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As Mom's memory gets worse, she is more confused about where she lives and whom she lives with. She lives with my husband and me in our house for the last three months. She has early memory loss and no Alzheimer's.

A few days ago, I got up for the day and found her dressed and doing her cross word puzzle, sitting in the living room. That is no surprise. But she then said to me that she woke up, got ready for her doctor's appointment, figured I'd take her to it (that's always the case, now that she lives with us) but wasn't sure how to get a hold of me to find out nor whether or what time I might or might not get her for her appointment.

Actually, it wasn't a doctor appointment day, but she does sometimes confuse the days of the week, so that's not a new thing.

However, I did question her further. She did remember that she lived with us. She did remember that we do live here. All the right pieces were there. But she couldn't quite put it all together. And, to me, she did admit that she, ".couldn't quite explain it."

Is this a new stage in memory loss? Or, is it just part of the same issues that someone with early memory loss already is experiencing?

Has anyone else noticed these types of details?

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Geo - my mother has been living with me for 7 months and I have the same problems. The confusion about where she is- has gone through stages, or more like waves. It was very bad in the beginning, then less bad, now worse. More and more my mother is forgetting who I am. On Easter, she was with me all day, and about 12 time she asked me about "jeffrey" (my name) and asked when we would see him. I have learned just to minimize getting her agitated; that's really the best we can do.
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All good suggestions, thanks.

Specifically, I never thought about the nightlight suggestion. I have nightlights by the stairs so she won't kill herself on them (since she likes to try to walk around without turning the lights on), but just realized that that might be drawing her to them and away from her bed.
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Geo:My MIL was getting up 3-4 times a night for bathroom. It is exhausting. Now since she has deteriorated gets up 1-2 times. She becomes incontinent whether she is nodding in the chair or asleep in bed. Anytime I see her nod off, I wake her. Thats what neuro/psych doc said to do so she will sleep better at night. One trick I actually do is to only leave night light on in bathroom. if she sees one lit in hallway when she's up she automatically walks toward the light which leads her in the kitchen. Once I started to leave hall nightlight off she has not wandered and goes back to bed. I do however think your Mom's dementia is advancing. All you can do is listen to your gut instinct. You know her best.
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The disorientation you describe is common in stage 6. IMO, your mother's dementia may well be advancing. Another possibility is that there is an underlying physical cause such as a UTI. In your position, I'd write up what happened and take her to the doctor for a check up. I'd have the doctor check her for a UTI or other physical cause. If there is not physical illness present besides dementia, then, you will know that she had indeed advanced along the arc of the disease.
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Geo,
It may be a good idea to get the geriatric psych exam. You may find out things that you didn't know before. And it is very important to tell the doctor everything that is going on with mom! If you are uncomfortable discussing some of the things in front of your mom, most physicians appreciate notes that provide them a heads up prior to entering the exam room.

In my opinion the danger of not having a complete exam and screening, is that these sorts of problems may be able to be stopped. The memory loss could be due to another medical problem entirely, even depression. For example, mom's husband in the last few months has gone through depression, some minor memory loss, etc. I suspected they he may have had a series of mini strokes. Told his doctor, and low and behold, evidence of mini strokes showed on the MRI that had been ordered of his brain. The doctor assured him it is not Alzheimer's which I'm sure is terrifying for him because he watches my mother's decline daily. So, the doc ordered an echo cardiogram and ultrasound of the carotids which were done last week. The echo came back ok, still waiting on the second test which may provide some indication as to what is happening.

His doc also had him stop baby aspirin daily and started him on a new medication that does the same thing since the aspirin is not effective for everyone.
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norestforweary, I do see that Mom has what I term as her "good" days and her "bad" days, for lack of a better description, but in-line with what you describe with your mother-in-law.

I'm not sure which of her problems are due to which factors:
* family drama stresses her and throws her mind out of balance.
* bad nights of sleep.
* memory loss/dementia.

She had gotten into the habit of nodding in and out of sleep all day long, them not sleeping properly at night, then being kind of disoriented. Sleeping pills did not seem to work to keep her asleep.

Mom was resistent to my suggestions that she return to bed every time she goes to the bathroom at night (multiple) until some of these things started happening to her. I got her to agree that, if she starts to nod off at night while watching TV, that I'm allowed to poke her and get her to go to bed. I also got her to agree that if she gets up and it's dark, that she'll return to bed, even if she can't fall back to sleep (she almost always falls back to sleep, but not dropping off, immediately makes her think she can't sleep and she gets frustrated).

So, while this seems to be helping, who knows how long this arrangement will last or work.

Anyway, maybe I'm just venting my frustrations more than anything else. I appreciate everyone's suggestions/support, I guess, more than anything else.
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She's had the appropriate tests and her current geriatric clinic seems to be pretty thorough, so far, and I'm just going off their diagnosis where they told me that she definitely doesn't have Alzheimer's, right now.

She lived in her previous house most of her life, as it's her childhood home. So, for about 15-20 years, we all lived elsewhere until she and my father bought that home and moved us into it. So, she's been in that home most of her 85 years. And, I agree the adjustment is slow. Sometimes, we are not certain which problems are adjustment issues and which are from her memory loss. We are trying to keep a close eye on her memory loss, though, as we are quite concerned that she might be progressing past what they're calling "early" memory loss.

Also, we have been working to make the residence safe from wandering, as she does have that problem. But wandering can be caused by many other things besides Alzheimer's, and I mention that in case anyone is reading who thinks they don't need to worry about wandering just because their loved one doesn't have Alzheimer's and that IS NOT TRUE. It can occur in people with any kind of memory loss, sleep-walkers, really all sorts of conditions. And, between her memory loss and the fact that she does have some sleep issues where she wakes up totally disoriented, sometimes, we are protecting against this.

By the way, an excellent book on dealing with wandering is :
"In Search of the Alzheimer's Wanderer" by Mark L. Warner
Regardless the reason's for wandering, it gives great advice for dealing with this.

Mom's odd behavior might not be the big deal I made it sound like -- I'm not certain there's any real advancement of her condition, just that it was so strange that she knew all the details of where she was but just couldn't put it all together and couldn't explain why she couldn't put it together, that I just thought I'd ask around...
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"All the right pieces were there but she couldn't quite put them together."

geo, what you wrote here is an excellent description of dementia.
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One thing I have found with my MIL, she stayed at a certain level. She would stay at this pleateau for quite a while. Then deteriorate to the next lower plateau and stay there for a while. Everyone is different though. When she is tired or stressed she has more trouble functioning. When she starts to have her (recurrent) UTI's she becomes more confused. This last stage she is in has been rapid deterioration. We see worsening of functioning from month to month. My mother in law started ruminating about not being in her home and when were we going to take her home when she was in moderate staged Alzheimers. So yes, because of our experience she probably is going/in or between a new stage. It was very helpful for us to have a neuro/ psych evaluation at that stage. It helped us understand how to best care for her. It also empowered my husband POA, to initiate his role when he realized how she could no longer manage her affairs. She had her 3rd eval. recently and is in severe stage Alzheimer's. It certainly helps with decision making for her care. The doctor even gave us a handout on how to handle certain problems we were dealing with. This is a one way journey. She will never get better, her quality of life is poor.Hang in there!
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It sounds like dementia/Alzheimer's to me. Has she had the Mini Mental Status Exam? Has she had a CT scan or MRI?

Moves are very hard on the elderly particularly when they have lived in one place for a long time. How long was she in her previous home? Three months, particularly if there is Alzheimer's is not enough time to adjust to her new surroundings, and she may never. It sounds as if it is time to make sure the residence is secure to protect her from wandering.

My mom is late middle stage of Alzheimer's. She frequently does not remember where she is or why. I am living with her in her home of more than 50 years, and nothing makes sense to her at this point. She does not remember she is married the majority of the time. She married a high school beau on her 80th birthday. When she does remember she is married, she thinks her husband is my dad.

I would make sure you get a CT scan done, and maybe change doctors. She should be seeing a geriatric specialist that has significant knowledge of Alzheimer's. Perhaps a geriatric psychiatrist is in order.

I am sorry you are going through this, good luck to you and your family.
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