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Does this sound like alzheimers/dementia

(34 Posts)
mrsnonsmoker Tue 08-Jan-19 23:28:36

My husband is 62 retired 2 years ago. I suppose his "confusion" has crept up but it doesn't sound like classic alzheimers etc so dont know what to do. He is unable to plan or anticipate and if anything is not as it normally is, he gets very angry. So for example, if we are going on a journey he finds it impossible to look at a map or set the sat nav, or decide what might make planning easier. We are both very experienced drivers in a highly built up city area so if there's a traffic hold up I can say ok shall we go way x y or z and he just goes to pieces, he can't decide and then blames me.

He was meant to measure out of a dose of medicine for my daughter who is too unwell to measure her own, he was trying to give her 4 times the prescribed dose and his justification was that solids and liquid measurement - so milligrammes and millilitres - are completely interchangeable so you can give 10 milligrammes or 10 millilitres and it doesn't matter shock

Then yesterday we were listening to some music and it had a jazz trumpet playing over it, totally incongruent think baroque hymns with jazz trumpet and I mentioned it was unusual; he said "don't be stupid its a hand bell!!" and was really nasty miming ringing a hand bell in my face.

I could give dozens of examples like this; he can't do any planning at all, what do they call it, loss of executive function? He will often mishear or misunderstand and then cause all sorts of problems because he refuses to admit he is wrong.

Surely this sort of issue shouldn't come up early 60s? His father had dementia at this age but even so I didn't think that automatically meant he'd go the same way?

BradfordLass72 Tue 08-Jan-19 23:32:25

I was told a while ago, when caring for a friend, that only a professional can diagnose dementia (which is not always due to Alzheimers and can come on as early as mid-thirties) so I'd advise you to see your doctor.

MissAdventure Tue 08-Jan-19 23:33:33

Could it be his hearing?
I'm only saying that because people who are a 'bit deaf' often get quite defensive about it. blush

My mum often seemed like a sweet little confused lady, answering questions wrong, agreeing to things she never would have.
The point being that she was very deaf, but wouldn't admit it.

Bellanonna Tue 08-Jan-19 23:36:01

Welcome to Gransnet Mrsnonsmoker. At least I think a welcome is appropriate as I haven’t come across your name before.
I don’t have any practical advice for you but I’m sure others will have. I must say, what you describe does sound rather odd if these traits of your husband’s are new ones. I hope you get some helpful replies.

MissAdventure Tue 08-Jan-19 23:36:10

It does sound like he needs a check up though.

mrsnonsmoker Tue 08-Jan-19 23:39:04

Thank you all so far. When I read about dementia etc the symptoms are meant to be far worse; I wondered if anyone living with a partner with dementia had noticed these small changes first or maybe they are not the "right" sort of changes to be barking up that particular tree!

Granny23 Tue 08-Jan-19 23:40:49

I am very sorry to hear that you have this worry. There are many types of Dementia and one in particular, Frontal Temporal Dementia, is characterised by early onset and also has a tendency to run in families. The Best source of good information is the Alzheimers Society's Website and their on-line Talking Point Forum.

MissAdventure Tue 08-Jan-19 23:42:31

I heard something the other day about loss of cognitive skills.
The doctor was saying that everyone forgets keys, and so on - its when people forget how to bake a cake, or do something else that they've always done that needs to be monitored.

Elderly people with dementia often put on too many clothes, or put them on in the wrong order.

Granny23 Tue 08-Jan-19 23:45:36

Sadly these are exactly the signs that I noticed in DH long before he got an official diagnosis.

mrsnonsmoker Tue 08-Jan-19 23:47:12

Granny23 I've just googled that read about it on the NHS site. Yes that is what it sounds like, the characteristics are very particular.

MissAdventure Tue 08-Jan-19 23:47:44

I think a lot of people know that something is not quite right with their partner long before doctors or even other family members do.

mrsnonsmoker Tue 08-Jan-19 23:47:56

Thing is our GP will just ask him what the date is and who the prime minister is and that'll be that.

mrsnonsmoker Tue 08-Jan-19 23:49:12

He was always so particular, a scientific mind. It was when he argued about that measurement of solids/liquids I sort of went cold.

MissAdventure Tue 08-Jan-19 23:50:38

Oh, how awful for you, and him.
Will he go to the doctors willingly for a check up?

Feelingmyage55 Tue 08-Jan-19 23:56:47

Only a visit to the doctor is appropriate in this situation. I wonder if you and your husband are also under stress caring for your daughter. Does she live with you? If you know your GP well perhaps you could visit on your own explaining your concerns. Googling symptoms even on an nhs site will just worry you. Welcome to the site and keep posting.

MissAdventure Tue 08-Jan-19 23:59:48

I think some vitamin efficiencies can cause similar effects.

mrsnonsmoker Wed 09-Jan-19 00:00:55

Possibly Miss - he's a bit of an ambulance chaser so quite happy to go to doctors normally.

Granny23 can that sort of thing be slowed down with drugs? I will definitely get onto that website you recommended, tomorrow.

MissAdventure Wed 09-Jan-19 00:02:36

smile an ambulance chaser.
Well, good luck, I hope things go well and it can be put right.

mrsnonsmoker Wed 09-Jan-19 00:02:52

To all you Grans, it must be bedtime, but thank you so much for allowing me to ask these questions here.

SueDonim Wed 09-Jan-19 00:05:36

Hello, Mrsnomsmoker. I'm sorry you're so worried about your husband. As others have said, only a doctor can diagnose dementia but sadly it is possible to develop it at an early age. A close friend of our was diagnosed at 64 but had had symptoms for at least five years prior, which had been put down to stress, just getting older and so on.

There are useful websites out there so perhaps read up on those so you know what to expect and then approach your doctor. You could speak or write to the doctor beforehand to tell him/her of the full range of symptoms before the appointment as your husband may well deny there are any problems.

It's important to get a diagnosis because for some dementias there is medication available which can delay progress of the disease and allow a better quality of life, although it cannot stop the overall illness. In general terms, the sooner medication starts, if appropriate, the better, as it won't allow lost skills to be regained. Our friend had five good years on medication, so it is worth it.

Esspee Wed 09-Jan-19 00:28:33

Not bedtime here yet OP. I am sorry to hear of your experiences, it does sound very much like dementia of some sort and by getting him diagnosed early you may be able to slow down the progress.
About 14 years ago I managed to get my mother on Aricept which allowed her a better quality of life as it halted the deterioration. Nowadays there may be even better drugs available.
You will need to speak with the doctor before they see your husband. I suggest you list all the personality changes you have noticed so that you miss out nothing. Good luck.

agnurse Wed 09-Jan-19 00:36:36

Alzheimer's is absolutely a possibility. If your regular provider isn't able to diagnose him he should be referred to a geriatrician. A complete checkup wouldn't go amiss - there are a number of different physiologic problems that can cause similar effects to dementia but can be corrected.

I'm sorry. My grandmother has Alzheimer's. It's a particularly insidious disease and yet it does so much damage.

Vonners Wed 09-Jan-19 20:47:01

It could be mild cognitive impairment. A visit to the GP is a must and then after doing a standard test he/she will know whether a referral to a memory clinic is necessary.

Luckygirl Wed 09-Jan-19 22:09:38

How very difficult for you both. I do think it is the person closest who notices the subtle changes that creep up and realises that something is wrong, but in ways that might be difficult for the doctor to see instantly in a brief appointment. You are with him all day and get the full picture.

There are memory clinics that the GP could refer him to that go into things in more depth.

My OH has PD, and the first thing that alerted me to the fact that something was amiss was not a tremor, but the fact that, when driving, he could not remember which exit to take on roundabouts, having forgotten it from the road sign a few yards before. This kept happening and I knew to remember it for him.

M0nica Wed 09-Jan-19 22:28:29

mrsnonsmoker welcome, but what a sad reason for your first post.

There are no clear simple symptoms that define dementia. I have dealt with dementia in my family and as a charity worker and the signs and symptoms are as various as those that have them, arrive in no specific order and can be very slight and subtle when they start. In many cases the illness comes on very slowly and it may take years to be sure and finally get a diagnosis. While very uncommon, people in their 30s have been diagnosed with Alzheimers and, especially if there is a family history of dementia, cases do occur in peoples 60s and 50s

However your husband's symptoms do sound worrying and I would think that the best thing to do is for him to see the nurse or doctor for a full medical check, with you there.

On a practical basis do you and your husband both have Powers of Attorney? These are legal documents that you can make at any time of your life that enable specified persons, usually spouse or children to take over the management of your affairs if you are incapacitated. We made ours in our 40s when our children were young.

If you haven't got them, make them soon, while your DH still has capacity to make one. It gets very complicated to do this after someone is too confused to understand and make decisions and this can cause real problems.