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WWYD? Talk to the doctor or keep my nose out? LONG sorry

(56 Posts)

I'm worried about my mum. She is elderly. She has various health issues, including hardening of her arteries, which I am aware can lead to dementia.

My dad is still alive, they are still married, and I'm wondering if I'm over-worrying and what, if anything to do.

She is becoming increasingly forgetful. Forgets to turn the gas off. Doesn't remember arrangements for me to call round/meet for coffee and the like.

She can't work the tv, the computer, if dad died tomorrow I don't know how she'd cope.

Her driving is getting atrocious. It was never good tbh, but now she's so bad I don't like asking her to pick the kids up for me if I'm working. I try to get Dad to do it.

She gets really angry over silly things - raging mad, over something really petty.

She has inappropriate conversations, that's the only way I can describe it. Will phone and tell me she has to go now as she need to poo or she needs a pee, for example.

Her clothes look like a bag lady left them at a dustbin. No money issues, she just doesn't care.

Her behaviour in social situations is odd. For example, she dropped a fork at a restaurant, the waitress saw, went to replace it, mother said no it was fine and licked it clean, and ate her dinner with it.

Also, she makes a big joke and laugh about things that aren't really funny (hard to explain without outing myself)

Should I go and talk to the GP or should I leave my Dad to it and keep my nose out?

Oh Calamity - she was so sharp and aggressive and RUDE my kids were rolling their eyes. Every time dad spoke she was over reacting it's hard to explain.

Her trousers were filthy. And the apron she had on was a health hazard.

I just feel so sad and there's only me - dad can't or won't see it. If I go to the doctor will they tell her I've been? I am so worried.

LIZS Mon 01-Apr-13 10:20:19

Sorry to hear this. dh's gf was in denial about gm , he took probably years of abuse - verbal and physical - and covered up the worst of it until he was no longer capable. When she is in for her op can you speak to the hospital social worker and mention your concerns. Things may be self evident but they should know as part of any care package on discharge. Sometimes a chemical imbalance such as thyroid problems or mineral deficiency can trigger symptoms but are relatively straightforward to rectify.

LIZS - it really was verbal abuse of Dad. It was horrible. And I don't want my kids to see that.

She has thyroid problems and is to get her meds for that reviewed.

purplewithred Mon 01-Apr-13 10:22:38

Really tough - it's going to be almost inevitable that handling this is going to enrage her.

Try to focus on what really matters, which is her safety. Driving matters, dressing like a bag lady doesn't. Turning off the gas matters, soggy Yorkies don't.

My friends got their mum an induction hob after she went out and left the gas on btw.

Purple - I had thought of changing the cooker. But it's a big range cooker and it would cost a bomb to put a new one in.

And yes it's going to enrage her. Unless when she's in hospital they spot something.

But then, if it goes the wrong way and we get bad news, the possible dementia won't matter.

I feel so sad.

Really really sad. And tired. And I don't want to do this bit of it anymore. I don't want it like this. I want it how it used to be. And that's silly. I am not 5 my daddy can't fix this.

weegiemum Argentina Mon 01-Apr-13 10:39:45

I just ran. Your OP past my dh (GP).

He said see local GP, without telling her if you need to. They can't tell you anything about your mum, but they will listen and take what you say very seriously - he said most GPs would love a family member to comment on this issue! Sadly, most don't!

Thank you weegie and mrdrweegie <want a sad smile emoticon>

DowntonTrout Mon 01-Apr-13 10:45:41

I'm sorry you are going through this.

My mums DP masked her dementia for about 5 years. He made her get up, bathed, put her clothes out etc etc. he dealt with everything and she appeared, well, while not normal, a bit vague and forgetful.

When he died suddenly last year, it was apparent he had done everything for her and that she wasn't capable of making a cup of tea. She actually needs full time care. But he was a proud man and would not accept any outside help at the time. It actually prevented mum from getting the help she needed and the strain, I believe, contributed to his death. All the things you describe are markers for dementia but the thing to remember is people get very good at hiding their symptoms, especially when they have someone around to mask how bad things are. Your mum will not tell the doctor about her problems because she won't know and she may be confused and angry.

I would try and speak to her GP about your concerns. They cannot talk to you about her but they can listen, and maybe find a way of doing a preliminary test on her alongside a "normal" check up.

We now attend different GP practices, but her GP is my old GP. I would rather talk to them because they know her and me. And if I talk to MY GP they won't know her so they can't do anything can they?

weegiemum Argentina Mon 01-Apr-13 10:52:04

Freddie - make an appointment in your mums name, and attend to say what you want to. He/she can't comment but they will definitely note what you say!

Thank you all. I'm nearly crying you're all that kind. I keep going over yesterday and I KNOW she's not right.

We were at the table having a conversation and my dad said "They went there yesterday" and 10 seconds later she turned to me and said "they went there yesterday" and dad said "I just said that" she then totally went off on one and ended up totally over reacting and fuming so much she was spitting in rage and making mocking gestures and giving him the finger when he walked away.

(I know how odd that sounds)

She also gave all the grandkids money for Easter. She was talking to one of the younger ones on the phone and said "go and get yourself a chocolate egg". I could hear her end of the convo, not the child, but then mum said "well you have to have chocolate at easter that's the rules" "oh right well get something else"

The child is 7, she's lactose intolerant, always has been and mum KNOWS she can't have chocolate. Or at least, she used to know. I have a DD who is intolerant as well, and the money started once she was born.

whataboutbob Mon 01-Apr-13 14:29:46

You poor thing. Going ahead and seeking a diagnosis can be the hardest thing. Apart from the fact that you need the parent's cooperation to a certain extent, you also have to come face to face with the reality. I went through this 2 years ago. Now my Dad's alzheimers is a fact of life, and I cope by making the resolution that I will support him as well as I can, but not to the cost of my own physical and mental health, or my children's. That means when the time comes, we're looking at carers and then nursing home.
Having a diagnosis has been useful- the medical reports were a get out of jail card when he got massive fines for driving uninsured for instance. Dad's GP was only too happy for me to appear on the scene as he'd seen him struggling for a while. I kicked things off by writing to the GP outlining my concerns, then attending Dad's next visit with him. And also getting Power of Attorney- it's an open sesame when you are dealing with banks, pension people, in fact any official body.
PS I stopped eating anything he cooks a while ago. Sad but true. I just can't risk the gastroenteritis.

MrsHoarder Mon 01-Apr-13 14:46:22

Without knowing what the op is, I'd try to bring possible dementia to the gp's attention before she goes in. General aesthetic can worsen dementia symptoms so her medical team should be forewarned. Also if her gp is canny he might be able to slip a dementia appointment in under the guise of preparation for hospital.

Hope all goes as well as possible.

SinisterBuggyMonth Tue 02-Apr-13 01:18:16

Sorry you and your family are going through this.

I can only reiterate
what other posters have said and say go and see your DMs GP and write a letter to if you can. Take a list. Highlight your safety concerns, risk of food poisoning for eg. It may feel disloyal, but this could be them start of a very long process.

With my dad, it has taken nearly 3 years from my letter to GP to get him into Sheltered Extra Care flat. He has a very cruel illness, dementia is just a part of it, but its the part that stopped him being able to look after himself, however his illness started probably 10 years ago. I recognise the lack of personal care, he looked like he was homeless tbh, as well as theagressiveness, and innapropriate conversations. It wasn't until I got a diagnosis doors started opening, albeit slowly. He was moved to ESA, hence an obviously very ill man no longered sign on, go for interviews for work he could nt physically do, and do voluntary cleaning, which resulted in him ending up in A and E with a cracked head. He was rehoused from private rented hose which Environmental Health shut down, to a flat he couldnt manage, and trashed, to his current home were he refused the care, very aggresively until about a month ago he had and asthma attack, and it shocked him. He now has accepted the daily cleaning , uses the call button, and actively asks the staff for help. He still wont shower, however her has had a haircut for the first time in 10 years! Things are far from ideal, but I dont have to worry about him freezing to death when the wheather turns, his flat is clean, and he is finally admitting slowly he needs help. But it had to start with me asking for help 3 years ago.

Also, its very important you go see your GP and explain how this is affecting you. I've been nearly suicidal dealing with dads illness, I get counselling now, that and Dads recent relaxing has put me in a much calmer place now than I was this time last year. I've had bereavements in the past that's were sudden and shocking but this is the hardest of all because you feel you cant begin to grieve for someone who is still here.

Thinking of you Op flowers

I have an appointment with my gp on Tuesday.

And one at mums on Thursday next week.

Why do I feel like crying?

WynkenBlynkenandNod Wed 03-Apr-13 08:55:41

Because it's a horrible thing to have to do and you know that if you're right your Mum is going to have a diagnosis you don't want her to have. It's not a done deal though, there are other things that can cause this type if behaviour.

Crying is very normal I've been told. I've stopped it for the moment, Mum's had her diagnosis for nearly 3 weeks now and we're on holiday and I've managed to enjoy myself knowing all the things in place for her now mean she's safe and happy.

Well done for making the appointments brew wine biscuit flowers ::tissue::

Thank you all so much.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Wed 03-Apr-13 09:02:35

Do me a favour Freddie. If you're near a shop today go and buy yourself something to sit down with this evening and spend a little bit of time on yourself. Magazine, bit of wine, chocolate, face mask - whatever it is that you would enjoy. Then sit down when you have dispatched any lurking children to bed and spend an hour on yourself.

Also, pick up the phone and arrange to see a good friend very soon for a coffee.

Wynken - that's a blooming good idea.

whattodoo Wed 03-Apr-13 09:11:46

Oh Freddie I feel for you.

Have faced similar myself. You know you're doing the right thing to alert the go to the situation.

You should make sure the hospital team are told as well. Before she is discharged, she should be assessed to see if she needs support settling back at home (I think its called a reablement assessment).

If she gets a formal dementia diagnosis (which sounds likely but it may be something else such as depression?) Then your dad can apply for financial support such as reduced council tax etc. He may refuse carers at this stage, but try to encourage him to take financial help.

Speak to Alzheimer's society and/or age UK.

It's horrible to see someone you love change so much. All you can do is help them both adjust and encourage them to accept help.

(Hug)

whattodoo Wed 03-Apr-13 09:12:34

gogp

WynkenBlynkenandNod Wed 03-Apr-13 09:14:08

Good smile

<eyes mammoth breakfast which includes chocolate spread and ponders the fact that one could easily over do the being kind to yourself bit but then thinks sod it, am on holiday>

Stop rubbing it in wink

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