My 73 year old Mom has started having symptoms that we thing might be the beginnings of AD. When I send her an email she answers the same email 10 or more times and asks me the same questions. What really has us concerned is she is hallucinating. She tells me my Dad visits her when my Dad has been dead for 3 years. She called me upset that I had left her house without saying goodbye when I hadn't been to her house in a year (I live out of town). She leaves notes around the house (my sister lives near her) for us girls when we haven't lived there for 25 years. She says she feels confused. She is afraid she might be getting AD. Her Mom died of AD at age 82 so she knows about it.
She does have appointment with her Dr. She is very upset and scared. She has always been independent and I know she is upset that she may loose that eventually. She lives alone, drives and pays her bills. Do these sign sound familiar to anyone? She says she doesn't have any physical symptons so I don't know what else it might be.
ALZ takes many different forms. It truly a fast track illness whereby Dementia can go on for years and years.
You have to remember she's 75 not 35 anymore. Its hard getting old and yes, memory loss has a name associated with it, be it ALZ or Dementia, Picks, etc.
Therefore she really needs someone to be at the doctor's with her. There is medication she can get but if she's having halleucinations already, then stay away from Namenda. I found it caused it not took it away.
Aricept is given in the early stages. It is not a cure it just slows the progression but ultimately it too will stop working.
The only way to know for sure is to take Mom to the doctor for a complete physical. All of her meds need to be reviewed, blood work done, and your doctor will want to give her a mini mental status exam... MMSE. If he does suspect some type of dementia then you will probably want her referred to a geriatric neurologist or other specalist that is very familiar with dementia. ALZ is just one of the many types of dementia.
Yes, what you describe sounds very familiar to me. These were some of the first things we noticed about Mom. She would call and tell me a story, make a statement on a different topic, and then tell me the same story all over again. She appeared to be functioning ok alone, driving, and paying bills... until we search deeper under the cover that she kept up. In fact there were things growing in the fridge, sour milk being poured on morning cereal, she had almost stopped cooking, bills were being paid late, not paid at all, or being paid more than once. Pots were burned. The neighbors talked about Mom backing out into the street without stopping or looking. She ran over a piece of statuary and had not awareness that she had done this. Thank goodness it was just statuary and not a child. She could physically drive but frequently got lost, failed to obey traffic signals, not to mention the bumps and dings that 'mysteriously' appeared on the van. She was not taking medication as she should. She would either take too many or not enough. If she forgot a dose or two she would take them all when she remembered. Important papers were thrown in the trash and magazine ads were filed in the important papers. None of this was evident from a casual afternoon visit but a little digging turned up a horror show.
So get her checked out. If she suspects then she is probably right. Of course she is scared and worried. But perhaps it is something else as well which is reversable and treatable. It's better to be sure
I truly hope it's not one of the many forms of dementia but regardless you have found the right place. Welcome to the board and hope to hear from you again soon.
PS... be certain that somebody has her durable power of attorney, living will/medical directive/ medical poa, and names on all of her accounts. This will make it much easier to handle her financial and personal affairs once she is no longer capable. This needs to be done while she is relative aware of what is going on so don't wait too late.
My mother lived alone and no one was aware of how bad her mind was getting. Finally I went to live with her and found her checkbook had not been balanced for many years, she saved junk and threw out important papers, etc.
Although Dementia sneaks up on you, you do have many clues if your mind is open to receiving them. My sister denied that anything was wrong with Mom until her death 9 years later, while my brother and I were 100% convinced she had dementia, as was her doctor, and later, the nursing home.
During those 5 years I lived with her, Mom got worse and worse until it was not safe to allow her to be alone, ever. I still had a full time job so we had to pay someone to stay with her during the daytime. We thought it was terribly expensive, until we found out how much a nursing home costs!
Yes, Deb is right about the paperwork .. someone else has to be in control of her budget, medical treatments, etc.
It is useless for her to go alone to the doctor. On her way home she will forget and then re-write everything he said so that it sounds good to herself and her family. Your sister ought to go with her since she lives near. "four ears hear more than two" anyway, and one clear mind hears everything, while a foggy mind does not.
If she has dementia they can start her on the early onset drugs, but my hope is for the new drug coming out soon. A neighbor of mine just found out that here in Indiana a trial run is going on for a new Dementia drug, and she is trying to get her late stage sister into that program. It may be too late for her. But when the drug is released, it may actually cure and reverse brain damage, and truly be a miracle for all who have lost someone to this horrible disease.
My Mother is 89 years old and the dementia started about 6 years ago. The most frustrating aspect for me is her halleucinations. She thinks people are in her
apartment (Senior Citizen Home) stealing, hiding items from her, eating their lunch there and surprising her with gifts. These are just a few. Her memory is good at times and terrible at other times. I have to say it is heartbreaking to see her worry day in and day out about these matters. Once a month or more she gets
so tired and physically sick from these halleucinations. It does take a lot of patience to deal with her and her illness. I have to admit, I take it one day at a time. I wish all of us the very best in carring for our family members.
Dear Susan1215, Yes all these symptoms sound way to familiar to me. my mom passed away with Alz a year ago this April. She was 64. She was diagnosed when she was 60, but looking back she probably has this for 10 yrs or more before me or my sister even really knew. Dad kept everthing secret I guess not wanting to worry us girls. But there is no cure as of now, but I think maybe if she had gotten treatment early she would have been able to do for herself longer. Its such a terrible disease, I pray there is a cure soon. There are so many families affected by this, and yes it disrupts the whole family. I wish you luck.