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Worried about my Mum

Coco13

New member
Jul 4, 2020
3
Hi
I am very worried about my 83 year old Mum. Over the past months she has not been recognising my Dad and thinks he is someone else. This is not all the time but the episodes are increasing and its happening almost daily now.
She often thinks that the family home is not her home and asks when she will be going home and gets her shoes ready.
Her long term memory is fine but her short term is worrying. She often asks the same question over and over again.
My Dad who is 84 has been playing it down and I think is in denial.
But it is now getting too much for him.
Previously the GP had not referred her for diagnosis or tests but after a telephone appointment they have referred her for a brain scan. This could be a lengthy wait and the stress and heartache its causing my family is awful. Is there any way to speed up the process so that we can get the help urgently needed?
 

karaokePete

Registered User
Jul 23, 2017
5,654
N Ireland
Hello and welcome @Amclean14.

The process towards a diagnosis is usually a long one as it's a very serious disease and so many other possible causes of the symptoms have to be ruled out first.

Having said that, please keep posting as you will get support here.
 

Sarasa

Registered User
Apr 13, 2018
2,019
Hi @Amclean14 and welcome to Dementia Talking Point. Though some help will be unlocked when you have a proper diagnosis, it might be worth having a look here for help available in your area. I know during lockdown that local councils have been trying to make sure that vulnerable elderly people are supported, so it might be worth looking on their website. Things may be changing though as we come out of lockdown.
This thread about compassionate communication may be useful to give you and your father ideas for how to help when your mother wants to go home or doesn't recognise your dad.
Do you think your father will be OK about accepting help? It sounds he must have been struggling for a while, as my mum was quite a way along in her dementia path when she started not recognising people or her home.
Do have a look round, you'll find loads of help, support and advice here.
 

lemonbalm

Registered User
May 21, 2018
870
Hello @Amclean14 . It's a worrying time for you and your parents. I see that @karaokePete and @Sarasa have pointed you in the right direction for useful information. In the meantime, there are some calming techniques to try for when your mum is agitated. She may be more so toward the evening ("sundowning") and doing things like distracting her - playing music she likes, having tea and cake or doing something familiar together may help. Often saying something like "oh, we're just going to have some dinner/tea/watch a film/that programme you like" when mum is wanting to "go home" can be useful. Any sudden increase in confusion can be due to urine infection, so worth letting her GP know if this happens.
 

Coco13

New member
Jul 4, 2020
3
Hello @Amclean14 . It's a worrying time for you and your parents. I see that @karaokePete and @Sarasa have pointed you in the right direction for useful information. In the meantime, there are some calming techniques to try for when your mum is agitated. She may be more so toward the evening ("sundowning") and doing things like distracting her - playing music she likes, having tea and cake or doing something familiar together may help. Often saying something like "oh, we're just going to have some dinner/tea/watch a film/that programme you like" when mum is wanting to "go home" can be useful. Any sudden increase in confusion can be due to urine infection, so worth letting her GP know if this happens.
 

Coco13

New member
Jul 4, 2020
3
Thankyou very much for your reply. She recently had a blood test so we know there is no urine infection. I will most definately try the calming methods you have mentioned..and yes it happens mostly nearing bedtime and just before. Thankyou
 

lemonbalm

Registered User
May 21, 2018
870
Thankyou very much for your reply. She recently had a blood test so we know there is no urine infection. I will most definately try the calming methods you have mentioned..and yes it happens mostly nearing bedtime and just before. Thankyou
This might be useful:

 

JGDMG

Registered User
May 5, 2020
47
Hi
I am very worried about my 83 year old Mum. Over the past months she has not been recognising my Dad and thinks he is someone else. This is not all the time but the episodes are increasing and its happening almost daily now.
She often thinks that the family home is not her home and asks when she will be going home and gets her shoes ready.
Her long term memory is fine but her short term is worrying. She often asks the same question over and over again.
My Dad who is 84 has been playing it down and I think is in denial.
But it is now getting too much for him.
Previously the GP had not referred her for diagnosis or tests but after a telephone appointment they have referred her for a brain scan. This could be a lengthy wait and the stress and heartache its causing my family is awful. Is there any way to speed up the process so that we can get the help urgently needed?
That's so difficult for you. It's good that the brain scan is being organised, this was the first step for my mum. Then the gp organised an apt with the Memory Clinic. I've had a lot of understanding and help from them, from the senior clinician and everyone. It seems that at the memory clinic there are people who understand what is happening and also its effect on the rest of the family. Quite often spouses do cover up, not even deliberately, how bad things are, and this may have been happening with your dad, protecting your mum. While waiting for a diagnosis I think the main thing is to get to grips with how to 'manage' the situation so it's not so painful for you and everyone involved. The other suggestions about practical ways to help, about wanting to go home, etc are really useful. Read as much as you can about how to help, there are lots of tips which can make a difference. I learned not to argue or even try to reason , but to distract as others have said. When things are back to normal there are often short courses maybe two hours where you can learn stuff. I also got help from the local Alzheimers society who provided reading stuff, practical and emotional help and formed a group of 'new' carers who could share problems. Being informed and aware of things is half the battle, and of course you want to help your parents, but do remember that you have to take care of yourself too. The diagnosis might take a longer time at the moment, so try and take each day as it comes. The diagnosis gives you a 'label' or a name for what's happening and with it hopefully support and practical help and guidance. But it doesn't usually offer a cure. I found being as informed as possible, learning quickly about it, and getting in touch with others who are in the same situation was a good way forward. Good luck
 

Lisajw13

New member
Nov 16, 2020
2
Hello. I am also a new member, my mum has been recently diagnosed after a very steep decline since July.
my mums situation seems similar to your mums. She had a very confused episode in July and didn’t know who my dad was. Prior to that some short term memory issues but nothing serious.She was prescribed antibiotics for a UTI and whilst saying strange things from time to time recognised my dad. The episode did enable us to get her referred to the memory clinic. When it happened again we were advised to call 111. A paramedic called her and asked her doctor to refer her for a CT scan and blood test. I had to chase the doc for results and also got the memory assessment completed. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s two weeks ago and is now on the medication.
Sadly, she doesn’t recognise my dad for several hours of every day now. She is very agitated and convinced when he’s gone and the other man is there that my dad is off having an affair. (She is 83, he is 87) He is struggling to cope and we don’t know how to reassure her...it’s such a sad end to a happy 60 years of marriage. if anyone has any advice how to deal with this please do share
 

Shedrech

Volunteer Moderator
Dec 15, 2012
9,441
Yorkshire
hello @Lisajw13
a warm welcoem to DTP

sadly the situation you describe will be familiar to many here

it may be that your mum 'slips in time' and is looking for her husband as he was in their youth, so the much older man in front of her cannot be her husband ... and somehow the reason created for the spouse not being there is that they are with someone else (it may be that the person projects their feelings of anxiety and confusion onto what for them would be a situation that would create these feelings)

tough as it will be on your dad, suggest he doesn't try to make her recognise him or convince her that he is her husband, it won't work until she is ready to slip back into the present (would any of us believe someone else arguing that they are our partner when we know they are not; for her that's what it's like) ... maybe he could say that xxx (his name) will soon be back (from shopping, work, playing tennis ... ie anything that he used to do) and he just popped in for a cuppa and to ask for some help with xxx/show her a magazine/any excuse she may accept ... then leave the room returning with a cuppa and a treat

sometimes it helps to leave the room, maybe change into a different jumper/shirt, then go back but before entering call out 'his (her name) it's (his name) just made us a cuppa ...' pause to give her a chance to orientate to his voice, then go in calmly, with a smile ... be ready to leave the room again (gosh, just need to nip to the loo) if the agitation starts (my dad didn't seem to cotton on to my urgent needs to pay a visit! but it's an acceptable reason to have to leave someone alone)

do let your mum's GP and consultant know how she is as there may be some meds that will help her anxiety settle