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Loss of short term memory

(6 Posts)
BillyDaveysDaughter Sun 14-Aug-16 23:03:43

My DM is 78. My DSD died 9 years ago, and so she recently moved house to be nearer to me - she used to live 200 miles away, but is now just 2 miles away in a retirement apartment complex. Mum is fit and well, physically active, very independent and very sociable. Relentlessly chatty, cheery and positive and full of beans.

Her short term memory, however, is showing some significant deterioration. She is very "busy", flitting from one social activity to the next - she lives out of her diary and she doesn't tend to miss appointments or anything. But she admits that she often can't remember if she's eaten breakfast or lunch and has to study the kitchen carefully to try and work it out; she says she wakes sometimes and doesn't recognise her room; she can't remember anything she's already told me and whilst the occasional repeat is natural, she'll repeat things 2 or 3 times in a matter of hours. There are certainly things she'll tell me very time I see her.

She is starting to struggle to find words she wants - she doesn't use the wrong word, she just can't remember the right one. Similar with names. I reassure her that if she doesn't rush and just allows herself a minute, the words will come and they invariably do.

She told me today that she was aware that her memory is failing, and I said that as she was still perfectly able to get herself up, and was remembering to wash and put clothes on and go about her day, I didn't think she should be too concerned. But there is some history in the family - her sister, who is about 73, is currently in full time care with senile dementia, and her brother had alzheimers and died in his 70's. Their mother (my grandmother) went senile in her late 60's.

What should I do? I don't want to frighten her and suggest an assessment with the GP. Are there any coping strategies that might help her? She has already arranged POAs, she is very organised but she obviously believes she's headed down that path...

ZaZathecat Wed 17-Aug-16 08:32:03

Your Dm is very sensible to have done the POAs already and, in my opinion, is doing the best she can to keep dementia at bay. Being sociable and having an active life are key to keeping the brain working.
I don't know if this is any consolation but my dm was at the stage you describe about 10 years ago and has only been having serious problems for the last 2. Unlike your dm, she has being living an insular life seeing mainly just me so I think your mum has a better chance of staying well.

FruitCider Wed 17-Aug-16 08:37:36

Is there a local memory service your DM can be referred to? They can carry out proper assessments and offer support should she have a form of dementia.

PlanD Wed 17-Aug-16 08:49:50

Yes I agree with Fruit. She can ask her gp to refer her to memory services- they can diagnose and offer support and strategies to aid her memory for as long as possible. As Zaza says, your mum is in a good position to keep having a good active life for as long as possible as she's using her brain at full capacity. There are also medications that may slow the progress of some types of dementia.

poisonedbypen Wed 17-Aug-16 08:53:28

I agree. My father was the same & wouldn't seek help as he was worried they would stop him driving. His dementia now seems to be progressing very quickly so he has been forced into it. It's horrid but positive that your mum is so organised and keeping active.

BillyDaveysDaughter Wed 17-Aug-16 21:51:15

Thanks everyone. I'll do a bit of research and see how she feels about memory services - she's pretty much game for anything (she started going to lipreading classes, she swims, goes to multiple churches, takes herself shopping on the bus, goes on day trips and name it).

She still drives a little and is getting more familiar with this new town, as she lived in her last one for 40 years. I was worried that it was the move to somewhere new that "broke" her!

Thank you for the advice.

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