My mother 72 yrs old has been experiencing some confusion and I am wondering if this is any symptoms of dementia.
She lives alone by herself and does manage home doing things like cooking, laundry, household chores etc. She eats a healthy diet and does not suffer from any kind of disease and is physically active. She also socialize and have group of friends she hangs out with every evening.
However, of late there were couple of incidents that took me by surprise. First, she initially lost her way to her old home (where she used to live for 10 years) but later recalled. Second, on couple occasions she has confused me to be with her though I live abroad.
I do not see any memory loss though except for normal forgetfulness.
I tried checking the symptoms of dementia but did not find a close match to the symptoms I just mentioned.
So my question is if this is some kind of dementia? Or I should wait for some more time before seeking medical advice. The thing is she got offended when I asked her to seek medical advice for confusion.
Any help will be greatly appreciated.
I can relate to the "broken GPS." My Mom lives with my sister in St. Francis. Last month I was taking her home (an hour from my house) and when we came to the sign "St. Francis" she said, "Oh, I know someone who lives here. I wonder who that is?" I laughed and said, "You live here, Mom." "I do? Do I have a house?" she was puzzled. I reminded her that she had an apartment in Beth and Tom's house. They live upstairs and she lives down. "Oh, yeah! I remember now!" Yup, location can become a big mystery with dementia.
I will list some of them
- Once she wanted to make a phone call to my sister. She keeps the list of phone numbers in a telephone diary. What she did was just wrote my sister's number down on a piece of paper and comes back telling me that she called my sister but she isn't answering the call.
- As I mentioned in my earlier post, her GPS has become corrupt. She never gets the place right now. We visited Portland, OR and she thought we were still in Charlotte
- Her learning capabilities and cognition also seems to be declining. She takes days before she learns something new.
Besides there are On and off memory lapses and she has become very quiet especially with new people she meets.
I am gradually starting to suspect that she does have early signs of dementia even though the diagnosis she went through 6 months ago didn't clearly determine that she has dementia. Any thoughts?
I was reading an article that pets (dogs) can help stimulate brain of older and/or dementing people. Is pet going to make a difference (slow the progression) or improve her brain health? She does love to own a dog and gets excited when I talk about it.
My mother had not been on any medication ever until recently after she was diagnosed with Anemia. However I wouldn't call them medication technically, they are just vitamin supplements. And as I said earlier all her physical reports came out perfect.
I see some comments on inflammation. Probably I should take a closer look at it. I totally agree that the focus should be on diet and quality of life. My mother carries a very positive outlook towards life, so I am sure she won't object to any reasonable advise.
Aricept was the first medication given to my husband when he was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia. There was an improvement and he continued to take that drug for 9 years. We discontinued it when he went on hospice, but then added it back in when it was apparent it was still working! Aricept is known to be more effective for LBD than for Alzheimer's.
In your Dad's shoes I would try the drug and have a family member observe closely for a few months to see if it has an impact. Since the type of dementia is unknown at this point, it is (in my opinion) certainly worth a try.
And, by the way, I relate to the relief at having a diagnosis. It is a blow, it is staggering and mind-boggling, but it is also an explanation of what is wrong and an opportunity to have a treatment plan. So, yes, a certain degree of relief is not unusual.
And yes, I agree with the last post, based on my dad's situation, focusing on general health and safety is important. I do not live with my dad but I am trying to get my parents to improve their diets and cut back on alcohol use. The doctor suggests my dad can do some exercises to strengthen his legs, which is of utmost importance at this time. He is aware of his pending diagnosis, but honestly I think he is almost relieved in a way, because he has been saying things were not right for over a year now, and I think we were all just in denial. For us, there would have been no way to not tell him what was going on. He is still pretty with it, although he keeps saying he has terminal cancer and we are all going to be sorry that we missed the signs for that. I don't know what that means...
I just got a diagnosis for my husband, and I'm not sure how much it helped. He's on Aricept, and so far I don't notice a change.
Based on what you report, I think you should focus on the things you can change, like her general health, her safety, and the quality of her life. Taking care of those things will include making sure there are no reversible causes of dementia. She's a sensible woman - how can she object to that?
She may have the very beginnings of dementia, but progress very slowly. Don't panic, at least not yet.
I'm not sure how much help to expect from Aricept. What have others experienced?
She does not seem to have memory issues besides normal forgetfulness that we all experience. And I say that since I talk to her everyday for reasonable amount of time. I ask her things that I am also involved in and she almost always gets it right.
I check with my siblings too who are in steady contact with her and they also do not see any memory lapses. So we know for the fact that she does not seem to have any memory problems yet.
I talked to one of her friends who she hangs out with everyday. She does notice the change, however not forgetfulness but confusion as I mentioned. Confusion about me sleeping at home, that she will not even lock the house door.
The fact that she lives alone, manages finance on her own, cooks daily, eats healthy diet, socializes, does all household chores, maintains lifestyle needed to live independently leaves us in totally perplexed state. What really is the problem? What is this confusion all about? If it is dementia or Alzheimer, why are the other symptoms absent or when do they surface? These are some of the questions we as a family trying to find answers. Any clue will be helpful to make a headway to get the second opinion with some other doctor.
Did she have cognitive tests? Memory tests? (My mom could pass those long after it was clear to the people who knew her that she was having severe memory issues.)
You say she remembers all the details of what happened a few weeks ago, but you are 10,000 miles away, so do you always know whether the details she remembers are correct? People with dementia can make up very convincing stories when they forget the actual facts. They can also "showtime" and present very well in a doctor's office.
I like your description of the corrupt GPS. My mother visits me once a month, for a weekend, and she cannot remember how to get to her bedroom from the family room, or where the bathrooms are. She didn't have good directional instincts before dementia, so it isn't surprising that this is particularly weak now. My husband had extremely good directional abilities, even after dementia ... unless he was having a bad day. So Mom's "GPS" problems may be related to dementia, but it would be surprising to me if that were the only symptom.
I am glad to hear that she has a group of friends that she socializes with. Very healthy! Do you know any of these people well enough to contact? It would be helpful to have input from someone who sees her frequently. Has she changed recently? Does she seem forgetful? What kind of confusions does she exhibit among her friends?
Thank you so much for coming back to update us. I sometimes wonder "whatever happened to ..." and it is good to get updates.
The MRI scan did show some shrinkage but doctors are not sure if that is because of Dementia.
Now I am totally confused. Her memory seems fine. She remembers almost all of the details of what happened weeks before, who said what and stuff like that.
She still has confusion about the place though. Even if she goes to some other city she thinks she is close to home. Basically I would say her GPS system has become corrupt and is behaving funky. I believe we will have to take a second opinion.
She also has a confusion about me. She thinks that I am at home even though I am more than 10,000 miles away from her. So much so that she stopped carrying her home keys thinking that I am sleeping inside.
Does anyone have experienced symptoms like these in dementia or Alzheimer patients?
It is so important to document episodes, then present those to the Doc.
it sounds like you have a problem there..
esp. if you are resorting to putting your hands on Dad's neck in desperation--that is inappropriate.
His behaviors sound like they are beyond limits of your ability to deal with them--you either need in-home help, or place him in some level of facility.
You need to take care of your own stress levels, because it sounds like those are too much.
contact your local Area Agency on Aging, and ask what to do!!
They can direct you to verious services / posibilities.
An adult who has started pottying on the floor anywhere, muck less the kitchen or other rooms than the bathroom, has some problems going on, and you need help handling that, and figuring it out.
Elders may "act out", including pottying on furnishings and floors, but, that is related to mental/emotional issues they need help with--it is not so simple as "Dad's mad at me not being there and chose to do this to get back at me".
They can also make some really inappropriate statements, demands, etc.
It it UNrealistic of any elder to expect any adult child, or anyone, to sit with them 24/7, no matter what.
It is UNappropriate for an elder to become physically/emotionally abusive of their caregivers [and vice-versa].
An Elder who has been taking care of themselves,
then starts having lapses--getting lost, leaving pans cooking unattended, leaving water running, etc.
CAN have clear memories, yet, still do confused things.
It is usually their short-term, new memories that suffer first; old memories stay intact longer, usually.
Illnesses, Strokes and TIAs can cause problems, too.
ANY elder who has not been properly evaluated for mental and physical status, really needs to be, especially if they have been having behavior lapses [including verbal].
Giving a written list of what you have observed, and what you are concerned about, in your elder, to their Doctor, is an important step in learning what help you need, when, how soon.