is this dementia or alzheimer's???
PLEASE HELP! My mother-in-law started forgetting peoples names about 5 years ago. My daughter and I had noticed this getting progressively worse and my daughter tried with no success to get her to the doctors as she pointed out that there are medications to help with this. It hurt her to see her grandmother possibly getting Alzheimer's but not wanting to do anything about it. No, she wouldn't go to the doctors. She lived alone as her husband had died as well as both of her sons, one of them my husband when he was quite young. She lived in a very rural town with no relatives near her. So, this was a concern to me. My x-sister-in-law lived 40 miles from her but was not in our family anymore and didn't want the burden of checking in on her any longer. One day about a year ago, I called her and she could barely talk. I thought she may have had a stroke since I had just spoken to her the previous night and she did fine with the exception of forgetting names. My x-sister-in-law said she had gone over to her house and discovered her like this so took her to the hospital where they didn't find anything wrong. She didn't lose her speech for a long time; maybe a couple months and each week she actually got better. That was the only thing that I would say side tracks this story. Other than that, she is simply forgetful but no more so than she was 5 years ago. I couldn't take letting her stay in her house alone anymore so I flew to where she lives and we put her house up for sale and brought her back to live with me. But while I was at her house, I saw that she had been eating a can of the same soup for the past several days. She had no decent food in the house, most of it past dated, and was quite thin. She didn't seem to know how much money she had. When her friends would call her on the phone she would sit and talk to them like, "Oh yeah...or really?" "Oh my gosh, I can't believe that." "What did you do then?" She talked like she completely understood the whole conversation but when she hung up and tried to tell me about her visit with her friend she couldn't explain it. Since I've gotten her here with me now she is the hardest person in the world to live with. If you're giving her instructions about something she says, "Oh..ok then." Such as "Mom, you need to take this pill with your lunch, ok?" "Oh...ok then." You walk back into the room and she didn't take it. "Mom, you were supposed to take this pill I laid out for you with your lunch, remember?" "You didn't tell me to take that." She is 3/4 hispanic but has never watched hispanic TV in her life and now she starts watching Spanish nuvelas when she wakes up at 9 a.m. and doesn't turn them off until 10 p.m. In my living room. She lays on the couch and won't get up for anyone to sit on the couch. We have to ask her if she can scoot her legs over so we can sit down too. If the cat jumps on the couch she says, "Ouch!" "That hurts." Over two heavey blankets. "Get off of here." And she kicks her off with her foot. When we go to the doctors and he walks in the room he'll say, "What are we here today for?" She'll say, "I don't know." "I feel fine." "She told me we had to come." "She can't count change back. If something costs $4 she gives the clerk 2 $20's. She can't cook anymore because she can't remember how. She can still make oatmeal for herself but nothing else. (I think that's from habit and it seems to be the only thing she remembers.) When my stomach looks a little full after dinner she'll tell me I look pregnant and when is the baby due? If I say, "Oh, I have to go to the bathroom, she'll say, "Well, you better hurry up then." She looks out the window all the time and tells me there are sure a lot of clouds in the sky day after day. If I take her with me to the store she'll say, "Look at all the cars, look at all the cars, look at all the houses, look at all the houses." She never wants to leave the house or the couch. She fusses everytime I make her go with me somewhere. She'll come up with every excuse she can think of not to go.
I've had to leave on business trips a few times in the last 8 months that she's been living with me so I took her to her neice's house. Each time she was there for about 2 weeks at a time. She was able to actually be with several of her family members each time I've taken her there. None of them have noticed one single thing wrong with her. They tell me I'm exaggerating all of this as they haven't noticed any of the things I'm talking about. They told me she does great over there. Not forgetful, except forgetting names sometimes. They tell me that she does fine. They say they have no problem getting her to go anywhere with them and that she visits with all their neighbors when they do. (She never talks to anybody around here and has told us that it makes her very uncomfortable to talk with people because she knows she stumbles on her words.) I'm so confused. She's highly sarcastic, says critizing things constantly to us. When she was younger, I can remember seeing her watch television and saying someone was a dummy because they did this or that. Now she calls us a dummy when we do something we shouldn't. Like bumping our knee on the table, etc. "You dummy." "You should look where you're walking." She never makes a comment the whole time her Spanish Television is on but if one of us turns something on the TV she'll sit and constantly bad mouth everyone on the TV. "She's so ugly." "Look at all the black people." "I've never seen so many." "That person's a queer." It doesn't stop. She can talk like this all day long and if someone comes over to visit later in the day, you'd never know she was forgettful or sarcastic at all. She does a 360 degree change immediately and becomes the most respectful and loving person you'll ever see. She sits up on the couch and almost sits like a model with her legs neatly to the side and converses like nothing was ever wrong with her. THIS IS WHERE WE'RE CONFUSED. How can she do this when she's completley gone the rest of the time? This must be the side of her that she shows around her nieces and other family members. But HOW CAN SHE PULL IT OFF if there is really a problem? I'm soooo confused! She can pull it off for 2 week periods too. Please help! Is there anyone out there that can understand this. Any help is so very appreciated. Many thanks!