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My grandma seems like she's losing her mind since my dad went to live with his girlfriend. She has always had control issues, but since my dad's recovery from heart surgery, she has been mean, suspicious and, as of lately, making untrue and delusional accusations. Is this a sign of illness with her mind, such as dementia or her need to control spiraling out of control? She was saying things about my safety, but even after I called to tell her I loved her a week or so ago, she hasn't called me back once to check on my welfare. So I'm not sure what is going on with her. She's 81 and has to be on oxygen for her breathing. I'm sure everything she's been through was too much for her and even with my uncle's taking care of her, I'm sure it's still not enough.


This isn't the time to be drawing lines in the sand. Family should stick together, but my dad did everything for her and I care about all my family and wonder if this is possibly middle stage dementia. She does have access to medical care and was always diligent about going.

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Take your grandma to a geriatric doctor.
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How is her blood sugar? Has it been tested recently? Elevated blood sugar can cause extreme agitation, confusion. You should make an appointment for the doctor to run a complete blood work panel if one hasn't been done in the last six months. Of course, just like others have mentioned, UTIs can cause nasty symptoms so this should also be on the radar. If the labs look good, then yes, she could be on the verge of developing a dementia-related condition. Many people including healthcare professionals think if an elderly person is behaving erratically it must be a dementia-related or any psychiatric issue because this is all over the news as the number one thing affecting the elderly. With my mother, I like to focus on the basics, first, like the overall physical health and see what the lab work says or not says, then, second, consider the typical aging neurological issues. Recently, in the last few months, my mother's dementia screaming was getting worse. Her provider kept saying "It's the disease process" over and over. I disagree. I think like an engineer; I have to understand, problem-solve as to why things happen. I'm not a doctor; I don't memorize and spit out information like a parrot. I asked the doctor run to labs. Sure enough, her blood sugar was elevated, not enough to be classified as full-blown diabetes but it was at a pre-diabetes level. After putting her on something to control the blood sugar, she's more relaxed and screaming less. Her father died from complications of diabetes so it's always on the back of mind that she's susceptible to development of this disease as she's aging.
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If your dad was her caregiver and now he has a girl friend, GM could be dealing with a lot of issues in addition to the dementia. Jealousy, abandonment, anger and yes, the loss of control. When my brother, after many many years of being single got a girl friend my mother was anything but pleased. I would say, well, you don't want him to be alone do you? There would be a long heavy pause while she considered that. As elders progress towards the end they often become very self centered. Some seem to lose the capacity to care for others well being. They want all the attention on their own care. Your dad has had a brush with death and no doubt wants to live a bit of his own life again. We are often reminded on this website that many caregivers pass before the patient does. GM will have to adjust. She may never forgive them. Uncle may not do her bidding as well as your dad. There are so many players in our dramas and they are all important. Even the girlfriend. Try to visit your GM and/or call her and your dad also. I suspect to answer your question that it's a bit of both. Dementia and loss of control. But as has been suggested the UTI can always make things worse. If it's dementia it will progress to other issues. If it is loss of control, that's a battle she has been fighting all her life. We just have to love them through it.
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Go with her to the doctor and take all the observations you have any from others. Since she is on oxygen it may also be related to insufficient oxygen flow, uti, medication reaction, response ( is she taking medications appropriately!). She is not a good reporter to the doctor or back to family based on what you have said. She will definitely need ongoing help.
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Oftentimes our elders are having problems, we don't notice b/c we aren't spending much time with them. (Your dad took care of gma? Now he's gone? Or at least out of the picture a lot?)
This may have proved too much for gma. She may not approve of this relationship. She could just be really angry. I would have her checked for a UTI, that can change a person's behavior a LOT.
If it is dementia, or the beginnings, not a whole lot you can do--the person you knew slowly leaves and a new person inhabits the old body. She may be completely unaware, or unable to voice her opinions.
DON'T take it personally!! My mother has begun that long slow decline, and in our case, she has forgotten whom she adores and whom she's mad at. It's been a blessing. At some point, it will get much worse, but we're just rolling with it now.
Do some research on dementia and aging. You sound pretty young to be dealing with this, but nobody really gets out of having a parent, spouse or sibling aging and changing in this manner.
Bless you for caring for Grandma!!
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Steelroses, time to take Grandma to see her primary doctor, it could be a simple situation of Urinary Tract Infection where the symptoms mimic that of dementia. UTI can be treated with antibiotics. Any way, it the UTI test comes back clear, then onto the next step to see if Grandma has some type of dementia.
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