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I'm 19 - My Mum died when I was very young and I don't know my Dad so my Grandma raised me.(Born December 1943 - So she's about 70.) She's acting sort of childish here and there in ways that are too difficult too explain, She's become very forgetful, my boyfriend of 3years earlier this year had a Hernia in his stomach and she very much was involved and was very concerned for him.. A few months later (only about 3), I said "his Hernia is a lot better and I don't think he will need surgery".. She suddenly turned around and exclaimed "HE HAS A HERNIA?" As if she never knew. She's been forgetting lots of things here and there but that was definitely the most major so far. She stopped buying proper food for herself says that she "Can't afford to eat" Yet she is buying lots of unnecessary things that she counts more important than her eating, she often complains that all she eats is "Toast w/ Vegemite and Cups of Tea" Sometimes says she hasn't eaten for a day or two just maybe one cup of tea. When I got concerned I bought a Family Pie for her (I know it's not much) to eat to herself for a few days, she ate maybe a slice or two and left it there and when i mentioned it about a week later she had forgotten it existed and said she didn't see it there (When it was pretty clearly in the fridge) - Her driving has gotten a little off, she seems very absent minded whilst driving especially.

I went to Dominos with her yesterday and she seemed to not even understand what was happening around her, She said she'd pay for her part of the meal (Which is fair enough, I don't expect her to pay for my meals) (It was also just Garlic Bread - That's what she had for tea) so she started getting her money out in change.. By this point I had already paid it in full on my card but she continued to give the change to the worker behind the counter, placing the money on the counter and count out the money out one by one out loud (Like a child would) I collected the money off the counter and she suddenly raised her voice in alarm asking me to give her back her 10cents like really urgently like practically demanded it.. so I gave it back but what didn't make sense is she still put in a $1 extra so I still don't understand the urgency of the 10cents at all. Then whilst we were waiting she couldn't sit still, she was walking backwards and forwards looking at the menu, sitting back down and shortly after repeating the process - That continued for the whole 10mins.

Also in the last 3 maybe 4 days she has realised my Boyfriend and I do not have the key for the security door infront of the main front door and locks it everytime we go out so we have to come through the back door (past her computer or her besroom). She did it today (twice, once before this earlier today) when I assume she thought we had both left the house (I was actually in the bathroom and my Boyfriend had gone out) I heard her inspect our room to see if we were still here and then go straight to the front door and she locked it. ( I have NO idea WHY)

Also recently over the last few weeks maybe even few months she will hear or notice that we have someone over so she will knock on our bedroom door and yell out "How many people are in there?!" When my best friend who came over a lot has moved to QLD, my other friend comes over probably once a month maybe less and my boyfriends best mate comes often sometimes weekly to a few times a week. They are literally the only people that come over and I have told her that many many times - Literally everytime she has asked profusely "How many people are in there" There is literally just My boyfriend, myself (who live with her) and his best mate. but she continues to tell the rest of the family we have at least 10 people over "all the time" and that "we never see her" When this is incredibly untrue.

She also often locks herself away in her bedroom (Sometimes for days, sometimes for hours) and then stays on the computer for often most of the night.

I just don't know what this means, or what's going on with her, I don't believe other family members will believe me when I say I am concerned or how they will react when I tell them any of these things and don't know how to talk about it. Her youngest son is about 45 and oldest is i think 55 who haven't lived with her for many years now, it's really just been her and I most of my life. I find it distressing to see her act this way and I swear I'm not over reacting but maybe I am, she just seems different but I don't know what to do about it. There is a lot more scenarios but these are what I can think of for now.

Someone please reply, it is bothering me quite alot, I'd just like some friendly advice.

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Countrymouse- Thanks so much, Yes I am in Australia (Victoria, Melbourne) and that sounds a lot easier for me, I will look into it tomorrow and see when they're free etc. & That's what I was thinking as well, I thought she might just be trying to sound more "with it" which is understandable but made me a bit more worried
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Rose, that sounds to me like someone making light of it, while at the same time feeling a bit overwhelmed and perhaps rather frightened. Look, it could be that she just is plain worn out and needs a bit of peace and quiet - I don't mean "why are you feckless youths burdening this poor old lady yada yada yada" because clearly there are also lots of benefits to your being there, and anyway you are getting your respective acts together, so it's not like that. But while having young people around does keep you young, it can also get quite knackering. I love it when my grown up children come to visit but I'm secretly glad to get my house back, too, and I've got some decades on your grandma.

However, while stress might make the memory problems worse, it doesn't create them. And it's not something to make light of, either.

Given that you're only 19 - you're in Australia, are you? - I think probably the best thing you could do is look up your local social services department, call and ask to speak to Adult Services, and have a good chat with a social worker who specialises in services for older people. The first thing you need to tell that person is that you haven't asked your grandmother's permission to speak to her, and your grandmother hasn't asked for help or admitted to any concerns, but that you are worried and would like advice about what you could do to help.

Forget everything you might have heard about busybody nosey parker social workers. They are professionals who are there to help, and they do their job well. They will not march in and take over, nor will they insist on meeting your grandmother if she doesn't want to see them, but they might have lots of useful ideas that are relevant to your local area.

I agree, I wouldn't make too much of her anecdote about forgetting her identity (unless the 8-10 years ago turns out to have been last week!); but do write yourself some notes about other incidents you've noticed so that you can give anyone you talk to a clear picture.

Don't be afraid to tell your grandmother that you are getting worried and wish she would get herself checked out. She's likely to pooh-pooh the idea, but once you've discussed it with social services, who might suggest contacting her doctor (and if she hasn't got one, they'll also suggest some to approach), you can encourage her to take things further. Reassure her throughout that NOBODY is going to want to write her off or "put her in a home." That's not what it's about. It is about making sure that any problems get identified so that they can be handled and she can enjoy her old age.

Which I know is what you want! So don't worry about what the rest of the family will say - start your research. Best of luck, keep posting.
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I mentioned lightly to her about her forgetfulness, she said she's fairly aware and that it often happens when she's very stressed out, she says she is finding it difficult too support 3 young people on her pension. Yet we have a young boy (20) who lives in the unit out back that doesn't pay any rent and she refuses to ask for it from him because "he does things around the house", My boyfriend pays the smallest amount of rent and I do occasionally as well but I have tried too insist that my boyfriend will pay more and I will start properly too if the boy in the unit starts to pay rent. She utterly refuses. My boyfriend and I do things around the house just as normal people would do, but the boy in the unit literally as much as he has "fixed" things around the house, he's more made a mess of it and a dodgy job if anything. (He likes patching things, painting things, working on objects, plumbing, wiring the house and "improving things" when they are fine in the first place.) she will complain about certain things he does but gives him the excuse "he's only trying too help" were in the process of moving and he's doing a lot but he isn't a qualified anything and I don't know how this will look too building inspectors when they come. I've had many goes at him but he just continues and often seems closer to my Grandma than I am for quite some time now.

Back to our conversation though, after stating that she's stressed and why etc. Then she told me that about 8-10 Years ago she literally "forgot who she was" and that she stated "surely there has too be someone out there who knows who I am" and then she said she remembered her eldest son and contacted him. (I would of been 9 or 10 at the time) I don't know if I should even believe that though.
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be very patient and reassuring with her. try not to correct her or contradict her if she is mis-remembering things. she is probably realizing things aren't right either and is scared. if you are concerned about what will happen at the doctor's office, speak to them ahead of time and explain the situation - they will work with you. as someone said earlier - a geriatrician is the best place to start - they are often more sensitive to the patient and their expertise is in the health of the elderly. do this right away - if it is a urinary tract infection it can be taken care of very quickly with antibiotics. Yes - get her children involved - dont deal with this alone. she is lucky to have you! good luck
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Rose, I'm just wondering if you've talked with your grandma about how she is feeling? Does she have any worries that she's noticed, such as things getting more difficult, or just a general feeling that something is wrong?
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Good luck Rose. It's important to get all her kids on board, they need to be aware that she is getting forgetful and probably should not be driving. You might want to get a health care proxy signed by her so you can medical decisions when she is unable to . See her MD or call him, tell him what you see going on.
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Thankyou everyone! You really have been all so helpful, I am getting in contact with her eldest son and seeing what he says, hopefully will be easier if the Family takes this seriously if not I will have to contact a doctor as you said. It just seems unusual and I can't seem to change her mind on certain things especially her eating. Thankyou all so much it really means alot.
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Yes, this is good advice. Reading on this site is helpful too.

I learned that you can't take things personally when dealing with a loved one who has dementia. You cannot take what they say personally. They are likely to forget much of what they say or do. You can't rely on them to do what you ask, even if they promise. Their memory simply prevents it.

Even if they promise to do things safely, they may not. Their judgment may be so impaired that they are susceptible to con artists and unscrupulous people who may prey on them. Be careful of this. They may make odd financial decisions too.

Good luck with your grandmother. She's lucky to have you around to notice she needs help.
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Great advice, Blannie!
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Rose you need to start reading up on dementia because it sounds like your grandma has it. But first, like Ba8alou says, make sure she doesn't have a urinary tract infection (UTI). Those can make older people act crazy until you get rid of the infection.

If it is dementia, it can take many forms, but everything you're describing is common to dementia. If you go to Youtube and search for Teepa Snow, you'll see lots of videos on dementia. Here's one on the 10 early signs of dementia: youtube/watch?v=pqmqC-702Yg

If it is dementia, your gram's brain isn't working right, so you can't necessarily reason with her. Getting her evaluated by a doctor who deals with older people is the first step. Write down examples of what she's doing and take it with you or get it to the doctor before your visit, so he/she knows what you're dealing with. Good luck and keep us posted.
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There's obviously something going on. If you can, go with gram to the doctor and describe her symptoms to him.
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Most of the things you describe sound very familiar. When my cousin first started doing odd things and forgetting things, we really didn't know what to make of it. Now it makes sense. She had dementia and it has progressed.

I think getting the doctor involved is a good idea so they can rule out something like a urinary tract infection or depression, which, I've learned can also impair memory and cause delirium. Until this is resolved, it might be a good idea if she didn't drive or use the stove to be on the safe side.

Do you have any other family or friends to help you? I wish you both the best.
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Yeah I find I went blank trying to explain it too other people as well, it's hard to know what to even say half the time I think I'm imagining things but I'm starting to think not hah. Yeah alright I'll do that but do you know what exactly they tell her at the doctors? She gets really offended when you even subtly hint anything
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If you can't find the name, call the local hospital and get the name of a doctor who specializes in the care of older people. Here in the states, they are called geriatricians. I think that would be a good place to start. But get a special notebook and start writing down what you find odd in gram's behavior. With my mom, when the docs started asking me for examples of what I meant, I couldn't think of a darn thing!
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I think she does, I'd have to hunt down the name somehow - and thats a good idea thankyou, if theres any other things I can do please let me know
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Does gram have a regular doctor? I would ring him and tell him what is happening. It could be a UTI or the beginnings of dementia or a dozen other things. Write down what you observe in a notebook from here on.
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