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Worrying about DH and memory
Old 06-17-2019, 03:22 AM
  #1

Signed out for this one. In recent months, the DKs and I have begun to notice that DH is getting confused and forgetful. It happens very, very rarely, but it's concerning. For example: He has gotten confused about kids' birthdays and which month it currently is. ("Have we missed DS's birthday?" "No, his birthday is in April. It's still March." "Oh yeah, March.") DD22, who's been gone at college, said she's also noticed decline. She says he repeats himself a lot. The really scary one happened last week. He mixed up a story DD23 told him about a hospital patient with something that I told him happened to me decades ago. That is, he told my old story as if it had just happened to DD.

I began a list of incidents to help me keep details in order. It is very short, six that worried me enough to record. Like I said, he is fine the vast majority of the time. I also haven't heard anything about issues at work. But we've had three incidents in the last week (the mixed-up story, confusing dates and which month it is, and leaving tools outside but taking care to lock the garden shed, which is uncharacteristic of him), and I'm beginning to get really concerned. I'm looking for suggestions on how to approach this with him and what to be worried (or not worried) about, etc. Some of it could be explained away, like forgetting the birthdates; we all do that occasionally. It's tougher to explain twisting stories like he did last week. FWIW, DH has not seen a doctor in several years, despite repeated reminders from me and the MD office. He also doesn't exercise, and he's gained weight. None of that helps his brain stay healthy. Am I worrying for nothing? Any suggestions?


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Old 06-17-2019, 11:54 AM
  #2

How old is he? I don't know if I would mention it to him at this point unless maybe ask him if he has noticed himself forgetting things or losing things. It is important for him to get a physical if h has not been in years so I would probably start there. Then I would continue to just watch for an increase in him being confused or forgetful.
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Old 06-17-2019, 12:57 PM
  #3

Since googling can be scary- I did some for you and am sharing selectively...

Copied from the Mayo Clinic: The good news is that if you're experiencing memory lapses like the ones described above, it's probably not something you need to stress over. "Things that do not usually suggest Alzheimer's disease are the things that most people worry about, such as forgetting names or walking into a room and forgetting why you're there," says Dr. Salamon.

In fact, most of the time the early signs of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia are typically first noticed by family members or friends, not the person with memory lapses. The changes are subtle, such a growing tendency to repeat the same things over and over. "If this is a new behavior, it's something to pay attention to," says Dr. Salamon.

you may notice changes in a loved one's ability to function in daily life. He or she may forget appointments or get lost when driving to familiar places, or suddenly stop paying bills. Or a person who has always made reservations for vacation might suddenly have trouble performing this task.

If you are noticing daily lapses like the ones described above in a loved one or friend, it's a good idea to have the problem investigated further by a medical professional.

I say insist he go see the doctor for a check up. Start there. If there is anything going on, that is the place to start, and the earlier the better.
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Old 06-17-2019, 03:45 PM
  #4

It just so happens I'm taking my 92 year old mother to her primary care Dr. tomorrow to discuss confusion/memory changes.
I looked it up and some of hers could be "early signs of dementia."

BUT, there can be other reasons: Vitamin deficiency, hypothyroidism, medications.

So maybe an appt. to the dr. would help you understand. Best to you!
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Old 06-17-2019, 04:34 PM
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I say see a primary care to rule out medical issues, then get a referral to a neurologist. Any one of the things you describe could be normal aging, but taken together they are worrisome. Confabulation (mixed up memories) is common in some types of dementia.

If it's hard getting him to the doctor, try using a fiblet (any innocuous reason you can think of that will get him there). If we go our insurance rates will be much less, I was exposed to X at work and we all need to be checked, etc. Think of something that will work. Make the appointment (without his knowledge if that works better) and then right before it, use the fiblet to get him there.

ETA
Asking DH about memory loss may result in denial. Many people with memory loss also exhibit anosognosia and will deny any problem even when it is obvious to all around them. They also may admit a problem one day and then deny it the next. Asking him about memory loss may make it harder to get him to a doctor.

One tactic many use is to, a couple of days before the appointment, drop off a letter detailing your concerns at the doctor's office. This lets the doctor target the exam correctly without the spouse having to articulate concerns in front of the patient.



Last edited by marguerite2; 06-17-2019 at 06:05 PM..
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Old 06-17-2019, 05:56 PM
  #6

(((HUGS))) Its hard when loved ones exhibit concerning symptoms like this. I think you are very wise to keep a list.

I agree with doing whatever you can to get him to see the doctor. Many causes of memory lapses are vitamin B-12 deficiency (common), TIA (what people sometimes refer to as mini strokes (also common and blood thinners including aspirin can do a lot to fix this), depression, thyroid issues and many other possibilities, most of which can be treated.

I am praying that he will agree to see the doctor.


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Old 06-17-2019, 07:55 PM
  #7

To be honest, yes, I think it is something to be concerned about.

DH had dementia and I saw some of the behaviors you describe. He was very good at “covering” or watching for clues. When your husband said:
Quote:
"Oh yeah, March."
it reminded me of what DH would do. He was agreeing, not remembering.

The doctor asked simple questions and I stood behind DH (to allow him dignity) and shook my head or gestured. I wish you great good luck.

ETA: I thought about you a lot last night and reread your post this morning. I’m concerned for him because of your comment about “how to approach this with him.” Most likely, if he realizes he is having lapses, he is frightened. And your discussion might just make him feel even worse because surely this is something over which he has no control. However, as was the case with my DH, he did not realize his confusion and it could not be “corrected.” I think you might want to tell him only that you love him and insist he needs a medical check-up and that you’ll go with him. I would talk to the doctor out of your DH’s presence and be very specific. He might be a lot more frightened than you suspect. In my limited experience with dementia patients (2), they’re very good at pretending to understand. Please get him diagnosed.

Last edited by amiga13; 06-18-2019 at 05:17 AM..
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Old 06-18-2019, 07:23 AM
  #8

I agree to encourage him to go to a check up. However, as other posters suggested, I don’t think you can make an appointment for him without his knowledge. I think this might be against Hippa and FERPA laws.

No one is allowed to handle the medical concerns of another legal adult unless that person has power of attorney over that person.

I know it comes from a place of concern, but I would be livid if my husband made a doctor’s appointment without my knowledge and tricked me into going.

I have had a fear of doctors for a long time because of bad experiences as a child. My husband told me he wanted me to start going for yearly physicals when I turned 50 because I had not been in literally 30 years and he thought that is a pivotal age to check on things. He just told me he would divorce me if I didn’t comply which I also think is a wrong way to handle it but came from a place of concern in wanting me to stay healthy. I went and don’t want to worry about it again for a while.

Gentle encouraging is the best way to handle the situation I think. I guess you could use threats, but please don’t do it without his knowledge.
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