Could my Mom have Alzheimer's disease? She's 54.

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I signed up to this forum because of my grandma, we all thought she had Alzheimer's disease and she doesn't, the years she spent neglecting her diabetes and high blood pressure caused small strokes on her brain and those strokes are the cause of her loss of memory and cognitive function, this was what the doctor explained to us after examining her brain scan. Now I'm here because of my mother, I don't know if I'm seeing things where they don't exist, maybe I'm too paranoid, in fact I suffer from mental illness and paranoia is a part of my daily life, anxiety too but I've been noticing that my mother seems confused lately. She's my grandma's caregiver, she works a lot even after a major heart attack and she still has to deal with my illness, her life is really stressful and that could be the cause but my anxiety won't stop bothering me with this, I'm so afraid to lose my mother, she's the only person I have. I have been noticing that sometimes she forgets words while speaking, it's not that bad, she remembers them shortly after and goes on speaking, she has forgotten to pay a bill or two but remembered she had to pay it on the next day, sometimes she also makes some silly jokes that seem out of character, apart from this there's nothing else I can point. She's a very active person, she works a lot and she loves to work but my grandma's condition is being really hard to handle specially for her, her days are really stressful. My question is, could this be related to stress?? I don't want to force her to go to the doctor just because of my paranoia, maybe I'm the one who is seeing things where they don't exist, I analyze everything she does to the smallest details and if I find something different I get paranoid... I'm just too scared of losing her... What can I do to improve my mother's memory and try to make her relax a little?? The doctor said that my grandmother's dementia could have been prevented if she had taken better care of herself and of her memory, she never did, I want to do for my mother what I didn't do for my grandma.

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Vstefans has some good suggestions, and your mom should definitely follow up on them. It sounds like your mom has a lot on her plate and she's suffering from stress. Forgetting words every so often and occasionally forgetting to pay a bill on time isn't cause for alarm. If she's frequently getting words mixed up, calling an umbrella a hat, for instance, or just not paying bills at all, then it's time to start worrying. The silly jokes could be her way of trying to lighten the mood around the house.

Does she get enough sleep? How's her diet? Is it low in fat, with lots of green leafy vegetables or is she grabbing a quick fast food burger, eating things out of cans or microwaving frozen dinners? Does she get enough exercise? If she drinks alcohol, is she drinking more than usual? You say she's active, but there's a difference between working, running errands, taking care of you and grandma and going for a bike ride or taking a yoga class. Your mom could probably benefit from yoga, or taking a class in watercolor painting, something relaxing that she enjoys.
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correction: it is very unlikely that your mother has dementia ...
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Hannah13, a belong to a caregiver support group for people whose loved ones have dementia. We often joke that it must be contagious -- we catch it from our loved ones. We forget things. We become irritable. We stumble through a sentence. These are all stress symptoms. Caregiving is very stressful.

But even though it is very unlikely your mother doesn't have dementia, it is important that she take good care of herself. Reducing the stress would be an important first step. Physical exercise is good, especially if it is something she enjoys. Maybe biking or swimming or just peaceful walks. Getting away from Gramma (sometimes with you and sometimes alone) regularly is important. Getting enough sleep is critical. These are all things that are hard to do when you are caregiving. If there are any ways you can encourage these things (without nagging!) that would be helpful.

Taking care of yourself is probably the best thing you can do for your mother and for your grandmother. You need regular exercise, enough sleep, to be consist with your medicines, to eat well, to keep your own medical appointments, etc.

You sound like a very perceptive person. I think you have a lot to contribute in your household. Good luck to you!
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Hi Hanna13! I am 53, have a mother with dementia, am in menopause and sound just like your mother! I have seen my doctor and she assures me it is major stress and menopause plays havoc with your hormones, and therefore your memory. I imagine your mother has more on her plate that she can handle. You sound like a wonderful loving daughter and granddaughter. I am sorry for your conditions, but maybe you could try to take some stress off your mom but doing research on your illnesses and trying to find ways to improve your health. Try to help around the house and just give your mama lots of love. Blessings.
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Hannah, the biggest stress a mother can have is worrying about a sick child. Get yourself better and your mother will get better too. Truly.
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Hannah13, sounds like your Mom is burnt out plus being 54 she might be going through menopause, if not already.... that in itself can throw some major gasoline on a fire.

Even though I am not a 24/7 caregiver for my parents, I've been their *driver* for the past 5 years and I am frazzled. I told my doctor that I been having trouble remembering things (like actor's names from the past), and she said that stress can cause that, and not to over think it.
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im looking after mum 5yrs and i am so stressed i cant remember things its just stress from caregiving but get a doc to check her anyway as she may be suffering from chronic fatigue like me just exhaustion is there anyway she can have respite?
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Beware of someone telling you there's nothing wrong with your mom . I was told the same years back when I started noticing small little things going on with my own mom. After being a pest in the dr ear she finally sent my mother to a specialist who had a MRI done . This dr diagnosed my mom with dementia ,still not accepting the first thing thrown at me I requested a 2nd one with another neouroligist after a MRI n ct scan of the head her brain showed shrinkage of the frontal lobe n my mom was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's . I've been a private Cna for 16 years and this was the first time I had to deal with this type of diease ....a lot of people don't think someone who is 59 could have this but it does happen more often then we all think . Most people think its a old persons dease n early onset A starts in ur 30s ... look it up please .Point is it starts small its the little things that our loved ones do that we know is out the norm , more dr should listen to the people around the patient we know more we are around to see it all . I don't believe a dr in 5 min can determine its just stress or its too much going on , I was told all this over and over again it took me 5 years to get anyone to listen to me . My mom drove cleaned house ran errands took care of her grand kids talked normal acted normal it was the small things that had me thinking away ,,,being in the health field long enough to know something was not right with my mom . Not trying to say there is anything wrong with your mom but just beware that their is a lot of things out there that most people have never heard of that anyone of us could have and not even know . I wish u a lot of luck and hope all works out
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Hannah, it does not sound like dementia to me. In fact I sometimes forget to pay bills, and will remember later. I also often forget the word I want to use in a situation, which sometimes comes to me but sometimes not. I forget what I go into a room for, etc,etc, etc... Caregiving is stressful especially if someone does it 24/7 without any sort of respite, even if it is just a walk around the block, or sitting outside and reading a book. Would it be possible to get another caregiver in 2 or 3 times a week for two or three hours so your mom and YOU could go do something enjoyable together?
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Vascular dementia, like your grandmother has, is common after 20 years of poorly controlled diabetes. Stress or pain can make you a little frayed around the edges, maybe even depressed, which results in poorer memory and poorer ability to concentrate well on anything. It almost feeds on itself - you get stressed, then you start forgetting your car keys or your badge or some other important thing, and that only gets you more stressed, as well as worrying that you are losing your marbles!

On the other hand, the heart attack could signal vascular issues for your mom as well as being a signal of severe stress. And, there are some other very treatable medical causes of cognitive problems in the relatively young, such as B12 deficiency, alcohol overuse which sometimes causes thiamine deficiency, some medications, thyroid troubles, etc. Good vascular health is something they should be helping her with too. Now, one of the ways they do that is with statins, which MOST people tolerate well, but SOME people have cognitive side effects on them. Because the statins are so good for prevention of strokes and heart attacks, there are not many studies on what should be done for people who don't tolerate them but are high risk. I am in that boat myself. I'm doing the best I can to watch my diet, weight and fitness instead of medication and hoping that wil be enough. (Hey, you are not being paranoid if they really ARE out to get you, right?)

It sounds like if you and mom could give each other time out to get good medical care and good self-care, it would be a real gift, for sure.
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