• July 21, 2008 at 4:10 pm

    Hi all,

    My mom has not gotten the diagnosis of AD, but has mild dementia, cognitive deficits. Mostly just forgetfulness of details, a few major, but mostly just getting things twisted around. The thing that is driving me crazy is her personality change. She once was quiet, would wait for someone to call her, not have much to say. Lately, she calls her siblings, talks up to 2 1/2 hrs. She repeats everything as if we have never heard it before, day after day.

    She seems to become ‘obsessed’ with little things, making mountains out of mole hills. It’s driving us all crazy. In the symptoms of AD, I see early signs that she shows, but though it talks of personality changes, I have not really come across anything about this talkativeness.

    Last week, we got into a head on argument over one of her ‘obsessions’ just before a dr’s appt. I told her that always in the past, she will get to the appt and say she is doing ok, when obviously she isn’t. (Depression, crying, talk too much. She blames it all on depression because of the loss of her husband over 2 yrs ago and is looking for a magic pill. Most of this became very noticeable at the end of winter, early spring, this year). I jokingly said that if she did that at the afternoon appt, I ought to whup her, cuz she is definitely not ok……. She looked at me with hatred, finger wagging at me, saying if I do, it will be the last time I ever touch her. I was stunned. I asked her if she honestly thought I’d ever hit her and she just said ‘you just said you would’. I am devastated. That was days ago and I still feel like I’ve been socked in the gut and want to cry. My sister told her surely she knew how much I love her and would never hit her. She told my sister that ‘well, she wanted to.’

    I live within a minutes walk of her. I go to ck on her multiple times a day. Help with whatever I can. My siblings all work, so except for the weekends, it’s up to me to do whatever….drive to store, dr, ck on her. To be truthful, I do get irritated with the incessant repeating, but try not to let it get to me. So I’m sure she picked up on that. But the thought that she really would think I could hit her just makes me sick. I am feeling so lost. An hour after the argument, she called me to complain about another of her obsessions, as if nothing happened.

    We’ve learned she cannot be reasoned with. Best not ever tell her she is wrong, because she knows better. Decisions are made and changed so many times, you never know what she wants or is thinking. She’s telling stories about the past, that her siblings say details are not true. She can take care of herself, but needs me to do med boxes, some things. Falls a lot and thinks it’s no big deal. I got her to a neuro who mentioned dementia, told her to let us help with some things. He put her on Aricept and mentioned possibly Nemenda at the next appt, and a mood stabilizer. She has an appt again next week and says she will go to it, but no more.

    Is this Alzheimer’s?? Her dad passed away of it. She is terrified to think that might be her problem, so will fight the thought and be in denial if it is the case.

    I guess I just need someone who KNOWS to tell me if this sounds like Alzheimers…….the dementia dx just
    doesn’t cut it for me. I am one who needs specifics, needs to learn the ‘enemy’ in detail, so that I can deal with whatever it throws my way. I think that is what is making me so distressed right now. I just don’t know WHY or WHAT is wrong with my mom.

    Thanks for any input. I am feeling so lost.

    Char B

  • July 21, 2008 at 11:25 pm

    Hi Char –
    Always looking for the bright side, I say it’s nice that your Mom can still use the phone. I wish my wife could. As far as the incessant talking, I’ve kind of gotten used to it. You just have to mostly agree with anything she’s saying even if it makes no sense at all, which it most times won’t. I don’t know what it is about the brain or how it works but I think the talking gives them a sense of “belonging” and it’s pretty much just free-association from various memories in there somewhere. As long as the speech keeps flowing it doesn’t matter to them whether it is understandable to anyone or not. As long as she’s happy, that’s the main thing.

    I DO find that the “talking mode” is considerably better to live with than the opposite; the silent, sad, grumpy or beligerant mode.

    Good luck to you Bud…it’s no easy road ahead for you.

    Jim 🙂

  • July 28, 2008 at 2:55 am

    Thanks to Jim and those who replied privately! I like Jim’s ‘always looking on the bright side’ thought. I hope to be able to adjust and find the bright side of things in the future. For now, I still feel lost. My mom’s crying spells have improved. The GP put her on Zyprexa for atypical depression. She doesn’t cry as much, talking has slowed some, and she’s actually getting up and moving around. This should be good, I know, but she’s still not her old self. I know I’m not acting normally around her, either, because I am terrified she might take something else I’ve said and turn it on me again.

    Hang in there, everyone.

  • August 1, 2008 at 8:46 pm

    Hi Char,

    My mom is almost always certain that I make things up. She can’t remember most of what I talk to her about. I think this is partly due to hearing loss (she can’t/won’t use hearing aides because she can’t remember how they work and she becomes extremely emotional when she realizes she can’t do something), partly to the fact that spoken communication of more than 3 or 4 words is too difficult for her to understand, and partly to the other effects of memory loss (whether “dementia” or “Alzheimers.”) My mom enjoys looking through photo albums from her childhood (these are the photos she’s able to tell stories about when looking at the pictures). She likes looking at my childhood pictures, which she almost never has memories of, but it pleases her when I describe my memories while showing the pictures. I made a special photo album of pictures of all the things she did for me as a child. For example, I put pictures of me wearing different clothes she sewed for me, birthday cakes she decorated for me, vacation photos of our family. I also included pictures of her young adulthood, including pictures of her living on her own in NYC & later in Colorado in the 1940s and 1950’s. When we look at those pictures, I always tell her how proud I am to have a “liberated” independent-minded mom. That pleases her almost to tears (me too.) I found some love letters that she saved from when my dad was courting her. She kept repeating that she never knew she had such wonderful things. I read them to her and we giggle about how sweet and poetic my father’s words were. I also took my mom on an airplane trip in June to see her brother. (Thank goodness I was able to arrange a wheelchair for her. It’s a must when you travel great distances. It kept her from getting worn out and possibly having breathing or heart problems. It’s also great for your sanity as a caregiver.) I took about 500 digital photos on our trip, and I played the pictures for her during the trip on a portable DVD player. We still play them several times/week, & I enlarged some photos and hung them on her bedroom wall so she can see them all the time. I also bought a small white board and hung it on her wall so I can write the day of the week, and where each family member is (she often thinks we’ve left her alone, which we would never do), so it helps most of the time to put it in writing & in a position that is always in her field of vision. As her memory gets worse, I may have to use pictures instead of written notes. Maybe you already do these types of activities, but in case you haven’t tried using pictures and reminiscing I highly recommend doing so. It may give you a feeling of control over the incessant talking. She may still talk incessantly while you’re looking at the pictures, but I think the talking might be on a topic you both enjoy. Try to forget about whatever you might have said that upset her. Don’t bring it up, and she’ll probably forget about it. Distract her by pulling out the pictures, or asking her if she’d like to go for a ride with you. My mom and I like to drive around locally looking at houses and yards, and looking for wildlife (rabbits, in our case). When there is an open house, we like to stop and look inside the house. Mom likes to see how other people decorate. I like to see how people landscape with flowers. My mom also enjoys window shopping. She loves anywhere I take her, especially craft stores, lamp stores, exotic bird stores, lumberyards; she tells me that she can’t believe I know such great places to window shop. Work on getting your extended family to give you some respite time so you can go see a movie, get a massage, do whatever you enjoy. You deserve some time for you; we all deserve time for ourselves so that we feel refreshed and healthy. Good luck. I hope you will post again to update us on how things are going. Susan

  • January 3, 2009 at 2:25 am

    My mother talks incessantly also. Will follow you to the bathroom and stand outside the door. When we go shopping, she’ll stand and talk to the cashier with people waiting behind. We’ll have to gently move her along. She also gets very defensive when we make “suggestions” to her.

    Like your mom, her dad had AD and she was his primary caregiver. She denied anything was wrong until my dad, sister and brother in law had an intervention. then she agreed to see a doctor. that was 5 years ago. She’s been on Aricept since then and we’ve had good quality time. She is slipping and can no longer take care of any of the business affairs – even writing checks. However, she’s still in great physical shape and takes water aerobics 5 days a week.

    I suggest that you find a support group in your area. Also, the book “The 36 hour Day” is good, although old. There’s been many advances since the book was written. Good luck.