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Help please : Stress or early onset dementia (advice or experience please)

 
Concerned daughter
User ID: 12320195
United Kingdom
07/13/2013 07:59 PM
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Help please : Stress or early onset dementia (advice or experience please)
Over the last 4 months my mum has lost her husband and three sisters.

Myself and my 2 brothers are helping her as much as we can by either, being there, providing transport or going with her to all the legal appointments, or simply being on the end of the phone.

She has (understandably) been super stressed, confused and very sad.

Today she has been saying VERY worrying things. She took her grand daughter on a coach trip to the coast (church outing)

She kept sending all of us texts saying "6 pence to me"

To explain this in the UK we went decimal in 1971. I was only 2 years old when this happened so have NO real memory of the old UK pounds , shillings and pence.

When i collected her from church i asked her about the text and she insisted that my grandad (who has been dead over 2o years) had given me sixpence only last week !

I chose to smooth over this, just in order to get her home.

Confused and stressed I can understand but this 40 year leap into the past has me VERY worried.

Can any of you people help me?
I have read that people with senile dementia often go back to a past where they were happy.

PLEASE note. As a family we are lucky to all be in a situation where we can home, love and look after our mum.

I would be grateful if anyone caring for a relative with dementia could give us a heads up over how serious this is.

Many thanks
Sue
Anonymous coward
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07/13/2013 08:12 PM
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Re: Help please : Stress or early onset dementia (advice or experience please)
Whoa! What a lot to go through over such a short time. I am so sorry. I can only think that getting your Mum to the doctor would be the way to go. Stress can do strange things. I once forgot where my own daughter lived, even though she lived close to me and had for years. I went to visit and could not remember where or how to get there. It was pure stress. Sounds really stupid but it was very scary. When the stress was under control I was fine again.

Dementia usually comes on gradually I think. I wish you and your Mum the very best and hope it gets sorted quickly.
furPete'sSake

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07/13/2013 08:12 PM

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Re: Help please : Stress or early onset dementia (advice or experience please)
well just lost a MIL to it. It was listed as the cause of death. apparently it can affect the brain to the point of shutting it down. A very pleasant, but habitually anxious person, she did become violent in the last weeks of her life. also for any one out there debating whether or not to take warfarin to thin the blood, be aware it causes dementia and the medical people are well aware of it. Good luck sue, it's not easy but I wish you the best
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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07/13/2013 08:14 PM
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Re: Help please : Stress or early onset dementia (advice or experience please)
Shameless self BUMP .

Can any of you help please ?

My mum is a lovely lady and i just want to know the best way to help her.

Thank you.
Anonymous Coward
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07/13/2013 08:15 PM
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Re: Help please : Stress or early onset dementia (advice or experience please)
i have been caring for my mom with alzheimers for 13 years now. i don't remember any time that she went into the past. that doesn't mean it is not a symptom i just dont remember it happening, so much does. anyway my grandmother lost her husband and was depressed, she did go back in time kind of talking about her brother and such, which she lost like 40 years ago, i believe she was blocking pain from her loss with fond memories or something, not sure. she did get better kind of or i believe she would be fine if further hardship didnt hold her back. anyway hopefully its not alzheimers and she gets better, lots of love and activvity and healthy food either way, good luck
Anonymous Coward
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07/13/2013 08:17 PM
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Re: Help please : Stress or early onset dementia (advice or experience please)
Over the last 4 months my mum has lost her husband and three sisters.

Myself and my 2 brothers are helping her as much as we can by either, being there, providing transport or going with her to all the legal appointments, or simply being on the end of the phone.

She has (understandably) been super stressed, confused and very sad.

Today she has been saying VERY worrying things. She took her grand daughter on a coach trip to the coast (church outing)

She kept sending all of us texts saying "6 pence to me"

To explain this in the UK we went decimal in 1971. I was only 2 years old when this happened so have NO real memory of the old UK pounds , shillings and pence.

When i collected her from church i asked her about the text and she insisted that my grandad (who has been dead over 2o years) had given me sixpence only last week !

I chose to smooth over this, just in order to get her home.

Confused and stressed I can understand but this 40 year leap into the past has me VERY worried.

Can any of you people help me?
I have read that people with senile dementia often go back to a past where they were happy.

PLEASE note. As a family we are lucky to all be in a situation where we can home, love and look after our mum.

I would be grateful if anyone caring for a relative with dementia could give us a heads up over how serious this is.

Many thanks
Sue
 Quoting: Concerned daughter 12320195


I've read that Coconut Oil(organic) helps tremendously with dementia.

Take care of yourself too OP .
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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07/13/2013 08:21 PM
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Re: Help please : Stress or early onset dementia (advice or experience please)
Whoa! What a lot to go through over such a short time. I am so sorry. I can only think that getting your Mum to the doctor would be the way to go. Stress can do strange things. I once forgot where my own daughter lived, even though she lived close to me and had for years. I went to visit and could not remember where or how to get there. It was pure stress. Sounds really stupid but it was very scary. When the stress was under control I was fine again.

Dementia usually comes on gradually I think. I wish you and your Mum the very best and hope it gets sorted quickly.
 Quoting: Anonymous coward 1408355


Thank you so much for replying, it really does mean a lot to me. I have gone to the doctor with my mum and to be honest she was pretty good and diagnosed stress, the doctor gave her what i agreed was appropriate medication (very mild sleeping tablets) and told her to SLOW DOWN. (all good in my opinion at the time)

Things seem to have got a bit worse now.

Thank you SO much, your reply means a lot.
Anonymous Coward
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07/13/2013 08:22 PM
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Re: Help please : Stress or early onset dementia (advice or experience please)
I would be grateful if anyone caring for a relative with dementia could give us a heads up over how serious this is.

Many thanks
Sue
 Quoting: Concerned daughter 12320195


My siblings and I are going something similar. My father developed an incurable condition that causes retrograde and anterograde amnesia two years ago. This means that not only does not remember the last three decades, he cannot form any new memories. My mother, who is his principal carer, has found the whole thing unbelievably stressful, and her memory is showing serious signs of deterioration.

I suggest you go with your mum to her GP and explain your concerns. Don't be fobbed with the "it's just stress" response that they will give you - they can't know that for sure, it could well be something more serious.
Meadow1

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07/13/2013 08:23 PM
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Re: Help please : Stress or early onset dementia (advice or experience please)
Sue,

The stress of losing her husband and three sisters would be enough to cause her to retreat into "yesterday."

I was a care giver to my mother-in-law. 24/7 for months. She suffered from Alzheimers, and even though she received medication to slow down the progress of the disease, she still lost her memory.

I urge you to take your mum to the doctor as soon as possible. It could be she's losing her memory, or the shock and loss of her loved ones is more than she can handle.

I believe early onset dementia can be treated, much more so than full blown Alzheimers.

Your mum may need a better diet, and you might check more often on her medications to make sure she's not doubling up on her daily "meds."

Spend more time with her, help her to find a new hobby or interest that will stimulate her mind. Take walks with her, put all the family pictures in albums and keep them near her favorite chair or bed table.

If you'd like to ask me anything, leave the questions and comments on this thread.

Sincerely,

Meadow
“So comes snow after fire, and even dragons have their endings.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit
Anonymous Coward
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07/13/2013 08:29 PM
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Re: Help please : Stress or early onset dementia (advice or experience please)
Music that she enjoyed is said to be helpful as well.
Anonymous Coward
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07/13/2013 08:29 PM
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Re: Help please : Stress or early onset dementia (advice or experience please)
PLEASE note. As a family we are lucky to all be in a situation where we can home, love and look after our mum.
 Quoting: Concerned daughter 12320195


^^^Just keep doing what you're doin mate^^^ ;)

Have a look into your aged care health system over there. You may be able to get someone in to assess her & give you advice etc. I don't know what the UK system's like, but you may be able to get some in-home assistance for her while you're away at work or wherever during the day.

Try not to worry too much, I know that's an easy thing to say, but so long as she's happy and loved & well cared for you're doin ok :)

When you hear those old stories from when she was young or she's experiencing confusion or she gets upset or whatever, just go along with it and gently try & distract her to something else. So long as she's got lots of hugs & kisses & a smile on her face man, it's all good. thumbs
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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07/13/2013 08:30 PM
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Re: Help please : Stress or early onset dementia (advice or experience please)
i have been caring for my mom with alzheimers for 13 years now. i don't remember any time that she went into the past. that doesn't mean it is not a symptom i just dont remember it happening, so much does. anyway my grandmother lost her husband and was depressed, she did go back in time kind of talking about her brother and such, which she lost like 40 years ago, i believe she was blocking pain from her loss with fond memories or something, not sure. she did get better kind of or i believe she would be fine if further hardship didnt hold her back. anyway hopefully its not alzheimers and she gets better, lots of love and activvity and healthy food either way, good luck


 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 26548545
hat you say makes so much sense, THANK YOU.

When me and my brother were very little we had frequent holidays at the place she went to on her daytrip.

Thank you, that makes PERFECT SENSE , we all love the place but it was a place that many years ago my younger sister died, it is a sweet/sad place for us.

I feel a bit stupid now, i have always loved the place but perhaps it was too much for mum.

Thank you so much for highlighting that.
Thank you so so much.
Gratia Plena

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07/13/2013 08:32 PM
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Re: Help please : Stress or early onset dementia (advice or experience please)
I am not terribly familiar with dementia, but I can share what little I do know. My sister's mother-in-law died from Alzheimer, and she didn't really leap into the past at all. She more or less got stuck in the time around where she developed the Alzheimer's and developed a lot of anxiety. For instance, she couldn't remember that she had any grandchildren, and during the times she did remember she had them, she couldn't remember if they were boys or girls. And she was very nervous all the time and would get very nasty and forget things that happened five minute ago. She didn't start losing old memories (or forget who people were) until later in the disease process, but she never thought she was IN those old times. However, dementia and Alzheimer, while related, are not the same, so dementia can't be excluded based on what you experienced, and what you describe is very startling.

Before you start mentally thinking the worst for her though, maybe a thorough physical is in order. Sometimes the simplest things, like an imbalance in one's diet, can cause confusion. My grandfather took about three years to die when his body started failing (we thought he was at the end many times), and he went through periods of great confusion that he would just suddenly come out of and be seemingly back to normal from a cognitive standpoint.

Again, I know I haven't shared anything great insightful, but sometimes every little bit of info helps when something is weighing heavy on the soul, so I hope it helps a little, and I wish you and your mum the best.
furPete'sSake

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07/13/2013 08:35 PM

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Re: Help please : Stress or early onset dementia (advice or experience please)
"that he would just suddenly come out of and be seemingly back to normal from a cognitive standpoint"


yes, the MIL would get progressively worse, a trip to the ER, some drugs to make her rest, and then she 're-set" for awhile. but it's a tough road
Klasikatica

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07/13/2013 08:39 PM

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Re: Help please : Stress or early onset dementia (advice or experience please)
Has she been checked for Alzheimer's? The going back in time thing sounds like it. Does she forget current things?

[link to www.alz.org]
QUINTANA ROJAS
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07/13/2013 08:41 PM
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Re: Help please : Stress or early onset dementia (advice or experience please)
Can any of you help please ?

 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 12320195


Yep, but you guys dont listen.

I guess if you did, you would not be in this position to begin with.

Good luck with the conventional methods.
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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07/13/2013 08:45 PM
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Re: Help please : Stress or early onset dementia (advice or experience please)
PLEASE note. As a family we are lucky to all be in a situation where we can home, love and look after our mum.
 Quoting: Concerned daughter 12320195


^^^Just keep doing what you're doin mate^^^ ;)

Have a look into your aged care health system over there. You may be able to get someone in to assess her & give you advice etc. I don't know what the UK system's like, but you may be able to get some in-home assistance for her while you're away at work or wherever during the day.

Try not to worry too much, I know that's an easy thing to say, but so long as she's happy and loved & well cared for you're doin ok :)

When you hear those old stories from when she was young or she's experiencing confusion or she gets upset or whatever, just go along with it and gently try & distract her to something else. So long as she's got lots of hugs & kisses & a smile on her face man, it's all good. thumbs
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 43327809


What a very lovely comment to send us as a family! Thank you so much.

I am very lucky that my father was a bloody, tough Yorkshire miner who we all loved. He set his will to protect my mum but I am sure he died assured she was safe ( He DID get our own personal assurances that we would look after her)

There have been MANY horrible stories about the NHS system in the uk over the last year BUT I can say they were superb with my dad.

My dad didnt share much personal stuff with us kids over the years UNTIL he knew he was dying. THEN he told me wonderful, lovely memories and as you suggest i tell them to my mum.

Lovely stories and memories can always help,
Thanks sweetheart,
Thanks just what i needed to hear.
God bless
Anonymous Coward
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07/13/2013 08:54 PM
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Re: Help please : Stress or early onset dementia (advice or experience please)
Shameless self BUMP .

Can any of you help please ?

My mum is a lovely lady and i just want to know the best way to help her.

Thank you.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 12320195

I have gone through this with my mum, who passed away at age 99 in 2010.
My mum suffered TIA's (Trans Ischemic Attacks) (or) small strokes. When she had a TIA she acted strange and thought she was in the past.
The other thing that made her act that way was urine infections. I called the doc out one time, convinced she had suffered a stroke. Doc arrived and asked her who the Prime Minister was and she replied 'McMillan' He asked her what her DOB was and she answered correctly right off.
Urine infections in older folk are very common and cause confusion and strange behaviour.
Anonymous Coward
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07/13/2013 08:54 PM
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Re: Help please : Stress or early onset dementia (advice or experience please)
You're welcome mate hugs
Anonymous Coward
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07/13/2013 08:55 PM
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Re: Help please : Stress or early onset dementia (advice or experience please)
"that he would just suddenly come out of and be seemingly back to normal from a cognitive standpoint"


yes, the MIL would get progressively worse, a trip to the ER, some drugs to make her rest, and then she 're-set" for awhile. but it's a tough road
 Quoting: furPete'sSake


Thanks for replying,

Yes the difficult thing is that my mum is 82 and has been on no medication at all for over 30 years, she goes line dancing every week !!!

This is why all this is so odd!

Stress or dementia ?

What should we be watching for .....a rotten problem BUT THANKS FOR ALL OF YOUR COMMENTS.
Anonymous coward
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07/13/2013 09:10 PM
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Re: Help please : Stress or early onset dementia (advice or experience please)
"that he would just suddenly come out of and be seemingly back to normal from a cognitive standpoint"


yes, the MIL would get progressively worse, a trip to the ER, some drugs to make her rest, and then she 're-set" for awhile. but it's a tough road
 Quoting: furPete'sSake


Thanks for replying,

Yes the difficult thing is that my mum is 82 and has been on no medication at all for over 30 years, she goes line dancing every week !!!

This is why all this is so odd!

Stress or dementia ?

What should we be watching for .....a rotten problem BUT THANKS FOR ALL OF YOUR COMMENTS.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 43331337


She sounds like a wonderful lady who has great children!

Try and look after yourself a bit so that YOU don't get too stressed out. Best thing against stress is laughter. Sure sounds like there is a lot of love around your home. You are an awesome daughter and your entire family sound lovely.
AlkaliDesert

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07/13/2013 09:21 PM
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Re: Help please : Stress or early onset dementia (advice or experience please)
Shameless self BUMP .

Can any of you help please ?

My mum is a lovely lady and i just want to know the best way to help her.

Thank you.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 12320195

I have gone through this with my mum, who passed away at age 99 in 2010.
My mum suffered TIA's (Trans Ischemic Attacks) (or) small strokes. When she had a TIA she acted strange and thought she was in the past.
The other thing that made her act that way was urine infections. I called the doc out one time, convinced she had suffered a stroke. Doc arrived and asked her who the Prime Minister was and she replied 'McMillan' He asked her what her DOB was and she answered correctly right off.
Urine infections in older folk are very common and cause confusion and strange behaviour.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 43330290


Yes, UTI our other infection, TIAs/stroke, and vitamin/mineral deficiencies/imbalances are the first things that should be checked for, as they can cause similar symptoms and are more treatable.
Anonymous Coward
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07/13/2013 09:29 PM
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Re: Help please : Stress or early onset dementia (advice or experience please)
"that he would just suddenly come out of and be seemingly back to normal from a cognitive standpoint"


yes, the MIL would get progressively worse, a trip to the ER, some drugs to make her rest, and then she 're-set" for awhile. but it's a tough road
 Quoting: furPete'sSake


Thanks for replying,

Yes the difficult thing is that my mum is 82 and has been on no medication at all for over 30 years, she goes line dancing every week !!!

This is why all this is so odd!

Stress or dementia ?

What should we be watching for .....a rotten problem BUT THANKS FOR ALL OF YOUR COMMENTS.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 43331337


She sounds like a wonderful lady who has great children!

Try and look after yourself a bit so that YOU don't get too stressed out. Best thing against stress is laughter. Sure sounds like there is a lot of love around your home. You are an awesome daughter and your entire family sound lovely.
 Quoting: Anonymous coward 1408355


That is a very kind and lovely comment for you to make. It is actually a VERY insightful comment as well.

We as a family are being brought together in a stronger way than we have had to do.

I have emptied and remodeled my "JUNK" room (after 20 years) in case my mum needs it.

My elder brother has very severe arthritis and has FINALLY followed doctors orders "IN CASE" mum needs him and the BEST !!!! another family member has now completed 2 months of alcohol rehab in case they are needed!


We all love our mum!

Thanks everyone for your input. It has been WONDERFUL.

I needed a lift and and a bit of info.

THANK YOU ALL
Anonymous Coward
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07/13/2013 09:35 PM
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Re: Help please : Stress or early onset dementia (advice or experience please)
Shameless self BUMP .

Can any of you help please ?

My mum is a lovely lady and i just want to know the best way to help her.

Thank you.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 12320195

I have gone through this with my mum, who passed away at age 99 in 2010.
My mum suffered TIA's (Trans Ischemic Attacks) (or) small strokes. When she had a TIA she acted strange and thought she was in the past.
The other thing that made her act that way was urine infections. I called the doc out one time, convinced she had suffered a stroke. Doc arrived and asked her who the Prime Minister was and she replied 'McMillan' He asked her what her DOB was and she answered correctly right off.
Urine infections in older folk are very common and cause confusion and strange behaviour.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 43330290


Yes, UTI our other infection, TIAs/stroke, and vitamin/mineral deficiencies/imbalances are the first things that should be checked for, as they can cause similar symptoms and are more treatable.
 Quoting: AlkaliDesert

Thank you for agreeing. I have been present at 3 strokes and 5 TIA's. When my mum got the Urine Infection I could have sworn she had a stroke. I would never have believed a simple thing like a Urine Infection could have caused a person to change personality so dramatically.
Anonymous Coward
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07/13/2013 09:35 PM
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Re: Help please : Stress or early onset dementia (advice or experience please)
Probably not a nice thing to say, but I can see some advantages to gradually losing your memories.

Since heartache is caused by the thoughts we dwell upon, might it not be desirable to forget those things which torment us?

At an advanced age, it might be nice(r) to be mentally confined to your childhood memories?

Hopefully that isn't offensive, and I'll admit to a lack of experience in these matters, but I think it may be a perspective which is overlooked.
Anonymous Coward
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07/13/2013 09:58 PM
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Re: Help please : Stress or early onset dementia (advice or experience please)
Probably not a nice thing to say, but I can see some advantages to gradually losing your memories.

Since heartache is caused by the thoughts we dwell upon, might it not be desirable to forget those things which torment us?

At an advanced age, it might be nice(r) to be mentally confined to your childhood memories?

Hopefully that isn't offensive, and I'll admit to a lack of experience in these matters, but I think it may be a perspective which is overlooked.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 1663367


That is not in the least offensive AT ALL.
Thanks for putting it out as an idea for discussion.

If, to keep my mum happy she only wanted to discuss the past then i am sure we would all do so (keeping of course a thumb on reality, paying bills and dealing with day to day stuff)

Thank you, your comment is a good , nice and realistic thing to point out.

Thanks.
SUE
beeches

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07/13/2013 09:58 PM

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Re: Help please : Stress or early onset dementia (advice or experience please)
Get your mom evaluated if you can.

Loss of mental ability CAN come on suddenly.

Can have a physical cause.

Sounds like your mother is truly confused, is she agitated at night?

Is she wandering about?


See if this continues or gets worse. Good luck to you and you will be in my prayers.

It is very hard. My father had a brain bleed and was terribly confused, a fact not well explained to us when he was discharged to his house. It made his last time on earth very sad, I wish we had understood his condition before trying to bring him home, where we thought he would be more oriented.

In the end, you have to do what you think is best, and if need be, change plans.

you are a blessing to your mum.

Last Edited by beeches on 07/13/2013 09:59 PM
Now is the time.
Anonymous Coward
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07/13/2013 09:59 PM
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Re: Help please : Stress or early onset dementia (advice or experience please)
google 'Medium Chain Triglycerides' (coconut oil is an excellent source)

I take it daily in my coffee.
beeches

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07/13/2013 10:01 PM

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Re: Help please : Stress or early onset dementia (advice or experience please)
Probably not a nice thing to say, but I can see some advantages to gradually losing your memories.

Since heartache is caused by the thoughts we dwell upon, might it not be desirable to forget those things which torment us?

At an advanced age, it might be nice(r) to be mentally confined to your childhood memories?

Hopefully that isn't offensive, and I'll admit to a lack of experience in these matters, but I think it may be a perspective which is overlooked.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 1663367


not offensive. not at all. many confused elderly folks are pretty stable and seem at ease, it is the family watching that suffers.

in the above post, my dad went into confusion in a very short time, and by the time we understood, he was actively dying. A sad time, for sure.

I am a former nurse, and yes, forgetting can be comforting.
Now is the time.
Anonymous Coward
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07/13/2013 11:03 PM
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Re: Help please : Stress or early onset dementia (advice or experience please)
Probably not a nice thing to say, but I can see some advantages to gradually losing your memories.

Since heartache is caused by the thoughts we dwell upon, might it not be desirable to forget those things which torment us?

At an advanced age, it might be nice(r) to be mentally confined to your childhood memories?

Hopefully that isn't offensive, and I'll admit to a lack of experience in these matters, but I think it may be a perspective which is overlooked.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 1663367


That is not in the least offensive AT ALL.
Thanks for putting it out as an idea for discussion.

If, to keep my mum happy she only wanted to discuss the past then i am sure we would all do so (keeping of course a thumb on reality, paying bills and dealing with day to day stuff)

Thank you, your comment is a good , nice and realistic thing to point out.

Thanks.
SUE
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 43331337


Thanks. My nan spent her last few years constantly talking about how lonely she was without her husband. I think it may have been easier for her if she had completely forgotten about him. Dwelling on negative thoughts will bring you down faster than many diseases can. This has been understood for a very long time.

Hope everything works out well.
Anonymous Coward
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07/16/2013 09:30 PM
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Re: Help please : Stress or early onset dementia (advice or experience please)
This is hopefully a pretty positive update for all of you who had generously helped me with a horrible scare.

My mum is MUCH better she is very much more alert and "on the ball"

Her doctor has been pretty good, she has done blood tests etc AND with my mums agreement notifies me of all the results.

Mum has shown borderline rsults of thyroid problems ( not unexpected, mum has had these for over 40 years) BUT

We are having a bit of a heat wave here in the UK ( MUCH more than we usually have, but I know its a bit sisy for many of you folks in the USA)

Since my dad died, my mum was spending MANY more hours in her garden. She didnt want to be inside.

She was drinking her usual fluids BUT spending many more hours in the sun.

DEHYDRATION. Thats the culprit!

She was drinking her usual BUT spending upto 6 hours more than usual in the sun.

Thank you all so much !!!
I hope that anyone searching GLP can come across this solution.

Many, many thanks to ALL