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Concerned about a friend.

(10 Posts)
Katek Sat 24-Mar-18 22:08:16

Unsure if this is the correct forum or if it should be under health, but I’m hoping for some suggestions from those with more experience of Alzheimer’s than I have

I have a dear friend aged 64 and I’m not sure if she’s showing very early signs of Alzheimer's. She’s always been a vague, absent minded sort of person-you can tell her things and they often don’t register. Shes also quite unworldly in many ways and I’m often surprised that she doesn’t seem to know about major news stories or even local news. In other ways she can be completely single minded in her focus if it’s sonething she wants to achieve. She’s always been that way but it does make it difficult to identify any changes.

There have been two incidents recently which have given me significant cause for concern, dangerous incidents in fact. In one she was crossing the road and stepped out pretty much in front of a car as she was so focussed on her bus coming. Driver had to brake hard to miss her. In the second incident she was was driving, saw a parking space on the other side of the road and pulled right across the path of an oncoming vehicle. This time the driver had to execute an emergency stop.

I just don’t know if this is her usual absent minded self or if it’s the start of something more significant. The incidents have been dangerous and that’s what’s making me concerned.

FarNorth Sat 24-Mar-18 22:19:21

Was she aware that she had done something dangerous?

A friend of mine, now in her nineties and not suffering any kind of dementia, gave up driving in her seventies as she had twice noticed herself pulling out to overtake before realising there was something coming.

Whether this is a new development or not, your friend shouldn't be driving if she is doing dangerous things.

MissAdventure Sat 24-Mar-18 22:22:42

There could be other reasons.
Is your friend going through a stressful time? Is she sleeping ok? Even vitamin deficiency can have a detrimental affect on mental agility. (Vitamin B, I think?)

Katek Sat 24-Mar-18 22:45:00

She was aware and quite shocked after the events but said she just hadn’t seen the vehicles. She is under work pressure a lot of the time but that’s nothing new and she’s certainly not done anything like this before.

MissAdventure Sat 24-Mar-18 22:49:12

It is a bit of a worry. My friend had a few near misses in her car, then an accident which she couldn't remember the details of. It was a few months later that she had a stroke.
Since then, we've wondered if perhaps she had been having mini strokes before, and not realised.

FarNorth Sun 25-Mar-18 11:24:32

It sounds like your friend should maybe consult her doctor.

My friend had no health problems, however, at the time or for many years after giving up driving.
She just felt she couldn't trust her judgement in that area. I think she was very sensible.

grandtanteJE65 Sun 25-Mar-18 11:37:18

Sounds to me as if the pressure at work is affecting her. Have you suggested she has her eyesight checked? If she literally did not see the other vehicles, either her eyesight as altered or she is too stressed or tired.

Cold Sun 25-Mar-18 20:55:47

It sounds as though something is wrong - possibly a vision problem or the onset of dementia where her perception and executive functioning is affected and she is not able to "read" her surroundings and take acount of other traffic etc.

My mother had these problems when she developed Lewy Bodies dementia. We felt that her driving was getting to be dangerous - but had luck when she went into hospital for a planned operation and my brother "looked after her car keys" ... and forgot to bring them back.

With this type of dementia memory loss may mot be the main issue - Mum always passed standard Alzheimer's tests but she would sometime hallucinate and had difficulty understanding social situations and judge distance etc

from the NHS
As with other types of dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies typically causes problems with:
thinking speed
visual perception
memory (but significant memory loss may not occur until later on)

Feelingmyage55 Mon 26-Mar-18 19:32:27

The most straightforward option is to talk to her, kindly, and suggest a general checkup with her gp mentioning these incidents. If she agrees you might go meet her after the appointment for coffee, to talk things over. Anything else is second guessing. Take it from there. She is lucky to have you as a friend. If she doesn’t agree to see her gp. ... that might suggest she is worried and then you may need to step up your support. A lot of guessing; one step at a time.

Katek Mon 26-Mar-18 21:19:23

Thanks for advice/suggestions. I think I’ll try suggesting to her that it would do no harm to visit her GP. Other than that it’s wait and see and hope that there are no further incidents.