Need help from those who know

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kezia
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 7/16/2005 6:12 PM (GMT -6)   
confused  I'm sure you will have given this information often before so please forgive me for asking for your help.  I have read the forum and altho' there is a great deal of useful information, I still need to ask the following questions.
 
My parents are aged 82 (mother) and 80 (father).  They are just about to go into hostel care (supported living) together.   My Dad is chronically disabled with numerous health problems and my Mum is no longer able to care for him physically.   Mum is fiercely independent and will allow no help from me or my 3 siblings, unless she asks for it.    Sounds OK, but in real life it has just meant she is over-taxed and cannot cope.
 
However, my questions concern onset symptoms of Alzheimer's.  My Mum is the person I have concerns about.   Can you tell me if the following signs / symptoms are consistent with the onset of Alzheimer's, please?
  • forgets words and phrases (much more so in the last few weeks)
  • eats very little and expects everyone else to eat very little too - can't understand why others want more food
  • cooked one chicken breast to feed 3 people and thought we were being unreasonable when we asked for salad and bread and butter (this is the same woman about whom we used to joke that she was always ready to feed the 5000!)
  • cannot remember some things at all, and remembers other things (usually from long ago) very well.
  • repeats herself continually - this used to happen from visit to visit - she'd forget what she told you last visit - but now happens within the same visit.
  • tries to "cover up" memory slips or forgetfulness
  • couldn't find an address when she was driving, despite it being a straightforward street address and having been to the house just the week before
  • constantly forgets her PIN number and has the Bank asking us to "do something about your mother"
  • sometimes leaves taps running (altho' hasn't left the stove on yet as far as we know)
  • when she feels overwhelmed, says "I can't deal with that now" and refuses to consider things - even urgent matters.   So far we've been able to cajole her into letting us take necessary action, but this is getting harder to do
  • has always been very strong intellectually but now has difficulty with simple addition - forgets to "carry"
  • has always loved playing Scrabble but now sometimes puts down a word that does not exist and / or misspells a word.   This might sound paltry, but is unheard of in my mother previously!!
  • is overwhelmed with anger about simple things not going right - for instance: refuses to use the microwave to cook porridge because "it makes the porridge too salty".   Also, very upset because her favourite brand of underpants has been discontinued - very cranky about this and could not be consoled
  • highly suspicious of people's intentions (this is excacerbated - she has ALWAYS been very suspicious of people).  For instance: very angry that the Hostel requires her and Dad to have 10 changes of underwear, for example.  "Why do we need 10 changes of underwear?  We've never owned 10 pairs of underwear in our lives.  They must be going to steal them."    Seems to understand when we explain about laundry times, but goes back to same complaint almost immediately.

Do these things sound like early symptoms of the disease?   We feel they probably are, but she will not see a doctor for a check up, so it is hard to get any confirmation.

As the carer in their relationship, she has always dealt with the business matters and has been highly competent (ran her own business for years).   Now she forgets to ask for vital information or, if told, forgets it immediately.  Examples: times of appointments; locations of places she needs to be.    If she is asked about these things she'll "cover up" and say "oh, that is at ........... place"  or "at ....... time".   Needless to say, we then have to check up and, on finding she is mistaken, try to tactfully tell her what the true situation is.  Naturally she then gets upset and says things like "I'm just stupid".    We say things like "Oh well, you,ve got a lot on your mind at present - it's not surprising somethings slip".

Should we try to "excuse" her behaviour - ie. collude with her efforts to convince us there is nothing wong?   Sometimes she will say to me "I think I'm getting Alzheimer's" - I respond by asking her to tell me more, but she always clams up then and changes the subject.   Should I tell her I think she might be right?

Dad is a dear but his health problemns and his long term reliance on Mum mean he is no use in this situation.   I asked him if he thought she was getting "more forgetful" and he said he would probably agree with that. 

I'm very fortunate to have 2 sisters who are very good and a brother who doesn't do much but is caring.  The family are very supportive of my parents and spend a lot of time with them.    We feel lucky that they have found a place together in a Hostel, but we also feel guilty that none of us are taking care of them.

I guess I just need to have my concerns either validated or refuted.  Any advice anyone can give me about how to go forward would be very gratefully received.   My parents both think I'm "bossy" but I know that it is often only due to my intervention that important things get done at all.   I hate them to be in the position where they are partly grateful for my help and partly resentful of my "interference", but I can't see any way around this.

I'd better stop before you all have eyestrain!  Please help me! sad


SnowyLynne
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 1539
   Posted 7/16/2005 6:40 PM (GMT -6)   
The only way is to get her to a Neurologist for testing,but it sounds like it.
Whatever,it needs to be done ASAP!
SnowyLynne


AlwaysRosie
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 8616
   Posted 7/16/2005 8:29 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Kezia,

Welcome to the forum!! SnowyLynne is right, she needs to be evaluated by a neurologist. If you know who her physician is, try giving them a call and let them know your concern so the doctor can bring it up, give her a referal and follow-up.

I am no expert but it sure sounds like some kind of dimensia . . . but the cause is the big issue. The neuro needs to rule out a couple other things to begin thinking about an Alzheimer's diagnoses. For my dad they did several tests. . . like cat scans or mri's of the brain and things like that to see if there had been a previous stroke or blockage. The docs are pretty good at getting the patient to comply with a referral because the elderly respect the docs and they usually don't question his intentions.

Keep us posted!!

Blessings!
In His Grip,
AlwaysRosie          "We can't control the waves, but we can learn to surf!"
Psalms 139
UCTD (Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disease), Hashimoto's, Plantar Fasciitis, Inflamatory Arthritis, High BP, GI Inflamation, Diverticuloses
Plaquenil, Methotrexate, Metanx, Synthroid, RX Motrin, Lexapro, Amitriptelyne, Salagen, Lotrel


marbil
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 7/20/2005 8:06 PM (GMT -6)   
Keiza,

Many of the symptoms you outlined are the same as my mother's and she has been diagnosed with Alzheimers. My father had the same symptoms. He had severe Demensia and eventuall died from complications several years ago.

It is very hard to deal with, but we once heard some great advice from Ronald Reagan's children. They never stopped showing their love towards him. They always hugged him whenever they came and left the nursing home. He had little memory of who they were by name etc. but he always knew who they were by the loved they showed Him clear up until he died. That was inspiring to us so we tried this with my mother and it does work. No matter how frustrated or disgusted we get with her behavior, we always let her know she is loved, we hug and kiss her, and make sure she is included in all of our family get togethers.

We have to remember that she is not at fault for the way she acts and that even though she is partially debilitated, God still has a plan to use her, and we actually see that happen quite often in the way she returns love to others.
We also pray for her daily and ask our friends and loved ones to do the same. She is on all of our prayer chains as well. There is no such thing as a hopeless situation with our God. He is in control and will do what is best for the victim and their families. we just have to believe that and allow Him to do His will.

We are praying for your mum, and your family, and ask God to pour His blessings on all of you.

Love and Peace
Marbil

AlwaysRosie
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 8616
   Posted 7/20/2005 10:22 PM (GMT -6)   
Welcome Marbil . . . thank you for your very uplifting post. My dad REALLY responds to physical affection too. Glad you found us!!

Blessings!
In His Grip,
AlwaysRosie          "We can't control the waves, but we can learn to surf!"
Psalms 139
UCTD (Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disease), Hashimoto's, Plantar Fasciitis, Inflamatory Arthritis, High BP, GI Inflamation, Diverticuloses
Plaquenil, Methotrexate, Metanx, Synthroid, RX Motrin, Lexapro, Amitriptelyne, Salagen, Lotrel

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