Worried about the symptoms my mum is having

Discussion in 'Memory concerns and seeking a diagnosis' started by Weebs79, Aug 14, 2015.

  1. Weebs79

    Weebs79 Registered User

    Aug 14, 2015
    #1 Weebs79, Aug 14, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2015
    This is my first time on a forum and not sure whether I am barking up the wrong tree but would like some advice on whether my mum is experiencing early dementia symptoms. So Sorry if this is a long post but i am so worried about her.
    My mum is 71 years old and since April has been complaining of feeling fearful but can't pinpoint exactly why, having panic attacks and been tearful so I guess she is depressed. She has been very withdrawn, not socialising and lost her confidence, she has also had intrusive thoughts. She got really bad just before we went on holiday in June and went to the doctors and they prescribed 50mg Setraline which didn't agree with her at all so her doctor changed to 10mg Citalopram.
    Her dad sadly passed at the age of 93 in November and she was his main carer for 13 years also Up until May of this year she worked 2 days a week but when feeling unwell at work which I think may of been a panic attack prompted her to give up work.
    Up until now I have not been worried about her memory but there are Several instances that I can say she has forgotten a conversation or part of a conversation, she has told me on an occasion she couldn't remember where she parked the car and whilst driving for a flash not remembered where she was going, I think this may of been when she was feeling anxious. She also had a telephone conversation with someone today who was a friend of my Grandad but said to my mum she hadn't let her know of his passing my mum thinks she phoned to tell her but now questions herself and can't remember if she did or didn't. When my grandad was alive she said at night when in bed would wake up thinking the phone was ringing to say that he'd been taken ill but no one was there, is this a hallucination? She has had quite a lot of stress in the past 2 years so maybe it's stress related but I have googled Alzheimer's and wonder if she may have early symptoms of dementia
    wondered what anyone else thinks? :confused:
  2. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    Stress/depression can give very similar symptoms to dementia. Her husbands death will have come as a shock and as she is still grieving it would be surprising if she were not getting some sort of problems.
    However, it is possible that it is the start of dementia so it might be advisable for her to go and see the doctor and have a mini mental state (MMS) test which will give an indication of whether there is dementia.
  3. Kjn

    Kjn Registered User

    Jul 27, 2013
    I'm sure having been her dads carer so long and then losing him must've had an effect on her, as canary said depression can also give similar symptoms , perhaps another visit to gp re medication and perhaps you could mention the memory lapses (if possible).
    Sorry not much help, maybe someone else will have a better answer.
  4. LYN T

    LYN T Registered User

    Aug 30, 2012
    Brixham Devon
    Hi Weebs-it could be the onset of dementia but it could be grief which is making her depressed. Perhaps you could encourage your Mum to return to her GP? Has the GP taken blood tests to eliminate some physical problem such as a vitamin deficiency or a thyroid problem? Physical problems are generally easy to find/eliminate. If these come back clear then the next step would be to investigate her memory/depressive symptoms.

    13 years is a long time to be a Carer and it was obviously a huge chunk of her life looking after your Granddad; perhaps she is depressed because she has lost her reason (in her eyes) for existing? I lost my Husband December last year and my concentration was shot for about 6 months. It's only recently that I've been able to feel my concentration is coming back!

    Looking at the time you started (and amended) your thread makes me realise that you are very worried about your Mum-so take care of yourself


    Lyn T
  5. JayGun

    JayGun Registered User

    Jun 24, 2013
    Tricky. Is the anxiety causing the memory symptoms, are the memory symptoms causing the anxiety, or are the anxiety and the memory symptoms part of the same thing?

    First of all, I just wanted to say that I have heard before of anxiety being a big problem in somebody who has been a 24/7 carer for a spouse for a long time. Maybe it's a "thing" a syndrome or something?

    Secondly, if you'd like to rule dementia out could you take your mum to the GP and ask them to do a check, and see how she gets on on the Mini Mental State Exam?

    My mother in law suffered a lot from anxiety that we think was related to feeling as if *something* was wrong - which was the dementia, and all the worries that go with that.
  6. Weebs79

    Weebs79 Registered User

    Aug 14, 2015
    #6 Weebs79, Aug 14, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2015
    Thanks Lyn T and everyone else for taking the time to reply to my post. I am extremely worried. I can suffer badly with anxiety myself and am struggling to keep it together but need to for her I know that.

    She did have some routine blood tests done a couple of months back in hospital as she was concerned about a pain in her chest, did X-ray, ECG, they decided it was muscular from being tense and almost as soon as she found out that was what it was it went away. Would the routine blood tests of picked up those thing you mentioned do you think?

    She is better since being on the Citalopram and it has only been 4 weeks since starting them she is at least showing some interest in things and has arranged to see her friends next week. She's always been a very confident and strong person and never been worried about being on her own and is now in a position to do what she's been wanting to do,she has no financial worries has several holidays booked which she's been wanting to do. She just doesn't seem like the mum I know and I'm looking out for every little thing that may indicate she has dementia. .

    I know she won't go the doctors to discuss dementia for fear of the outcome and making her anxiety worse and she thinks she is o.k. Can I talk to her doctor about my concerns I have a feeling I won't be able to without her consent?

    She does have arthritis in her knee which seems to have come on since April as well just after the anxiety started which has caused her leg to swell and be painful when walking. I think she has been worried about this.
    Maybe it's a combination of lots of stressful things that has triggered a loop of anxiety and depression that this time she hasn't been able to overcome herself this time??

    Sorry for the long post but like the fact that I can talk about it on here.

    Sorry for your loss Lynn T, sending big hugs to you. Xxx
  7. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    You can go and talk to her GP and tell him/her your concerns - they just wont be able to tell you anything or discuss it with you.

    Citalopram, like other antidepressants, takes a few weeks to "kick-in" so if she has only been on them 4 weeks and you are already seeing an improvement then this is a good sign.

    Id be inclined to watch and wait. If it is dementia there, as you know, will be progression. So if it all starts to get much worse - go to the GP.
  8. LYN T

    LYN T Registered User

    Aug 30, 2012
    Brixham Devon
    Weebs-re the blood tests; I can only comment on what happened to my OH (no medical experience-apart from reading a lot:eek:) He had the blood tests for thyroid/vitamin deficiency/HIV:eek:CJV/ and I forget the rest. He was clear of everything except for 'sticky blood'.I'm afraid that Pete started with depression/anxiety BUT he also had a psychotic episode. Unlike your Mum he was convinced he had dementia-unfortunately the medics didn't believe he was experiencing memory loss and his brain damage was missed on a CT scan. Terrible chain of events I'm afraid.

    However, as others have said depression and anxiety can be a result of stress or grief. It's very good that your Mum has arranged some trips -they could quite possibly do her the power of good. It's also encouraging that she has the ability to think ahead and get the arrangements done-all is not lost.

    Get your Mum to the GP to sort out the pain in her leg-pain alone can make people depressed. Then see how she is after maybe her first holiday? See how she copes with that.


    Lyn T XX
  9. Weebs79

    Weebs79 Registered User

    Aug 14, 2015
    Thank you Lyn T and Canary....xxx

    The more I think about it the more I convince myself this is the problem.:(

    I am so scared for her, can't bear the thought that one day she might not recognise me, my children (my son especially and daughter are very close to her) my 11 year old son is definitely picking up on something from me, he will be devastated. They go and stay the night with her regularly, my daughter is 6. Should I not do that now?what do I tell them?

    I am really concerned about her driving in case she gets lost, she has a mobile phone but what if she forgets to take it with her. She sometimes has quite a distance to travel to see her friends. Should I tell her friends my concerns? So maybe they come to see her rather than her to them

    Most of the time she is fairly switched on at the moment and says she feels better and thinks that it is grief and anxiety and that I have to give it time. She said to me she definitely doesn't feel like she's loosing her mind and I shouldn't worry.

    She does have a doctors appointment on the 1st of September about her knee will try and get to speak to him before then I think.

    Any advice greatly appreciated, thank you.

    Really not sure how I'm going to cope
  10. LYN T

    LYN T Registered User

    Aug 30, 2012
    Brixham Devon
    Weebs-I can feel your anxiety. In my opinion your 11 year old will tell you if your Mum is not 'herself' he is of the age when he will notice. As long as he can contact you by phone then I would allow your kids to continue staying with your Mum-to stop at this moment may increase her depression/anxiety. I know it's difficult as you want to protect your children but as long as they are cared for appropriately I would continue with the arrangements. As far as driving goes-as your Mum hasn't got lost and she is a safe driver that's fine too. Take a deep breath my lovely. Don't think about what COULD happen if your Mum is diagnosed with Dementia. Lots of sufferers remember their family members throughout. It's good that you can talk to your Mum about your fears. At this stage I wouldn't tell her friends-wait to hear what the GP says.

    I'm worried about you. Have you seen a GP for your anxiety? It's a very difficult time for you.Kids/Mum/life can be very stressful-it all gets too much at times doesn't it?


    Lyn T XX
  11. Weebs79

    Weebs79 Registered User

    Aug 14, 2015
    Thank you for your concern Lyn T and for taking the time to talk to me. I am tearful and very anxious. I will make an appointment with my doctor.

    My mum is a huge part of our lives, we spend lots of time together. I am not good with things that are so totally out of my control. I always think the worse. I hoped we'd have at least another good 10 years before I would have to worry so much about her.

    We have had 71 good happy years as she has kept healthy up until now and I'm thankful for that. I know there are people that are a lot worse off than me. Feel very sad though that she may not be able to do the things that she has been wanting to do. She has been a carer really for most of her life. My dad suffered ill health and very sadly passed away 13 years ago. My mum lost her husband and her mum within 3 months of each other.

    Life can be very unfair at times
  12. LYN T

    LYN T Registered User

    Aug 30, 2012
    Brixham Devon
    You are right there Weebs-life is so terribly unfair at times. I'm so glad you are going to make an appointment for yourself; perhaps once you feel a bit better you may be able to cope with your/your Mum's problems. Perhaps a little magic pill or some counseling will help-I do hope so.

    Keep coming back here-you will receive plenty of support.


    Lyn T XX
  13. tweetypie

    tweetypie Registered User

    Mar 16, 2012
    I'd suggest you both do a little bit of relaxation therapy. Make it a fun thing to do together - either going to a class together or doing it in one of your homes by getting some relaxing music you both enjoy, a couple of mats and working out together what would relax you - talking about a beach scene with the waves rippling or whatever you'd both find totally relaxing.
  14. Kathy1

    Kathy1 Registered User

    Mar 25, 2014
    Check it out

    My advise would be get it properly checked out. Having been through this with my Mum I would suggest do NOT just rely on the verbal test get your doctor to refer for a brain scan. Until this was done with my Mum the doctor kept saying just memory loss due to old age but the scan confirmed what we feared that she had had a mini stroke which set off the alzheimer's and vascular dementia. I realise this is hard to suggest to your Mum but to my mind it is the only reliable way of really knowing what you are dealing with.
    I hope this helps
  15. sistermillicent

    sistermillicent Registered User

    Jan 30, 2009
    You could be describing me here. I have had terrible anxiety and depression following only 6 years of distance caring for my mum (and my dad but he doesn't have dementia) and have recently started taking antidepressants. I have required all the support and help available from my husband and children to get better and it is an ongoing process but i am getting things together bit by bit.
    I have also had a knee injury last month which knocked me back a lot because I was in constant pain. That is getting better too.
    If any one of those supporting me had suggested I had Alzheimers or had gone to the doctor behind my back I dont know that I would have taken it as supportive at all. Yet I was displaying symptoms such as being very forgetful, not knowing whether I had told people things, not remembering where I was going when I got in the car, and once not knowing who I was with or why I was there when I was out having coffee with a good friend.
    Thankfully with a lot of rest this summer (I am lucky that my job allows for this) and taking my tablets and setting tiny little goals for myself I have regained my memory and these worrying symptoms have eased off.

    I think it is natural that after caring for someone with AD you see the symptoms everywhere.
    Encourage your mum to keep taking her tablets and to rest. Reassure her that she will be fine. Get together and make her laugh.
  16. AnneED

    AnneED Registered User

    Feb 19, 2012
    East Yorkshire UK
    I'd just like to add something that may reassure whilst tests are being carried out:

    From my experience, often a person with dementia won't say 'oh no, I've forgotten that' and won't in fact realise that there's a problem;
    things like 'forgotten where the car is parked' remind me of the day I caught the bus home from work leaving the car in the car park there!

    As someone who has also had anxiety issues for many years, anxiety is very preoccupying and you then work on autopilot and do strange things - driving to the tip instead of Asda because you stop concentrating on where you are going and the autopilot takes over.

    If you have anxiety issues and then on top of that, worry that you may be developing dementia.... I can't think of anything more likely to warp your normality!

    It may be that your mum has the start of dementia but it may well be that she hasn't. It may be hard but try to concentrate on 'your mum getting well' rather than worrying that she may have dementia. It should help both of you and will not do any harm. Help her to try and look at all her health issues including the impact of loss and grief holistically as we only have one body and everything in it's workings is linked. The impact of the drugs may already be helping, and that's really promising.

    You'll soon know there's dementia if things get worse. Mum had Alzheimers diagnosed over 7 years ago and drove until 2 years ago. She looked after her grandchildren safely until around 3 years ago (when a toddler joined the pack). She still lives alone and locks all her doors and is relatively safe. Good luck to you, your mum and your family.
  17. Long-Suffering

    Long-Suffering Registered User

    Jul 6, 2015
    Hi Weebs,

    I agree with everything Millicent says here. I have had and am still having these symptoms. I am on tablets for anxiety and depression after having a nervous breakdown in January, and my memory is absolutely shot. I actually said to my doctor that I was behaving like my dad who has Alzheimers. I usually can't remember which day of the week it is and I got lost on the way to and from my hairdressers after being a client there for 5 years! It's improving little by little. My shrink said it is due to trauma, and it should be just about gone in 6 months. I am guessing that your mum's memory problems may also be down to her traumatic experience. But as everyone has said, more discussion with her doctor is needed. All the best.

  18. Weebs79

    Weebs79 Registered User

    Aug 14, 2015
    Thanks all for replying to my post.

    I am hoping that it is just anxiety and depression after the death of my Grandad and other events that have happened in the last 2 years. She has shown improvement since being on the anti-depressants. We have just been on holiday to Jersey for 5 days and she enjoyed it despite the weather being rubbish. No confusion or memory loss noted whilst we were away.

    She just doesn't seem like her, she has started recalling things from the past and done and said some odd things.

    She has a doctors appointment on Tuesday hopefully they can help her leg to get better which I know is bothering her and we can talk about some of the symptoms she has. She is not concerned about her memory saying that she doesn't think she's loosing her mind yet.

    Fingers crossed, hoping the doctor will at least be able to put my mind at rest a little or at least gets some tests started.
  19. Polaris

    Polaris Registered User

    Feb 5, 2015
    #19 Polaris, Aug 31, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2015
    Hi Weebs

    I'm so sorry - it must have been very stressful for your mum. I just wondered if you'd considered vitamin B12 deficiency. It is much more common than you would think, especially in older people, and should be ruled out or treated without delay. Very few GPs are familiar with the latest research. MY sister was misdiagnosed with dementia and it turned out to be severe B12 deficiency. Here are some links, which might help:

    http://www.b12deficiency.info/b12-writing-to-your-doctor/. (List of symptoms and an excellent film)

    http://chriskresser.com/b12-deficiency-a-silent-epidemic-with-serious-consequences/ -

    An extract:

    "In Japan and Europe, the lower limit for B12 is between 500-550 pg/mL, the level associated with psychological and behavioral manifestations such as cognitive decline, dementia and memory loss. Some experts have speculated that the acceptance of higher levels as normal in Japan and the willingness to treat levels considered “normal” in the U.S. explain the low rates of Alzheimer’s and dementia in that country."

    http://cmim.org/pdf2014/funcion.php?f=articulos_201409VitaminB12deficiency.pdf :
    Latest BMJ research document with useful summary if GP won't read the whole document.

    Very best wishes x PS. Severe anxiety is a very common neurological symptom of B12 def.
  20. ronanronan

    ronanronan Account Closed

    Sep 1, 2015
    I have the same comment as Canary about that .....good reply

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