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Friends who are losing mental sharpness
Old 09-25-2017, 07:24 PM
 
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I'm discovering that a friend of about thirty years is losing her mental sharpness. I've noticed her saying sharp and quite unkind things when she is in a group having dinner but shrugged it off. In our one on one conversations, she admitted having trouble with her memory and she has forgotten recent lunch dates. I know this can occasionally happen to us all, but I've had some very disturbing emails from her the past weeks that give me concern. They are racially provocative, biblical quotes about homosexuals or politically extreme and have been quite disturbing to me. I've ignored these emails and not responded but it seems as if my friend isn't thinking clearly.

Has anyone on this board experienced a situation like this? How did you handle it?


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Old 09-25-2017, 09:47 PM
 
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My heart goes out to you.

The first thing that jumps out at me is: do you know if she's had an MRI for any reason of the brain? I'd first think something vascular might be going on. If this is so, it might affect her reaction to a suggestion she get it checked out. She might get paranoid and cut you off, maybe first talk to a family member about your concern to keep a line of communication open?



If it's rather suddenly onset, I'd risk the friendship to influence her to get to a neurologist. There is a long list of things that might cause the personality change, and I'd risk her rejection to get her to a doctor.

My husband, who has neuropathy of the central nervous system, has started being provacative regarding race lately when he's having an episode.

It's frightening. He says things that sound like a totally different person.

I wish you luck and more ideas from others here...
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Old 09-26-2017, 03:45 AM
 
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Alzheimer's can also describe what is going on here. Losing one's inhibitions is often part of the downward spiral. Sometimes the family is so used to the person's quirks and can't see that the loved one needs to see a doctor. If I knew a family member, I'd have a conversation with them. The friend may not be the one to talk to as paranoia sometimes starts to creep in.
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Yes
Old 09-26-2017, 04:35 AM
 
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I'm facing a similar situation with an old friend definitely losing her sharpness. It's been gradual and she is not provocative, but it's very difficult to follow her conversation and she talks incessantly I want to be a good friend to her, it will likely happen to us all, but these changes are very annoying and she calls my home often. If I don't answer the phone she often comes by. Sometimes I'm kind but sometimes I'm disappointed in myself.
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My second friend
Old 09-26-2017, 05:39 AM
 
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This is the second long-term friend to lose mental function. My first, and much closer friend, is now in a protected memory care home. I spent months checking on her at her home and had her come to my classroom and serve as a room helper so she could get out of her house. She started attacking me verbally, losing her balance and forgetting what task she was doing. It looked as if she came drunk but I knew that wasn't true. Telling her I could no longer use her help in my room was difficult but had to be done. Continuing to help her took an emotional toll on me because she had no relatives in our town. She has now been diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia.

I know I can't become involved and responsible with this current friend. I have an immigrant family who depends on me and takes all my free time.

This current friend has a daughter out of town who can't/won't help her mom due to her own very difficult circumstances. Her son is in the military across the country. I have no phone numbers or addresses for either. I'm considering talking with a friend at her church and perhaps her church can help her.

I know I sound hard hearted but I can't become deeply involved. Because of my past experiences, I know it's an overwhelming responsibility.

Would I be out of line to approach her church friend?


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Old 09-26-2017, 08:00 AM
 
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I think approaching the church friend is a good option, you can't take on more than you can handle. I think that would be most compassionate for you to tell someone at her church.
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Old 09-26-2017, 09:24 AM
 
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I think I'll contact a mutual friend at her church. They can watch her and see how they can help her if need be. If she discovers that I took my concerns to her church she may very well be angry with me and I'll lose the friendship. Guess that's the risk I'll have to take.

I know I have been a good support to her during her times of crisis over the years and stepped in when no one else did at our school. I'm telling myself that it's up to someone else now, but still feeling a bit guilty.
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Old 09-26-2017, 05:58 PM
 
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Bless you, Renea. This sounds terrible. I have a friend from the past 35 years who is also my DD godmother. She is now 95 and has turned so ugly and critical that I hardnly know her. She's living in a retirement home because of broken hip, etc, but now also because of this mental situation. Her husband, also 95, also my DD's godfather, has his wits about him but is utterly blind to her distressing behavior. We live in California so you know who does 95% of the work in the retirement home. My friend has been welcoming and friendly to people of all races and colors until about the past 5 years and now the most humiliating and sometimes hateful things come out of her mouth.

I wish I knew how to answer you. Clearly you've been a good friend but you are stretched thin. I believe reaching out to her church might be a good thing; someone there might even know her children?

You are in my prayers as you try to figure this out. There is no easy answer, for sure.
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Old 09-26-2017, 07:48 PM
 
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See if you can find out if she is on any new medications, or even what medications she takes? Many times things like this are caused by new meds or a medication interaction. Other things besides true dementia can also cause this type of behavior - depression, a form of anemia caused by low B-12, low potassium or any number of other nutrients, hormone issues (don't know how old she is), thyroid issues, etc. I would encourage a good physical with labs.

Nancy
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Old 09-27-2017, 03:25 AM
 
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Renea,
Oh, how I wished someone could step up, but you are right in trying to find help for her. The church may able to be of some help, but if she is not well established with close friends, they will likely not be able to do much. That is the way life works and churches are the same way.

BioadoptMom3 is on the right track about looking for easier to fix/treat issues. You might look into senior services for her, perhaps a senior advocacy group?


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