Hi everyone - first time poster, etc. I'll try to keep this brief.
I'm 31, my mother is 66. Over the last couple of years my mother has been doing and saying the odd thing that has really made me wonder if she is developing dementia. (Her mother was diagnosed with dementia in her 50s so there is a family history - it was very advanced by the time I was born, she was more or less non-verbal)
They are only very mild things, really, when it comes to my mother, and she has always been forgetful of appointments/faces/names/conversations etc, utterly chaotic when it comes to punctuality etc, and been slightly oblivious to all of that, so to anyone at a further distance than I am any changes would probably not be that noticeable.
I don't really know what to do. She and my father split before I was born and I never really knew him, she has been single since then, I have no siblings, I'm single, and there is no wider family, so there really isn't anyone to bounce things off or swap notes with. We have always had a pretty terrible relationship, so it's not something I can bring up with her without serious fall-out.
One possible person to confer with is a friend of hers who I think may have noticed something - we went to her house for dinner last night (I realise this is a trivial example!!!) and within a timeframe of about 30 minutes my mother had asked what the same particular cheese was four times. I realise that that would be (sort of) reasonable if she remembered that she had asked the question and simply couldn't remember the details, but she clearly had no memory of having already asked. She didn't read the (slightly frustrated) reaction from Friend at all. She also interrupted conversations with entirely random, unrelated comments, and seemed oblivious to the fact that she had done it.
Mother and Friend are off on holiday together for 10 days in September, so I could poke for thoughts when they get back, but I really don't want to put Friend in an awkward position.
I know that it might not be dementia at all, but I just don't know how to proceed. Is there an option to approach her GP myself? Friends of mine with more elderly relatives who have been diagnosed say that I would have to be present in the appointment with her, is that correct?
I realise that I sound like a total coward by being unable to bring this up with my mother directly. I haven't dealt with it sooner because of that, and because it seems to come and go, which makes me doubt myself. Of course I will bite the bullet and bring it up with her if necessary.
I think talking to her friend would be a good first step, then you could ring her gp and explain all the things you have noticed and ask if they would consider asking her to attend for an MOT to check it out.
Does your mum drink heavily or have any health issues?
She doesn't drink much (small glass of wine in the evening) but she does smoke an awful lot which can't help with blood oxygen to the brain, obviously. As far as I know there isn't anything else in terms of health issues - she's quite physically active, spends hours gardening almost every day, pilates once a week.
Thank you for the advice on what to do next - I've been talking myself round in circles for ages, I appreciate the outside perspective!