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  • FIRST POST
    • Tammer
    • By Tammer 25th Nov 18, 5:10 PM
    • 319Posts
    • 210Thanks
    Tammer
    Elderly Mother - Showing signs of Dementia - What to do?
    • #1
    • 25th Nov 18, 5:10 PM
    Elderly Mother - Showing signs of Dementia - What to do? 25th Nov 18 at 5:10 PM
    Hi,
    My mother is getting old (late 60s - which is not actually that old but hey) and we both live in Scotland (not with each other).

    Over the years, my mother has been what could be regarded as "strange". Her home is dishevelled and she has been very outspoken and is a bit of a hoarder. Over the last 6 years, following the loss of her dog (a lovely golden lab) she seems to have gone steadily downhill. Symptoms include:
    • complete incontinence
    • odd / inappropriate birthday presents e.g. baby toys for primary school kid.
    • Thinking she is a different age to her actual age.
    • Becoming increasing withdrawn from society - she is prickly and has steadily fallen out with almost everyone she's ever known.
    • Having a bad fall and needing hospital treatment.


    I am worried that she may be starting to suffer from an age related degenerative condition such as dementia, Alzheimer's or similar and may start to lose her independence.

    I am not sure how I can make sure that she gets appropriate medical treatment or social care - and if this is necessary at this stage.


    I have asked her to see her doctor but when she goes she tends to only mention new symptoms and not incontinence for example.


    I have asked to go to the doctor with her but she refuses. I assume I should phone the doctor's surgery and ask. I am not sure what questions I should be asking them and what to be doing generally.


    My brother and I went round earlier (she lives on the other side of the city) and cleaned / tidied up a bit, but this is only scratching the surface.


    Has anyone been in a similar situation and did they find any help or guidance from anywhere?

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    Last edited by MSE Tine; 04-12-2018 at 9:45 AM.
Page 1
    • elsien
    • By elsien 25th Nov 18, 5:30 PM
    • 17,813 Posts
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    elsien
    • #2
    • 25th Nov 18, 5:30 PM
    • #2
    • 25th Nov 18, 5:30 PM
    It is not unusual for older women to develop some urinary incontinence and to be embarrassed to mention it to the GP. Or to not realise that potentially something can be done about it. So it depends on what you mean by "complete incontinence" - urinary or doubly incontinent?
    Being messy and outspoken is also not a sign of declining mental faculties (otherwise I'm in trouble.)

    The fall depends on why/how it happened - any of us can trip over things once in a while.
    How is she managing on a day to day basis with food, money, shopping etc?

    For the concerns around her memory and mental health, her GP can't talk to you without breaking her right to confidentiality. But there is nothing to stop you writing to them with your concerns so they are aware although they won't be able to respond directly to you. They may be able to rule out any physical causes of confusion. Writing would be better than phoning. Is the hoarding getting to the point where it's a danger to her - fire hazard, for example?

    I don't know the Scottish system, but any social care assessments in England would require your mother's co-operation at this point. Does she actually want it?
    It may be more effective to start some gentle conversations over a period of time about any concerns that she has about her health and how she is managing - if she perceives that family are taking over it may well lead her to put up more barriers. Who in the family is best placed to do this?

    This may be useful for future reference:
    http://careinfoscotland.scot/topics/how-to-get-care-services/
    Last edited by elsien; 25-11-2018 at 5:38 PM.
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
    • lincroft1710
    • By lincroft1710 25th Nov 18, 5:33 PM
    • 11,269 Posts
    • 9,639 Thanks
    lincroft1710
    • #3
    • 25th Nov 18, 5:33 PM
    • #3
    • 25th Nov 18, 5:33 PM
    I think your mother has been suffering for some time rather than starting to suffer. Age UK may be able to help.
    • Pollycat
    • By Pollycat 25th Nov 18, 5:53 PM
    • 21,189 Posts
    • 57,192 Thanks
    Pollycat
    • #4
    • 25th Nov 18, 5:53 PM
    • #4
    • 25th Nov 18, 5:53 PM
    Not sure about Scotland but in England there is Adult Social Servicea.
    Check it out in your area.
    • Skibunny40
    • By Skibunny40 25th Nov 18, 6:01 PM
    • 144 Posts
    • 136 Thanks
    Skibunny40
    • #5
    • 25th Nov 18, 6:01 PM
    • #5
    • 25th Nov 18, 6:01 PM
    Would she let you go with her to the doctors? If not, it's probably worth calling the surgery and explaining your concerns - they're surprisingly helpful, without breaking patient confidentiality ( been through similar with both my parents).

    Power of Attorney makes life so much easier. I understand it's a tricky subject to raise but it's something you need to consider sooner rather than later unfortunately.
    • Primrose
    • By Primrose 25th Nov 18, 6:18 PM
    • 8,448 Posts
    • 29,686 Thanks
    Primrose
    • #6
    • 25th Nov 18, 6:18 PM
    • #6
    • 25th Nov 18, 6:18 PM
    I think if you write to her GP the best suggestion is to try and get your mum in for an appointment is for the GP position it as a one if the regular checkups to which she is entitled and invite her to bring a relative with her if she would feel more cofortable doing this.

    Sadly you can,t force her to have anybody accompany her, even if she goes. Are you female?. She probably would never have a male accompany her.if she needed to talk about incontinwnce.

    Does anybody in the family buy her incontinence pads? Yiu could,position it that the surgery could help her with advice in this area if she is struggling to keep herself clean.

    Can the family organise a cleaning day and surreptitiously arrange to get rid of some of her clutter? She possibly needs a social services assessment but hard to organise if she won't agree.

    Also do try and get power of attorney set up quickly in case she loses mental capacity. Yiu could,position this to her it would enable you to look after her affairs temporarily if she ended up in hospital again. If she does lose mental capacity this will be too late to arrange and having to organise guardianship will be a lengthy and far more restricted process.
    Last edited by Primrose; 25-11-2018 at 6:20 PM.
    • Tammer
    • By Tammer 25th Nov 18, 6:22 PM
    • 319 Posts
    • 210 Thanks
    Tammer
    • #7
    • 25th Nov 18, 6:22 PM
    • #7
    • 25th Nov 18, 6:22 PM
    Hi.
    Thanks for the replies so far - very helpful. I will write to the Doctor as suggested.
    I actually already have Power of Attorney. At the moment it is a piece of paper sitting in pile at the bottom of my stairs. I'm not actually sure what it enables me to do? I will need to dig it out and read it properly.
    • elsien
    • By elsien 25th Nov 18, 6:28 PM
    • 17,813 Posts
    • 45,242 Thanks
    elsien
    • #8
    • 25th Nov 18, 6:28 PM
    • #8
    • 25th Nov 18, 6:28 PM
    Is it just for finances or also for health and welfare?

    It depends how they have been set up. Some allow you to do things on your mother's behalf while she still has capacity, with her permission. Others don't kick in until the person loses capacity.
    Certainly worth getting it out to check what it says and whether it's been registered.
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
    • Primrose
    • By Primrose 25th Nov 18, 6:48 PM
    • 8,448 Posts
    • 29,686 Thanks
    Primrose
    • #9
    • 25th Nov 18, 6:48 PM
    • #9
    • 25th Nov 18, 6:48 PM
    The p of A is useless until it has actually been sent off and registered with office of Oublic Gurdin, or whoever it is in. Scotland so better get moving. Here.in the UK that process take a minimum of about 8 or 9 weeks.
    • Rambosmum
    • By Rambosmum 26th Nov 18, 9:28 AM
    • 1,968 Posts
    • 2,476 Thanks
    Rambosmum
    Power of Attorney (for health and welfare) will make no difference unless your mother has lost capacity to make a specific decision (capacity is time and decision specific).


    The GP will not be able to share information with you without your mothers permission, however you can share information with them, written (email or posted letter) is usually best and ask that they call her in for a review to discuss the content of your letter.


    Lots of things can cause confusion and mental deterioration in older people, and the GP will run tests to rule out the more common and treatable conditions (such as b12 deficiency, thyroid issues, anaemia UTI) etc. One these have been ruled out your mum will be sent for a memory assessment which may include an MRI as well as verbal and sometimes written assessments. It can take 6 - 9 months for a dementia diagnosis so it is best to start early.


    You could contact adult social care, but your mother would need to consent to an assessment, and also consent to support should she be eligible. Adult social care will not diagnose however.
    • bugslet
    • By bugslet 26th Nov 18, 9:38 AM
    • 6,490 Posts
    • 30,727 Thanks
    bugslet
    When Mr Bugs mind was going, later diagnosed as dementia, I made an appointment with his doctor. Obviously there is a limit to what the doctor can do at that point in terms of patient confidentiality and the willingness of the patient to accept help. However, I felt that it registered the concerns I had as a close relative and fortunately the doctor was willing to note those worries and all in all it built up a picture of decline that helped further down the line.

    As Elsien mentioned, the physical symptoms may not be indicative of a mental issue, but I also realise that it's difficult to convey the small things that make you worried about someone that you know well, which puts you in the best place to spot the changes.

    Good luck.
    • badmemory
    • By badmemory 26th Nov 18, 3:10 PM
    • 2,298 Posts
    • 3,388 Thanks
    badmemory
    Having a UTI can sometimes make someone appear to have dementia especially as you get older & seems to involve only a very small increase in temp which often goes unnoticed. It also makes incontinence worse, which also seems to be made worse for many women who have had babies older.


    Have you considered depression? Which can lead to - the floor needs cleaning - shrug shoulders & walk away.
    • LadyDee
    • By LadyDee 26th Nov 18, 6:08 PM
    • 3,342 Posts
    • 3,499 Thanks
    LadyDee
    The first thing to rule out is a UTI - this can cause confusion, often very severe, which could lead to a kidney problem. See if you can get that organised as a matter of urgency.
    • Tammer
    • By Tammer 2nd Dec 18, 2:30 PM
    • 319 Posts
    • 210 Thanks
    Tammer
    Hi,

    I have written to my Mum's doctor explaining my concerns and asking them to assess her, and try to treat the (urinary) incontinence as a priority.

    It will be interesting to see what happens next. Part of the challenge is that she never answers the phone any more. She says she never hears it and then her mobile is always hidden away somewhere.

    I hunted out my correspondence about the Power of Attorney. This is currently held by a solicitor's firm and would be enacted if the doctor said that she was unable to look after herself.


    I note that the link in the first reply on this thread says that one should contact the Social Care team for an assessment. I think the best thing is for the doctor to look at her as there may be some medical issues needing attention which may help the mental side of things.
    Thank you for the help so far. I will try to post developments on this thread as they occur.
    T
    • Tammer
    • By Tammer 2nd Dec 18, 9:47 PM
    • 319 Posts
    • 210 Thanks
    Tammer
    I just have one other request of the helpful people on this site. It has just occurred to me but I should really check that she is receiving the state benefits she is entitled to at 68.

    I don't know where to start with these (for her). If someone can list what she could be entitled to I can investigate with her and the DWP.

    The ones I can think she may be entitled to are:
    • State pension
    • Free bus pass
    • Cold weather allowance?

    Many thanks,
    T
    • jamesperrett
    • By jamesperrett 3rd Dec 18, 12:53 AM
    • 837 Posts
    • 472 Thanks
    jamesperrett
    Probably worth looking at

    https://www.entitledto.co.uk/

    and going through the calculator.
    • Pollycat
    • By Pollycat 3rd Dec 18, 7:18 AM
    • 21,189 Posts
    • 57,192 Thanks
    Pollycat
    She would have been eligible for her free bus pass at age 60.


    She should have received her state pension at the same age.


    Cold Weather Payment is paid if you are on certain benefits - see GOV.UK
    • Rambosmum
    • By Rambosmum 3rd Dec 18, 8:54 AM
    • 1,968 Posts
    • 2,476 Thanks
    Rambosmum
    She may also be entitled to Attendance Allowance, once the GP has seen her and diagnosed something.
    • Tammykitty
    • By Tammykitty 3rd Dec 18, 9:17 AM
    • 677 Posts
    • 1,375 Thanks
    Tammykitty
    I just have one other request of the helpful people on this site. It has just occurred to me but I should really check that she is receiving the state benefits she is entitled to at 68.

    I don't know where to start with these (for her). If someone can list what she could be entitled to I can investigate with her and the DWP.

    The ones I can think she may be entitled to are:
    • State pension
    • Free bus pass
    • Cold weather allowance?

    Many thanks,
    T
    Originally posted by Tammer

    Pension Credit depending on any private income and assets - tops up income to a minimum of 163
    • limetree
    • By limetree 4th Dec 18, 11:54 PM
    • 2 Posts
    • 9 Thanks
    limetree
    Dementia
    The Doctor should give your Mum a memory test and have a talk with her to ascertain what degree of dementia she has.
    Look for food in her fridge and look at use by dates, is she eating properly? is she clean and can she bath and wash herself properly?
    Does she recognise people and does she sleep regular hours or does she get up in the night thinking it is morning. Can she make a cup of tea or do you find two or three teabags in the kettle, does she get angry and/or violent or swears.

    It is going to be a very upsetting future for you if you do not seek help now. We found Social Services in Hull very helpful and we went to a meeting over four weeks on how to recognise and cope with my MIL's dementia. One secret is to redirect and not argue i.e. when my MIL started asking where her (deceased) husband was we said he was on his barge and was unable to get in on account of the tides.

    To tell her he had died would mean that she would start grieving all over again. I feel for you. Seek help now to save yourself heartache later on. Phil.
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