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Elderly parents

What are the very early signs of dementia?

6 replies

Olderkidsaremine · 10/05/2013 23:07

Mum has never been particular good remembering peoples names - it took a long while to get the names of her grandchildren right when they were born - so this was obvious over twenty years ago. Recently though she had a 'funny turn' ended up on the floor not entirely sure how she got there, this was first thing in the morning I talked to her in the evening and she admitted that she was 'confused' which then resulted in an out of hours doctors visit followed by nearly 5 hours at accident and emergency!

Not a definitive result but after an appointment with the stroke clinic think that she might have had a mini stroke. Now though she is really bad at remembering names of people and items, she is talking around things, its like she just has no idea who or what they're called! She also isn't the fiesty mum that she used to be with official people - doctors and the like!

The big question is though could this be the result of the mini stroke or could it dementia setting in - we have had some weird conversations over the last few months which has resulted in a few laughs but sometimes I get so frustrated with her which I know is wrong but I can't help it!

If I suggest that she might have dementia she will deny it til the cows come home! So if anyone has any advice about what to look out for or if this seems quite a typical presentation I would be grateful to hear from you :)

OP posts:
exoticfruits · 11/05/2013 06:46

Could you arrange for her to have a memory test?

Elkieb · 11/05/2013 06:51

The little memory test we use is called a mini mental state examination but a doctor would usually ask these questions. They contain things like: What season is it, what year is it, who is prime minister etc. A mini stroke can change personality and cause some damage but your mum is probably still in shock and a bit scared Hmm. (((Un mumsnetty hugs)))

Olderkidsaremine · 11/05/2013 09:11

Thanks for the suggestion of a memory test - should have said that this 'mini stroke' happened in January, and certainly then the memory test was amusing for me and my brother as she was so convinced she was right saying the year was 1982 - I don't know who she thought the two adults with her were, in 1982 we were kids!!!

So not sure that this is still resulting from that, maybe its just made her poor memory for names extend into the 'names' of other things!

She seems fairly clued up in general conversation because if she can't remember the words she can change it and nobody is any wiser, but if she's recounted a story with people involved its all ' what's her name, you know who I mean' etc She's only in her mid sixties so if this is the beginning I would rather get her assessed before it gets to obvious!

OP posts:
StealthOfficialCrispTester · 11/05/2013 09:16

I think it varies
I know the first time I knew something was wrog with my grandma was when she laughed at my cousin's (perfectly normal) shoes, and was trying to tell us what she found so funny, but just couldn't
Also a handbag obsession - needing to know where it is ALL the time, even in houses of family
Also wandering at dusk (sundowning) although I think that may have come later
Wanting to "go home" or talk to her mum (who had been dead for 20 years)
Has she been checked for an infection (UTI?) as that can cause major confusion/disorientation and be very scary.
I hope you get some answers.

fridayfreedom · 11/05/2013 09:32

People are often rubbish at remembering names so something like a mini stroke or dementia can make them really rubbish. What you are describing re other words is called expressive dysphasia. Typically people can not find the right word, often nouns.
If someone has had a stroke this can happen, it can also happen with dementia. Someone who has had a mini stroke or TIA, does not necessarily have or go onto to get dementia. However lots of mini strokes can cause vascular dementia.
If she had the test soon after the stroke then the result would be scewed by the stroke and should improve a little after time.
In order to diagnose dementia a full assessment of her cognition and how she is managing day to day life is needed as well as a full history of her health.
If you are worried get her back to her GP.

CMOTDibbler · 13/05/2013 15:24

My mum has dementia, and it started like this - she has progressively lost the words for things, people and places and now has a lot of issues both understanding and making speech and writing. Hers was noticable when she was 65.

Its worth pushing for an assessment as although nothing medically can be done for this type it does let her access more help in terms of support

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