What are the first signs of dementia, or things they do, not just "oh I forgot"?

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When I asked my mother's doctor (privately) he said " Oh she does have a lot going on right now." (Decline in health recently) If or when I need to have him to sign she is capable or not, I need to have it in her medical chart a head of time. I know what to expect from what I have read by some posted here but when does it start? Mother is generally a peaceful lady, but of late, she can ask me the same question an hour later. She has no UTI or nothing off on her blood work. Thanks

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Karazeeme - try posting your own question. See the box that says "Get Answers?" Use that. People who know the answer will answer you.

Also, give a little more info in your question. Were you the DPOA? For whom? How did you find out they didn't want you any more?
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Does anyone have to let the dpoa know when they dont want you to do it anymore.?
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My mom: left the car on a busy street, with the door open and the engine running and just started walking. Husband: starting talking funny, said schnow for snow. Said that heat rises in the mountains and that high elevations would need AC more than sea level, car wrecks.
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My mom is the queen of "coverup" when it comes to her symptoms - but even she can't cover them forever. She puts on an excellent show in front of others - including my siblings - and everyone thinks she's fine. She carries on conversation, smiles and laughs, and no one is the wiser. At home, alone with me, she forgets what I said we were having for supper just 2 minutes ago and asks again what we're having. She won't remember to change her incontinence briefs or to wipe herself when using the toilet - or she'll wipe and put the paper in the trash, dropping feces on the floor or smearing it on the trash can. If I don't stand right there with her when she showers, she will sit in the shower and just let the water run, then turn it off and get out - still dry and unwashed. She doesn't remember how to dress herself most of the time now - if I'm standing there watching her, she will look at me with this quizzical look on her face, like she's not sure what to do next - so I will tell her she needs to put her top on - and it's like a light comes on. She couldn't balance the checkbook if she tried. A voracious reader for her entire life, she now pages through magazines and looks at pictures, but doesn't really read them, because, as she's told me more than once, "I just can't focus on the words anymore." (That's one of the saddest parts of this.) If left to her own devices, she would not wash, eat regular meals, take her meds, or pay the bills - because she can't.

5 years ago, she wasn't like this. She became depressed when her sister passed away, and then when my dad passed 2 years ago, she started really going downhill, and it hasn't stopped. It's like a slow train going down a long, long slope.
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For my husband it was lack of ability to do the checkbook which he had always been in charge of. When I finally took over he had bounced $2000 dollars worth of checks. I knew. I have always read that if you forget something and then remember where it was, you are OK. If you forget something and never think of it again, you are in trouble
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You need to get her diagnosed. My first step though would be to find out what meds she's on, research them and how they interact. From there, MD and your PCP can recommend a psych evaluation. Something is very wrong. Some things are classic dementia (which can have a number of physical causes), but what you are describing goes way beyond that.
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My mother started having trouble with anything that had more than one or two steps in the process. It began with not sending birthday cards to my kids. She was saying things like "I just can't get it together anymore" or "I just have so much on my mind". I'd ask her what, since she was retired and nothing but free time every day all day long. She couldn't tell me. Another sign I missed. I just thought she was being dramatic, an attention-seeker, and weird.

She stopped cleaning the house. "I don't care. Nobody's here but me." was a cover up we all missed. She stopped washing dishes and cleaning up spills and doing laundry and taking out the trash. "Don't mess with that. It's mine!" She could no longer put clean things in the right place, so there were piles everywhere of mixed clean & dirty clothes.

She stopped being able to pay bills or communicate with the doctor and pharmacy. She started eating rotten food, leaving things out overnight to "thaw". Buying lots of the same thing over & over. Like 6 dozen eggs, multiple pints of collard greens, many rotisserie chickens.

House repairs weren't being made. She called me mad as heck one day because the gas station "ripped her off". She could not remember how to pump and pay for gas. She swore they charged her $50 for nothing and there was no gas in her car, yet the needle was on F. That was a scary day. I know she made a scene in the gas station.

She called me frequently at all hours with hallucinations that I was in her house (I was in another state), or that I was talking to her on TV. She asked me where I put her pants, when I hadn't been in that house for a couple years.

She was seeing men with red eyes in the windows of the house at night. She was seeing a squirrel on the mantle running around. She got her days & nights mixed up. She believed people were driving up into the yard around the house and tearing up the yard, but it was not torn up.

She basically got to where she couldn't follow instructions anymore and compensated by being loud, mean, and bratty to chase people off. She lost her social filter and would threaten to run around naked or pee on the floor.

She began to have temper tantrums like a little child if she didn't instantly get her way. Complete with kicking & screaming, swearing, spitting, and hitting.

Fear turned into paralyzing paranoia and anger. Everyone was out to kill her and steal her money. Especially me.

Even so, she was calling our names until just very recently. She knew what grade my kids were in. She would ask me if "I had found work yet". I've never been unemployed. She can be as lucid as you & me and then an hour later, she hears cats in the wall and sees some kind of cat/dog hybrid animal and holes in the ceiling & floor. An hour after that she's calling her caretakers the N word and duking it out with them. It's all over the place.
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Loss of not just memory, but loss of the ability to compensate for it, loss of judgement, inability to troubleshoot even minor problems in daily self care or routine activitites - those things indicate early dementia. Losing the ability to do something way easier than what you normally did all the time would be a tip off.

When my dad could not play a game of Solitaire on the computer and he'd even managed to e-mail me and used to program in Fortran, I really should have known. How he HATED the word "confused" when he got things mixed up, but he could often relate to "memory problems" OK and other times you just had to go along with him.

Forgetting where you left your grape juice is one thing. Calling a loved one who lives 30 or miles away and is at work to come find it for you right away, or calling the police or accusing someone of stealing it would be another thing altogether. Forgetting to turn off the oven happens, but failure to react to smoke or the burning smell is something else. (I use a safety tea kettle myself!!) Forgetting your house key is one thing, but forgetting what keys are even for is much more serious. Writing a shopping list and forgetting to bring it with you - happens all the time, but just buying one of everything instead of coming back for the list or texting a spouse for it could be more of an issue...or not. We frequently have a few extras of various items thanks to one of us screwing that up! Keyword though is "a few..."
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See kayBee58's advice.

I believe inappropriate behavior (which was uncharacteristic of the person in the past) can be an early sign of dementia.
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Also, check out the article "The Type of Alzheimer's You (and Your Doctor) May Not Know About" By Anne-Marie Botek, May 02, 2014 on this website. I found it to be very helpful and, finally, something *new*....
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