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

justnej

New member
Jun 18, 2020
6
this is a great thread- seeing so many things that i can relate to in terms of my husband's diagnosis of moderate alzheimer's...

the first things i noticed about 6 or 7 years ago were hearing about difficulties my husband was having at work, he would tell me how other profs were 'stealing' his course content, or how they were spying on him, and how they were plotting to have him fired...i actually believed it at first but then he started to drive aggressively, accuse people of stealing from him and accuse me of being unfaithful..it was a really hard 6 or 7 years. it wasn't until the paranoia/suspiciousness was close to home that i could see it was happening in his brain...
 

justnej

New member
Jun 18, 2020
6
My Dad was older & had deteriorating physical health, including diabetes , sciatica, macular degeneration & eventually becoming blind. He could be very irritable. So when my mum, aged 73 , was anxious & tearful we thought it was due to that.
Then we started to notice other things that made us feel it was more than depression over my Dad’s health.
She couldn’t make simple decisions e.g. Would you like a drink Mum?
Are YOU having one
Do you want tea or coffee?
What are YOU having?
The worst example of this was when she was asking complete strangers in a buffet queue what she should eat.
Mum couldn’t remember the way to the dining room on holiday, even after whole week.
She kept fidgeting. Constantly checking her pockets & handbag.
What are you looking for Mum?
Nothing.
She kept thinking she had lost things. We turned the car round & went back to look for a cardigan she was sure she had left in a cafe, only to find it had been at home all the time. Also she regularly said she had lost her shopping bag / hand bag when out & I had to assure her we had not taken it with us.
Mum lost ability to work household appliances. Toaster, TV remote, Video. Washing machine. And my Dad couldn’t do them because he was blind. More tears.
We discovered she was hiding mail. All letters were hidden under the cushion of the seat of her arm chair and she was sat on it, presumably because she couldn’t cope with them.
Then she started seeing marks on walls & on clothing which were not there. She sometimes thought they were dirt & tried to rub them off, other times she thought they were a pattern on the wall or fabric.
When Dad went into hospital she clearly was much worse than we had thought. Without him to steer her, she didn’t wash, dress or eat. Every day when I went to pick her up to go to visit him, she would still be in her nightie. Phoning her to remind her didn’t work
No one in their retirement flats would believe anything was wrong as she could make an effort to be normal for 15-20 minute, then would say she was tired & retire.
She kept insisting she was fine to the doctor & did well on memory tests so the doctor only treated her for depression for over 3 years. I kept a diary of her odd behaviour & the doctor eventually referred her to the memory clinic & for a brain scan which confirmed vascular dementia. By then she struggled with memory tests & would look pleadingly at me to help her with the answers.
Mum became much more unpredictable, reminder notes didn’t work & I had to give up work to look after them both. Eventually her anxiety & frustration ended in her becoming very aggressive, no doubt aggravated by my Dad’s frustration with his pains & blindness. After several incidents storming off out of the flat at night & attacking both Dad & myself, there was a more serious attack & mum had to go into a care home against her will & Dad died a few months later.
Mum took 3 or 4 months to settle, but gradually, without all the stresses at home & aggravation of trying to cope with Dad & his illnesses, she became my sweet tempered mum again. She lived in care for 8 years, so we believe had dementia for 11 years. She deteriorated slowly & definitely, but could sing, had a sense of humour & read headlines in the newspaper right to the end.
 

Buteo

Registered User
Mar 20, 2019
81
My wife would ask me the day or date repeatedly. She would also become upset easily. This was several years before diagnosis.
 

Duggies-girl

Registered User
Sep 6, 2017
2,093
I cleared most of dads furniture out of his house recently and when we took mums old bed apart there was a little home made tray under each of the wheels probably to stop the wheels making an indent on the carpet. There was also a much bigger but similar home made tray under dads chair. They were made of some type of hardboard with a wooden frame around each tray.

I know that years ago it was possible to buy specially made things to put under furniture wheels for this very purpose and maybe some people still use them so maybe that is why dad made them but the thing is that his home made trays were very badly made which was not like dad at all, he always did everything very expertly, especially home decor.

I knew these things were there as they have been there for years but it was only when I saw how badly they were made that I have realised that dad must have been having problems for a long while before mum died which was in 2011

Mum was ill for a long time and dad looked after her and she told me on numerous occasions that dad had problems with his memory but I couldn't see it. I never really noticed anything before mum died but the little trays took me aback for a while and made me think and I now realise that the signs were there long ago.
 

Pepp3r

Registered User
May 22, 2020
52
this is tough as it was a running joke even when we were young that mum would start off conversations by ' I saw so and so today... lives next to the shop ....who know them from school' !! and we'd say no ! 'yes you do, oh what's their name.... stop messing you know who I mean' . So conversationally not much changed. One moment that does stick out is mum loved baking, she wouldn't need the recipe and happily gave out orders of what I could do to help. One such time mum stalled, she couldn't remember the ingredients, as she started to ask me I was like ' blimey mum do you want me to find the recipe book '.... we found the book, jogged her memory and carried on, but it upset her and i could tell it actually knocked her confidence....
 

Lstevens412

Registered User
Jul 25, 2020
11
H


I'm pretty sure that needing to be lead is a major symptom of dementia. I do a lot of work training bus drivers in disability awareness and all of the videos I use show the sufferer following the carer and getting lost when the carer got out of site. My wife is exactly the same. Also, when I get up to make a drink or to go to the toilet, she will be there behind me. Hasn't lock down been a bitch!! In addition we are trying to move house and have been messed about by our buyers for about 10 months. I reckon that has put her at least 2 years closer to the nursing home. My LPA has finally been certified, so this means I can now remove her from the problems of this situation. Not something I ever wanted to do as we've always taken all those sorts of decisions together, but "needs must"
 

Lstevens412

Registered User
Jul 25, 2020
11
Hi there, can I ask you about getting the LPA? I Have posted on another thread, my Husband wants one for his mum, but the doctors said no as she didn't know what day it was etc. One reply was memory is irrelevant as long as the person wants you to help them. We have only recently taken over her care, it’s a long story.
 

Buteo

Registered User
Mar 20, 2019
81
Hi there, can I ask you about getting the LPA? I Have posted on another thread, my Husband wants one for his mum, but the doctors said no as she didn't know what day it was etc. One reply was memory is irrelevant as long as the person wants you to help them. We have only recently taken over her care, it’s a long story.
The person for whom you want an LPA (the donor) must have capacity to agree to the LPA. You have to find someone who can certify that they still have capacity. I believe that after they have lost capacity the process is more expensive and costly. Good luck.
 

Duggies-girl

Registered User
Sep 6, 2017
2,093
Hi there, can I ask you about getting the LPA? I Have posted on another thread, my Husband wants one for his mum, but the doctors said no as she didn't know what day it was etc. One reply was memory is irrelevant as long as the person wants you to help them. We have only recently taken over her care, it’s a long story.
I think most doctors would be reluctant to sign if there was any possibility of diminished capacity because it would not be professional and they could be held to account. If she has requested that your husband helps and understands the implications then you could maybe find a friend or a neighbour who is willing.