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My husband came borderline at the doctors for a spanish memory test.

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Patsy,
The action that revealed to ME that my mom had dementia was when she couldn't write out a check at the grocery store. She had written checks all of her adult life. She stood in line staring blankly at the check. After I realized she couldn't do it, I told her what and where to write.

I was observing her in the store also and she seemed lost. (In her defense, she didn't go grocery shopping hardly at all. I ordered groceries on line for her and the store would deliver them.) But she seemed disoriented and unable to figure out where things were. I had to guide her through the store.
Does your husband have trouble doing things now that he's done all his life? I didn't realize any of this living 500 miles away.
When she confused a sinus pill with an anti-anxiety pill I realized she was no longer responsible to take care of herself. She is now living in a memory care facility with Stage 5-6 Alzheimer's dementia.

You said it might take months to get your husband evaluated by a neurologist. Could you schedule an appointment and privately pay for the consultation? At least you would know sooner.

Please get a support system in place (friends, neighbors, family, church, etc.) for future help. Also, educate yourself as much as you can, read about dementia. It's imperative to know what you both would be in for. God bless you in this difficult time.
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One of my husband's early signs was spatial awareness. He has always loved maps and geography, and had a perfect sense of direction. The day we left a store on Mass. Ave and he didn't KNOW instantly which way to Harvard Square, I knew there was a problem. He was still years away from diagnosis, but I knew that meant trouble ahead.
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Hi everyone thank you again for all your answers the test was done in English he also failed to remember one of the three words that he had been given to remember. I just somethines think he is ok just maybe older than his actual years because of ill health etc and than you realise that he has forgotten how to use something that he hasn't used for a 6-12 months and he tries to hide the fact. He did agree to see the memory consultant so he does know in his own mind that something isn't right. It was sad when after completing the test the doctor said he had passed but with a C grade and would like to him to see a consultant. He looked at me and was confussed with "well I passed why do I need to go and see someone" anyway he asked me what I thought which is again is unual. So i think we both been in denial and we are accepting this a bit at a time.
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When I had a car accident and appeared to have some scratches and bruises coming up from the air bag, the EMTs wanted me to go with them; but, I didn't feel it was necessary. So, they started the questioning. I was working part time then. When they asked the date, I knew the month, but not the date. When they asked the day of the week, I said it isn't Monday or Wednesday because I work on those days. I told them I was retired and only knew things that were not readily available in my phone, to which they grinned. When they asked who was president, I said, "UNFORTUNATELY, ..." They all laughed and decided I was fine and released me on my own signature to ride with the tow truck that took my husband's car home. :-( As some of the medical people have pointed out, it isn't getting the answers right that matters. They just want to observe your thought processes. It was a good point about being questioned in one's first language, though. The patient might not understand the questions or might not be able to express the answers properly. FYI Knowledge of a foreign language, if any of you want a diversion and have to be at home with LOs, is supposed to postpone the onset of dementia and some other forms of mental illnesses. It increases with the third, fourth, etc. language. So, maybe some of the free sites online or language learning sets might be something of interest and short mental escapes from your caretaking duties? Do I have to add it can be fun, especially with a buddy or if your LO happens to speak the language?
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Sorry, didn't read all posts. Was English his first language? Maybe the test should have been given in English. Not knowing the date, who the President is etc are signs of progressing Alzheimers and Dementia. Neurologist will give a better exam.
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Patsyretired: Has his doctor (neurologist, PCP, whatever) tried getting him to do a clock test? The wife of a friend of mine was asked to to a clock test and failed. She was asked to do the test, failed it, and is now in the latter stages of AD. If not, ask the doctor to do that. It may help with a diagnosis.
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Patsyretired: (Even I made a mistake on your screen name on the last post-so sorry). One more thing I thought of is that if your husband's able to do crossword puzzles, that would benefit his mind greatly. Start with Monday's and work his way to each consecutive day. Mondays are the easiest.
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Patysretired: The typical memory questions asked at the doctor (or even when a person has reached Medicare eligibility) is "what is the day, date, month, year; who is the President; where are you currently?" A person's "score" is then recorded. So, okay, let's say your husband doesn't leave the house much...that's where the problem comes in...the days just all flow together and they are left without a clue as to what day it is. But...since your husband failed four items (year, day, date and month) that should have raised a red flag to the doctor that something is amiss.
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Please...in my opinion...and I am not a doctor...and do not tell you to do this but do know that if this happened to me I would lose weight...take Omega 3 ...exercise by walking or a rowing machine if my feet hurt...and straighten my spine at a chiropractor. A straight spine will get more blood and oxygen to the brain... Reathe in slowly and deeply for a few beeathes every hour. Listen to good happy music often. Learn something new....even a documentary... If I need a machine to pump air in my lungs as I sleep...I would. As lack of sleep due to restless sleep prevents air from going into the brain. Can you imagine how people get bedsores? No bloodflow to body parts then that part of the body starts to get rotten like bad meat and dies...well...your brain is the same...give it blood...give it air. Breathe and move. Let me know in 6 minths what happens. People give up in old age...sit...watch tv...and eat whatever....tbey move around less. I would bet there is another answer...not alzheimers in many seniors.
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When Mum was first diagnosed with Alzheimers she, like many others didn't know the current day or month but unless she had a digital clock she lost the ability to tell the time. However she is on Donepezil now which suits her (it does not suit everyone I might add, not by a long mark, but she can now manage quite well things like time. What she can't do is follow a conversation so TV is something she watches avidly but never remembers so repeats are never a problem because it would take her watching it 5 or six times before she could remember it!
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GA: So how long did you live under the rock? When you took singing lessons, did you come out and go back in? Or were you already living in a house then?

I've thought of taking singing lessons, even going so far as to look up singing instructors in our little town a month or two ago. I've pretty much decided I'll leave it until the fall. Seems like a good indoor thing to do. Then I might join a choir, if they'll have me ... just for Christmas, you know.

I have a friend who keeps so quiet abt her personal accomplishments that I didn't know until a year ago that she sang on a small-town choir -- I've known her since 1980. Thru' FaceBook, she invited one and all to last year's Christmas choir performance in their wee church and it was sold out almost immediately. She DOES do a cat rescue thingy, and she's only got a FB page for her cat rescue, not a personal page. I am QUITE fond of her.

So I'm done blathering for now.
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Jinglebts, no problem at all. Actually living under the rock was quite cool - no need for air conditioning, had lots of friendly visitors such as butterflies and some song birds. No utilities to pay for, no cable company to provide lousy service....just the entertainment of the wildlife in the garden.

If you want to learn to sing, by all means take lessons. I never thought I could sing, but was determined to find out so I took a voice class, then continued with private lessons. I am in so much awe of opera singers; until someone has taken a voice class and focused on so many of the minute details, it's not readily apparent how much work and effort is required to sing.

Don't be sorry or humiliated - you're not Sarah Palin or Donald Trump or someone who consistently makes a fool of her/himself. Those are the people who should be sorry that they're making public donkeys of themselves, not to mention spewing their hate filled rhetoric.

As to singing, start with hymns; they're a lot easier to sing. Then work up to art songs, although some of them are kind of boring. I wanted to sing like Joan Baez and sing protest songs right away, but there was a lot of leg work (or rather voice work) before reaching that stage, which I never did.

These days when I try to sing and I sound more like the resident frogs. No, actually they sing better than I can now.
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my depart ed husband was diag. with alz but in the end he did not have this according to pathologist after he died i wanted autopsy and it revealed an organic brain condition that mocked alz. and could have been reversed. so after going into hospital for one thing he came out with so much more and died
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GA: Sorry, I misunderstood bigly. I remember the song b/c I immediately thought, "They have 57 channels in the States? That sure beats our four."

He wasn't one that I followed either, but I recently watched the Oscar-winning "20 Feet from Stardom", a documentary about back-up singers. (I always thought that, if worst came to worst, I'd go to Nashville or LA and become a back-up singer. Of course I'd have to learn to sing first.)

Anyway, he was on "20 Feet" b/c there were several stars talking about their back-ups and he was one of them, and I also happened to recall that he married one of his back-up singers and they lived happily ever after. I love harmonies and chords so I do really love back-up. It's an excellent documentary and you should rent it if you can. They mostly come from a gospel background and their voices are just beautiful.

I'm covered in shame for my misunderstanding, as I thought "who hasn't heard of Springsteen?" and leapt to a conclusion. Humiliated, I am. Soooo sorry.

I do recommend "20 Feet from Stardom" tho'.
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Jinglebts, I wasn't clear on Springsteen. I do of course remember him, although he wasn't one of the stars that I followed. What I didn't remember, was "Springsteen's "57 Channels and Nuthin' On"? "
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GA: If you really don't know who Springsteen is, then, IMHO, you've been living under a rock. ;=) He rose to popularity in the late 60s/early 70s, and has been on the rise ever since. He writes activist songs, rock'n'roll, protest songs, is pro-Obama, blah blah. You should google him.

I must confess to not seeing Dame Margot and Nureyev at the same time, more's the pity, but I did see her in Oxford when we were there; she was doing Sleeping Beauty, and her "Rose Adagio" was the best I've ever seen. She was stunning and wonderful. She got a standing ovation BEFORE she came on. Yes, they were both highlights. I don't remember whether he did -- I just remember being bowled over by his charisma and sex appeal.

I know that the networks to reality shows b/c they're cheap to do. I do know that none of the ppl on the "Housewives" franchise gets paid any significant amount, so I can only surmise that Warhol's statement is coming true -- sooner or later everyone will be famous for 15 minutes. And that Western society is succumbing to individualism -- the notion that favours freedom of action for individuals over collective or state control. I must admit that I'm a bit of a socialist at heart -- like I can't believe that anyone wouldn't think that health care isn't a right, instead of a choice. But that's just me, and I've grown up in a Canada under the health care system devised by Tommy Douglas, which the Conservatives have been gradually killing with the death of a thousand cuts. I'm so glad my daughter graduated from university debt free (we all chipped in) -- when she first heard of a student paying off school debts she thought "What debt? I don't have any -- oooh noooh Mr. Bill! You have a massive debt! How are you ever going to pay that huge amount!!"

Enuff blathering ... I'm sure you're tired of reading my nonsense (well, you could have just stopped reading, you know) ... Yes, I am a raving loonie.
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Jinglebts, ooooohhh, I'm gasping at the thought of seeing Nureyev in person! That would be the highlight of a lifetime!

Live concerts and ballets are so exciting in the first place, ...starting with the sound of the orchestra warming up, the anticipation, and it only gets better and more exciting and rewarding.

But seeing such a dramatic, powerful and talented dancer must have been breathtaking. I used to enjoy watching him partner Margot Fonteyn; they just seem to blend together effortlessly.

I remember Karen Kain too although I don't recall specifically the ballets in which I saw her dance. Have you ever seen the magazine Pointe? It's just filled with dramatic photos of dancers.

And there's the ultimate in dance movie, The Turning Point, with Anne Bancroft, Shirley MacLaine, Leslie Browne and the incomparable Mikhail Baryshnikov. At the end of the movie while the credits are rolling, Leslie Browne performs a solo that's just magical, sheer grace and sheer beauty. I've seen that movie again and again, I'm sure about 10 times.


I'm not sure if some of the trashy reality shows reflect a trend in America, but they're really not even in the class of entertainment.

Sorry, I don't remember Springsteen, but I do remember the folk artists of the 60's and 70's and watch and rewatch those old programs on PBS. They really take me back to the protest days as well as the days of songs that had meaning and spoke to a generation of people challenging establishment and government military action.
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ff and GA: Isn't TV awful now! Love the many series on PBS and TVO (Ontario), NatGeoWild is ok (love Cesar), and I must profess I'm a big fan of DWTS.

Remember Springsteen's "57 Channels and Nuthin' On"? Now it's hundreds of channels and even less on. Phooey.
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GA: About a hundred years ago, my ex and I saw Nureyev at the Met Opera House. I hadn't liked him when I saw him on TV -- his facial expressions put me off. But live at the Met? He had so much charisma he just blew me away. I think it was Sleeping Beauty and I think he had taken Karen Kain under his wing then. Whatever -- it was as if a mighty wind had overtaken me and I could hardly stand to give him the ovation he so rightly deserved.

Whew ... going to lie down with a cold cloth now.
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FF, have you ever watched any of the nature programs (I think it's the NatGeo channel)? Smithsonian has some excellent ones as well. Most of the rest...blah. Except Oxygen, which hosts 4 - 5 different Nutcracker ballets in December as well as reruns of Pride and Prejudice. Can't beat ballet!
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GardenArtist, same with me, it's the first moment of waking up and sometimes I would get into a panic as I didn't know what day it was.... I would quickly reach over to the nightstand, grab the remote, and turn on cable TV news.... ahhhh, there it is, day, date, and time. Whew.

Years ago, I could remember what new day it was depending on what TV show I watched the night before.... ok, today is Friday as Big Bang Theory was on Thursday night. Now I am hooked on all the nightly reruns of Big Bang, so that doesn't work any more.... TV has gotten so terrible [now I sound like my parents] that I just do old reruns :P
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Years ago, I had an internship in a psych ER. A patient was brought in and the psychiatrist asked the patient who the president was. "It's election day doc, we're just gonna have to wait to find out" was the response.

Those questions are asked to determine a patient's orientation
to place and time. It's not really about getting it "right". It's about knowing what you don't know.
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ff: I am retired and every time I go to the doctor, esp. my neurologist, I have to look at the news to see the day, date, and even year. There is just no reason, for me, to keep up with that kind of stuff any more. Unfortunately, the days seem to melt together, so time passes much too quickly. Once I said it was March instead of November. (In my own defense, we had just been talking about March, but I don't suppose that made any difference to him.) Hey ho. Whatever.
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my moms doc gave her a quick aptitude test one day . he asked her to spell " world " backwards . my mom has always been a puzzle genius . she put it on him so quickly my head spun . ive never had the need to spell backwards and would flatly refuse to do so if a doc asked me to .
date and time ? s*it .. i dont know or care . i have no water bill and the electricity is paid in chunks in advance .
in my experience , a demented elder loses their nouns first . my dad used to blather on about stuff that you despised hearing about . every few seconds he' d ask mom -- ma , what was that guys name / dwights friend / and so on .
so pointless . i just gave up nouns voluntarily at a relative young age so i dont have to rack my brain . i work at the farm for fk face . the shop foreman is a guy i call fk face . his cousin worked with me in the forest last winter . his name was also fk face . sometimes i help the bee keep guy . his name is fk face .
now im going over to my sons coworkers house ( fk face ) to get me some weed . hope i dont run into that county mounty ( fk face ) . on the way there or back ..
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Yes, getting all aspects of the date wrong could be one of the early signs of dementia. (Retired, I sometimes have to look at a calendar and figure out the day of the week. But I never think this is 2009.)

Your profile says the problem is "dementia" -- I take it that is a tentative diagnosis while you pursue further testing. Do make that appointment with a neurologist! In the meanwhile, learn all you can about dementia so you'll have a better idea of what to expect and how to deal with it. If it turns out that the neurologist thinks it is something else there will have been no harm in your learning exercise.

This site can be a very good source of information and also of support.

Trying to enforce the date, etc. for your husband probably can't hurt, but may not help, either. Is there any reason he needs to know that information? You can say, "Today is Tuesday, so we are going to the bargain movie." or "This is the first week of the month, July, so it is time for your haircut." Where it matters, you will have to be his memory. If it doesn't matter, why bother him about it?

It is not a good idea to coach him before his neurological examine. You want to learn about how he is on his own, and coaching might give false results.

My mom has dementia and has been in a nursing home 2 years. The center decorates common rooms at least once a month. My sisters and I decorate Mom's room with a seasonal wreath, window decorations, a season dress for her doll, etc. at least once a month. With all those visual reminders of season, you'd think all residents would realize it is June or at least summer. Mom just took a little memory test and got all parts of the date wrong. From time to time she wants to know the date, but she really doesn't remember it.

My husband usually got the month right and often the date. What he asked each morning was "what is the temperature?" Sometimes I'd joke with him and say "You'll be in the house all day. It is and will be 68." But he'd insist on knowing the outside temperature, so he knew whether to dress in shorts or long pants, etc. For him, knowing that it was November 15 did not translate into wearing winter clothing.

Each case of dementia is unique, but there is enough commonality to make reading about the disease very helpful for caregivers.
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So, you are still in Spain? Has he signed documents that give you the right to handle his financial affairs and make healthcare decisions? Have you had that reviewed by legal experts in Spain? I would take care to ensure those things are in order, while he is still competent.

I might also consider the future needs of his care in Spain. I'm not familiar with what may be available where you live. If you have little support, it could become an issue. As dementia advances, it becomes an around the clock responsibility. I would consider the options now, since travel with him may be more problematic as he progresses.
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I found this happened after I quit working. Work had provided such a structure and orientation for me, and when it no longer became a part of my life, I had to make more of an effort to keep oriented.

Now I find I have more trouble remembering what day it is when I'm semi-awake in the morning, having to go through orientation of what was done the day before, what obligations exist for the next days, etc.

Patsy, I would continue watching for other signs, but don't let it upset or frighten you too much as it might just be a temporary disorientation.

I also think that this could easily occur to people living in remote areas, with little contact with others, or with people out camping in remote areas.
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Thank you for replying so quickly the doctor was a general practice doctor and she has refered him to a neurologist but has warned me it could take months for an appointment. I don't mind the wait. We have lived in Spain for 13years but when something happens you need friends and family around, not that friends haven't helped me here but a lot don't come to see us anymore where my husband has changed
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What kind of doctor did he see? Sometimes, a person's performance on a test like that can vary depending on the day and time of day. Some days are better than others when it comes to their memory. Has he been referred to a neurologist? Has he had other tests, like brain scan? Do you know what has caused the suspected dementia?

I suppose that the things that go vary by the person. With my cousin, it was her lack of judgment that went first. She seemed to not understand how hygiene was important. She didn't wash hands often and didn't handle kitty litter appropriately. She also seemed to grow more isolated, lost her appetite and grew confused as to how use her tv remote and to drive. Later came the repeating and then memory loss, including what day it was. So, I'm not sure there is any one order the losses come in.
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I did notice in my dad that the first thing he lost was the concept of time. And by that I don't just mean the day, but also the month or the year (although the month is a tiny bit easier for him because he looks out the window to see -- we live in MA where the four seasons help him determine the approximate month). But not only just know what day it is, but also time...what does 4pm mean? does that mean its early morning or does that mean its time for dinner? He also had a really hard time reading a standard (non digital) clock and interpreting what it meant. From my observation time, and the concept of time are indicative of the early stages of dementia.

Angel
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