Worried about my 60 year old mum.

Discussion in 'Memory concerns and seeking a diagnosis' started by Squished, Oct 17, 2019.

  1. Squished

    Squished New member

    Oct 16, 2019
    4
    Female
    Essex
    I've been looking at the forum for the last few weeks hoping I wouldn't need to post but things are getting worse with our mum and my sister and I really aren't sure what to do. I'm finding it hard to know how to put this so sorry if I don't make much sense.

    My mum is 60, lives alone, works hard and enjoys socialising but over the last 18 months her personality has started to change. She's become increasingly argumentative and has developed sleep problems, has started saying mean things about her friends and co workers, repeats herself or repeats back what you have said but in a different way (this one is hard for me to explain), she is not seeing her friends or going out as often. She doesn't seem to care about money anymore and is spending more than usual. Odd things like we went to my friends funeral and as the coffin came in she was saying 'oh **** this is *******, **** ‘ under her breath, she'd of never of done this previously. At first we thought she might be suffering from depression as she is only 60 but now it doesn't look like that now. I brushed by a plant at her home and all the leaves fell off and I said, "mum I think you need to water your plants a bit more". She said "no I don't I water them everyday". I replied well maybe you're watering them to much? and she said "no I'm not I only water them once a week". So many of our conversations go like this now.

    The personality changes are more problematic than the memory blips but those have also been getting worse but its little things and doesn't seem to be a consistent problem. For example I mentioned someone who my mum has known since he was a child and she had no idea who I was talking about despite us having a conversation about him days before. Yesterday evening my sister and I arranged to go over to her house and 45 mins after we spoke to her and turned up she had forgotten we were coming. We said she seemed a little confused and she said we had just woken her up but that wasn't true as when we got to her house she was in the kitchen. We mentioned again that we were worried (it probably wasn't the best time to bring it up tbh) and she became really defensive and then shouted at us to get out. Its 2am now and my mum just rang my sister to find out why she had been calling her. My sister was in bed fast asleep our mum apologised and hung up on her when this was said. My sister messaged me really upset as we don't know what we can do to help her.

    I have spoken to our GP who although is able to listen to my concerns can't really do a lot without my mum agreeing to an appointment and she outright refuses to speak to anyone. Also explaining someones change in behaviour is difficult especially when you are telling a person that something is wrong when they didn't know the person before the problems appeared. Any discussion where we voice our concerns to mum is met with hostility and aggression. Some things are so subtle that only the people closest to her can see them. We're getting more worried as our mum can't see the issues and thinks we are ganging up on her which I guess is understandable. We're scared that without help things may progress rapidly and that she will end up losing her job, friends and independence. Does this sound like a form of dementia and how do we convince someone to seek help before things get too bad?

    To add to the problem my sister works and is a mum of 3 and I have a few health issues including uncontrolled epilepsy and I'm trying to overcome agoraphobia so I can't drive and I have no partner or close friends that I can ask for help from so getting to her in a hurry isn't possible. We're worried that she won't be able to get to her if she needs us.

    Sorry this became such a massive post I tried to keep it short but it didn't turn out that way.
     
  2. annielou

    annielou Registered User

    Sep 27, 2019
    137
    This may not be very helpful but this post sounds like something I would write or would have written.
    All I can say is keep trying to get your mum to see gp, I'm sure more members will give more advice and suggest ways you could posdibly get mum to gp with a bit of subtefuge and also know more about dementia and types of symptoms than me. I only joined recently myself but had popped on during internet searches to read things about how my mum was acting.
    My mum started acting very similar a couple of years ago, although she was 70 at the time and retired.
    She would get aggressive and argumentative about things especially if questioned on anything or picked her up on something she'd forgotten or got mixed up about. She'd moan about people she knew and when out and about would comment nastily about people in queues or serving in shops (every shop had useless staff on the tills and it's so slow in here she'd say quite annoyed and loudly when we'd only just got in the queue) she'd moan about people passing by gettin in the way or bus drivers bein surly or old or ugly and not be bothered they could hear her. She got quite opponionated with family and friends but didn't like anyone to disagree with her point of view no matter how gently they did it. She'd agree to us doin one thing then later swear we'd agreed on something else and get mad at us. She'd take something that was said and days later have turned it into something conpletely different and always negative as if that petson was being nasty to her when it was nothing like that.
    She often answers a question one way and then within the same conversation even within a minute say the opposite answer as well. When she repeated or kept askin the same thing but couldn't cover it up she'd say well I am 70 you know as if this was normal ageing, it became her favourite saying for a year and half, (at 72) she only recently stopped saying it and now blames it on being old and living alone.
    She only recently agreed to going to the doctors to see whats wrong, although she changed her mind as soon as the appointment was made but we did get her there and she has now been referred to the memory clinic.
    About 18 minths ago she had to go to surgery for health and because of her age the nurse routinely asked if mum had any worties about her memory and mum said no nothing wrong apart from she was a bit dippy at times but always had been and laughed it off. I had been pre warned that I was not allowed to say anything about her memory or forgetting things or she'd never speak to me again. So she obviously knew there was something then but was denying it.
    I wish now that despite my worry she wouldn't speak to me again n we'd have a blazing row in the surgery that I had said something because things just got worse and she avoided the doctors like the plague after that, only going once since then, at christmas last year after trying to cope with a uti for weeks and weeks and unfortunately as it was christmas eve it was a quick in and out, test urine and issue antibiotics.
    Her memory and mood are now quite a lot worse and I so wish we had got help sooner. I'm currently staying on a fold up bed in mums living room after she rang at 6 am on Tuesday morning upset and confused and wanting me to come see her and is now scared to be left on her own as she cant remember that she has lived here alone for 12 years.
    She is having more and more of these panicky confused who/ where she is/ what she does times now and they are lasting longer too as well as all the other things I mentioned getting worse and new things starting too.
    Sorry to ramble on on your thread but it sounded so similar to mum apart from your being ten years younger that I just wanted to say if you can find anyway to get mum to gp to talk about it please do. I so wish I had got mum there earlier, maybe we could have delayed things or got help earlier so they wouldn't be as bad now.
    I hope others post more useful tips and advice, I'm sure they will x and good luck with your mum x
     
  3. Dimpsy

    Dimpsy Registered User

    Sep 2, 2019
    366
    Female
    Welcome @Squished, to the middle of the night club, you are not alone, there are many of us who are awake with thoughts / worries in the early hours and you have come to the right place to share yours.

    It does sound as if your mum needs to seek professional help, although don't assume it is dementia, there are other illnesses that have dementia-like symptoms, so I am sure the GP will organise a broad spectrum of tests.

    Other people will advise you how to tackle the problem of getting your mum to the surgery in the first instance, maybe your mum is more aware than you realise of changes in her behaviour and is frightened of putting a name to what is happening to her.
    You and your sister are obviously caring daughters and will give your mum all the support she needs. Keep posting on this forum, you will get a lot of help and support for yourself as well.
     
  4. annielou

    annielou Registered User

    Sep 27, 2019
    137
    Hi again, just wanted to come back to say it may not be dementia related.
    I notice @Dimpsy has mentioned that above too x.
    When mum went to see GP recently she was given range of bloods n took a urine sample. She's been told today she is low in folic acid vitamin d and vitamin b12 which gp says can cause confusion and memory problems and changes in mood. He gave her tablets for vit d and folic acid and she's booked in for b12 injections soon.
    I don't think this is sole cause of mums problems as she had similar tests at health check 18 month ago and nothing showed up then even though she had already started with symptoms (although not let on to nurse) But they could be making her worse even if not cause.
    Something similar may be cause of your mums symptoms, or a uti maybe, as when mum had hers last christmas her symptoms were much worse than before it and apparently they can cause similar symptoms of confusion etc.
    Maybe suggesting checking those things might be a way to persuade your mum to go to gp x
     
  5. Squished

    Squished New member

    Oct 16, 2019
    4
    Female
    Essex
    @annielou @Dimpsy Thank you both for your replies. It sounds awful to say that it really is comforting to hear from people that are going through similar things. I have very odd hours of sleep so its very easy to spend hours of the night looking for answers, solutions and new things to obsessively worry about so I really have appreciated this.

    I know my mum had blood tests at the beginning of the month and everything came back normal. I had kind of hoped she had a b12 deficiency as I know that can cause a lot of issues as I was very unwell throughout my 20's until I was diagnosed and given jabs, but her levels were fine. She does have pain from arthritis which I think adds to the sleep issues and as her overall mood and behaviour gets worse as the day goes on we had thought that a combination of sleep problems, pain, work stresses etc were all just getting on top of her but it doesn't explain some of the weirder behaviours and the odd zone out moments. She's also started not to look quite like herself but again its not something my sister and I can't explain.

    @annielou "She'd take something that was said and days later have turned it into something conpletely different and always negative as if that petson was being nasty to her when it was nothing like that." --This is something my mum does and the behaviour like that in the shop. Its like she feels everyone is attacking her and being unfair towards her. If you try to calm her down or reason with her then she say's your on her side.

    I just wish we had some answers or way to help her no matter what the diagnosis is. She looks so very sad lately and hardly contacts us without us messaging first which in itself is weird as with my health issues shes always checked on my everyday. Its like she's getting lost in herself and either doesn't want the help or doesn't see that she needs it.
     
  6. Andrew_McP

    Andrew_McP Registered User

    Mar 2, 2016
    206
    Male
    South Northwest
    The wide awake dementia club would ideally have no members whatsoever. But here we are, fretting into the night rather than snoozing til dawn. What exciting lives we lead, eh? :)

    As the others say, the kind of changes you describe in your mother are depressingly familiar, and there's no doubt she'll need help. But those early stages are so hard to witness... you have all the worries of a self-made diagnosis without any of the support (or at least potential support!) an actual diagnosis brings. I managed to make my mother angry enough in the end that she agreed to the appointment I made for her, and myself, just to show me up.

    She was furious with the doctor too, but I think by then she knew herself something was wrong. That kind of self awareness can't be relied on though and if it comes it won't last long, in all likelihood. A crisis of some kind is often required to trigger official involvement, but trying to keep loved ones safe before, during, and even after that isn't easy at all.

    Coming here's about the only easy thing. Often it doesn't help much, because it can sometimes only confirm our worst fears or give us unreliable hopes. But it always confirms that we're not alone, whether it's 4pm or 4am; whether it's your forgotten birthday or just another gloomy autumnal day; whether you have fear in your heart or bags under your eyes.

    We share. We endure. We learn how to watch over each other and especially over loved ones no longer capable of watching over themselves. Dementia is probably the most miserable condition that can cloud human experience, but it can also show you the best in people, and in yourself.

    Good luck to you and your family on the road ahead. It will try to break you, but it won't. And if you're lucky you'll find new ways to love your increasingly broken mother. Of all the things I prepared myself for, that was the most unexpected. Sometimes we can get closer together in some, elusive and often transient ways, even while we're drifting inevitable apart. There can be warmth and kindness among the fear and heartache.

    Mmm... cheerful soul, aren't I!? Anyone would think it was getting on for 5am and I hadn't had a decent night's sleep since before Brexit was a thing. I wasn't a fan of Theresa May, but towards the end of her time at No.10 I used to look at the bags under her eyes and nod quietly to myself. I think she knew a bit about lying awake wondering what the next day would bring.

    She's probably sleeping better and enjoying a few more long walks now. So will we, one day. But for now it's our turn at the caring coalface. We'll see daylight again one day, but folk may not recognise us until we've had a good wash. ;)
     
  7. Dimpsy

    Dimpsy Registered User

    Sep 2, 2019
    366
    Female
    Yes, yes, yes to everything you said, no snoozing here though; time to shower and go to work.
    Three years till retirement - I'll sleep then!
     
  8. annielou

    annielou Registered User

    Sep 27, 2019
    137
    @Squished thats a shame it's not that and also that you can't use that as way to get your mum to GPs and mention your mums changes then.
    Its sad to see them change so much and not be able to help isn't it.
    Your mum may well be aware something isn't right with her and may be scared to admit it or find out what so is blaming other things instead. Thats what mine does. I am sure mum knew something was wrong but didnt want to admit it and I kept and still keep saying if we know what is wrong we'll have a better idea of how to help because I don't know if I'm doing right thing or wrong thing for you.
    At first I just got flat 'no' and excuses and nasty comments about me but sometimes in last few months she'd say yeah maybe but then would change her mind back to NO, until a couple of weeks ago when she finally said ok you can make an appointment but you'll have to come with me and tell em what I do cos I don't remember.
    I jumped at chance and made apointment which as soon as I told mum about she kicked up a fuss about it saying I should cancel it. I didn't though and she forgot about it until day of appointment when hubby came to take us. She wasn't happy, told gp she thought she was fine it was just me but after little chat with her and me and a few question to test her memory she did agree to tests and referal to memory clinic so she could 'prove me wrong' as gp put it.
    She didnt speak to me on way home n for a while after but then her need to ask a question took over and by time she'd asked same thing a few times she was back to speaking to me.
    Mums biggest fear was and still is that 'they' will put her in a home. Unfortunately as she is getting more scared about being alone and not recognising house etc it's becoming more likely that she may need one.
    Just keep trying to get your mum to gp as best you can. Some people on here suggest what they call 'love lies' by saying going gps for something else like well woman check or asking her to go with you but make the appointment for her which you could try.
    I struggled as neither mum not me go to doctors for things like that and rarely go at all. I'm aftaid I wasn't very creative at thinking things up either as I'm a very straight honest logical person but as I've been told dementias not logical and if its for their own good it's helpful and sometimes only way to get through things. X
     
  9. Philbo

    Philbo Registered User

    Feb 28, 2017
    708
    Male
    Kent
    Hi @Squished

    Welcome to the forum.

    Though my circumstances are different to yours, I can empathise with most of what you are dealing with. It mirrors much of the 18 to 24 months before my wife's eventual dementia diagnosis in early 2014.

    In hindsight, she began exhibiting some strange behaviours around 2012 (she was 61) which we all (even her GP) dismissed as "senior moments", "we all do that sometimes" or various "head-in-the-sand" excuses.

    Over the next 18 months, with these incidents becoming more frequent, her self awareness declined. She stopped washing her hair, needed prompting to change her clothes and underwear, stopped going out to the shops and seemed to have difficulty writing (noticed she would print her name instead of a signature on forms etc).

    I eventually managed to get her to go with me to see our GP again, where she did really badly on the short memory tests. We eventually got referred to the memory clinic who diagnosed dementia after MRI tests etc.

    The hardest part for you and your sister will be finding a way to get your mum to visit the doctor. As others have mentioned, many of us have resorted to using subterfuge/white lies, such as trying to get her GP to invite her in for a "well women" check-up. If you use the same GP, perhaps you could (with their help) say you have an appointment and ask your mum to go with you for moral support?

    In my wife's case, her self awareness declined rapidly in those early stages, so it became a bit easier to get her to go to appointments, though I usually didn't tell her where we were going until just before arriving.

    I wish you good luck and please keep on posting.
    Phil
     
  10. DesperateofDevon

    DesperateofDevon Registered User

    Jul 7, 2019
    1,658
    call 111 your Mum needs help, tell them everything that you’ve said on here. keep posting my lovely - we are here to listen & try & support you with our own experiences.
     
  11. Squished

    Squished New member

    Oct 16, 2019
    4
    Female
    Essex
    Thank you all so much. Its both lovely yet sad to hear from such a kind, supportive group of people.

    One of the problems with our GP surgery is that they are all locums so there isn't a GP that we know well which is a shame as just a few years back it was a really good practice and then was taken over by a private company and very quickly went downhill.

    Mum has bad arthritis so we think we have convinced her today to go back to the Drs to see if there is a better option for pain relief. She said no to us attending with her but hopefully we can actually get her to book an appointment and if she does have any worries that she is aware of but hasn't wanted to admit to us she may bring them up during the appointment. It would be difficult to get her to attend with the guise of it being an appointment for me as she would definitely kick off and leave even if it was in a public place. Thinking of it she did this in a store with my around 2 years ago so I wonder if that in itself was something?

    Other than that I guess its a wait and see kind of thing. It really does make you feel quite helpless. My grandparents suffered from dementia (not her parents) and it has been very sad to see how it affected them. They both had very different behaviours and I'm not sure what type each of them had. Until recently I thought dementia was dementia and hadn't realised how many different type existed.

    Good luck to you all. I hope everyone managed to get a least a little bit of sleep and some sort of rest today. x
     
  12. DesperateofDevon

    DesperateofDevon Registered User

    Jul 7, 2019
    1,658
    Find the email address for the surgery’s &each time an issue arises email them your concern.
    Believe me only when faced with a paper trail of evidence can you start to get the help your Mum requires - otherwise in my experience you reach a crisis point ..... & that’s a horrendous experience !
    X
     
  13. Squished

    Squished New member

    Oct 16, 2019
    4
    Female
    Essex
    We rang the surgery again today and have drafted a letter outlining our concerns to send to. It does feel a bit off doing this but I guess it needs to be done. The receptionist was saying just how common it was that this has to happen and how far things often go before there is any intervention which is very sad and having read through so many posts here it clearly has been the case for a lot of you and is unfair and very distressing. I hope this doesn't become the case for mum.

    Thank you again for all your advice x
     

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