The start of Alzheimers or dementia

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Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2006
Total Posts : 733
   Posted 3/24/2015 3:02 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm not expecting anyone to diagnose my best friend of 50 years, just looking for some advice. We are both 67 years old.

Sue is one of the kindest and most generous persons you could ever know...she would give you the shirt off her back and some people and relatives have taken advantage of that for years. She has always been a very vivacious, intelligent and friendly person but was also always insecure, especially around people she perceived as being "better" than her and was always afraid someone would get "mad" at her if she did something like try to return an item to the store. Over the past couple of years that insecurity has gotten worse, to the point where if she has to go to an event where one of these "better" people might be, she obsesses for days over what she will wear, buys many outfits til she finds the right one and has terrible anxiety until the event is over. A couple of years ago when everyone was buying fancier cell phones she decided to buy one of the androids because I guess she wanted to feel like she was keeping up with everyone else. She has had it two years now and still can't remember how to use it properly. It has actually become another obsession to's all she talks about, asks the same questions about how to use it over and and over, most the time can't figure out how to even answer it. It's all she ever focuses on and it's driving her family and friends crazy. She refuses to give it up even when we suggest something easier. She also gets very confused over other things, forgets things very quickly and easily and has a hard time finding her way around when she, I and our 7 other girlfriends get a cottage each summer...takes her days to get used to where different rooms are etc. If you just met her you might not notice anything because she "covers' for things by laughing them off and oftentimes she can even hold a very normal conversation, explaining something she did the previous day in great detail. I know this all might sound minor but if you were with her all the time, you would KNOW there was definitely something very wrong. Her family is NOT supportive and oftentimes mock her forgetfulness. We women who have been friends (more like sisters) for these 50 years want to be there for her and wonder what we can do. She knows that her family wants her to be tested for Alzheimers but of course she is very afraid of that at this's not like her mind is totally gone but things ARE slowly starting to deteriorate. Plus she has macular degeneration so her eyesight is getting worse, which doesn't help the phone thing either. She has always driven everywhere and still insists on driving but I don't know how long that will be safe (if it even is now because she can't see signs). I have heard that people with Alzheimers oftentimes start by "obsessing or focusing" on a certain thing and that darn phone is definitely it. She sits by the hour just touching things on the screen, not knowing what's going to happen and usually gets completely frustrated when she can't figure them out. She must call me 1-4 times a day, usually to ask me some question about the phone (we're talking TWO years now!) so I know she's sitting at home just playing with it. It's definitely getting on her family's nerves and mine to be honest. I try to tell her to get rid of it and get something simple and she says she will but never does...just laughs it off. What is going on with my dear friend and do you have any suggestions?

Steve n Dallas
Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 4818
   Posted 3/25/2015 4:57 AM (GMT -6)   
Sounds like my dad... He went from being OK using a computer to not being able to use it at all.

I'd go visit him on a Sunday... We'd spend 30 minutes with me showing him how to compose and send an email...then we'd go to another room and chit chat for an hour... I'd mention it was time for me to go and he'd say he wanted me to help him with something on the computer-> How to send an emailshocked

This went on for months.... I'd just humor him and do the best I could... He was a big note taker since he forgot so much.. It really got to him when I dug through his notes and showed him all the steps he had written down.

He eventually bit the bullet and quit turning the computer on.

You might want to try and talk your friend into getting one of those simple phones with the huge numbers so she can call people.

You might also want to read through other posts here so you can see you're not alone.

New Member

Date Joined Jul 2015
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 7/7/2015 7:55 AM (GMT -6)   
Another familiar story...the obsessing over things....mine is the new patio funiture we bought....every single day, he's adding to it, over and over to the point of just forgeting about barbequing the 4th of July. I don't have the stomach for this new care he's gonna need. I've been through a heart attack, cancer, colon removal, with my husband and now that he's turned violent on me, I'm just over this life of care giving. I'm just sooo lost and so minute all is okay and now, I'm married to a guy that has turned violent and made me public enemy number one....27 years with this guy and now, if he could, he could kill me and I'm suppose to blame all this on AZ???

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2010
Total Posts : 1397
   Posted 7/11/2015 4:24 AM (GMT -6)   
Betty, I can understand your fears. Can you sleep in separate rooms? One thing I will suggest id to get a notebook and document unusual behavior or dialog. Make sure he can't find it. You may need it at a doctor's visit, especially the violence part. You might also try to find a support group in your area. I wish you the best and hope your husband can get help.

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2010
Total Posts : 1397
   Posted 7/11/2015 4:34 AM (GMT -6)   
andwes, it is wonderful that you have kept these friends all these years. I have a few myself. It is obviously that Sue does need some kind of doctor's exam. You cannot help her, so her daughter would be the one to take action. You can tell her daughter this situation upsets you because you love and value her friendship so much. If some of the other ladies have similar feelings about Sue, maybe they can share them?

I believe family members are initially in denial. You have mentioned your concerns. All you can do now is be supportive. Maybe ask the daughter if she'd do some research. I highly recommend that the daughter go on the next doctor's visit. I know it's so difficult to fear losing such a valuable friendship. Something is going on; maybe it's another medical problem that can be easily treated. I hope so! Much blessings...

New Member

Date Joined Jul 2015
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 7/26/2015 2:06 PM (GMT -6)   
I have learned it is very common and a part of the Alzheimer's for a person to have obsessions and compulsions. This has been one of the most frustrating things for me with my DH who was diagnosed with AD about 8 years ago.

Your friend has it with a phone but it could be anything. My DH has it with locking doors. He unlocks and locks all outside doors at our house up to 30-40 times every night. He can't sit down for more than 3 seconds to a few minutes. He not only locks doors, he also jerks on them, checking to see if anyone could pull them open. He insists that he's being cautious and protecting us and our things.

This is just one thing....he also removes all his clothes out of his chest or closet and thinks we are in a hotel and are leaving. I must remind him several times a day that this is our home and we live here.
This is my first post here and I guess I can't be very positive. I'm tired and not knowing what to do next.

Glad I found this place and andwes, I just wanted you to know these activities are quite common.

Good luck to you

New Member

Date Joined Dec 2015
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 12/9/2015 1:04 AM (GMT -6)   
I worry about myself with the stress I've been under I am forgetting things. I will put
something down and can't find it. Also I put away some Christmas presents a couple
of weeks ago so DD couldn't find them when she comes home for a visit, for the life of
me I can't remember where.

I am almost 70 and thinking of getting tested for alzheimers and praying its just from the
caregiver burnout I have.

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2016
Total Posts : 34
   Posted 5/4/2016 3:43 PM (GMT -6)   

think of your brain as a balloon.
a balloon has only so much room and your lifes events and knowledge that you have accumulated all these 70 years has literally filled that balloon to its capacity.
even little things cant find room anymore and are left at the entrance of the balloon.

you worry to much. stress will make you crazy and you wont even recall what day it is unless you see it in a newspaper or on tv.

it is not important. just recall what you do and go on with your life. if you dont remember, ask someone to remember for you. who cares!!

imagine if you give that balloon to your grand kids as a present. Imagine how wise they would be for their age and not make the mistakes all of us make during the blowing up of that balloon.

so celebrate your everyday and don't sweat the little things, because at 70, you realize ""who cares" in 50 years from now. who will even remember you forgot something.

focus on what makes you happy, not what you are forgetting.

Alzheimers is not forgetting. its having a house key, going over to your caregiver and asking "'what this i found in my pocket . what does it do?" . thats Alzheimers
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