It appears you have not yet Signed Up with our community. To Sign Up for free, please click here....

Alzheimer's Disease & Dementia Message Board

Dementia signs or something else?

Post New Thread   Closed Thread
LinkBack Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 12-20-2012, 10:54 PM   #1
Junior Member
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 44
mej1 HB User
Dementia signs or something else?

I'm concerned about my 87 year old grandmother and would like opinions on this situation.

Up until about 18 months ago, my grandma was doing fairly well physically and cognitively considering that she is 87. She's fallen a few times over the last three years or so and has hurt her legs, but because she's at least 30 to 50 pounds overweight, she didn't hurt herself as bad as she could've (at least I assume the extra "padding" helped during the falls). She's afraid to walk even with a cane and is getting so weak that we're worried she may end up in a wheelchair before the end of 2013. That would be bad because grandpa wouldn't be able to care for her and we're not sure what would happen.

Also, she hasn't been eating much recently. She claims that she isn't hungry and that she has to be reminded to eat something. She hasn't forgotten to eat, she just doesn't have an appetite. None of her medications are causing this. I suppose there's a possibility (based on what I've seen) that grandpa's constant nagging about her weight has caused her to develop an eating disorder. I'm also a bit disturbed that she hasn't been eating her favorite food, something that she would always eat at least once a day and sometimes twice a day. Even though she doesn't eat much, she isn't losing much weight.

However, I'm far more concerned about her behavior and cognitive issues. She doesn't act like herself. She has always been very chatty and could never stand silence, if no one else was talking then she sure as heck would be. Now she doesn't say all that much. I usually go visit her for two or three days and on the first day she doesn't say much, on the second and third days she's much more talkative, but not like she used to be before 18 months ago, and this keeps getting worse. She comes across as depressed and has a different look in her eyes. She's always been a very social person and because of her fear of walking, she hardly ever leaves the house. She is bored to death. The family tries to visit as much as we can, but she lives so far away that it's difficult. She does crossword puzzles and word searches, but that's not enough to keep her occupied and happy. She seems ok otherwise. She seems to remember things and does pretty good at remembering how to play all the board games we have. She does have some trouble with some of the more complicated games, but us younger ones sometimes have difficulty too.

I know grandpa is driving her crazy with his constant nagging about dieting and doing exercises. I know she would love to have a pet, but grandpa doesn't want one. I think grandma would be absolutely ecstatic if grandpa went on vacation for a week and me and my mom came to visit for a week, but that's never going to happen.

I'm not sure if everything I've mentioned are normal aging issues, a sign of dementia, depression, or pure boredom. Any thoughts or advice?

Sponsors Lightbulb
Old 12-21-2012, 07:03 AM   #2
Senior Veteran
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: charlotte, nc, usa
Posts: 7,249
Gabriel HB UserGabriel HB UserGabriel HB UserGabriel HB UserGabriel HB UserGabriel HB UserGabriel HB UserGabriel HB UserGabriel HB UserGabriel HB UserGabriel HB User
Re: Dementia signs or something else?

Mej1... welcome From what you have written here my best guess is that she is bored and depressed. You stated that she is remembering and still able to play games just with drawing. Even though withdrawing is a sign of both depression and dementia, without any other symptoms my guess would be depression.

You could do an online search for a MMSE (Mini Mental Status Exam). It is a series of 30 questions that you can ask. If she gets all of them, or even most of them right then it is more likely depression. Some of the other things you can look for is repeating herself. Does she tell you a story and then repeat that story a few minutes later? Does she still know how to use the TV remote or cordless phone? Can she follow complex instructions with multiple steps? Does she accuse people of doing things when in fact she was the one that is responsible? Many times they will put away things and forget where accusing family of stealing. Can she still do math? Dementia patients will lose the ability to think in the abstract which math involves. Can she still put together jigsaw puzzles? Dementia will damage the spacial thinking early and they will lose the ability to manipulate the puzzle pieces and know where to put them.

Her fear of falling is obviously warranted due to the weight and the falls. Grandpa's nagging doesn't help. I see this as a logical reaction. You also need to know that because she is not active, the calorie intake, though greatly reduced, is probably sufficient to maintain her body weight. It doesn't take much. But you are right that not using her ability to ambulate will cause her strength and ability to ambulate to decrease.

My best suggestion to you is to take her to her doctor and have a conversation with him making sure he understands what is happening with her. You might even want to talk to him first so he will be aware before the exam. She needs a complete physical, with blood work, and he needs to do the MMSE with her to check her cognitive abilities. If it is depression then there is medication that may help. I would also suggest that you request a physical therapy evaluation. Especially if she is cognitively well, they will be able to help her feel safe again.

I hope this is just depression, based on your words here, but please take her to the doctor and find out for sure

Love, deb

Closed Thread

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Sign Up Today!

Ask our community of thousands of members your health questions, and learn from others experiences. Join the conversation!

I want my free account

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 01:10 AM.

Site owned and operated by HealthBoards.comô
© 1998-2018 HealthBoards.comô All rights reserved.
Do not copy or redistribute in any form!