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Worried about my nana

SamanthaBu

New member
May 29, 2020
3
Hi everyone,
I am new on to this forum and was hoping I could share a little of my story as I have concerns about my nana.
My Nan was always very very sociable, she would be out shopping every day. She would go to her local bingo and dance night each weekend etc. In the last year or so I have noticed huge changes with her. Her memory in particular. My Nan is 78 years old but had always been very fit for her age, being able to walk far and easily look after herself. She now does not go anywhere
I noticed she began to repeat herself a lot, stories she would tell me and then repeat almost straight away. Due to her age I would brush this off and just listen as if she hadn’t already told me. However in the last 6 months or so this has become increasingly worrying. My Nan will call almost 20 times a day, asking for the date, asking the day.

again I brush this off, however now she has begun to think somebody is stealing from her. But odd things, she believes for example someone has stolen a pair of trousers she left on a radiator. She thinks somebody is coming and stealing her inhalers for her asthma, she believes her sister has visited a doctor, and has been told she will “end up in a mental home” she has been very aggressive with her sister over this and as a result has fallen out with her. Her sister has never visited her doctor and is house bound. Is it possible she could have had a dream that has seemed so real?
this story has been told for around 4 months which she gives every detail of the doctors pile of notes to his hair and his stern look.
After the concerns my dad reached out to a doctor, they observed her in her home and given that she can cook for herself, pay her bills and clean up they don’t believe anything is wrong, they diagnosed her with vascular amnesia. However I cannot find very much about this condition. Since her observation she is getting worse she is becoming increasingly aggressive with family members when for instance she says somebody has taken a pant from her house, we suggest maybe she’s moved it to another room. She asks if we’re stupid and becomes very nasty whilst speaking to us. When speaking to her when she repeats stories we never tell her she has told us this before, we allow her to tell us... is this the right thing to do?
She has always been perfectly capable of paying her bills up until recently when she has been receiving letters to say some have been unpaid . She is a very proud woman and it is very difficult to suggest things to her without her becoming angry
has anyone experienced anything like this before? Does it sound like dementia?

sorry for the long post I just feel at a loose end and I don’t know ehere else to turn too. The doctors are not helping due to the result of her home visit but this is not my nana snd something is wrong

Thank you,
Sam
 

karaokePete

Registered User
Jul 23, 2017
5,571
N Ireland
Hello @SamanthaBu and welcome to the forum. You have come to the right place for information and support.

The best thing to do in this situation is persist with your GP. Many treatable conditions, such as depression, stress, thyroid problems, vitamin deficiencies etc., can cause dementia like symptoms so it's important to have a thorough check-up. Please don't cause additional stress by jumping to the immediate conclusion that it's dementia. On the other hand, if it is dementia then a diagnosis may open up support for you.

Here is a link to a Society Fact sheet about the diagnosis issue. Just click the second line to read or print the document

Assessment and diagnosis (426)
PDF printable version

With regard to the communicating, simply agreeing or distracting will sometimes work. Reasoning or correcting etc., won't.

A few good tips can be obtained from this thread. Just click the link https://forum.alzheimers.org.uk/threads/compassionate-communication-with-the-memory-impaired.30801/

If the arguing etc., started out of the blue it might be caused by an infection which doesn't present any other symptoms. It's the first thing to think about. Even if it isn't an infection a chat with the GP may enable some solution

Now that you have found us I hope you will keep posting as the membership has vast collective knowledge and experience.
 

Whisperer

Registered User
Mar 27, 2017
154
Hampshire
Dear SamanthaBu

Firstly welcome to this site. Please remember my comments are based on reading your post. I am not medically qualified nor can I be a substitute for a formal diagnosis. No doubt later others with more knowledge can answer a whole host of related matters but I am guessing right now you want some help right now.

1) Everything you have outlined are signs your nan has Dementia of some type. Did the GP perhaps mean Vascular Dementia? Has your nan perhaps got a history of heart disease or high blood pressure? Please remember that is my non medical view, but many of the things you state are happening are signs of some type of Dementia. Clustered together it is a pretty firm indicator what is wrong with your nan, as the GP has not diagnosed any other condition.
2) Please search for the thread Compassionate Communication. It will help you better communicate with your nan, hopefully reduce some of the confrontation that you mention has happened at times. Please at this early stage try and understand if your nan has Dementia then the world is becoming more confusing and threatening to her. I suggest if you misplaced things without remembering you were doing so, you would possibly believe they had been stolen. Not true but trying to argue that point will annoy your nan. Best look for them in the house, with her if she will engage, rather than fall into an argument. Start to see the world as your nan May do so and you will start to understand her anxiety.
3) Does anyone have a Lasting Power of Attorney for finance in respect of our nan to help her resolve the developing problems with bills?
4) The more I type the more I realise there is to relate to you. You clearly are a loving and concerned individual. I am not sure if your relatives know you have posted here or you are seeking guidance and help independently? One place to go and get a voice to speak to is either the Admiral Nurses freephone line or the support line run by the Alzheimer’s Society. Google will bring you both numbers on a search.

Hopefully one of the hosts will answer our thread here quite soon. You have crossed an important line. You have stopped brushing concerns off and accepted in your mind there is likely a real problem here. Are others in your family arriving at that conclusion as well? Unity of purpose and outlook will help in the future.

You are acting out of concern for your nan. I wish you well and although your nan May never fully appreciate Your help and concern she is lucky having you in her corner
 

nellbelles

Volunteer Host
Nov 6, 2008
8,793
leicester
Hello @SamanthaBu and welcome to DTP
I would suggest keeping a diary of your Nana’s behaviour and then making contact with her GP they may be unable to talk to you about your Nana but they should listen and take notice of your concern.
I hope you will continue to post now you have found the forum
 

Sarasa

Registered User
Apr 13, 2018
1,521
Hi @SamanthaBu and welcome to Dementia Talking Point. When your nan was visited at home, was there anyone else there? I just wondered as maybe you are getting a nan's eye view of what was said rather than what really happened. I've not heard of vascular amnesia, but my mother has vascular dementia. Any mention of the word dementia to her would result in a flat denial, so I wonder if the doctor that visited used a different term so as not to upset her? My mum's GP tried to talk to her about brains wearing out in the same way as joints, but I don't think she got that analogy.
From what you've said it does sound like dementia, but your nan would need a thorough check up to rule out anything else. Until she went into a home my mum could just about care for herself, she didn't cook much, but she did shower, do a bit of washing and cleaning and took herself out everyday for a walk and a coffee. However she got more and more convinced that the neighbours came in and stole things. What was really happening was either she was hiding things to keep them safe and then didn't know where they were, or could not longer recognise things for what they were so was still looking for them. The game changer for us was not just the neighbours becoming understandably concerned about someone knocking on their door abusing them, but that mum would go out and drink in the local pub with random men.
Have you contacted social services for an assessment?
 
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lemonbalm

Registered User
May 21, 2018
417
Hello @SamanthaBu . I wonder if your Nan's GP was referring to ischemic amnesia. This is a temporary loss of memory associated with small strokes. It's possible that your Nan may have had a TIA (transient ischemic attack or minor stroke) at some point. My mum has had several of these over the years (some barely noticeable), along with one larger stroke more recently. She has vascular dementia and I must say that your Nan's symptoms look very familiar to me.

I agree with the other members that you or your Dad should speak to the GP again, telling them just what you have told us here. When someone official like a doctor visits, people with dementia can appear to be much more able than they actually are ("hostess mode" we call it). Her confusion and behaviour could be down to something else and is not necessarily dementia but I would say it definitely needs more investigation. Your Nan is fortunate to have such a loving family around her. It can sometimes take a bit of persistence to persuade doctors to follow up on things. Keep posting with your concerns and let us know how things are going.

Your Nan can probably feel that things aren't right and this will make her aggressive at times, as she will be anxious. As far as unpaid bills and so on, you could try blaming it on the supplier or the post and make it a bit of a joke if possible Would that approach work with Nan? I used to end up taking blame for missing things to make things easy "Oh, there it is! I remember - I put it on the radiator to dry " Silly me.

Thinking back, I remember that my mum's GP, when I expressed my concerns about mum, said that he would not prescribe any medication for her at that point. His view was to just "give her the support she needs" - meaning me! It could be that you Nan's GP thinks treatment isn't necessary at the early stage.
 
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SamanthaBu

New member
May 29, 2020
3
I just wanted to thank every single one of you for replying to my post. I felt somewhat horrible posting these things but I feel I had no other alternative after being told “she’s just getting old” by so many other family members and friends. Thank you all so much for reading my post and replying.

when my nana had her home visit which was organised by my auntie my nana was very angry about it and had to be talked into it by my dad and auntie. She refused and told them to stop interfering as there was nothing wrong with her. It took a while for her to agree however she would not allow anyone to be with her whilst she had the visit/assessment.
It wasn’t until I visited her which was the beginning of February I found her assessment notes in her cupboard which stated they did not think she had dementia/Alzheimer’.

my Nan will not allow anyone to take her to the GP and has now told us she has stopped going due to thinking her sister visited her GP and she got “told off”
She also had a visit from the mental health team but was extremely upset about this, again I think it is her pride.
Ithink the idea of the diary is a really good idea and I will definitely be taking that up.
One of her sisters recently died of COVID 19, it was her funeral on Wednesday and my nana was very angry at one of her other sisters who could not go due to her illness. A lift was arranged for my nana to take her to the funeral however she did not answer the door or the phone. She did not attend the funeral and when I rang her that day to ask if she went she told me she did not know if she went or not. I left it at that as I did not want to upset her.
My nana lives alone in a 3 bedroom house many times we have suggested moving to elsewhere such as a bungalow or assisted living. Knowing my nana i think her character would very much enjoy an assisted living style living arrangement (she presses her on call button many times) however she says she does not want to move as that is her family home.
thank you all so much again for your replies and I will now catch up with the links you have shared

Sam
 

SamanthaBu

New member
May 29, 2020
3
Hi @SamanthaBu and welcome to Dementia Talking Point. When your nan was visited at home, was there anyone else there? I just wondered as maybe you are getting a nan's eye view of what was said rather than what really happened. I've not heard of vascular amnesia, but my mother has vascular dementia. Any mention of the word dementia to her would result in a flat denial, so I wonder if the doctor that visited used a different term so as not to upset her? My mum's GP tried to talk to her about brains wearing out in the same way as joints, but I don't think she got that analogy.
From what you've said it does sound like dementia, but your nan would need a thorough check up to rule out anything else. Until she went into a home my mum could just about care for herself, she didn't cook much, but she did shower, do a bit of washing and cleaning and took herself out everyday for a walk and a coffee. However she got more and more convinced that the neighbours came in and stole things. What was really happening was either she was hiding things to keep them safe and then didn't know where they were, or could not longer recognise things for what they were so was still looking for them. The game changer for us was not just the neighbours becoming understandably concerned about someone knocking on their door abusing them, but that mum would go out and drink in the local pub with random men.
Have you contacted social services for an assessment?

this all sounds so similar to how my nana is behaving. She rings my dad asking for inhalers (they have the same one) she explained someone is stealing them. When going to her house i found 2 full inhalers.
she also finds little things such as fridge magnets, she thinks somebody comes into her home and changes her fridge magnets around. I did explain to her that they do slide down. I told her mine do it at home so she might feel better about it but she is convinced.
I’ve asked her about the idea of a camera on her front door but I don’t know if this will help if she is so convinced somebody is coming inside?
In terms of the vascular amnesia, these were on the assessment notes I found in her cupboard And there was no explanation of what this is. I am worried if I ring her gp my nana will find out and she will become angry with me, as her only grand daughter she tends to be okay with me and has never been aggressive unless talking about other people and so I am Worried this will ruin this.
we did buy my nana a whiteboard for her kitchen, so she could write appointments down when on the phone, I also wrote telephone numbers down just incase and she tells me she uses it for them. However always loses her whiteboard pen so writes things on paper which go missing.
thank you for your reply