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I am at a loss with how to interact with both of my parents but mainly my mother. She is going to be 69 in a few months, and her health seems to be going down hill quickly. She refuses to see a GP, she does get her eyes checked regularly and her teeth worked on but as far as getting a physical she will not have anything to do with it. She hasn't had a pap smear or a breast exam since I was born, 40 years ago! My father does not seem to think there is any sort of problem and he is very hard to talk to about any of this. And he has been acting different too lately but not exactly the same as my mother. I am not sure if she is experiencing dementia in some form or if this is normal aging, I know everyone can be different but her reactions and behavior is starting to really get to me. Some examples of what I am referring to are we will talk and I will tell her a story, she will ask questions and we will talk a little while longer about it. Then less than a week later we will see each other and the story will come up again and she will ask the same exact questions as if she hadn't asked them before. She has always repeated herself but this is a newer thing she's been doing. Even if I say, remember I told you and then explain, she will not react. She also has been interrupting us a lot, over the weekend my son was telling her and my dad about his friend who is going into the Army, he was in the middle of explaining things to them and out of nowhere my mother asked if any of us had seen the news about a man who fell to his death the other day, then she brought up a story she saw on the news about a lost dog. Not only did she totally take over the conversation but these two stories had nothing in common with what my son was talking about. It was awkward and I didn't know what to do. She talks about other people a lot, she does it in a way like she is really close to them but it is usually people she has not seen in a very long time and who she's never been close to and they have no real importance in her life. My cousin's son is having a baby with his girlfriend, my mother sees this guy maybe once every few years if that and she is upset about it because the girl he is having the baby with already has 2 kids. I have no idea why she cares but she does and she acts so upset and angry about it. She will also go on and on about details that have nothing to do with anything, like this cousin, he lives with his brother and she will go as far as explaining what rooms each of them have access to in their town home, I have no idea why she knows this or why she feels other people need to know but she feels it's very important for me to know these details about people I have no relationship with. She has also started to have a lot of problems with getting new information, if I tell her something has changed or something she is not totally prepared for (and it's not bad news or even big news, it'll just be everyday things), she will just sit there for a long pause like she is in shock. It's like she can't absorb the info or grasp what I am saying. All of this seems to be building more and more and it is frustrating because she will not have anything to do with going to the doctor and I do not feel that my father even wants to address it.

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Linda, I would ask for a referral to a neurologist. That doc would be able to ascertain much better what is going on. Many demenias start as mild cognitive impairment. Stay active, exercise, eat properly not too many sweets, etc.
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Thank you for this info. I have been diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment, but told it's not dementia. Does this makes sense?
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Linda, Alzheimer's is only one type of more than seventy types of dementia. If you suspect memory loss in a loved one it is very important to see a neurologist. Some sorts of dementia are treatable and caused by medications, urinary tract infections and other infections. Dementiais the catch all term for all sorts of memory loss.
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"Dementia" is an umbrella term, covering a set of symptoms from many causes. It is sort of like "contagious diseases" Chicken pox and malaria are examples of contagious diseases. Alzheimer's and Lewy Body Dementia are kinds of dementia. There are somewhere around 50 kinds of dementia.

There may be some memory loss conditions that are not dementia-related. Amnesia? I'm really not sure.

I can tell you this: The absolute worst kind of dementia is the one your loved one has. Always.

I can tell you this, too: Dementia gets worse over time. Always. Not steadily or predictability or on some schedule you can look up in a chart. But always.
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What's the difference between dementia, Alzheimer's, and all the other memory loss diagnosis?
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Eyerishlass, my Mom would do the same thing as your Dad. Doctors in the ER would ask if my Mom had dementia, and I had to tell them no, it was her hearing. Once Mom caught on to the subject matter, she was quite sharp.

Yellowbird, my Mom would interrupt conversations, too. I think she wanted to feel she had something important to say, and now that I look back I can understand how she felt. Mom was a housewife for 70+ years so her world was more narrow then mine and my Dad's. Dad had his job, and I had my career. Mom had laundry, house cleaning, and groceries/cooking. Thus, Mom would be nosy about the relatives and the neighbors, coming up with theories about what was going on in that household, etc.
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If you think something is off then it probably is. Like jeannegibbs said, it may or may not be dementia but your instinct is probably right on.

Just a thought: my dad was very hard of hearing, practically deaf. He was born deaf in one ear and lost most of his hearing in his other ear. At times it seemed like he had dementia because he would say off the wall things but it was just his loss of hearing that made him seem as if he had dementia. Several times at Dr.'s visits or trips to the ER I had to go out of my way to explain to the staff that my dad didn't have dementia, that he was just very hard of hearing.

I mention this because perhaps the same is true of your mom.
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I take it this is a change from her former behavior. Some people could fit that description in their "normal" state. If she hasn't always been scatter-brained and socially inept, then this behavior represents some kind of problem in her brain. Dementia? Not necessarily, but something is not right for sure.

If you could talk both her and your dad into having a physical "just to establish a baseline before you start to age" that would be useful. But that may not be within your control.

As this problem gets worse there will something that forces the issue. Until then, be patient, be kind, and be watchful.
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Yellow, it may be the start of dementia, or it may not be. If it is dementia prepare yourself the repetition will become much, much worse. Use lots of patience now then you will be well practiced when you really need it. As dementia develops the brain loses more and more brain cells. It will not be at all unusual for the same questions to be asked five times in five minutes.

If she is diagnosed with dementia there will be options for treating it. There are some types of dementia that are caused by infection and such. A doctor needs to determine if there is a sole cause, then you can move on.
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