They aren't seeing or hearing things that are not there. My cousin will make an hour story out of a trip to the grocery store that happened 20 years ago. Nobody will stay in the same room with him because of it. If we are all watching TV and he didn't pick the show, then he will talk non stop. If you say "Shh, I am watching this, he ignores you and keeps on talking." Is that early dementia? I am trying to figure out where he stands health wise. By that I mean, how much longer can I expect him to live. Not that I want him to die. But, I am on disability, my husband is also older and due to some other issues I feel as though I am taking care of everyone and I am exhausted. So, I need to know what is ahead so I can plan. He has COPD, kidney failure ( possibly stage 3b). He has a strong heart but did have blood clots in his leg several months ago. But I notice that his kidneys seem to be getting worse. His urine is so strong, you can smell him when he uses the restroom, two rooms away. He wets himself but won't wear a Depends. He has finally agreed to use a shower chair. In the past 4 years he has gone from being able to walk, then walking with a cane, and now uses a walker in the house. He nods off during the day frequently. He used to go out every day,now it is every other day. But, he still drives, which is why I can't get any personal care help for him. He has developed high blood sugar recently but this is the first for that. Something called Renin (kidneys) is extremely high, 52, when the average is .3-6. The doctor said not to worry about it. The doctor has told him no more red meat. Liver, thyroid are normal. I am confused and concerned. I have to go out of town for a few days and am afraid to leave him alone because I don't know where he is at healthwise, in terms of how fast he is likely to decline. In fact I have several trips planned and am quite worried.

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Hi DaisyRose. My mom has been diagnosed with dementia for a little over a year. She acted really strange at a funeral and we had to leave. She was not really close to the person who died so it wasn't like she was overcome with grief. So I called and got an appointment with her dr. Her dr asked her very basic questions. She failed miserably. I think she got 3 or 4 correct answers. So she was prescribed aricept. Later I took her to a neuropsychologist who diagnosed her with mild cognitive impairment. With amnesiac features. She doesn't hallucinate either. But the repetition. Wow. How many times can you hear the same story ?? She also used to go out. She drove. She worked part time up to a year ago. Now she sits and sits and sits. And of course watches Fox News 14 hours a day. She lives with me. She doesn't put things in odd places. She still dresses , bathes , takes meds. Not sure what stage she's in. She could not live alone , but she sure doesn't need full time nursing home assistance
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People with COPD and kidney problems have dementia sometimes caused by not getting enough oxygen to the brain and having toxic products build up in the blood. High blood pressure can often predispose someone to dementia. We can't diagnose dementia based on being boring. A lot of people without dementia are long-winded and boring. I've had relatives that could talk for hours about the most boring things. And new mothers and grandmothers talking about their kids. That would put anyone to sleep, but not dementia.

I realized my mother had dementia because she lost her reasoning ability. She did bizarre things. Someone who is close to someone a lot will know. It's like you've gone to a land where things don't quite fit anymore. It can be something as simple as keys in the freezer or more complicated such as packing a suitcase to go to the hospital every day. You'll know it when you see it after it progresses. (You ask why they are packing a suitcase -- that's the point. There is no good reason except in their mind. Dementia can be a mind-bending experience for a caregiver.)
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