My mum (77) is having quite a few delusional scenarios over the last year. Is this signs of Alzheimer's/dementia? -

My mum (77) is having quite a few delusional scenarios over the last year. Is this signs of Alzheimer's/dementia?


(A fixed false belief not supported by reality, and often caused by a faulty memory.) For example saying she covered as a teacher and was told she was better than the teacher. And they wanted her to doing the job for longer. When she just was an unqualified lunchtime assistant, She also used to act as a passenger in the taxi taking children to school. Therefore couldn't even have physically covered the lesson. Another example she talks about lots of different cooking things she used to do and how she went to night school for cooking. Whereas she went to night school to do art and is more of a heat up type of cook. I think my dad is ignoring the situation and isn't someone who would ask for help. He is 80 soon. My mum says her balance isn't great. But otherwise there are no more symptons. My husband and daughter just thinks she is nearing end of life and regretting lack of achievements in life. As their only child, I just want to make sure I am identifying potential signs of alzheimers/dementia. Or other types of old age mental health conditions. I would appreciate feedback from elder care experts.

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Hi Jeanne
Thank you for the article. It was an interesting read.
I think delusion and hallucinations are 2 very different topics.
She definitely doesn't have hallucinations.
Not sure about her sleeping pattern.
I am not sure if her gait has changed. It's just she says her balance isn't great. But we both suffer with a patella dislocation problem, which affects your balance. She has dislocated her patella twice in her life and me 5 times. This means we have to learn to walk again.

The gait is something I could talk to her about when I next visit them.
I am aware it is an important indicator of health conditions.
Billy Connolly was diagnosed with parkinson's based on a fans comments about his gait. tvshowbiz/article-2566601/Billy-Connolly-discovered-Parkinsons-disease-Australian-fan-spotted-odd-walk-told-tested.html
Thanks again for that suggestion
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Hi Jessie Belle
Thank you for your post. Your comments were exactly how I think the scenario is with my mum and me. " She forgets that I've known her all her life, so I know how her life has gone." "I don't she is intentionally lying. I think she is just telling things as a bit more interesting than they really were. Sometimes I think she is telling the story how she wished it had happened."
Maybe we get wrapped up that it is an illness coming on, when it is just their way of handling what they didn't achieve.
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Hloems, my mother changes stories all the time. She makes it so she was more accomplished and always busy. Sometimes she cast herself in the heroine role. It can be a bit mind-bending. She forgets that I've known her all her life, so I know how her life has gone. I don't normally say anything, but I know I have to take what she says with a grain of salt. I don't think she is intentionally lying. I think she is just telling things as a bit more interesting than they really were. Sometimes I think she is telling the story how she wished it had happened.
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H, I'm so glad the POAs are in place.

We got my mom a neurocognitive exam based on the recommendation of the geriatric psychiatrist who was treating mom's anxiety. Although mom had no "real" medical condition ( according to her family doctor and other family members) we had to move her to an Independent Living facility because her anxiety created near daily
" emergencies" that caused her great distress and required us to leave work to come to her aid.

The psychiatrist who was treating her suggested this extensive testing; family scoffed, because mom was " sharp as a tack". The numbers told a very different story. Mom had lost a great deal of her ability to plan, prioritize and reason. Her long term memory was intact, but her ability to cope with daily like was at about the level of a 6 year old.

Subsequent brain imaging showed that this was the result of a previously undiagnosed stroke. All of a sudden, mom's frailties were much more understandable and reasonable. Good luck!
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Thanks Sunnygirl 1 for your reply.

I agree slightly with your comment of if it doesn't hurt, just take note.
It's just that the 2 examples are one of a pattern and I notice a new one everytime I visit.
I probably should find the opportunity to talk to my dad about it and if he has noticed this. That way I can broach the topic of probably needing a neurocognitive examination sometime in the future.

That is easier said than done, since my dad won't listen to advice from his daughter regarding simple matters.
Thanks for your advice it was appreciated
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Thanks BarbBrooklyn for your answer.
My parents set up a power of attorney years ago, with my husband designated as the person to deal with this.
I have looked up the neurocongnitive examination and it looks a useful idea. The link below seems useful especially as it explains what type of medical conditions it could relate to.
Referrals are typically made to diagnose or rule out diseases of the brain. This information also helps to describe the identified condition's impact on the patient's daily functioning. Examples include traumatic brain injury, epilepsy, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, brain tumor, stroke, Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia /kni/neurocognitive-testing/

Thanks for taking the time to provide me with your thoughts.
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Many people do embroider the facts of their careers. I don't know if it is regrets of opportunities missed or wishful thinking. "I was a chef in such and such a fancy restaurant" No you washed dishes one summer in high school. That was pretty harmless so don't burst her bubble on that one. Now if you notice other signs of conitive decline then it is more than time for an evaluation.
A regular check up for both parents at their ages is a very good idea as is getting legal paperwork in order. You can send the Dr a letter ahead of time listing your concerns. Keep it simple and concise Drs are busy people and don't have the time to wade through your examples.if you can go in with her at least some of the time you can ask questions that she may have forgotten or not want to mention such as some incontinence that is getting worse. She probably feels that is an embarrassing thing to have to admit. cover your bases and at least you will know you have done everything you can.
My in laws became very elderly living together alone. FIL had many physical ailments but his brain was still sharp and MIL was relatively fine physically but what we did not realize was that when FIL died Mil had relatively advanced vascular dementia and FIL had obviously been watching to make sure she did not do stupid things like leave pots on the stove to burn. She had to be placed within a few weeks and gradually declined. None of us realized just how bad she was.
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Here is a very interesting article about dealing with delusions:

Does Mom ever see things that aren't there? (Hallucinations) Does she have sleep disturbances? Has her walking gait changed?

I agree that this might be a good time to have legal paperwork done. You don't have to connect it to Mom's symptoms. Just at their age it is a good idea to plan ahead.
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I'm no expert either. I think there are many ways that cognitive decline can display itself. As long as it's not hurting anything, I'd just take note. If her false memories make her happy, what's the harm?

I noticed that when my LO first displayed symptoms, most  things from the past were correct, but, I do recall her saying emphatically that she had always been a cold natured person her entire life. I almost burst out laughing. (Mind you, I didn't know she had cognitive decline at the time, only that something was going on.) I corrected her and said, that's not true. You have always been the most HOT natured person that I have ever known. As a teen she would sleep in a room with no heat and fan on in the WINTER. And nude! Of course, she didn't remember it, so it didn't matter. Later, is when I realized that correcting her was a waste of breath, because she didn't believe me.
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I agree, time to get DPOA, Health care proxy and advanced directives. If she starts talking weird at the attorney's office, you may have to go all the way to a Guardian hearing.
Delusions are not necessarily Alzheimer's. But if she outright hallucinates in front of you, get her to the ER and admitted for testing.
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