so she’s not on her own (she makes us feel very guilty about this all the time.. “ you go off and enjoy yourself, I’ll just sit here on my own!” ) so I’ll talk to her about all this....
     
  6. DeMartin

    DeMartin Registered User

    Jul 4, 2017
    625
    Kent
    @Smudge310 one thing my mum is/was good at was guilting. The sad look, the sigh, when all I’d said was just staying a couple of days. I can’t speak to other mum’s but mine is/was a grand master, gold medal winner guilter.
     
  7. Toony Oony

    Toony Oony Registered User

    Jun 21, 2016
    155
    Ha ha @DeMartin - and there was I thinking I had the emotional blackmailer world champion! My Mum could guilt trip for Britain - although I have to say this has been a lifelong talent and not just the dementia. I want to know how Mum cannot converse or express herself properly 99% of the time but is capable of the odd guilt trip jibe that makes perfect sense? Perhaps it's a remembered reflex? Love her dearly, but on occasion ....
     
  8. rhubarbtree

    rhubarbtree Registered User

    Jan 7, 2015
    305
    North West
    Poor hearing is such a problem. We have just returned from our local hearing clinic. Straight in before appointment time and OH's hearing aids updated a bit. He has small appliance behind ear with just a soft plastic tube into the ear. Would be invisible on a woman with longer hair. If you could persuade your mother to ask for a referral it could help. Hearing aids really have improved in the last few years.
     
  9. Smudge310

    Smudge310 New member

    Jan 25, 2018
    5
    Hi All,
    Just an update.. The other day she used the oven to warm up a pasty. I could smell burning so through she'd burnt the pasty again, but no... this time it was a tea-towel. She left it draped over the oven door and the half in the oven fortunately just went black and was caught in time... don't know what would have happened if I didn't smell it but she just brushed it off...'oh well..!'

    Anyway last week she had an appointment with the doctors. He mobility is really bad and although she's 'not in pain' (or so she keeps claiming) she went to up her dose in painkillers. Well I took advantage of this and went to see the doctors an hour before to explain my concerns. The receptionist said they will assess her 'without looking like they are assessing her" if you know what I mean...

    Well she came out after about 5 mins saying 'they won't give me any more painkillers, they say that isn't the problem and I have to go back for a blood test' Is this part of the assessment? Do they carry out tests to rule other factors out?
     
  10. karaokePete

    karaokePete Registered User

    Jul 23, 2017
    2,083
    N Ireland
    Yes, things like vitamin deficiencies and thyroid problems, or even depression can produce dementia like symptoms. This development is standard practice and, to my mind, shows they are taking your concerns seriously.
    Good luck with all of this.
     
  11. Amy in the US

    Amy in the US Registered User

    Feb 28, 2015
    4,014
    USA
    Hi, @Smudge310. Blood tests are usually a good idea to rule out a thyroid problem, certain vitamin deficiencies, and maybe something else I am not remembering right this minute, that can all cause memory loss that looks like dementia. Plus it's a good idea to get some blood tests done in general, especially if the person hasn't had a physical exam or a checkup in a while.

    In many people with dementia, the lack of insight, awareness, and understanding, is part of the disease. So a near-fire or other close call might be brushed off, and a person with a dementia diagnosis may not be able to understand that there is anything wrong with them. It's not the same as willful denial, but rather, a lack of ability to comprehend a problem. It's called anosognosia and it can be very challenging to deal with. (My mother, pre-dementia, was not a logical, reasonable, or rational person and was often in denial. Earlier on in her dementia it was often hard to tell the difference between her personality and the disease, and that can be frustrating.)

    On a related subject (and please note I am not trying to diagnose your mother or imply she has dementia), in either a Teepa Snow video and/or one of my dementia workshops, I was taught that many people with dementia lose the ability to smell, or to process/comprehend the scent of, certain odors. These include: burning, body odor, urine, feces, and a lot of chemical smells such as natural gas, petrol, and bleach. Scary stuff, and it also explains why they often can't recognise such smells. So she may not have smelled the towel burning, or at least, it wasn't interpreted by her brain as "I smell smoke, so something is burning, and that's dangerous, and I left something in the oven so I should go and check!"

    My mother disabled all the smoke detectors in her house (she did not like the lights or the beeping); you might want to check on those just from a safety standpoint. I think the fire department would come in to help with that.

    Very best wishes to you.
     
  12. Smudge310

    Smudge310 New member

    Jan 25, 2018
    5
    Hi Pete,
    Thanks.. yes it was reassuring. My wife went to see them a few months ago to say the same thing but they said they couldn't do anything. I think I timed it right as she had an appointment... We'll see what happens..

    Hi Amy,
    Thanks for your thoughts but yes her sense of smell has gone...when she empties her bin, she just leave the open bag either in the kitchen or by her front door 'Ill do it in the morning' but it stinks the house out. Her personal hygiene has slipped as well, she often has body odor but she cant smell it... Its getting quite bad.

    Oh well lets see where we go after the tests later this month....
     
  13. Sirena

    Sirena Registered User

    Feb 27, 2018
    144
    Female
    Good to hear things the doctor is taking your concerns seriously. My grandmother had dementia and was very deaf in the last year or two of her life, and it was always difficult to work out if she couldn't understand or simply couldn't hear. She wore hearing aids for years but she became so profoundly deaf they no longer helped.

    When my mother was in the earlier stages of dementia and still living at home, one of her worrying habits was putting things under the grill and forgetting them. Once this escalated to a kitchen full of smoke, smoke detectors going off, neighbours running up stairs to sort it out - at that point the carers disabled the cooker so that it could only be used when they were present.
     
  14. Smudge310

    Smudge310 New member

    Jan 25, 2018
    5
    Im sorry if I keep rambling but this seems like an outlet, without overburdening my wife!! lol!

    A few days ago my mum was going to meet my auntie in their caravan in Brean (we live in Bristol). its a place that my mum has been going to for about 50 years... so she knows it quite well. Anyway my auntie had the van and was setting up and my mum was driving down to join her. She left about 11am ish... I got home for lunch at 1pm and then my mum came in all flustered say "I was on the road for 2 hours... I ended up in Wales!!" now we live near the M4/M5 interchange and it seems rather than simply joining the M5, it seems she went out her way and got on the M4 going west and ended up in Wales, even paying the toll. However thats about 10mins away... I wanted to know when it was she noticed she went the wrong way.. a 2 hour round trip would put you in Cardiff!! she said she'll try again in the afternoon going on the A38 (the old route she used to take). When I got home from work she was still there... she said she'll go in the morning.. after a quick chat she slipped up saying that she'll go in the morning as she's been driving all day and got in about 3-4 ish... it turned out that she tried again in the afternoon and couldn't find it but she wasn't going to tell me. The saving grace out of this is that she knew where home is as she got back! Anyway what happened was my auntie had to pack up, drive up to Bristol and escort her down. My auntie told me this as my mum wouldn't...

    Well my mum had the blood tests and the doctors phone up within 2 days asking her to go in for an appointment. she's away again wither sisters so its booked in for next week (3rd May) Im going to ask her if she wants a hand getting there and seeing if I could go in... if I don't she won't tells us the truth, even if she could remember it..!
     

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