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what was the first thing you noticed that could be dementia?

Jaffy

Registered User
Oct 24, 2013
174
74
Ohio USA
My husband had some signs, after a virus attacked his heart in 2007 but pretty well returned to normal. In September he got dog bit by. It got infected and he had to have surgery. He has walked 2 miles for 44 years, well at first he jogged - at 74 he walks. Not being able to walk seemed to affect his mind, although he rode an indoor bike. He occasionally stops at green lights, he talks to himself while walking, his short term memory is nearing 50% gone, he buys 2 of almost everything, he's excellent at math problems doing them mentally, now I do them faster than he does and I am lousy at math, on and on. He will not go to a doctor about this, absolutely Not!!!
 

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
71,789
Kent
Hello @Jaffy

With my husband it was a change in personality and an increase in confusion as well as aggressive [defensive] behaviour.

It looks as if you have been concerned about your husband for a long time and if he will not go to the doctor I would go on his behalf.

Make a diary over a couple of weeks of all your concerns and present it to the doctor in writing. Even if confidentiality prevents the doctor from discussing your husband with you, they will read your diary and hopefully, take it from there.

There is obviously something wrong even if it isn`t dementia and only a doctor can make a diagnosis. All you can so is ensure the doctor is well aware of your concerns.

Good luck. Please post an update when you can.
 

Sarasa

Registered User
Apr 13, 2018
1,703
With my mother, who has vascular dementia, things were very gradual and it is only looking back I can see what was probably the start of dementia. Mum began not to be able to follow multiple conversations when we were having family meals and wanted every conversation to be about her. She would also phone me up and tell me her day in minute detail, giving equal weight to everything that happened. It was only later I twigged that one of the things she frequently mentioned along with not being able to get the milk she liked and queues at the chemists was problems with her eyesight. By the time my sister in law insisted she go and get it checked she had quite advanced macular degeneration. Later as she forgot things, she started to blame the neighbours. Insisting they came in and moved her stuff. That's when I started to think maybe it wasn't just her personality, she'd always been a bit of a diva, but something else.
I piggybacked an appointment she' already made with her GP. Mum was often there with various concerns, but I'd have never got her there if I'd said I was worried about her mental health. What I did was send in a letter ahead of time with my concerns. The first visit was a wash out as mum's short term memory was still good and she did well at the mini memory test. Six weeks later after several more concerns had emerged I managed to get her back but took my brother as well. He managed to steer the conversation round to the neighbours and after mum had given the GP an account of all the things she thought they were doing (stealing her electricity,; coming in and taking her card for medication and trying to get her blood pressure tablets at the GPs(!); deliberately moving her purse from her handbag to her shopping bag, he referred her to the memory clinic. Mum refused to go, but that is another story.
So I'd get your husband to the GP and take it from there. As @granny G says there are other things that mimic dementia so they need to be checked out first.
Keep posting, this is a wonderfully supportive and knowledgeable community.
 

RosettaT

Registered User
Sep 9, 2018
509
Mid Lincs
My OH actually told me his memory was rubbish but I hadn't noticed anything wrong. He was very organised especially with paperwork. I first realised something unusual had happened when I went to get the car insurance docs out because it was due for renewal and couldn't find them. My OH had moved all the hanging file docs into ring binders but many were duplicated with the paperwork split into two different folders.

He always would get up and make tea to bring back to bed in the mornings and would have forgotten to put the washing in the tumble drier, I would ask if he had done it, he said yes but hadn't. Then we stared losing things like car keys or his wallet, all put in a safe place but no idea where.
Just got worse from thereon in.
 

Vic10

Registered User
Feb 18, 2017
161
I think probably the first thing was when chatting to other people he would keep repeating the same tale, I would give him a prod and quietly say ‘you’ve already told them that’.
Then came the belief that we were being robbed at night, so he started hiding things, couldn’t remember where he had put them so...believed they had been stolen...bit of a self fulfilling prophecy! I’m still looking for things now!
Then probably the inability to plan and problem solve.
And then, can’t remember at what stage this started,it my have been right at the beginning, not sure, I have since read that this is a symptom, the slow, slow walk, he was always behind me I remember hating it and waiting for him to catch up. This from a man that ran marathons!
 

Duggies-girl

Registered User
Sep 6, 2017
2,044
Straight after mum died in 2011 I realised that dad was lost without her. He was lost at the funeral and I realised that mum had been his rock up until then. She had actually told me on a few occasions how bad his memory was and that she did not know how he would cope if anything happened to her. I hadn't noticed anything before then but as soon as mum died I noticed dads indecision, he couldn't make a choice of tea or coffee and he would always have what I was having if we were out so I would always have fish and chips as I knew that was what he wanted but he was just incapable of choosing it.

We muddled through until 2017 when his driving skills became seriously lacking and I managed to get him to the doctors and finally a diagnosis. Dad was diagnosed with cancer in 2018 and died earlier this year but I am sure that he would have lived a few more years if it had not been for the cancer.

It was a very slow and insidious progress but I think dad only managed to stay independent because I was right there behind him all the time.

I remember the slow walk with dad always behind me and no matter how much I slowed down for him to catch me up, he would slip behind me again straight away. I think he was trying to keep me in his sight.
 

MaNaAk

Registered User
Jun 19, 2016
2,553
Essex
My OH actually told me his memory was rubbish but I hadn't noticed anything wrong. He was very organised especially with paperwork. I first realised something unusual had happened when I went to get the car insurance docs out because it was due for renewal and couldn't find them. My OH had moved all the hanging file docs into ring binders but many were duplicated with the paperwork split into two different folders.

He always would get up and make tea to bring back to bed in the mornings and would have forgotten to put the washing in the tumble drier, I would ask if he had done it, he said yes but hadn't. Then we stared losing things like car keys or his wallet, all put in a safe place but no idea where.
Just got worse from thereon in.
You
My OH actually told me his memory was rubbish but I hadn't noticed anything wrong. He was very organised especially with paperwork. I first realised something unusual had happened when I went to get the car insurance docs out because it was due for renewal and couldn't find them. My OH had moved all the hanging file docs into ring binders but many were duplicated with the paperwork split into two different folders.

He always would get up and make tea to bring back to bed in the mornings and would have forgotten to put the washing in the tumble drier, I would ask if he had done it, he said yes but hadn't. Then we stared losing things like car keys or his wallet, all put in a safe place but no idea where.
Just got worse from thereon in.
Like @Rosettastone dad said half his memory had gone but I didn't have serious concerns until his sister-in-law passed away in early 2015. He started putting things in odd places before talking about people who weren't there. I used every trick in the book before doing what @GrannieG has just suggested. The doctor and I got him to the surgery on the pretext of looking at his ears. You need to see the doctor yourself with a list of his symptoms and perhaps the two of you can get him to the doctor on the pretext of another ailment.

Good luck

MaNaAk
 

Rosettastone57

Registered User
Oct 27, 2016
1,351
My mother in law had mixed dementia , but because she had always been a difficult individual , with long-standing mental health issues all her life, it took family a long time to realise that anything more was going on. She had always been a bit paranoid about the neighbours wherever she lived and had always been self absorbed and controlling. Looking back, she probably had the signs about 3 years before the official diagnosis , but it was when she started talking about where she would like to spend Christmas next week when we were in July that the penny dropped. When she started to hallucinate about people coming into the garden , when there was no point of entry , my husband wrote to the GP. I was present during the memory tests some 4 months later and she didn't even know the year or day of the week. We already had POA and carers in by then fortunately.
 

kindred

Registered User
Apr 8, 2018
2,493
I didn’t notice anything until the diagnosis! Only one thing was strange. I asked my husband to cut our tiny lawn and we used clippers. he couldn’t get the clippers to touch the grass. I thought no more of it. Then one day he tripped and banged his head on the television. Took him to the doctor who said he should get a scan to make sure all was well. The scan revealed quite severe dementia! Hell of a shock. We were so close and I had noticed nothing else out of order at all. He continued OK and then suddenly lost ability to read and write and drive and then it all started to get very horrible. Kindred.
 

Laura40

Registered User
Dec 10, 2017
124
England
For us it was me really noticing how poor his driving was becoming first and the falling to sleep in the middle of the day ( not at all usual previously) then becoming very quiet, complete loss of conversational skills, being scammed, becoming totally useless at DIY! I built a brick outhouse and asked him to do one job screw the handle on the door and he put it on upside down!!!
 

fromnz123

Registered User
Aug 2, 2019
43
UK
For us it was me really noticing how poor his driving was becoming first and the falling to sleep in the middle of the day ( not at all usual previously) then becoming very quiet, complete loss of conversational skills, being scammed, becoming totally useless at DIY! I built a brick outhouse and asked him to do one job screw the handle on the door and he put it on upside down!!!
Laura40 so much of what you've described is like my OH. I recently wanted to get rid of a old bookcase to make space for a cot for our grandson. MY OH more and more hates getting rid of anything. I insisted it had to go as it was no longer needed and had seen better days. I got it removed and before I could make a trip to the tip to get rid of it, my OH had tacked the panels from the back of the bookcase to the roof of the shed and then fixed the shelves of the bookcase to the side of the shed. I didn't know if to laugh or to cry especially as the shed is in our front garden, we are looking more and more like "Steptoe and son"...

When I tried to explain to him that it wasn't really appropriate/suitable , his response was "that's just your opinion", well it wasn't just my opinion as everyone that had seen it was baffled, but I couldn't say that to him..

Anyway it took me a few weeks to muster up the courage but have taken most of it off to the tip!!
 

Laura40

Registered User
Dec 10, 2017
124
England
That is so desperately sad and funny , I get so fed up with everything at the minute but Realise that I have to look at the funny side to get through it all. . I think lockdown at the moment is amplifying the loneliness for me of my situation so it’s really good to be able to look at things and share these moments with people that understand the reality of the fact that we have to laugh because the alternative is not good.
 

Banjomansmate

Registered User
Jan 13, 2019
2,104
Dorset
With The Banjoman it was forgetting words of songs that he had been singing for years plus other things like taking the wrong turning when driving to my house. He was being tested for other medical conditions but the confirmation for me was when he turned up to go out with me and had what I term “Old man whiskers” I.e. he had shaved but missed the areas under his jaw line. I think virtually every elderly man with dementia that I have known has missed that bit when they shave, as though they cannot see it easily so they forget about it.
 

vannesser

Registered User
Apr 4, 2016
355
My oh as vascale for 4 year .
I noticed he had trouble following conversations . And when asked what he wonted to eat forgot names of foods .6 month be-for this happens was on holiday with a friend and he fell out with her every day causing her of not wonting him there and saying she was trying to get me killed by driving home when it was dark.when we got to her house to drop her of .the first think he said was he had a brilliant time .and he can only remember having one row with her .we had been on holiday with her befor and he been fine ,
 

vannesser

Registered User
Apr 4, 2016
355
With The Banjoman it was forgetting words of songs that he had been singing for years plus other things like taking the wrong turning when driving to my house. He was being tested for other medical conditions but the confirmation for me was when he turned up to go out with me and had what I term “Old man whiskers” I.e. he had shaved but missed the areas under his jaw line. I think virtually every elderly man with dementia that I have known has missed that bit when they shave, as though they cannot see it easily so they forget about it.
My ho only shaved one side of his face
 

fromnz123

Registered User
Aug 2, 2019
43
UK
Laura40 so much of what you've described is like my OH. I recently wanted to get rid of a old bookcase to make space for a cot for our grandson. MY OH more and more hates getting rid of anything. I insisted it had to go as it was no longer needed and had seen better days. I got it removed and before I could make a trip to the tip to get rid of it, my OH had tacked the panels from the back of the bookcase to the roof of the shed and then fixed the shelves of the bookcase to the side of the shed. I didn't know if to laugh or to cry especially as the shed is in our front garden, we are looking more and more like "Steptoe and son"...

When I tried to explain to him that it wasn't really appropriate/suitable , his response was "that's just your opinion", well it wasn't just my opinion as everyone that had seen it was baffled, but I couldn't say that to him..

Anyway it took me a few weeks to muster up the courage but have taken most of it off to the tip!!
Having said the above, looking back I measure his decline from an incident that happened about 7 years ago. We were at a dinner dance with friends, and he had a meltdown with me as he felt I had "abandoned" him whilst I was talking to other people, and "he wasn't feeling" well. Everyone was shocked as this isn't the way that he had ever acted before.
Now we no longer go to dinner dances, so problem solved!!!!
 

MalcW

Registered User
Jul 3, 2020
11
I think the diagnosis for my wife's Alzheimers answered a lot of questions that came up before. We had situations where she told me equipment was broken and no longer worked. My stock answer was to "bin it" and we would buy new. By this we ended up with 3 vacuum cleaners, 5 steam irons and 14 buckets and mops. It was clear after the diagnosis that she had it in mind that she needed to replace these items, but not that she had already done so. Therefore, every time she past a shop selling these goods she thought she had to go in and buy one. Our daughters thought it was Christmas!!!!
It really came to a head for us when she was out with her sister and wondered off and got lost. In the town she has lived in all her life. Her sister worked for the specialist in the local mental unit of our hospital and suggested she be checked. I can tell you the result was quite a shock.
We have been married 40 years this year, but for the first 10 years I was a holiday coach driver. For 10 months of the year, I was not even in the country. During that time she bore and raised our first 2 daughters, properly looked after and kept a large 3 bedroom house and kept down a full time job. From that level of independence to this level of dependence from the age of 60 is really gut wrenching. The biggest issue is getting friends(what's left of them) and family to believe the effect this terrible disease is having.
Hardly a day goes by when I don't sit down and have a bloody good cry, even after 3 years.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
13,420
South coast
(((((((((((((((((((((((((((hugs)))))))))))))))))) @MalcW
Its really hard to explain the reality to friends and family - even close ones.
I honestly think that you cant really know what it is like unless you have been a carer for someone with dementia. I dont think that there is anything else like it.
 

Gorgeous Gail

Registered User
Apr 17, 2020
74
I would say the not going to the Doctor speaks volumes. He is obviously in denial or scared what the Doctor will say. I found that with my OH - I had suspected something was wrong for around 12 months before being diagnosed due to a big change in his personality, issues with his driving and also his speech. I finally got him to to agree to me going to the Doctors with him after he had fallen and banged his head. He did, however, warn me before we went that we were only going to talk about the fall. Thankfully the Doctor raised some concerns about why he kept falling and I was able to mention a couple of other symptoms which prompted the memory test.
 

Veritas

Registered User
Jun 15, 2020
62
I was pretty sure where we were headed five years before diagnosis - it took a very long time to persuade him to request a referral to the Memory Clinic. There had been lots of minor things - eg uncharacteristic impatience, suspecting people's motives, over-tipping, steadily detaching himself from friends and wider family - but the key thing was when I realised his sense of direction was shot. Looking back, I reckon the earliest signs were there possibly as much as fifteen years ago. Lockdown has done him no good at all (I can't say it's done much for me either) as we can't go out and do the things we would normally do. His walking pace had already declined significantly but now he is unbelievably slow and stiff - you'd think he was at least ten years older than he is. I hadn't thought of this as a sign of dementia but it was driving me fairly mad - thanks @Duggies-girl for the useful insight about perhaps needing to see me in front of him.
 

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