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Could my FIL have early dementia? Or am I being paranoid?

(5 Posts)
oopnorthlass Thu 08-Aug-13 11:53:39

Hi all,
Hopefully you'll tell me I'm stressing for no reason, but I just need to write this down.
My FIL lives in another country, and we only see him a couple of times a year. He's a very successful business man, knows a lot of celebrities and is generally very 'with it'. He's just over 60. Unfortunately, he's also v self-absorbed, and 'conversations' tend to be a run-down of what he has been up to and what celebrities he has met, never asking how we are.
However, the last few times we've spoken to him, he's forgotten little things we've told him a few times and he also said to my SIL that he thinks my DH and I going on holiday to a certain destination this year, but we actually went last year. I realise these are little things so I'm not sure whether he's possibly stressed from work (he's made some bad business decisions lately too) or whether it's simply that doesn't listen when we tell him things.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Thu 08-Aug-13 14:41:15

It is possible he is stressed. He might also have a medical condition that is affecting his memory eg. A thyroid condition or vitamin deficiency. I'm a believer in trusting your instinct with this regarding whether there is a problem.

I know it's hard with him living abroad but would there be a chance of getting him to see a doctor at all? One of the problem with memory loss is very often people find it very hard to admit there is a problem and cover up very well for a long time. If you are going to raise it with him he will be very defensive, cross and deny there is a problem.

It might be an idea if you go along the lines of you go along the lines of you've noticed he's been very stressed recently and you know it can play havoc on things like the heart and memory and has he considered having a check up to see how he's doing ? You could then write to the GP or equivalent depending on whether there is a language barrier, before he goes to voice your concerns.

oopnorthlass Thu 08-Aug-13 15:15:39

WynkenBlynkenandNod, thank you so much for your advice, I hadn't really considered it could be anything other than stress. I know he's had health issues recently (gout, I believe, and his blood pressure isn't great) and I know he doesn't eat as healthily as he could do, so that may cause a vitamin deficiency I suppose.
I'll probably talk it over with my DH and see what he thinks, he's obviously known his dad a lot longer than I have! He'll probably have more luck persuading him to go along for a checkup too.
He's in an English-speaking place, so no language barrier with GP thank goodness.
Thank you so much again!!

Needmoresleep Thu 08-Aug-13 17:57:43

I agree with the instinct thing. If you can find a way of broaching the subject it is worth suggesting he gets checked out. Not just thyroid problems. My dad, though older, started being quite odd. Turned out it was a brain tumour. In his case treatment did not work but really good to have the diagnosis, an understanding of his altered behaviour and the time together.

Perhaps note the memory lapses and suggest a general check up. Aricept can be effective in delaying the progression of Alzheimers (my mums tests actually show a measurable improvement) so really worth getting an early diagnosis and the chance to retain more cognitive function for longer.

buildingmycorestrength Thu 03-Oct-13 16:57:17

My dad has a similar personality and managed to absolutely mortally offend my family yesterday by forgetting a major traumatic event from 5 years ago and claiming he'd never been told about it. He had. He'd sent a condolence card.

Somewhat in keeping with his generally self-absorbed personality but in a different league really, so am very concerned.

Has your FIL had any further investigations?

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