My mom is having memory problems. I am scared, nervous and hoping for some general feedback.

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Hello All -

I am very glad to find this forum. My mom is 69 years old. Over the past 2 years, my sisters and I have noticed some alarming issues with her memory. I am - unfortunately - kind of prone to freak out about these things, so I wanted to reach out here so I can approach it the best way possible.

* Her short term memory is pretty poor. She often repeats things she said just an hour earlier, forgets what I told her a few days ago, asks the same question, misplaces the remotes, etc.
* She completely relies on her calendar for dates like when somebody is arriving to town, and their flight time. She used to know this, ex. "Sam will be here from the 14th to the 18th". Now, no idea without that calendar.
* Ok... this one scared me. I recently asked her what year her dad died. It was either '97 or '98, I just couldn't recall which. She said "1969", like a few times. I eventually corrected her and she got it. But what the hell?
* When I was there for Thanksgiving, there was a lot of family and it was kind of a circus. It was a little late and she may have drinken a little too. Regardless, a call came in kind of late, and she turned to the phone and blurted out "your dad's not on call?"... My dad retired from medicine a year and a half ago. POssibly slip of the tongue, possible scary sign.

Good signs
* She's very active, both socially and physically
* She seems to remember *important* events and dates
* Her personality is absolutely the same, no odd mood swing
* She recently hooked up her Apple TV and Streaming Netflix all on her own
* Never seen her forget a name of any family member or friend
* No issues with dressin gor grooming or anything

Sorry for the ramble, I am just really concerned. I have been reading a lot about signs of dementia/Alzheimer's and while she seems to fit some, she doesn't fit all. My father and one sister - both doctors - say at this point taking her to a doctor wouldn't be a good idea, as it would mostly just scare her and there's little to nothing that can be done anyway. Don't if I agree, but whatever..

If it is early signs, I don't know how long I have with a mostly present Mom, what I can do for her, and how I be the best son. Hard to explain, but I am especially bad with anything that involves a slow, painful decline... and this thought is overwhelming at this point.

Lastly, I just want to say how impressed I am with so many caregivers on this forum. You all provide a sense of comfort, just seeing what you've gone through and how you deal.


It could just be forgetfullness associated with aging. It really doesn't sound like dementia to me but I am no doctor. When we realized that something was wrong with my mother, she started losing a lot of weight. She didn't want to leave the house and she became uncomfortable driving. She progressed to having halluncinations and paranoia and even drove her car at 4am one morning and got lost. She is in AL now and is doing well, but always wants to go home. Talk to your mom's doctor. He/she will understand your mom's behavior the best.
Is she taking B vitamins, especially B-12? I believe B vitamins can help with memory. In addition, if she is taking any medications, you may want to check to see what the side effects are.
Have her checked out by her doctor..there are medications that can help her. She is still pretty young. But Dementia can hit at an early age too. My mom's came at around 90. She's in the last stages of the disease. But if you get her in and have her assessed you can slow down the process. Also vitamin B12 shots for mom helped her with the memory and energy. We don't understand what is happening to our parents. But being informed on the care is definitely the best way to approach it. Good luck and God Bless.
I know this is scary. As we age, we do get forgetful and sometimes it takes a little longer to remember something or forget that we've misplaced something. Don't be afraid; but you might want to open dialog with others close to your mom (sibs, father, close friends) to see if they've noticed anything as well. Next, maybe find out when her last physical was; if you know the doctor or who he is, you can send a letter to him confidentially and list out your concerns with observations, examples and request that he do a mental assessment next time she goes in. Thats what I did w/my mom without telling her and the doctor was very good about talking with her, explaining what he was doing and making a good assessment. My mom is 89; but she was diagnosed this summer with mild dementia (dr also sent her for second opinion from neurologist) and put her on Aricept and Namenda. She lives alone and basically takes care of herself hygienically, so that isn't necessarily a sign. She keeps a calendar and I think that is helpful and this is good for your mom; if she is writing things down to remember and referring to it --- then kudos to her! That is good not bad. I often write things down on the calendar when I visit to help remind her of appts or my next visit, etc. so she can reference it and reassure herself.

Good luck; DON't BE AFRAID! Knowledge is power. Keep coming back and asking your questions; so many here are experts with a lot of experience and guidance to share with you.

There are good resources on this site to check out regarding dementia/Alz. It can start early -- but the good news is that with early intervention; you can significantly slow the progression and help your mom maintain independence for quite awhile.
With all respect, I don't agree with your father and sister than nothing can be done. If this is mild cognitive impairment there are even classes to help improve functionality (some of which your mother is already doing, by writing things down and relying on her calendar, for example) and if it is early dementia there are drugs that can help. This isn't urgent. I like sunflo2's suggestion that you write to her doctor with your concerns.

But I have another suggestion for you. Get some counselling. Worrying about your mother is nearly overwhelming you at this point. If she does have dementia and it does progress very slowly then it will progress very slowly. If it is a fast progressing type then it will progress quickly. You have no control over that, and worrying yourself sick won't change things. Get a little counselling to help you deal with whatever is happening and going to happen. The best way to help if the time comes when help is needed is to be strong yourself. This is very, very difficult for you right now. You deserve a little help.

Spend time with your mother. Be accepting of her little foibles. Repeat patiently when she asks the same questions. Be noncritical. Show her your love. These things will be very nice whether it turns out she has dementia or not.
Thank you all so much for your feedback. There was important information in all of your posts. And yes, I am looking into some basic counseling for this. If and when the day should come that I am dealing with this head on, I need to be strong for my mom. In the meantime, I'm going to my best to take it day by day, one foot in front of the other, and enjoy the time I have with mom.
I agree she needs to be evaluated, if you can arrange it bc some meds do help slow decline and there are other treatable causes of memory problems to rule out first. It is very stressful, but you may have more good time than you think.

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