dementia

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I did visit my mom in dementia care. She did recognize me. She has progressive dementia. Will there be a time she doesn't recognize me? This is the worse disease ever. I can only visit whenever I can. I live 11 hours away.

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  • Posted

    Unfortunately, patricia17320, there MAY come a time when your mom doesn't recognise you.

    One of the problems with various types of dementia is that the most recent memories are the ones that get affected first.  Mom MAY forget you getting older.  She MAY remember you as a younger person, and MAY not be able to remember the changes to your facial characteristics.

    The thing is, even people that do forget who their nearest and dearest are on one occasion MAY well remember them on another.  (That's generally termed 'having more lucid moments'.)

    Have the doctors actually diagnosed which specific type of dementia they believe your mom to be suffering with?  There are a number of different ones, with the most common one being Alzheimer's disease.  The next common one is vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies, and a whole lot more.

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  • Posted

    I'm sorry, Patricia, but that question is impossible to answer. I'm a former nurse and also "veteran" of caring for four dementia sufferers - my aunt, my mother, a friend's mother who I helped out with, and now a friend not much older than myself for whom I've somehow become responsible. All suffered from vascular dementia rather than Alzheimer's but there's not a great deal of difference between the presentation of the two diseases. Vascular tends to progress faster, though.

    Every case is different. My aunt lost the ability to recognise her daughter quite early on, my mother recognised me to the end, my friend's mother recognised her daughter to the end, and even me until her last few weeks. I believe my friend still recognises me at some level, though she no longer uses my name. She becomes very distressed if I ask whether she knows who I am, so I no longer try that. However, it's worth noting that during a recent visit from a beloved niece, who came over from the US for a week (we're in continental Europe) she brightened up considerably, with her eyes fixed on her niece's face the whole time she was with her, even though she never once used her name. And so far - ten days after the niece's return to the US - the improvement has held up. She's now talking more, is cooperative with the staff and is making efforts to feed herself, for the first time in about six months.

    I think the thing to hold onto is that your mother will almost certainly recognise you on some level, even if she can't call you by your name. I've just spotted the post from micksmixxx below, and see that he/she has made exactly the same point. This means that your visits can still bring some kind of comfort to her.

    I agree - this is indeed a terrible disease that will affect so many of us as the human life-span increases. I'm 71 myself and often fear for my own future when I can't find a word I'm looking for or occasionally forget how to use household appliances. I find the solution to the latter problem is to keep calm, go away and do something else before returning to the original task, when I can remember how to do it.

    I know exactly what you're suffering and also that there are no words that will comfort you. You just need to see your mother when you can, in the knowledge that she will get something from your visits.

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  • Posted

    Very helpful response Patricia.  Thanks so much.   My Mother has (probably) Vascular Dementia.  She is now in a home; yet my sister is still having to chase the 'Memory Clinic' - attached to Stepping Hill, Manchester, for 'official diagnosis' - from scans?!   We find this situation appalling as useful to know which parts of brain are affected as she definitely has got dementia - going by the symptoms alone!  frown  I think my sister, who lives nearby to Mother, is going to 'chase' Memory Clinic!     That's the NHS for you!   Also Mother had had to have a spell in hospital as it was actually constipation (often in addition to urine infections) which does cause immense problems and, in turn, affects her dementia badly.  She does, however, still recognise us.   At  moment 'on one point' rather glad she's not that 'with it' or she'd be 'losing sleep' over fact my 33 year old daughter has breast cancer & goes in 4th August for double mastectomy with recon. - which she has asked for (fortunately that particular hospital in Kent has a rather better reputation for this kind of thing - no idea how they are re. dementia though!)  My daughter has said that prior to Mother's dementia she would have bn. losing a lot of sleep at night over all this.    Thanks for sharing your input ... with all your experiences! confused
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    • Posted

      Hi Clarie, Don't even get me started on the NHS and dementia! It took me literally years to get my mother an appointment with a gerontologist (at the Ashford and St. Peters Trust in Surrey) and then they tried to pretend there was nothing wrong with her! That memory test they do is heavily weighted to give a false high score to people who were more intelligent earlier in life. My mother was always good with words and an absolute wiz at mental arithmetic. When it got to the bit about subtracting 7 from 100 and so on, she raced through it and refused to stop till she got back to 2! When asked where she lived, how old she was, what year, month or season it was etc., she drew a complete blank, and couldn't remember any of the four words, even immediately afterwards, let alone a few minutes later. They nonetheless declared her as being within the normal range, which meant we couldn't get any help at all. By this time she was still living at home and couldn't even find the toilet in her own house!

      I'm glad to hear that your mother is at least now in a home. That was completely out of the question for us, of course. Even at the end of her life, after three months in hospital (following a broken arm and a severe urinary infection) when she weighed only 34kg (5st 5lb), had a nasty pressure sore and was clearly dying, they were still proposing to send her home without even putting in carers. Perhaps I need to add that she was in social housing, so didn't own a house they could seize to pay for her care... I think it was a blessing that she died just days before they were planning to discharge her.

      Just a thought about your mother's severe constipation. They haven't put her on antipsychotic drugs, have they? (I mean the sort of thing that's only meant to be used for schizophrenia etc.) Intestinal obstruction is a well-known complication of the entire group of drugs. This group is strongly contra-indicated in cases of dementia but they're being prescribed for 50% of dementia patients worldwide, to keep them quiet. My poor friend has been on a whole range of antipsychotics but I'm gradually chipping away at her doctor to reduce the dosages. I've so far succeeded twice in the past six months and am going to try and get the dose cut again next week. You might do well to start taking an interest in what they're prescribing for your mother and googling the drugs to see what they are.

      So sorry to hear about your daughter. That must be a heavy burden to bear in addition to all the worry about your mother. I agree that it is at least a blessing that your mother doesn't know about this. I do hope all goes as well as possible with her surgery next week.

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  • Posted

    Hi Patricia I cared for my dad with my mum for the last 12 months he hadvascular dementia & alzheimers. He had days where he didn't recognise mum because his mind had taken him back to when they were younger & my mum is 80 now when he called her name & said he was looking for her she to,d him she was here but he said it wasn't her he was looking for someone 50 years younger, he only once forgot my name & called me his eldest sister but no one can tell you how each individual will be my grandma didn't recognise my mum but she always knew me & my sister in law & brothers. 

    I lost my dad on the 4th JULy but one piece of advice I would offer anyone caring for dementia sufferers is to agree with them don't argue with them even if you know you're right, it makes it so much easier & keeps them calmer.

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  • Posted

    Hi Patricia, I'm sorry you are both going through this. It is a horrible illness. I am going through it with my Mum. She is now in the last stages. I do understand how you feel. I go to see her as much as I can (not enough). Sometimes she recognises me, sometimes not. The only advice I can give you is to go with whatever she says, if there is any bad news I would advise not to tell her as people with this condition worry about everything on their minds be it true or not. Don't take anything she says on a personal level because you know they don't mean it. Also stop feeling any guilt, there is nothing you could have done to prevent this. I have cried enough for both of us and it's taken a long time to accept it. Hope this helps, get in touch anytime. Good wishes to you
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