My mother in law

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Date Joined Jan 2007
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   Posted 8/27/2010 12:37 PM (GMT -6)   
I am new here but not to HW.  My mother in law is an amazing person!!!  I love her dearly.  She is 88 and lives independently.  Over the last year I have seen a lot of short term memory loss.  It started with names.  She is very aware of this.  "Oh I just can't remember her name!!!!  You know, that nice lady that used to live next to you......."
Now she is starting to repeat herself.  She comes over a couple times of week to help out.  She is sort of a hyper person and she loves doing our laundry!  Now after she leaves we all go through our "new" clothes and exhange.  I frequently have my 16 year old's t-shirts in my closet and he will have my jeans etc.  We laugh it off and so appreciate all she does for us.
I have pointed out her memory problems and suggested she see a doctor.  She gets angry and says that all old people have short term memory problems. 
My dad has early alzheimers and is doing really well.  Despite this, I don't know much about alzheimers. (he and I compare MRIs and giggle)  Should I be pushing for a neuro check for "grandma ruth"?  Would it just be better to not pester her about this.  Part of the reason she doesn't want to see a neuro is she is VERY claustrophobic and won't even think about an MRI........not even an "open" MRI. 
At 88 I certainly don't expect complete and intact memory and cognition.......I just don't know how hard to push.  What do you think?  Thanks for any advice you can give.

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Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 8/27/2010 5:16 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello Gretchen,
I am so glad to see you online.  This is not my expertise but my MIL is also very forgetful so I have been keeping an eye on her.  Here are a few tips that may help you in deciding if you should keep encouraging your MIL to see her physician. My MIL is 85 years old  :-)  but she has been forgetful for years so I just watch for changes. 
Memory problems that aren't part of normal aging:

Forgetting things much more often than you used to
Forgetting how to do things you've done many times before
Trouble learning new things
Repeating phrases or stories in the same conversation
Trouble making choices or handling money
Not being able to keep track of what happens each day
Wishing you the best and I miss you !
Gentle Hugs,
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Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 1539
   Posted 8/27/2010 5:53 PM (GMT -6)   
When was the last time she had a complete check up?

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Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 23551
   Posted 8/28/2010 6:32 AM (GMT -6)   
It sounds like how my Gma was before she started declining. She would forget peoples names, had a horrible time with the laundry (she would put soap in the softener section and no soap), she started repeating things over and over. She started to become paranoid, scared so she would hide her money in her room...we found almost $3000 hidden in her room when we finally had to move her to an assisted living center.

Your MIL doesn't necessarily need a MRI to diagnose a dementia. Questions and behavorial tests alone can help determine that. Maybe you should ask her when was the last time she had a physical and when she goes in, offer to take her but ask her doc to possibly do a mental test as well (without her knowledge). When people start to lose their cognitive abilities, they tend to be in denial or scared. Of course all that she is going thru may very well be the fact of getting older. Heck, I can't even remember names and I'm only 40! But Kitt gave you some good things to look out for in case it isn't age related.
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Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 3571
   Posted 8/28/2010 9:35 AM (GMT -6)   
Thank you everyone.  I have told her she can say no to an MRI.  I have no idea if her memory problems are or are not part of normal aging.  She sees a GP regularly and he has never said anything.  She does repeat herself in a conversation. 
Yesterday I again asked her about seeing a neurologist just for a check, she agreed yesterday but getting her to actually go may be tough.  It's a step in the right direction however!
Thanks for your advice. 
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