My mother has problems with dates. She laughs when I tell her that it is not 1990, that it is 2010. Is this a sign of dementia or Alzheimer's?

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If I were to ask our 86 year old what day year or month, she used to be concise,
it was always a Tuesday, in April and the year was 2002.
4 months before her husband passed away from cancer.
Hardly a cheery memory or time.

Since our 86 year old was in Europe during the second world war,
we are hardly wanting her to revisit the Russian invasions or other things.

Whether she remembers it or not, through the day, we go through the morning ritual of:
Today is Saturday, April 27, 2013, because we discuss her calendar of activities, today is KINO (german theatre) for instance, it is at 12:00 pm. lunchtime is 1130 dinnertime is 530 (she has cake and coffee while at the movies) who is visiting, when they are due to arrive, is all there.

When she gets her hair done, I always tell her, because she looks younger than 86, that no one would believe she is 86, (I believe mostly her). One time when asked her age she bounced around, she said she was 56, but that is how long she has been in this country.

She knows how to use the TV remote, when you press the select button it displays the day, time and date, that was one of our tricks, she worked until she was 82 with the dementia.

Somehow you would think they would see the date on those newspapers, and
letters, and be stunned by the future date in their own minds, but they overlook it, it is not important, and the mind doesn't know, what it doesn't know.
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Not knowing the year is a definite symptom of SOMETHING being wrong in the brain, but you'll need to determine if your mom is having trouble in other areas as well. Does she have any short-term memory trouble? Can she remember what she ate for lunch yesterday? Or that she called you on the phone 20 minutes ago? If the answer to those types of questions are "Yes" then I would look in another direction. The problem with diagnosing Alzheimer's disease is that it is more a process of eliminating everything else.

Your mom may just be reluctant to live in 2010, since she never thought she'd be this old ... or it may be a drug interaction, or another medical condition altogether. Best idea is to make sure you are observing what is and what is not happening, and then make an appointment with her doctor.

Even if it is the start of Alzheimer's, she may still be able to function and handle a great deal of her activities of daily living. Read up on some of the different types of dementia (such as vascular dementia) or confirm that the problem isn't a thyroid imbalance, or something that is easily corrected before you accept a diagnosis of Alz/Dementia.
~FyreFly
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Place a nice big calendar in a prominent place for all to view everyday. Each block should be large enough to write comments or plans, not just appointments.
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actually she is have early stage iof demetia not alz yet but it i were you i would have her check out to see how far her dementia has progress there are 5 stages
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Changes in perception of time and space are not always Alzheimer's or some other form of dementia. Search the web for "gerotranscendence." This is an advanced stage of adult development that often occurs in the very old. Gerotranscendent consciousness was discovered by Swedish gerontologist Lars Tornstam. It is very different from the consciousness of mid-life or younger adults. We can't judge the very old by our standards. What might seem funny and strange may actually be very advanced.

Carol
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let her talk and accept what she says. I found it makes things run smoother, and we get along better. by telling her different it only confuses her and brings on anxiety.
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My brother-in-law is currently in Africa on business. His mom, the mother-in-law I help take care of, called his wife the other day to chat. She told my sis-in-law that she had taken Spanish in school as a girl (she's 86) and that the school had offered African, but it was too hard so she decided not to take it. I laughed so hard I nearly had an accident. Talk about changing the stories from the past!!
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We have the same problem here, my mother-in-law does not know what day, month or year it is (I only tell her if she asks and then she looks scared). She wakes up in the middle of the night and does not know it is night (some how the darkness is not a clue to her). She is not used to seeing herself gray. She does not always recognize grand kids in pictures or in person. She does not remember to brush her teeth, change her undies or wash her hair even if we just reminded her 5 min before. She has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's for years. If I leave the room for any length of time, I leave a note taped to her walker. Sometimes she loops every 1/2 hr sometimes it is more often than that. If we take her to the Dr. she tells the Dr that we had to travel hours and hours to get there (it is really just 15 minutes). But she remembers some things and forgets others. It is odd. Good Luck and God Bless.
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DMVGirl: your mothers story cracked me up too! And it is true, they will 'imprint' on one person,but it is also good that you are able to have her visit with other family too. It gives you a 'break' and it gives Mom a chance to tell you a great story when she returns!

Karen: at 96 your mother's daily activities are impressive! My mother had a problem remembering what 'day it was' so we got a big 'clock' that shows the day/date/time AND temp. Four of her most frequent questions. Problem solved (for a little while anyway)
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Grandma's dr. told her and my husband and I that she has short term memory loss. My husband and I already knew that, but we just wanted to be sure. Grandma can't remember what the day of the week it is.
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