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Old 09-11-2011, 03:35 PM   #1
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Should I be worried?I have a lot of ?'s

My Mother is 75 and has been forgetting a lot. She also has changed, She's just not her self. Mom worries about everything. Repeats herself a lot. If I ask her to come over at 4:00 she will say "okay I'm writing it down" then she'll call back and ask me again what time. I know she's gone the wrong way driving also. She doesn't remember where things are, that she used to go to all the time. She only gotten lost a couple times, as far as we know. One day she told me she couldn't find her meds, when I went to her house i found them in the spice cabinet. She then said she knew they were there. Mom has always been scared of getting Alzheimers. She has said it since I can remember. Her Mother had it. I pretty sure her Mom was in her 60 when she was DX. I don't remember that Grandma at all. I believe she pass young.
I took my Mom to the Doctor's last week. They give her the Folstein test. She did pretty well only missed a few. I couldn't believe that she couldn't draw the shapes, the 3rd time she kind of got them. Her Doc asks her about other doctors app, and I found out she had to see her liver Doc and never made a app. Mom had told me she didn't need to see that Doc any more. My Mom has a lot of Doctors she doesn't have the best health. She has alway been good about her different appointments and keeping up with them. So now I am going to me in charge of her test and app. I have to set up a CT, blood work and an Ult-sound tomorrow.
I guess deep down I'm thinking it's Alzheimers, I shouldn't be thinking that way but somethings wrong. My daugther came home from college and told me she thinks Gram is really acting different. My sister's been saying it for a long time, the rest of us were thinking it was Mom getting older. So if anyone could tell me what they think, that would be great!

 
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Old 09-12-2011, 08:51 AM   #2
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Re: Should I be worried?I have a lot of ?'s

Just read your post. It is hard to tell what is going on for a while. My mom who will soon be 91, had some of the same symptoms early on in her decline. She has been DX'd with vascular dementia. She got lost driving a couple of times over 10 years ago. She has had 2 major heart attacks, diabetes, very poor circulation and heart failure. She has been in a nursing home for a year this month and before that in assisted living for about 8 months. She still knows me and tells me she loves me but, weaves fantastic tales and sees things that are not there. She holds baby dolls and cares for them. She is now under the care of Hospice. She went through a very volatile period that lasted for more than a year. She thought people were stealing from her and the neighbors were plotting against her etc. Sorry you have to go through this. You will be getting more information from others on this board soon. Some very good information. Hang in there and post often.

Gail

 
Old 09-12-2011, 09:55 AM   #3
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Re: Should I be worried?I have a lot of ?'s

Baseball... welcome Glad you found us! Sorry you needed to.

First, You know something is wrong. You know there are signs pointing to Alzheimer's. You know there is a history of Alzheimer's in her family. Your gut is telling you that it is a real possibility. So why should you not be thinking that way?

Mom took the Folstein MMSE and only missed a few. She should not miss any. My Mom took the test and made a 27. She was referred to a Memory Assessment Clinic and diagnosed with Moderate to Sever Dementia consistent with Alzheimer's. If your Mom missed any on the Folstein then she needs to go for further testing and you absolutely should be thinking the way you are. Aging does not mean cognitive decline as we thought for so long. Cognitive decline means there is a problem.

The things in your typing that I noticed a symptomatic include....
!) she has changed and is not herself
2) repeats herself a lot
3) gets lost in what should be familiar surroundings
4) can not locate items that are in familiar places
5) putting things in strange locations and then can't find them
6) could not draw a shape
7) missing appointments that she used to keep up with
8) problems with medication
9) others noticing changes in your Mom.

I would bet that she is also having trouble paying bills, keeping her check book balanced, losing money, following a recipe, along with cooking and fixing a meal. Yes she will make excuses when ask. She will not say she forgot but give another plausible excuse such as she didn't need to do that.

I have been where you are. My grandmother also had Alzheimer's and it was my Mom's biggest fear in life. There were signs and symptoms but nobody wanted to think it was going to happen to her... not Mom. But it did. We can't dismiss the possible because we don't want it to be. So you are very right to be thinking the way you are thinking.

You need to ask for a referral to a geriatric neurologist, psychiatrist, or memory assessment clinic that specializes in the diagnosis of dementia/Alzheimer's. General physicians and other doctors who do not specialize in dementia most times are ineffective in this diagnosis. They will tell you that a 27 out of 30 is ok on the Folstein and it's not. They will say that it is just a fact of getting older and it's not. They will look at your Mom and tell her to focus more... which is not going to happen. So please call a specialist and find out what is going on with Mom From what you say I think your gut instinct is probably right.... follow that gut instinct.

Hang here.... we are on this journey with you

Love, deb

 
Old 09-12-2011, 11:23 AM   #4
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Re: Should I be worried?I have a lot of ?'s

Definitely it is dementia. The type of dementia could be Alzheimer's or vascular dementia. It is up to the specialist to decide. A neurologist or psychiatrist can help her to determine the type of dementia.

Repeating questions and forgetting appointments is nothing new in the world of dementia. My FIL lost his late wife in 2004 and right after that trauma, he forgot how to email right away and he repeated many questions and said he didn't understand the billings (He never handled the finances himself while his late wife did it all.)
He also forgot the appointment and drove to the wrong place (got lost). It happened together - got the wrong date, drove out and forgot how to go to the doctor's and fortunately he could drive back home. So the caregiver didn't want him to drive anymore.

There are verbal tests that can be done to determine the level of the loss of memory. As Deb mentioned, the experts know how to deal with it. CT-Scan or MRI can help her to find out if it is stroke and thus vascular dementia.

The diagnosis is up to the experts and we cannot guess. My FIL did the verbal test for 3 hours and he could not draw the clock... He forgot that he needed to take a shower and forgot why he needed to wash. It was 2004-2006 when he was in the gray area of memory loss. He was diagnosed in late 2006 - he was trying to see if he could drive so the behavior center gave him the verbal test. He is 90 now and he is in stage 6/7 and cannot walk.
It took a long time to have had his AD all these years.

The hardest part is caregiving!! It is a hard and long road. We tried to keep my FIL at home for 5 years or so but he was so sick and confused that he had to move to the residential home last year. The first year there he was doing fine. This year he started to get worse going towards end stage... Yet it is so slow that it goes by years... Each year is difficult and has different problems for AD.

Your Mom may be in stage 5 of AD if it is Alzheimer's disease.
Anyway, get the diagnosis and get help so you can help your Mom. You also need to be her POA and etc. so you can help her legally in case she will be very incompetent.

Take care,
Nina

Last edited by ninamarc; 09-12-2011 at 11:25 AM.

 
Old 09-12-2011, 01:48 PM   #5
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Re: Should I be worried?I have a lot of ?'s

Thank you everyone who responded. It is so helpful talking to people who now about it.
I had my Mom over today and I made her appointments for her. Talking to her about all the different apps and when they are really show me how bad she is. She's so worried about missing one. I keep telling her "Mom don't worry I'll be taking you, I will take care of everything" It's like she doesn't believe me or trust me. It's so sad to see her so unsure of everything. It breaks my heart. I keep reading and learning about things. I have to start reading about how to react to her,what to say. It so hard I get mad but know she can't help it. Some of the things she told the doctor on Friday were way different today. Mom said to the Doc that she didn't know one of her other docs were in the same building as the Doc we were at. Today I find out she goes to that same building every time she see that other Doctor. Thanks again Liz

 
Old 09-12-2011, 02:26 PM   #6
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Re: Should I be worried?I have a lot of ?'s

Welcome Baseball--I`m one of the new ones,my husband was only diagnozed recently but it has already become a bit of a rollercoaster! My job really at the moment is to learn how to deal with all the aspects of hubby`s behaviour as he has a lot of delusions and hallucinations.I`ve learnt to play along and appear confident and reassuring even if I don`t really feel like it.It`s a horrible journey for the patient but it`s no easy road for the care giver either.And if you have (I`m sure you do!) a sense of humour,hold on to it,it will be your saving grace at times.Good luck to you on this rocky road,travel together with the rest of us,you are not alone at all.Love and hugs!

 
Old 09-12-2011, 02:43 PM   #7
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Re: Should I be worried?I have a lot of ?'s

Remember that it is not that she doesn't trust you or believe you... she is not processing or remembering. She has always done it herself and doesn't understand that you can and will take care of it for her. All you can do is keep reassuring her.

If you want a good book for yourself... there are many written on how to take care of the loved one with dementia but this one is all about you the caregiver and how to take care of your own mental health.... please find "Coping with Alzheimer's: A Caregiver's Emotional Survival Guide" by Rose Oliver and Frances A Bock. It is the best book I have read to help with our emotional well being. It takes each of those emotions we feel and helps us work our way through them to more productive emotional well being. We are what we think and we need to know what to think

As to what to say to her.... the first rule is DO NOT ARGUE! If she says the world is flat then validate her statement and keep going. You don't have to agree but you can't disagree. Many times I just nod like a bobble head. Then I validate the feelings. If she is angry, afraid, frustration I just acknowledge her feeling. Then I find a solutions and promise to help her find a resolution. When Mom moved to AL she missed her home. She constantly wanted to go back home. I acknowledged that it upset her to leave her home and promised to try to take her back for a visit... next Saturday, next week, anytime later. Remember that she will not remember and you can do it again the next time she is upset. It would satisfy her in the moment. I had acknowledged her feelings and given her hope. That is what we all want "Connecting the Dots" by Judith L London is a good book on communication.

One piece of advice... stay in the moment with your Mom. Don't look back at who she was and who you wish she still was. Don't look forward to where you are going.... it's scary Just stay in the moment with your Mom and try to enjoy the moments that you have now. That doesn't mean that you should not learn all you can, prepare for the future, and know what to expect. It just means that when you are with Mom.... enjoy her. Even in Mom's current late stage of Alzheimer's she makes me laugh, gives me smiles, and has provided memories that are precious. You just have to open your heart and mind to who she is now.

But first, please get a diagnosis. Have all of her medications checked for side effects and interactions. Have a complete blood panel done to know for sure it is not something medical. Have a complete physical check up including a MRI or CT scan. None of this can diagnose Alzheimer's but it can eliminate other problems. Then she can go to a specialist that can give you a diagnosis.

Love, deb

 
Old 09-12-2011, 06:40 PM   #8
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Re: Should I be worried?I have a lot of ?'s

welcome, it does sound like dementia. keep posting and venting it helps

 
Old 09-12-2011, 06:55 PM   #9
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Re: Should I be worried?I have a lot of ?'s

Hey Baseball Sorry you needed to find us, but glad you're here! You're getting alot of good advice from the veterans on the board. My stepdad was first told he had Alzheimer's in 2008, and then, after a year of testing, we were given the accurate diagnosis of Frontal Temporal Dementia.

Please come here as often as you need to! This board has been a lifesaver for me these last three years. There are truly some great people on this board - very compassionate - and very knowledgeable.

It's very easy to get overwhelmed.......as Deb said - do your best to stay in the moment......definitely easier said than done, but it's very sage advice. Take very good care and keep on posting - we'll be here! Hugs - Jan

 
Old 09-12-2011, 08:11 PM   #10
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Re: Should I be worried?I have a lot of ?'s

Thanks again for the replies,Mom is having a CT and blood work on Wednesday. As for checking the meds she's on, would I do that by looking on the computer? I asked the Doctor about her meds and she said, it's not her meds. I then said to the doc,could the pharmacy make a mistake? She then said "that could happen".
When I read the replies, I feel like "oh my Moms not that bad"(yet) I feel like she could be trusted to take her meds. I feel she would get really upset if I told her how I really feel.She was so happy on Friday because the doc didn't say anything about Alzheimers, Because I spoke to the doc first on the phone and told her how scared my mom was.
My Mom lives by herself. I've asked her if she has ever left the stove on or left water running, she said she hasn't. Like I heard here One day at a Time.......... Liz

 
Old 09-12-2011, 08:15 PM   #11
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Re: Should I be worried?I have a lot of ?'s

Thanks again for the replies,Mom is having a CT and blood work on Wednesday. As for checking the meds she's on, would I do that by looking on the computer? I asked the Doctor about her meds and she said, it's not her meds. I then said to the doc,could the pharmacy make a mistake? She then said "that could happen".
When I read the replies, I feel like "oh my Moms not that bad"(yet) I feel like she could be trusted to take her meds. I feel she would get really upset if I told her how I really feel.She was so happy on Friday because the doc didn't say anything about Alzheimers, Because I spoke to the doc first on the phone and told her how scared my mom was.
My Mom lives by herself. I've asked her if she has ever left the stove on or left water running, she said she hasn't. Like I heard here One day at a Time.......... Liz

 
Old 09-12-2011, 08:24 PM   #12
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Re: Should I be worried?I have a lot of ?'s

Hey Baseball - When you say check her meds on the computer - do you mean for side effects? I'm guessing you know what meds she's on? I understand that question - of - could it be a side effect of her meds? Just to share my personal experience - one of my sisters, early on with our stepdad's disease - was very convinced it was side effects from his meds......she did tons of research - and presented my mom with a binder filled with information about the meds. All that did was further overwhelm (and scare) my mom.

I can only speak from our experience - but it wasn't side effects from meds, it was a form of dementia That being said - it's good to check into any and all concerns you have. I'm glad to know you've got some doctor appointments and tests set up. I can completely understand why you would read other's experiences here and think "my mom's not that bad." I remember early on reading and thinking the same thing It's okay! You are where you are today. That's what you need to focus on.

Oh - one other thing I wanted to comment on: you really can't rely on your mom's memory at this point. Just because she said she hasn't left the stove on, etc, doesn't mean she didn't. They don't have the recall - sorry to say - but they don't. They're not lying to us - they just don't recall it - so to them - they never did it!! Thinking of you and sending {{{hugs}}} - Jan

 
Old 09-12-2011, 08:58 PM   #13
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Re: Should I be worried?I have a lot of ?'s

I do have a list on meds that my Mom is on. I wrote all her doctors and meds down. I did mean side effects and I want to find out if the dose is right. I'll have to call the doctors for that. I did think about my Mom not remembering about the stove and other things, But sometimes she seems okay her old self. Two of my brothers think nothing's wrong. 4 out of 6 kids know somethings up. Thanks again LIz

 
Old 09-13-2011, 07:37 AM   #14
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Re: Should I be worried?I have a lot of ?'s

Baseball,

I don't know how much your Mom forgets, but there are some tricks when it comes to handle her finance and appointments.
My FIL lost his memory pretty bad in 2004 and we had to take over his mail or finances. Although he remembered some issues, we were able to change the billings to online/paperless billings so we handle it and he does not. In his case, he does not handle it in person, but he liked to meddle with it not knowing what he was doing. We do some stuff behind his back so he cannot make trouble. This is good for his sake.
As time goes on, he forgot more and more, so we have/had to remember his appointments for him.

For now your Mom may not trust you and wants to do things herself. Gradually, you will be able to take over for her. Don't have to tell her all the details or she would be upset and worry about it.
If you can, book the appointments for her and prepare her and pick her up on that day. Don't bother to "remind" her the date earlier because she won't remember and that would add stress to her.

Take care,
Nina

Last edited by ninamarc; 09-13-2011 at 07:40 AM.

 
Old 09-13-2011, 08:59 AM   #15
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Re: Should I be worried?I have a lot of ?'s

I'm learning very fast not to tell Mom details, she is getting the details all mixed up. I'm sure it's stressing her out and I know it's stressing me out. Some things I have to tell her ahead of time. Like no food before her blood work and CT.
Thank you for your ideas. The online thing is a great idea. I think one of my sisters are going to be in charge of the bills. I'll tell her that.
Thanks Liz

 
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