Suddenly unable to understand basic board games - a first sign?(19 Posts)
I have known my lovely, bright and kind MIL for 16 years. She is 75. For the past 8 years I have noticed increasing forgetfulness. For example doing a massive shop and forgetting to put it all away in fridge/freezer for several hours, or inviting 16 people over for brunch and then faffing around the kitchen for an hour unable to deal with coffee/drinks requests (FIL is a bit of a traditional lazy sod so it's normally me, DH & SIL sorting it out). There are some cheeses etc in her fridge from 2012.
I've been trying to point out to DH that he needs to encourage FIL to help her more, and it seems to have worked up to a point. But I have noticed her feet are in a terrible, painful looking state, and she has probably not been to the hairdresser for 5 years (something she used to love).
During the holidays this year I've noticed she now struggles to read the time looking at her watch or a wall clock, and playing jenga or snakes or ladders or just drawing basic shapes with my kids makes her very confused. She even struggles to take her coat of and sit down when asked repeatedly, and makes an angry face when she suddenly 'gets it', as if annoyed with herself but even more so with the person 'nagging her'.
DH is in denial and says 'there is nothing him or his dad can do for her' since "there is no cure for dementia". (At least he is now recognising she is showing some signs. (?)
Anything I can do?
Many thanks, sorry for the essay.
God this is sad OP.
There may not be a cure for dementia but there are 1001 things you can do to assist somebody or care for them.
I could overlook her hair, but if they've let her feet get in a state that's a crying shame. She obviously needs more help than she's getting.
I pointed it all out to DH tonight. He gets really evasive/cross (ie sad). He is shooting the messenger. He claims he doesn't look at her feet that closely. I said he better f*cking start, and do something about it.
Feet are really important, as they are so linked to mobility.
My maternal grandmother had dementia and one of the things my mum was most pleased that she did was getting her to a chiropodist, as gran had been neglecting her feet.
It will be really hard for your DH and FIL, but they do need to face up to this.
I'm not surprised he's being evasive and cross if he's failed to do anything about it thus far!!
Are his parents in a home of their own or sheltered? Sheltered might be a better place for them if his father cannot look after himself and his mother is detoriating/needs support.
Has your MIL had her eyes checked? Some of the things you mention may be hampered by poor eye sight/macular degeneration, which is common with age.
The first thing is to get her assessed by the memory team. She can take medication to slow down the process/prevent deterioration.
Someone also needs to help and make sure she is safe, can she remember to turn the hob off? Iron? Would she take too much medication by accident etc.
You will need to intervene OP. Can you arrange for her to go to the GP and maybe you take her? Can you have a discussion with FIL and DH together?
She will need an assessment from the GP and they could also look at her feet.
No there is not a cure sadly, however there are different types of dementia and your IL's will need help if she is diagnosed with dementia.
DF couldn't do a 48 piece kids' jigsaw puzzle or nail two pieces of wood together to make a sword 3 years before the bitter, bitter end. At that time he was lost as to what to do when initiative was needed, while still functioning on a daily level and "a bit forgetful".
Your FIL and DH need to get their acts together NOW. Mental assessment, safety routines and clear indicators of warning signs to watch out for. There is no cure for dementia but there is help in dealing with it.
Thanks everyone, I really appreciate this.
They live on their own with a cleaner once a week, cleaner seems v capable and MIL really likes her, I will suggest to FIL perhaps she should come more often and be more of a companion to MIL; take her to hair salon, foot care, help with putting away the shopping etc.
FIL is fiercely independent/know it all but typical old boy/mentally 16 years old sometimes ...
MIL took the decision to stop drinking & stop driving last year, so perhaps she/they know more that we know?
The eye test is so spot on, I have noticed she has to 'search' my face a lot more recently, if that makes sense.
Agreed feet are a top priority. She has recently gotten herself some very good trainers & socks but god knows what it looks like under there. DH, BIL and SIL in total denial (the latter two live abroad).
What is the 'memory team' please?
sorry, I seem obsessed with her hair, but it's just she used to be such a cool, sleek old school New Yorker, think Meryl Streep/Devil Wears Prada
I think it's lovely that you care enough to think about her this much. It's what everyone would love from a DIL
Forgot to say my grandmother had Alzheimer's and the first big ted flags were at Xmas. Big family Xmas dinner at their house as usual and she had done turkey and potatoes but couldn't remember any of the trimmings and she could not remember how to make custard. She lived at home for 8 years until she passed away. With my grandad, my mum, other family members and carers but it was a hard slog and heartbreaking for us.
You do need to get her to the GP or get the GP to do a home visit. You will need to intervene OP as she could become a danger to herself and your FIL will have to be much more hands on.
Do push for a memory assessment. My grandma was similar though with a more helpful partner, and they managed fine until he had a stroke and couldn't speak, and it became clear how much he'd been reminding her what clothes to put on, to drink her tea, that's the fridge, not the oven, etc.
Thanks everyone. It's in DH's hands now but I won't stop nagging him. Him and his parents are lovely though, they have been much more of a supportive family to me and our kids than my own parents ever were.
If their cleaner is willing, then asking if she will do more hours is a really good route as having someone who will keep an eye on the use by dates in the fridge, ensure clean clothes are worn, bed sheets changed, do shopping lists with FIL, and so on is invaluable in keeping everything running.
As others have said, it certainly sounds like something is going on with your MIL, and your FIL needs to get her to the GP to have a memory test. There are drugs which can slow the progression of dementia, and the earlier they start the better
Someone needs to go to the gp with her and discuss her concerns. Firstly for her physical health they should be able to get you access to a chiropodist.
Secondly the gp can do some basic tests and then decide what/if further treatment is necessary. A friends mother recently showed signs of dementia but when tested it wasn't she couldn't do things, rather she didn't want to or it made over overly anxious. They diagnosed depression associated with the restrictions old age brings and she was given mild ADs which helped a little.
But do get her help at a doctors, if your dh and fil won't take the lead perhaps you can to get her the help she needs. I know it should ideally be your dh, but if she is one of those rare gems (a supportive MIL!) now is the time to repay her past kindness even if it is just that first access to help. Perhaps once you make the appointment and plan to go with her it will shame your dh into going.
The memory clinic is staffed by doctors and nurses who specialise in dementia. Depending on the individual there is treatment to slow the progress of dementia. It's really important that medical care is accessed. You normally access it through your GP. You go for a mini assessments amd then are referred to them.
I wish there was more information available out there. Memory loss isn't part of ageing, yes it is more prevalent but there are plenty of older people without it. Early intervention can dramatically improve the quality of life of the individual, so help should be sought at the earliest opportunity.
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