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I think that my mom is losing her mind (not a joke)


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#1 ThatCyndiGirl

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Posted 23 May 2010 - 06:28 PM

My mom (who I have referred to as my husband's MIL) lives with us. (a momentary pause for sympathy)


She has been increasingly.......how shall I say? not just forgetful, but it's like parts of her memory are being completely erased.

For Mother's Day I made her a scrapbook of my kiddos. When I handed it to her I said,"Here, I made this for you" or some such. She looked through it, smiled at the pics, talked about some of them, and when she was done, set it down on the coffee table and never picked it up again. I found that strange, but quite frankly, she does a lot of strange things these days.

Yesterday I said to her, "Do you mind if I take that scrapbook I made you for Mother's Day to work? I want to show it to (co-worker)." Her reply?

"You didn't give me anything for Mother's Day."

:confused:

I said,"Mom, I made you that scrapbook of the kids AND baked that butter pecan cake for you, you know, the one you complained about all week long because you "thought it was burned". (it did have one rather aggressively done corner, but it was not burned. I know this because dh and kids consumed in rather aggressively as well.)

Anyhoo, she goes on to argue that, no, I never gave her anything for Mother's Day and it was a really hard Mother's Day for her and she felt so bad, etc. (my brother died two years ago and none of us are "over it".....probably won't ever be, truth be told.)

While dh was deployed recently I mentioned that the drug I am on was causing HORRENDOUS side effects. She asked "what drug?" I told her. She asked, "what do you take that for?" I told her. We went all the way back to testing and diagnosis, a conversation we had had at least TWICE in the past.

When I told dh about it he said,"YOU HAVE TOLD HER THIS AT LEAST TWICE IN FRONT OF ME!!" (he has a mind like a steel trap, remembers EVERYTHING. Very handy to have around, except for when he is remembering annoying things I have done, but I digress.)

I am seriously afraid that something is going on with her. The disease that my brother had started with brain changes and progressed rapidly. (onset in June, dead by January.)

The thing is, my brother took care of all of this kind of thing. He was the one that we all turned to to figure stuff like this out. I am completely alone in this and have no idea what to do. The best person to ask about this (who is still alive) is a friend of mine whose mother is dying of Alzheimer's, so she is obviously not the person to talk to at the moment.

Mom wants to move out and I'm afraid that she won't be able to.

Also, she has NPD, which complicates this SO MUCH MORE.

We SERIOUSLY need a PULLING MY HAIR OUT smilie! :banghead:

#2 Perry

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Posted 23 May 2010 - 06:32 PM

:grouphug:

Have you mentioned it to her? What does she say?

I'd ask her to see her doctor.

#3 ThatCyndiGirl

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Posted 23 May 2010 - 06:45 PM

Yes, I have talked to her about this. She thinks I am being controlling by even suggesting such a thing.

My degree, btw, is in Gerontology, so I know what to do, in a theoretical sense, as in: I know what to tell someone else to do. I guess it just seems more thorny and complicated when it's under your own roof/in your own family.

The day we had the discussion AGAIN about my diagnosis she interrupted me, mid-sentence to say, "your forehead really is a LOT bigger than mine!" :001_huh:

Thanks, Mom, for your helpful analysis of the situation.

And, fwiw, I had not been diagnosed with Huge Forehead Syndrome. (HFS) :glare:

Perhaps when I get home from work I shall obey the bottom part of my sig line.

#4 kalanamak

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Posted 23 May 2010 - 06:49 PM

I am PMing you.

#5 elizabeth

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Posted 23 May 2010 - 06:52 PM

NPD help me out here???I am hoping it is not Narcissistic Personality Disorder . That would be really hard to deal with on top of the challenge of getting her to a good MD for the other Dx. I have one surviving parent who has NarcissiticPD and I am oft reminded that the totally inappropriate responses or complete lack if it does not concern her, is in fact, normal for persons with aforementioned disorder. The problem you had with the side effects and her complete failure to recall this situation is something that occurs here every single time we talk. Maybe she has a memory loss but maybe it is just more of the same. I am sorry this must be very ,very hard. Will she go to an MD who can begin to diagnose whether or not she has a progressive disease?? It has been my experience that with the personality disorders the other issues both mental and physical are often akin to seeing through a glass darkly. They cloud and distort everything else making it very hard to discern what else is going on.

#6 2cents

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Posted 23 May 2010 - 06:57 PM

NPD is so hard to deal with. It sounds like she could have some of the early signs of Alzheimers. There are helpful meds for this but getting her into a good Dr as soon as possible is critical. :grouphug:

#7 G5052

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Posted 23 May 2010 - 07:10 PM

but you describe the beginnings of dementia on top of her NPD. You need to be working through your options here. This isn't going to go away :grouphug:.

I've been there, and even long-distance it's been utter emotional agony although my mother is institutionalized and it's been relatively quiet for all of a week or two since they started upping the meds again...

#8 Liz CA

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Posted 23 May 2010 - 07:23 PM


Oh dear. When someone is interrupting you to mention the size of foreheads (unless she is doing this to be annoying) it does really point to something serious going on.

I'd make an appointment with a doctor / specialist and also mention your brother's illness if the symptoms are very similar. I am assuming he did not succumb to dementia.

You need a professional diagnosis to know what you are dealing with and what the next steps should be.




#9 BeckyFL

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Posted 23 May 2010 - 07:46 PM

My mom had Alzheimer's. I feel that you really should get her to a Dr who specializes in geriatric medicine right away. Don't tell her ahead as she may not remember. When it's time for the appt, just get her in the car and tell her you're going to her appt. It's really important that this is documented if she becomes unmanageable and you have to end up with a guardianship situation or something like it. You need medical professionals to help you AND her! I would call tomorrow and make the appt as soon as possible. This is a difficult road to go down, you need support AND documentation. I can't stress that enough. :grouphug:

#10 Denisemomof4

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Posted 23 May 2010 - 07:53 PM

My mother acted as you said, and she did have dementia. For my mil, we KNEW she wouldn't accept that diagnosis so we called her dr. ahead of time to tell her our concerns.

I have to say with my mother, the change in her was absolutely AMAZING when I started to give her Carlson's fish oil. She started to talk again and it turned her dementia clock back about three years. My siblings also noticed the drastic difference. It's worth a try, if your mother will have it.

I'm sorry you're dealing with this AND NPD. There probably is a good chance she won't be able to live alone. Do you allow her to cook? How does she do that? Does she burn things because she forgot to check back on her food, because she forgot she was cooking?

#11 ThatCyndiGirl

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Posted 23 May 2010 - 08:07 PM

Yes, I meant Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

She has always been a bit fluffy-headed, so to speak, so in some ways the changes are subtle when compared to past behaviour.

She does cook and drive, although she does not drive with my children in the car. (we realized long ago that we were afraid she would take them to the park and lose one of the kids. :001_huh: )

This is NOT the same progression as my brother's illness at all. His started with gait problems. His balance and coordination were affected first, then strength. (CJD attacks the cerebellum first)

I will try the fish oil. She likes alternative therapies. I have been thinking for years that we would eventually need to become a guardian for her as she sends money she cannot afford to wealthy televangelists and then can't pay her bills. :confused:

Thank you all for the advice. It has been a difficult relationship for many years. (telling your daughter that you would have aborted her if it would have been legal just isn't a nice thing to say, I don't care who you are!)

Thank you all for letting me vent. It has kept me from crying at work. :crying:

#12 Liz CA

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Posted 23 May 2010 - 08:09 PM

Does she burn things because she forgot to check back on her food, because she forgot she was cooking?



I sincerely hope this is not a sign of dementia because I leave burners on and sit upstairs reading while tea water is boiling into nothingness. :001_huh:


#13 CroppinIt

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Posted 23 May 2010 - 08:13 PM

This sounds a lot like my grandmothers. They both started like this with two completely different problems.

Grandma #1 started doing strange things like storing odd stuff in her oven and wandering down the street and not being able to get back home. She had Altheimers (sp?) but didn't get treated until way too late to help. They found all sorts of things in strange places when she moved into a home -- and they never did find the deed to her house.

Grandma #2 started forgetting odd things, too, but never wandered anywhere. She was especially bad at forgetting to take care of herself -- eating right, taking her blood pressure meds, that sort of thing. Eventually she had a major stroke -- and they found out she'd been having mini-strokes for months (maybe even years) that impaired her mind. She, too, could have been helped had she gotten treatment sooner.

I would strongly suggest a full medical checkup to see what's going on physically -- you might find there are treatments.

#14 ThatCyndiGirl

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Posted 23 May 2010 - 08:14 PM

I sincerely hope this is not a sign of dementia because I leave burners on and sit upstairs reading while tea water is boiling into nothingness. :001_huh:



I've done this, too. :001_huh:

The other night I just about burned a whole pan of UnSloppy Joe pockets......and then the next pan......and then the third pan.

(some people JUST DON'T LEARN!!!!)

I swear that my oven is just too hot. dh calls it the Portal to Hell. :tongue_smilie:

#15 Liz CA

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Posted 23 May 2010 - 08:15 PM


I am truly sorry that you have to go down this road and also that your relationship is somewhat tainted by the things she said. Could she already have been in the beginning stages of dementia when she said those things to you?

This won't help with the potential issues facing you, but Cloud/Townsend wrote a good book titled "The Mom Factor," and it deals with less than healthy relationships with one's mother.
I am all for finding ways to heal our hurts so we can move on and not repeat the mistakes or continue to suffer but rather find peace.

Oh, and will your dh be able to be home for a while and not be deployed so you have another adult to discuss things with?


#16 Denisemomof4

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Posted 23 May 2010 - 08:19 PM


I sincerely hope this is not a sign of dementia because I leave burners on and sit upstairs reading while tea water is boiling into nothingness. :001_huh:


I say this because my mil regularly burned items, burnt holes into pans after the water evaporated out, melted tupperware in the oven, etc. We were shocked when we cleared out her house and found so many ruined pans, burnt pots, etc. She never got rid of a THING (she became a hoarder in her later years) When we were visiting, we'd see her pick up lids with no handle, burn her hands. She burned all her baked goods. She truly lost her ability to cook well, and cooking was her passion.

Of course we all burn things periodically. I'm not talking about that.

#17 ThatCyndiGirl

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Posted 23 May 2010 - 08:23 PM

Denise, I know what you mean. No, she is not at that stage.....yet.


DH won't be deploying for quite awhile, a year or more at least.

IF (and it's a huge IF) he did, I have a best friend who would....maybe....probably....stay with me. (well, if I get a donkey because that is friends' lifelong dream, to have a donkey.....at MY house!) :tongue_smilie:

#18 Liz CA

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Posted 23 May 2010 - 08:29 PM


Sorry. I did not mean to make light of the situation. It is so difficult when you watch someone lose their ability to do what they enjoyed the most.
And it must have been scary wondering if she eventually would go to bed and leave something burning.


#19 ThatCyndiGirl

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Posted 23 May 2010 - 08:31 PM

Sorry. I did not mean to make light of the situation. It is so difficult when you watch someone lose their ability to do what they enjoyed the most.
And it must have been scary wondering if she eventually would go to bed and leave something burning.



Meh. You didn't bother me. There IS a certain gallows humour that goes on in certain situations/professions. I completely understand and wasn't bothered by it.

#20 EKS

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Posted 23 May 2010 - 08:33 PM

Check her medications for memory loss issues. I don't mean to ask the doctor about memory loss as a side effect, but look on the internet. Most doctors don't acknowledge that many very common medications cause major memory problems. One major class of drugs that does this VERY frequently is the statins (like Lipitor).

#21 ThatCyndiGirl

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Posted 23 May 2010 - 08:45 PM

Check her medications for memory loss issues. I don't mean to ask the doctor about memory loss as a side effect, but look on the internet. Most doctors don't acknowledge that many very common medications cause major memory problems. One major class of drugs that does this VERY frequently is the statins (like Lipitor).


She is on ONE medication that I know of, something for blood pressure, can't remember the name right now and I'm at work or I'd go look.

I WILL check that out, though.

She doesn't drink, so that is out and she doesn't take benzos, either.

#22 sparrow

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Posted 23 May 2010 - 08:56 PM

:grouphug: She sounds a lot like my mom who has Parkinson's Disease. Her tremors are very slight but the affect on her cognitively has been devastating :crying:. Her short term memory is completely shot. I think this is leading to some depression because she is isolating herself. She's embarrassed at what a hard time she has following a conversation, so she stays home. And sleeps.

I try to be very patient with her, because my dad is terrible! He goes between freaking out and scared that she's "really declining" to yelling at her for forgetting something, like adding water to condensed soup. The whole situation is sad and scary and I don't know about you, I don't always feel grown up enough to deal with it.....even though I'm 40!

Hang in there. I'm an only child, so it's just me dealing with this, too:glare:. Thankfully, dh is an incredible support system for me.

#23 thescrappyhomeschooler

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Posted 23 May 2010 - 08:56 PM

I'm sorry this is happening. I do agree that you should take her for a consultation with the doctor. Maybe bring a list of specifics like you have written here. My mom is also NPD. She hasn't started forgetting the recent past, but she remembers almost nothing of our childhoods. She accuses my siblings and me of fabricating events from the past to make her feel like she's going crazy. I really understand what you are going through. Living with her must be very stressful and painful. I hope you can find a way to stop the progression of whatever is happening to her.

#24 ThatCyndiGirl

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Posted 23 May 2010 - 09:11 PM

:grouphug: She sounds a lot like my mom who has Parkinson's Disease. Her tremors are very slight but the affect on her cognitively has been devastating :crying:. Her short term memory is completely shot. I think this is leading to some depression because she is isolating herself. She's embarrassed at what a hard time she has following a conversation, so she stays home. And sleeps.

I try to be very patient with her, because my dad is terrible! He goes between freaking out and scared that she's "really declining" to yelling at her for forgetting something, like adding water to condensed soup. The whole situation is sad and scary and I don't know about you, I don't always feel grown up enough to deal with it.....even though I'm 40!

Hang in there. I'm an only child, so it's just me dealing with this, too:glare:. Thankfully, dh is an incredible support system for me.




Ohmygoshyes!! She has been increasingly isolating herself lately.

And, recently she forgot to add water to a can of soup, then complained about how salty it was.

I also do not feel old enough to deal with this!! I will be 40 in January (close enough! It's like we are the same age!) and do not at all feel like I am mature enough to handle this. (of course, I also thought I was gonna PUKE when I signed the mortgage papers. I kept thinking, "I'm not old enough for something this big!!"

#25 ThatCyndiGirl

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Posted 23 May 2010 - 09:21 PM

I'm sorry this is happening. I do agree that you should take her for a consultation with the doctor. Maybe bring a list of specifics like you have written here. My mom is also NPD. She hasn't started forgetting the recent past, but she remembers almost nothing of our childhoods. She accuses my siblings and me of fabricating events from the past to make her feel like she's going crazy. I really understand what you are going through. Living with her must be very stressful and painful. I hope you can find a way to stop the progression of whatever is happening to her.



Yes, she conveniently 'forgets' things from my childhood as well. Her ex-husband told me (while she was sitting right next to him!) that it's a shame I didn't kill myself in high school. :001_huh: She completely denies ever hearing that.

Yes, it is stressful and painful. I just told a friend of mine that I either want to run away or hide under a huge pile of blankets.....for a very long time. :(

#26 Mad Jenny Flint

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Posted 23 May 2010 - 09:22 PM

You have my empathy. My mother lived with us for 18 mos. It was an enlightening extension of my childhood. I had flashbulbs going off all over the place- memories and ah HA! moments. She was her own brand of crazy (histrionic) but I do believe NPD has to be a special kind of nightmare for you.

Whatever you do about your current situation, it sounds like you have a supportive husband. Take time for you. Take care of you. :grouphug:

#27 Maria from IN

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Posted 23 May 2010 - 09:31 PM

Before you take her to her "alternative therapist" you may want to call ahead and see if they can do a Mini Mental Status Exam while she's there. Scores below about 25 out of 30 for someone with a high school education indicate some cognitive impairment. It's full of questions about orientation (where are you? what day is it?, etc.), memory (memorize these 3 words and recite them back later), and abstract thinking (take seven away from 100 and keep going until I say to stop).

Flubbing up on questions like that will tell the doctor whether they need to do further tests to see how to treat her particular impairment.

#28 ThatCyndiGirl

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Posted 23 May 2010 - 09:46 PM

I give abbreviated mini mental exams (MINI mini-mentals? LOL) at work sometimes. We occasionally see people who have profound mental illnesses and/or substance abuse issues and, at the very least, being oriented to person, time and place is a good place to start!

When my brother was given a mini-mental and asked, "if your house was on fire what would you do?" he replied, "just sit there". I told him, "They were assessing you for suicide risk". His reply? "I'm not suicidal, I am realistic. My body won't get me out of the house anymore. My legs don't work. What would be the point in trying?" That was one of the worst days, hearing something learned in college working on a family member,.....in a way that was not going to end well. :sad:

#29 BeckyFL

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Posted 23 May 2010 - 09:48 PM

I give abbreviated mini mental exams (MINI mini-mentals? LOL) at work sometimes. We occasionally see people who have profound mental illnesses and/or substance abuse issues and, at the very least, being oriented to person, time and place is a good place to start!

When my brother was given a mini-mental and asked, "if your house was on fire what would you do?" he replied, "just sit there". I told him, "They were assessing you for suicide risk". His reply? "I'm not suicidal, I am realistic. My body won't get me out of the house anymore. My legs don't work. What would be the point in trying?" That was one of the worst days, hearing something learned in college working on a family member,.....in a way that was not going to end well. :sad:


I can feel what must have been one of those terrible sinking feelings! :grouphug:

#30 ThatCyndiGirl

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Posted 23 May 2010 - 09:50 PM

Yeah. We like to think that what we are learning in college is all about HELPING PEOPLE, but sometimes it is just about mitigating the damage when a situation is beyond repair. (like helping someone with hospice when they can't be cured.)

#31 Mommyfaithe

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Posted 23 May 2010 - 09:52 PM

My mom (who I have referred to as my husband's MIL) lives with us. (a momentary pause for sympathy)


She has been increasingly.......how shall I say? not just forgetful, but it's like parts of her memory are being completely erased.

For Mother's Day I made her a scrapbook of my kiddos. When I handed it to her I said,"Here, I made this for you" or some such. She looked through it, smiled at the pics, talked about some of them, and when she was done, set it down on the coffee table and never picked it up again. I found that strange, but quite frankly, she does a lot of strange things these days.

Yesterday I said to her, "Do you mind if I take that scrapbook I made you for Mother's Day to work? I want to show it to (co-worker)." Her reply?

"You didn't give me anything for Mother's Day."

:confused:

I said,"Mom, I made you that scrapbook of the kids AND baked that butter pecan cake for you, you know, the one you complained about all week long because you "thought it was burned". (it did have one rather aggressively done corner, but it was not burned. I know this because dh and kids consumed in rather aggressively as well.)

Anyhoo, she goes on to argue that, no, I never gave her anything for Mother's Day and it was a really hard Mother's Day for her and she felt so bad, etc. (my brother died two years ago and none of us are "over it".....probably won't ever be, truth be told.)

While dh was deployed recently I mentioned that the drug I am on was causing HORRENDOUS side effects. She asked "what drug?" I told her. She asked, "what do you take that for?" I told her. We went all the way back to testing and diagnosis, a conversation we had had at least TWICE in the past.

When I told dh about it he said,"YOU HAVE TOLD HER THIS AT LEAST TWICE IN FRONT OF ME!!" (he has a mind like a steel trap, remembers EVERYTHING. Very handy to have around, except for when he is remembering annoying things I have done, but I digress.)

I am seriously afraid that something is going on with her. The disease that my brother had started with brain changes and progressed rapidly. (onset in June, dead by January.)

The thing is, my brother took care of all of this kind of thing. He was the one that we all turned to to figure stuff like this out. I am completely alone in this and have no idea what to do. The best person to ask about this (who is still alive) is a friend of mine whose mother is dying of Alzheimer's, so she is obviously not the person to talk to at the moment.

Mom wants to move out and I'm afraid that she won't be able to.

Also, she has NPD, which complicates this SO MUCH MORE.

We SERIOUSLY need a PULLING MY HAIR OUT smilie! :banghead:


One thing I just found out about, the hard way, with my mom these past few weeks is that elderly...or aging people stop feeling thirsty...and often get de hydrated. I thought my mom was having signs of dementia when she was actually terribly dehydrated. It caused all kinds of issues like constipation, forgetfulness, dizziness, loss of speech, repeating everything ad nauseum, crankiness etc. When I forced her to up her fluids...and kept on top of it like mad, she recovered and is doing so much better...just a thought....she may be dehydrating herself which is easily remidied.

Good luck...hope all turns out ok.
Faithe

#32 G5052

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Posted 23 May 2010 - 10:05 PM

There are few things harder than dealing with mental illness in your family. It can get so very ugly with the doctors, police, DMV, Adult Protective Services, and all the well-meaning friends and family members who have no clue about NPD and dementia.

Yes, you have a background in this, but don't be afraid of getting help yourself if you're not getting the support you need. You need to hear that you doing the responsible thing and that you can get through this even when it's horrible, horrible.

#33 Denisemomof4

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Posted 23 May 2010 - 10:43 PM


Sorry. I did not mean to make light of the situation. It is so difficult when you watch someone lose their ability to do what they enjoyed the most.
And it must have been scary wondering if she eventually would go to bed and leave something burning.


Eventually, this is why we knew she couldn't stay in her home. We felt it was no longer safe. We told the drs how we felt, what we witnessed, and they all said she couldn't go back home.

#34 Denisemomof4

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Posted 23 May 2010 - 10:46 PM

:grouphug: She sounds a lot like my mom who has Parkinson's Disease. Her tremors are very slight but the affect on her cognitively has been devastating :crying:. Her short term memory is completely shot. I think this is leading to some depression because she is isolating herself. She's embarrassed at what a hard time she has following a conversation, so she stays home. And sleeps.

I try to be very patient with her, because my dad is terrible! He goes between freaking out and scared that she's "really declining" to yelling at her for forgetting something, like adding water to condensed soup. The whole situation is sad and scary and I don't know about you, I don't always feel grown up enough to deal with it.....even though I'm 40!

Hang in there. I'm an only child, so it's just me dealing with this, too:glare:. Thankfully, dh is an incredible support system for me.

:grouphug::grouphug::grouphug: You're in such a DIFFICULT spot and I'm so very sorry. My mother had Parkinsons, which ended up being Lewy Body Dementia. If you see her cognitive function declining quick, I'd get another opinion. Lewy Body is horrific. I took care of my mother and she died in my home. It was one of the hardest things I've ever done in my life, but was a TREMENDOUS BLESSING.

#35 ThatCyndiGirl

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Posted 23 May 2010 - 11:35 PM

I decided on the way home to make an appt with HER Dr. and go alone and tell her Dr, "I am NOT in any way asking you for information ABOUT HER. I am here to GIVE YOU INFORMATION so that the next time you see her you can do an assessment." and tell her what I've told you all.

Thank you!

Sometimes saying it (or writing it!) helps to get it all out and focus the information in a more cohesive manner so I don't run in there sounding like Chicken Little.

#36 laughing lioness

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Posted 24 May 2010 - 01:50 AM

Don't know if this has been mentioned or not but could be depression- esp. with the loss of your bro. Just something else to check out.
All the best to you as you struggle through this.:grouphug:

#37 Laura Corin

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Posted 24 May 2010 - 03:30 AM


I sincerely hope this is not a sign of dementia because I leave burners on and sit upstairs reading while tea water is boiling into nothingness. :001_huh:


But I highly recommend an electric kettle. I might need to boil water three times before I actually make the cup of tea, but at least I don't burn the house down in the process.

Laura

#38 sparrow

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Posted 24 May 2010 - 08:26 AM

:grouphug::grouphug::grouphug: You're in such a DIFFICULT spot and I'm so very sorry. My mother had Parkinsons, which ended up being Lewy Body Dementia. If you see her cognitive function declining quick, I'd get another opinion. Lewy Body is horrific. I took care of my mother and she died in my home. It was one of the hardest things I've ever done in my life, but was a TREMENDOUS BLESSING.



Thank you for the heads up on Lewy Body. And thanks for the hugs :grouphug::001_smile:.


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