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Okay, so my 71 year old mother lives alone a few minutes from us. She has always had a difficult time with forgetfulness. She wrote and posted notes EVERYWHERE. Ever since I was a kid. She was diagnosed with Recurrent Major Depression (Resistant to Treatment). She's even had to have Electroconvulsive Therapy already because the medicine hadn't been working. Her psychiatrist has even told me that she will likely be forgetful and have trouble with words with her anxiety as the long lasting effects of her anti-psychotic she is on can do that to her. However, as of late in the past couple of months, I've noticed it's becoming harder for her to find the right words and she's starting to forget even more. Her neighbors - who she takes places sometimes to keep herself busy - tell me she's the best driver ever! They feel so safe traveling with her. It’s odd because she never gets lost, or calls me asking me how to get home. She can write out checks just fine. She pays her bills as well. She knows her address. She shows up on time for church many times without reminding. I can't make any sense of this. But if she goes to say something like, "I'm going to the market today." She'll say, "I'm going to go to...... uh.... you know..... uhh... the place." and then it's like we have to play a guessing game with her. She's already been to the doctor and he's recommended taking her to a memory clinic. When I mention going to a memory clinic she gets very upset and starts to cry (she's always been highly emotional) and says things, "Please don't put me away. This is horrible!! This is the worst thing ever!!" I keep trying to reassure her that this is more like going to a specialist doctor, but I can tell she thinks I'm planning to put her in a home. I'm not her POA so I can't force her to go. Could this be something else other than Dementia/Alzheimers? It does run in her family and her mom and aunt had it. So it scares me of course. She seems to be aware that she's having trouble with her words and I can tell it is frustrating for her. Not sure what to do here. Any advice is appreciated.

You DO need the neuro-psyc consult. This sounds a good deal like anxiety to me. You need a solid assessment by professionals. If you listen to Speaker Pelosi when the news is on you will note that she often gets tangled when she speaks. Some people have great minds just full of so much that they want to say that they seem to stumble over it. If this is a huge change it could indicate there was a stroke at some point (if it came on suddenly). I think none of us could diagnose what's happening at all. Do update us after testing. Would love to know what is found.
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Reply to AlvaDeer
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I'm curious what a "memory clinic" is.

If my loved one had word finding difficulties, I would want them to have a neuropsych evaluation, in order to get a baseline reading on what his/her functional level was right now, so that we would know if there is something progressive going on....or not.

What experiences does your mother have with relatives being "put away"? I'd ask her, in a tone of genuine curiosity, what she means by that. If she's had relatives who've had this problem, there may be some horrendous stories that she's heard as a child.

This DOESN'T sound like dementia; it sounds like word-finding difficulties. Has she had an MRI or any other imaging to determine if there is any damage to the language centers in her brain from TIAs, strokes, etc? Has anyone suggested that speech therapy might be very useful to her?
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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No it doesn't automatically mean any such thing.

Here you are, straight off good ol' traditional Wikipedia :)

"Anomic aphasia (also known as dysnomia, nominal aphasia, and amnesic aphasia) is a mild, fluent type of aphasia where individuals have word retrieval failures and cannot express the words they want to say (particularly nouns and verbs). Anomia is a deficit of expressive language."

Mind you. The best of all reasons I can think of for your mother to attend a memory clinic is for her to be reassured, and for any glitches or areas of concern that *may* exist to be got clearly in perspective. "Present fears are less than horrible imaginings."

The worst thing ever is being *afraid* that you're losing your mind and you'll be put away when in reality you're not and you won't. And ironically, of course, her anxiety and yours over this will make her difficulties worse. You don't want the problem spreading.
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Reply to Countrymouse
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You said yourself, "Her psychiatrist has even told me that she will likely be forgetful and have trouble with words with her anxiety as the long lasting effects of her anti-psychotic she is on can do that to her. " I would attribute her forgetting words to what you said and leave it at that. If things continue to decline, get her evaluated for dementia. Right now, it certainly does NOT seem like she's experiencing difficulties with life in general, so don't upset her with talk of 'memory clinics', whatever THAT is!! If it makes her cry, it's off the table for now. Right?

Best of luck!
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Reply to lealonnie1
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A     Just my opinion, as this happens to me; if I remember accurately, it began after Dad's death.    After much thought, I think it may reflect an overload of priorities and tasks, too much to do, and too much pressure, including self pressure.  

A friend experienced something like this when she was going to law school, 4 nights a week and working a regular 40 hour work week.


I write this from speculation and experience, not from a medical standpoint as I'm not qualified on that level.   I think another possibility is too much on one's mind, too much stress, too much to do, and sometimes too much self pressure.     This is what I call my Supercolliding-Superconducter Sndrome.  

It might be that she's terrified of being "put" someplace.   I know how I'd feel if I were in that situation, or when I'm so stressed I can't think straight.     

What do you do together for relaxation and stress relief?

B.  On another train of thought, you wrote:

"Her psychiatrist has even told me that she will likely be forgetful and have trouble with words with her anxiety as the long lasting effects of her anti-psychotic she is on can do that to her."  

I suspect that's a major factor right there.  

C.   In addition, I'm not familiar with the side and long term effects of ECT.   So I did some quick research.   What I learned is quite interesting, and unsettling:

Side effects may include:

1.    Confusion following treatment, which may last a few minutes or hours  (I didn't research to determine if any studies indicated longer lasting effect).

2.    Memory loss, which can range from forgetting conversations or events right before and after a treatment, forgetting things from weeks or months before treatment, and less commonly, from years before.

This isn't the same as the symptoms you describe, but I think the fact that medicine and science are still discovering how dementia is caused reflects the fact that knowledge of brain functions and causations are still in the exploratory stage.   It may be that the ECT has long terms effects as you describe, or it may also be a genetic brain issue, since her relatives had it.   I think that's an important issue to explore.


Something you can do for lapse of thought in describing places or things is to create picture boards of common things, such as markets, specific stores at which she shops, specific foods (if she forgets the names of them).    Photos might trigger words, but they also just might relieve the stress of trying to remember and help her communicate.  

As a sort of experiment, intersperse photos of places she goes or names of things she forgets with relaxing nature or animal photos, so that the stress is interspersed with photos of relaxation and soothing calmness.     That's one of the reasons I keep garden magazines close by when I listen to the national news on TV.
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Reply to GardenArtist
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NeedHelpWithMom Dec 20, 2019
Good practical advice!
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My Mom had this happen as the result of a stroke. Over the following months it would get much worse...turns out she was having mini-strokes too.

the term is aphasia. Perhaps this is her problem too?

one thing that did help her speech (at least in the beginning) was to sing the words. Therapist said that it required coordination with a different part of the brain.
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Reply to Katiekate
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Mandolina, I am around your Mom's age, so is my sig other. It's just age related when we forget names and places. The word "whatchamacallit" will start being used :)

The way I look at it, it is like our brain in filled with filing cabinets, and since we had learned so much over the past 7 decades, those brain filing cabinets are full. Thus when we need to remember someones name, etc. it will take longer to find that info in the filing cabinet, and something items will be misfiled :P I usually find digging for information that whatever I am seeking will pop up at midnight.

My sig other has always been the absent-minded professor growing up. So I can't really tell if he is having memory issues or is acting normal for himself.

So unless your Mom is putting her car keys in the refrigerator, or pouring coffee on her cereal, I wouldn't worry that much.
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Reply to freqflyer
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Sounds like my stepfathers wife, she had post it notes taped everywhere, when my brother and I cleaned out their house I counted over 300 notes, they were taped everywhere and I mean everywhere!

She uses terms like "What's his name" when she cannot remember a name, everything is always "Peachy Keen" as she cannot remember what is going on.

And, yes, she has been diagnosed with dementia, she fought us too, but, we had her evaluated, the difference is my brother has the POA and they have turned the day to day stuff over to us. As for your mother, who knows unless she is evaluated, some people just are more ditzy than others.

They are in AL for now, soon they will have to be moved to MC, as she is going downhill rapidly. It is like someone has pulled the shade down.

She has now started pasting notes everywhere again in AL.
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