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Reverseroles, my Mother has symptoms very similar to your Mother's. We were able to keep her walking somewhat, very small distances, until this spring. Now it is from bed to wheelchair for the day. What upsets me the most (besides the whole idea "this" even happened to my beautiful fun-loving Mother) is her inability to express herself. The worst part of that is it leads my stepfather to believe that she doesn't understand words either. And he'll say just about anything in front of her, ignoring my protestations. I know she understands a great deal of what she hears, whether on television, or when the family talks, because she will try to be part of the conversation, and there are even times when she's able to put together an entire sentence that just makes my day. Today I made her French toast for breakfast and after the second bite, I heard her tell my stepfather, "This is nice." Such a tremendous payback for only a small bit of extra effort. I like times best when we're alone together because I talk to her just like I have done my whole life, which means as if there is nothing out of the ordinary going on. I will tease her, I will sing, I will dance for her, which she loves, I'll complain about MEN, which she gets, (because we've pretty much decided that women should run the world). Although I can't complain about the men in her life: her son (my younger brother who lives 1000 miles away) calls her every day; my husband, who along with my stepfather, helps her into and out of bed every day, is wonderful with her, and her husband in his own clumsy way, treats her like a precious commodity. The days I'm out doing my volunteer work, they take turns making her breakfast. Like your Mother there is no apparent medical reason for the dementia. There was hope for a while that she had normal pressure hydrocephalus because many times that can be reversible by placing a shunt in her brain. But tests ultimately could not confirm it. She is 86, she lives with us and my stepfather comes every day at some point before twelve and stays by her side until he puts her to bed at ten. This is so hard on everyone except her, it seems to me. But really I shouldn't even say that much as I cannot know really what she is thinking, or even if she is thinking. I pray every day that if she does have "thoughts", or any dreams, that they are good ones and that no matter what that they do not scare her. I am sorry now though that as this was slowly happening to her we took pains not to discuss the changes with her. We were at sea, with not a clue how to proceed. When she'd say she felt like she was losing her mind, we would immediately reassure her that was not the case. No one wanted to hurt her; now I realize we might have handled it differently. Just one of many things I'll always wonder about. Good luck with your Mother. I will include you in my prayers.
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holycow, dementia is a symptom, not a disease. What is the dementia from is the question. My Mom also, married 57 years went downhill 8 years after his death! I wonder , my husband always said it was caused from a broken heart. The doctors dont know why she has dementia, either from alz or vascular isssues, or frontal something, they dont know and I wish they did. My Moms had this for 6+ years now, she cannot talk/walk but when I ask her a question and its quiet and stress free, she knows what I am saying!!!!! Who knows?
Good luck
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Sheryl, I have that up and down with my mom constantly. She'll tell me one thing today and tomorrow will tell me something totally opposite about what she wants to do or likes or dislikes. Drives me nuts. One day she doesn't like cheese anymore, the next day she's always liked cheese and still loves it. Today she's going to take her shower, and at the end of the day, "Oh no, I'm going to take it tomorrow." It's always a moving target with mom. Sigh. I feel your pain!
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Sheryl, you are on the right track. If you have to, don't tell her where you are going. Just take her to lunch and head to the doctor office instead of heading home. If she acts out at the MD office, ask for a script to calm her down. We also got a 7x4 pill box to make dispensing easy.
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I will definitely take her to the doctor....just won't give her a choice. I've already taken control of her medicine so that won't be an issue again.
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It's a frustrating thing for sure. One day she says she probably needs me to take her to the doctor because she can't walk that far without help....then when I bring it up the next day and say something to the effect that I'll take her, she gets 'uppity' and says she thinks she can handle it by herself since she's been taking care of herself alone for 30 years and, afterall, she got up all by herself this morning without my help! I never know what to say and what not to say or do, because seems like whatever way I go, she gets angry. I can see I'm going to need to develop a very thick skin very quickly.
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I don't know the symptoms of low thyroid but for high thyroid, this can be one side-effect. I'm under the impression that some issues are similar for the two, though. For one example, too much caffeine negatively affects both people with low and with high thyroid, but I haven't compared them to really know what low thyroid issues are.
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As far as thyroid goes, would it be high or low thyroid issues?
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Could also be thyroid issues, for example. There are many things that can cause memory loss. But only a doctor can review this.
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My father died in Dec 2006 and prior to his death he told US that Mom was losing her memory. I thought he was wrong, she was just distraught that he was sick and dying and she was wondering "what she was going to do!"

It turned out he was right. We began noticing what he had seen for a while, the memory was going. Since we live in CA we took her to USC for evaluation and diagnosis and it came back as Dementia. Her brain was shrinking. The doctor said he thought depression is what caused it. I have heard others say that is impossible, I don't know for sure. She was depressed however, she had married at 18 and been married for 60 years, she felt lost.

That was 8 years ago and she is 85 and on a scale would be considered "moderate" although she has some "severe" issues. It began with losing short term memory and as time goes on, she loses a bit more of the past.

You will not know what your Mom's diagnosis is until you take her to a doctor where they can run tests, including blood work and an MRI. If you did not already know, Dementia is a form of Alzheimer's. If your Mom does not have a Trust and has not appointed a Power of Attorney, you will need to get this IMMEDIATELY, so you can take over all affairs for your Mom. If you wait, you will wind up having to go to court to get guardianship which I am told is long, hard and expensive....do not wait!

If your Mom does not have money to pay for in home medical help, you may need to see if she qualifies for Medicaid as they will help with care both in the home and hospitalization should she need to go to a nursing home.

I moved into my mothers home and have tired to do everything on my own as I had no help. This will kill you! You will need help and you will need to just get out and get away to keep your sanity.

God Bless You on Your Journey!
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Severe short term memory loss may be the beginning of dementia, it may be polypharmacy, it may be an infection of some kind, it may be a number of things. What it is NOT is the normal aging process. So I think this needs medical attention.
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Yes thats how it started with my Mom. My Mom also had low B12 which is why I take 1000 mcg's daily myself now. She had to get the shots until she was up to par and then I continued with the pills. Uti's can cause it also many things can, so get her checked out by a doctor to make sure. When my Moms started I took her to the doctors and by the ride home she didnt believe we went there. It progressed from there, that was in like 2005, she is now 92 and still hanging in there. Its such a long journey. Once she told me to get her keys in her drawer and then she came in and was upset saying "why are you in my drawer?" argh, its just the beginning stages. Hopefully your Moms is found to be minor and medically fixable. Good luck
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My MIL had Alzherimers relatively early in life. It started as long term memory problems, such as remembering a favorite recipe that had we wondering if there was something wrong. The short term memory went later. Then speaking. And then remembering how to eat/swallow. I witnessed it with my brother in law who lived with me. Many medications will cause short term memory, such as pain meds or meds for anxiety or depression. There is also a medical condition called normal pressure hydrocephalus that I had never heard of until my diagnosed with it. She had fallen and they MRId her head. They discovered that she had too much spinal fluid around her brain. They could have installed a shunt but she refused the surgery, which does not have a very good success rate. This condition causes short term memory loss, to the point now that she cannot remember how to work the telephone even after you directions on the wall, and she no longer reads or works crossword puzzles. This condition also affects the ability to walk. This was a neurologist's diagnosis. Take her to get checked out.
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Alzheimer's does start with memory loss, but so does overmedicating. I would take a good look at her meds. My MIL got herself so screwed up she landed in ICU. "Polypharmacy" is what they call it. More common than you think.
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Sheryl my mom is 94 and has virtually no short-term memory. I think it's from medications she takes. But she lives in independent living by herself and gets along just fine. I take her all of her food (it's too far for her to get to the dining room and she doesn't get dressed a lot of days). She reads almost a book a day, works the daily crossword puzzle in her newspaper, uses the microwave, does her own dishes, and cuts out articles in the paper for my brother and I.

If you're around her for more than five minutes, she'll ask you the same question or make the same comment three times. She can remember her early life, but couldn't remember the next day her son called from California or what they discussed. She gets along well because of having a very set routine. She's had a few issues here and there with remembering her medications and when to shower, but overall she's doing very well and is happy.

So short-term memory issues don't necessarily lead to Alzheimers. Just keep an eye out and look for things that are different from having no memory. The other day I was looking for some little cupcakes I'd brought my mom because I wanted to snag one for myself. I couldn't find them anywhere. I had this sinking feeling that she'd put them somewhere odd, which would indicate more of an issue with her memory (like Alzheimers). I asked her and of course she couldn't remember. I finally found them in her microwave, which she uses as a breadbox. Whew. She scared me there. :)
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If you're employed and your family can afford it, you can hire a health aide to sit with you mom while you work, they'll also do laundry, change bedding, do showering or bathing, prepare meals, clean her room, etc... The average cost is 20.00 per hour and frankly a good one is hard to find but well worth it for a busy professional and family. My dad didn't like the simple puzzles and games, he wanted to build stuff so we went with Legos. Also do a Durable Power of Attorney for finances and health matters, you can be removed with just a simple POA which could lead to a big headache for you and your mom. I do volunteer work and hired a health aide to help with dad so I could continue that work, she helps with doctors visits too.
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@Countrymouse. I didn't come close to saying it's not "JUST ANYTHING" I just wanted to say loss of short term memory isn't always Alzheimer's.
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Milindar, I hate to be doom-laden but what you describe in your MIL's case is vascular dementia. The poor circulation caused by congestive heart failure starves the brain of its oxygen supply so that little by little parts of it fail. That is dementia, it's not "just" anything.

If you go to the Alzheimer's Society, or look up the brilliant Teepa Snow's lectures, you will see the various kinds of dementia discussed. As I say, I don't want to be the bearer of bad news, but I don't believe illusions are helpful to anyone.
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My MIL was initially diagnosed with Dementia. But we've come to realize that she just has short term memory issues, most likely caused by lack of oxygen to the brain due to her heart failure. Alzheimer patients get to the point that they don't know what an item is, like a fork, or what its used for.
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Also, countrymouse knows what 'she's' talking about. If your Mother is slowly going through the first stages of progression to Alzhiemers, make sure you do your research. Know exactly what you and your family are going to be challenged with. It's a very taxing job even if your intentions are lovingly clear. The mental toll it takes on a caregiver is enormous. I grew up "old school" you care for your elders like they cared for you while growing up. However, make sure you do your research and a lot of it. Consult her doctors and get a POA and medical POA. Someone needs to have at least part of that before things get worse. My MIL fell many times but was always afraid to tell us for fear of us just putting her in a nursing home at first sign of not being able to care for herself. Give your Mom lots of reassurance. Get help with the caregiving aspect of it all. Make sure your siblings are on the same page and are seeing for themselves what exactly the situation is and get in writing what is going to be expected of each member. It's very easy for them to make excuses when things get bad, not to help out. And, like I said before, you are going to need a break every now and again. Don't want to seem like a real downer but I've walked in those shoes and if someone can learn from some of what I totally didn't know or expect, then that would be my gift to you.
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I agree, just because she is suffering short term memory loss doesn't mean she may evolve into Alzhiemers. I would get her evaluated by a physician who specializes in geriatric care. As far as improving her memory, there are brain exercises you can try. Such as small puzzles with big pieces, like they sell in kids toy department, also a memory card game. Again, like you see in toy stores. Start with a few cards first and lay them out upside down and try to make a match. You can make it fun if u play along with her. Also word search puzzles in extra large print. I would use washable markers to make it easier for her to see. For her physical exercises, they sell bike peddles. It's just the peddle part of the "bike" that sits on the floor. For upper body strength, try using soup cans. They are easier for her to hold. Not a lot of weight but have her sitting and alternate bringing one can up by bending her elbow then slowly lowering it. Hopefully when the weather warms up you can accompany her on short walks. We started slow such as walking to the mailbox. Remember, the old standard, if you don't use it, you lose it.? Good luck and please keep us posted on any progress.
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Sheryl, how long ago did you move in with your mother? Are you living in her home, or is she in yours? And, if you're working full-time in a demanding professional job, who is looking after her while you're out of the house?

I'm really hoping you thought this through before you took it on. Could you tell us a bit more, please?
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not necessarily dementia could just be aging.
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Some forms of dementia do start with with severe short term memory loss. I think it is valuable to try to get a diagnosis as specific as you can, so that a treatment plan can be put into place, and so that you know what to expect.

I think that an 85 year old should have a geriatrician as her primary care provider, and that a person with severe memory loss should be seen by a geriatric psychiatrist and/or a behavioral neurologist.
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