Gransnet forums

Ask a gran

Does this sound like alzheimers/dementia

(35 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?

Anja Fri 11-Jan-19 14:40:49

It’s only really those that live with someone 24/7 who first detect the signs. People can go days or meet people and come across as perfectly relational and complete. Then something happens at home and you start to worry.

An example is when I’ve discussed something in detail with DH just the day before eg we are having a new bed delivered that we had picked out together. It was due at lunchtime so we’d agreed that the old bed in the spare room needed to be dismantled first thing next morning so the delivery company could take it away (as agreed) with them. Next day DH didn’t remember there was a new bed even being delivered and insisted he’d never helped choose it. He refused to dismantle the old bed and then was completely taken back when the new one did arrive. Just one of many examples I could have given.

Visit to GP asked him silly questions about who is PM and what day is it. Passed with flying colours.

That was several years ago. Now officially, eventually, diagnosed with vascular dementia.

The signs are there when you live 24/7 with someone you know well. Takes much longer to get it across to the health,professionals especially when the sufferer doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with them,

OurKid1 Fri 11-Jan-19 13:34:49

There aren't any 'classic' symptoms of dementia which makes diagnosis difficult. The only sure way is to see a doctor, who may order a scan.
There are other causes of your DH's symptoms though - a B12 deficiency comes to mind, as does depression and anxiety.
Get him to the GP - even though it might be difficult.
Also, as someone else has said, check out the Alzheimer's Society website - loads of information there. They have a phone number you can ring just for advice too.
PS We missed the early signs of dementia in both my parents - their symptoms presenting as just a more extreme expression of their personalities. If we had known earlier, we could have saved ourselves a lot of stress and been more understanding towards them. For that reason, if no other, please get a diagnosis - soon.
Good luck whatever the outcome. xx

Luckygirl Fri 11-Jan-19 09:06:31

Well quite!

Grannyknot Fri 11-Jan-19 06:43:57

Cut a quiche ...

Grannyknot Fri 11-Jan-19 06:43:08

Hi mrsnonsmoker my MIL was 64 when she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. I remember the day I knew something was wrong, when she couldn't for the life of her work out how to cut I quiche into 5 pieces. She was a professional woman who had raised six children. She was diagnosed later that same year, having said herself that "something is wrong with her head".

As others have said, it seems a medical check up is needed.

flowers and all the best.

Razzy Fri 11-Jan-19 00:14:42

It could be other things too - alot of this is similar to my dad, he was diagnosed with COPD, the lack if oxygen getting to his brain probably had a similar effect to alzheimers. So just to say, keep an open mind and let the Dr work out what is wrong.

mrsnonsmoker Thu 10-Jan-19 23:39:17

Just checked in to say thanks again. I am thinking about how to approach this, very glad I posted.

Willow500 Thu 10-Jan-19 21:44:04

Both my parents had AZ/dementia and the symptoms varied in both of them. If your husband is willing to go to the GP perhaps you could visit the doctor on your own beforehand to go through all the things you describe. He may recommend a referral to a memory clinic to get a better diagnosis and possible treatment. The earlier this happens the better.

Madgran77 Thu 10-Jan-19 20:57:04

It does sound like he needs further investigation. I'm afraid what you describe is exactly what was observed in my friends Mum prior to diagnosis. A difficult and very worrying time for you flowers

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 00:00:55

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 Tue 08-Jan-19 23:59:48

I think some vitamin efficiencies can cause similar effects.

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 23:50:38

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

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.

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.

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 23:47:12

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.