Does mom have dementia? Only 61
I don't really know how to proceed, so I thought I needed to ask some questions from people with actual experiences with dementia. I know this is going to be long so please hang in there . . .
Mom is only 61 (Just had a bday this month). She has had a pretty hard life. Married to dad for 21 years - very abusive man. Divorced him and struggled to make it on her own for a few years then married a wonderful man. The "happy years" lasted 8 years then her husband died of a heart attack. She had a heart attack on the same day. Ever since then she has not been the same. Mom was always a sad and worrisome person by nature but over the years it seems to get worse all the time. She married again a few years after her husband's death but it's obvious that it's just two people wanting one another's company - no real emotional connection between them.
Over the past couple years mom has become a bit forgetful (ask her what she had for dinner last night and she can't remember, etc.). But the main thing is that she has become extremely sensitive and paranoid. she thinks people are talking about her all the time and she turns simple comments into personal attacks. Here's an example: About a year ago her husband went out of town and my husband and I went to lunch with mom. He made a silly/joking comment about mom being footloose and fancy free. Later she called me very upset that my husband would accuse her of having an affair while her husband was out of town. It's gotten to the point where we all walk on egg shells around her. She takes everything so seriously and anything can be an insult to her.
Here is the latest and the worst. My sister lives in NJ and we live in TX. She had her baby 2 months early and the baby is hanging on to life in the hospital. Mom went to be with her and help her out. Yesterday, my sister's MIL came to their house and was helping sis hang some pictures in the baby's room. Mom calls me and starts crying and saying that MIL tells sis how to run her life and she just can't take it anymore! I ask mom what's going on and she tells me that MIL it telling sis where to hang the pictures. I say, "Mom please don't be upset, sis needs you to be strong right now, she's under a lot of stress because of the baby, please think of the baby, please hold your tongue, etc." I'm speaking to her like I would a small child about to have a temper tantrum in the store. I'm trying to be calming and reassuring and she tells me, "I can't count on my daughters for anything!" and she hangs up. Later that day my BIL calls and says he kicked mom out of their house and she's at a hotel because she became unglued and started screaming at his mom to leave her daughter alone. Later at the hotel after she had been sobbing uncontrollably for some time - she is still trying to defend herself saying "that other woman" (MIL) needs to leave her daughter alone. I talked to sis and she said she asked mom to help decorate the baby's room and she wasn't interested and so her MIL offered to help. She said that mom was acting sad and depressed all day.
Also, mom has been making comments lately that she "hates this world." And she told me a story about how she was at a restaurant and at the table next to her was an older man with a younger woman and it disgusted her so badly she had to leave right in the middle of her meal.
I haven't noticed any other cognitive problems. Well maybe one - sometimes she acts like she can't understand/figure out the next step in a process of doing something. In fact, she had me get her plane ticket to NJ because she was just too "busy" but she was sounding kind of confussed about the process (she's done lots of plane travel in the past). But she is employed (manages a small cafe) and from what I understand she does a good job and is well liked.
Does this sound like dementia or depression? I don't know what to do because I know if I tell mom that I think she needs to see a doctor she'll just get angry. I've mentioned it to her husband and he thinks I'm overreacting - and maybe I am . . .