mkearing Asked February 2010

My mother is showssigns of dementia. She is often confused and forgetful. But, she doesn't recognize it herself? Do I tell her?

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Patricia15 Mar 2013
My mother is 88. She still lives alone, with help, visits and calls from me. She likes to look good, does her own washing and cleaning, gets herself to appointments by taxi, and loves going out and clothes shopping. On the other hand she repeats questions or comments endlessly, gets paranoid about the neighbours, makes hundreds of lists which are then abandoned all over her apartment, over-eats a few basic foods so that she is far too heavy, and sometimes calls me to ask what day it is. She is completely split mentally. When I try to talk about it she laughs merrily and says she knows she doesn't have a brain. As she seems relaxed about it we will just continue on in the same old way until something major happens.
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NancyH Feb 2010
With my mother-in-law, she asks the same questions every 5 minutes. Her short term memory stinks, and today when she came over for dinner, she couldn't remember the grand daughter who's picking her up Sat. for a day trip. Lots of times I'm afraid to really discuss anything that will impact her, because she will not remember the conversation. I've thought of tape recording everything we talk about. There are other indication of dementia, but this is the one that kills us the most, memory loss.
We have NOT told her that this is what's wrong with her. First, she won't remember it, and second, it would be devastating for her to hear the truth. Although she does know that her memory is in the crapper these days. :)
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pamela6148 Feb 2010
My mom was given Ambien just a short period ago. Thanks for all the information on it. Now I'm glad she only took it one night. Said it made her blurry and forgetful and it was only 5 mlgs.
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bobbie321 Feb 2010
hi there,

Ambien does have a nasty reputation and is to be avoided. Ed and SoAlone, what an awful experience!


Xanax has been around for years and is relatively safe compared to some of the newer drugs. 10-15 years is still a 'new drug'.

I don't buy brand new cell phones, software or anything else because I don't want to be on the 'bleeding edge of technology'. Same with drugs.

mkearing: my heart goes out to you. I had to be the one who intervened with my mom when she was showing all kinds of symptoms. In retrospect, she was displaying symptoms of dementia for years, had masked it totally and by doing so got herself to the point where she was angry, paranoid and combative. She hid all of the money, legal papers, stock info, you name it. In other words she hid all of the assets needed to care for her! It was a living nightmare. By the time she finally accepted that she needed help, my financial life was ruined, I was a full time caretaker having lost the job of my life and pension, and there is still some stuff I can't find.

this is unacceptable and I try to warn people. The dementia patient will mask, hide and lie to keep you at bay.

Get your mom to draw a clock. just a circle with the numbers in the right spot and ask her to make the clock read 10:20.

this very simple test will tell the tale. Whatever she does you tell her 'that's great'. You may find that she can draw part of it or none of it. If she can draw all of it, WooHoo, you've caught this thing early and you can look into long term care insurance. Others on this forum will probably have more info, but as I understand it: as long as there has NOT been a diagnosis of dementia/ALZ you can apply.

You can administer the 'clock test' yourself and know that you have to get ready. You may qualify for that long term ins....

Incidentally, I didn't know anything about the clock or anything else and my mom got her 'official diagnosis' plus ALZ meds and therefore is not eligible for any kind of ins.

Others here will know more, but if you're wondering if it's dementia, do the clock test. don't need no stinkin' doc for that one. Get your ducks in a row and THEN get an official diagnosis and the meds.

OK....you amazing caregivers let me know if this makes sense!

Good luck,

lovbob
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tennessee Feb 2010
My doctor gave me lunesta to try to sleep,I think I was to strung out on stress for it to work.I WAS WORRIED i couldn't hear my daughter or my dad if they needed me. I STARTED DOING THE HOT FLASH THING . The doctor told me the stress kicks one into early menopause. My dad would feel sorry for me dealing with him andhavin the severe hot flashes.My mother had them so he knew how painful they are. Alot of men don't understand them.My mother took ambien when she had cancer Ithink its a bad drug also.
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tennessee Feb 2010
My dad would remember names numbers everybodies family tree. He could rememberevery detail from the , 1920's,1940's World War 2,COULD NOT REMEMBER OUR CONVERSATION FROM moment to moment. My grandmother was the same way. I'm half there age and can't remember where I laid my car keys from moment to moment.My dad would tell me I was to young tobe so forgettful. I like to think it was the stress. Stress is a killer.
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Eddie Feb 2010
SO ALONE:

Sleepwalking. ... Sometimes Ambien put me in such a deep state of sleep I was still under when up and about . Zolpidem, the generic version, even when taken as prescribed would give me such vivid hallucinations (that's one of the side effects listed), I went to the 41st precinct to file a complaint against 20 noisy illegal aliens living next door. Next door turned out to be my linen closet. Now, doesn't that sound like demented behavior deserving a straight jacket?
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SoAlone Feb 2010
edvierajr -
The doctor prescribed Ambien to me 10 years ago because I had such a hard time falling asleep and staying asleep.

She preferred I take Ambien instead of xanax to sleep.
OMG - the ambien completely fried my memory and I think 10 years later I still have areas of my brain and memory that have been wiped out. I'm definately not the same happy, quick-witted person I used to be and I know Ambien is greatly to blame.

I took Ambien for a little over a month before I figured out what was going on and poured it down the drain but I think even that amount of time was deadly to my brain.

I had phone conversations I never knew I had. My husband said I was cooking in my sleep and eating in my sleep and I would remember NONE OF it.

I didn't just forget stuff I did in the middle of the night. I would forget meetings I had at work. I attended the meetings and had no recollection of them.
I wrote programs and finished projects and would be amazed when I got out my applications the next week and would find my own handwriting and have no recollection of completing the work.
People at work began to say things like "don't you remember that?" to ME ... when I used to be the one who could remember everything.
In my experience Ambien is a terrible, dangerous drug and I know it royally screwed with my life. It makes me so mad that my doctor ever prescribed it to me. I began warning everyone I knew about it 10 years ago.
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Eddie Feb 2010
MK:

So Alone made an excellent suggestion you should follow up on.

As for me, I'm quite the Cecil B. Demented every now and then. When I was taking care of my mom, the doctor prescribed Ambien to help me sleep and happy pills like Prozac or Celexa to keep me "perky." Because I wasn't catching enough Zs, I'd sometimes overdo it with the Ambien and the thin line between reality and fantasy became so blurred I didn't know which was which. Sleep deprivation made me forget what I had for lunch 10 minutes earlier, or go through the motions like an automaton. I also jump from one subject to another during conversations, then get upset when others didn't connect the dots and called me "730" behind my back or in jest. I was also irritable and easily distracted, and my days were carbon copies of each other.

My point? Have your mom examined ... yesterday. It's the only way to be sure.
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SoAlone Feb 2010
Same here Nance. I am still denying it.

It is hard because often my dad is extremely coherent and has a better memory than me and then a few days later he is not good at all. I want to believe it is sugar levels related to his diabetes and not dementia.

My mother is always saying she has Alzheimers because she can't find things and forgets stuff at the store. but I hope that is not Alzheimers because I am worse than her.

Every once in a while I have to go online and find a source that defines the difference between normal forgetfulness and beginning of Alzheimers.

Mkearing - You should ask your mom to get checked if you really think that she is obviously impaired and not just distracted by problems. There are medications for some types of dementia. My dad takes something for vascular dementia (although I don't know if he really has it).
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