Patient Comments: Dementia - Symptoms

Question:

Are you caring for someone with dementia? What early symptoms did he/she experience at the onset of dementia? Submit Your Comment

Comment from: Ginger, 75 or over Female (Caregiver) Published: October 24

We first noticed changes in my mom when we would go to town and she would say things like, 'that building was not there before,' or 'they have changed all the roads' or 'where are we going, this is not the way we get to Walmart.' She was diagnosed with dementia.

Comment from: Mary, 75 or over Female (Caregiver) Published: December 06

First dementia symptom was repeating the same story and asking the same questions in a short amount of time. Within minutes the repeat would occur.

Comment from: Scared, 65-74 Male (Caregiver) Published: May 01

Liver biopsy does help with diagnosis. Please have them put you in twilight sleep at least. My first one was without even pain medicine and it was almost unbearable. I almost passed out. From then on I always told them only way I would have it done was to be out. I have had about 4 done. I have non-alcoholic cirrhosis.

Comment from: caregiver 2, 75 or over Female (Caregiver) Published: November 17

Memory loss came first. Hallucinations of bugs no one else could see came as the next symptom of dementia. Frequent falls started to occur. She got argumentative and paranoia came next. Loss of function came after. Now she is very emotionally labile, defensive, demanding, and weak. She is having trouble walking, getting out of bed or out of a chair. Refuses or forgets to use her walker, eat, take medications, etc. Very hard to see. Very hard to deal with her.

Comment from: Barbara Jane, 75 or over Male (Caregiver) Published: March 23

My darling husband of 20 years suddenly started exhibiting erratic behavior: cursing, taking swings at people including me, no memory, disorientation, aggressiveness, agitation, cognitive decline, etc. One day he was my adorable husband, and the next day he was this person I barely recognize. I don't have time to focus on my broken heart because I have to be in the battle every day; guiding his health care, keeping him safe and clean and as content as possible, managing both our lives, dealing with doctors and financial advisors. Where do you go for help! I'm doing my best, around the clock but I sure wish there was someone who could help me with my questions about how to handle this, what to say, how long he will be okay, when it progresses, etc.

Comment from: Don, 75 or over Female (Caregiver) Published: September 03

I have been staying on and off with my mother for the past several years as her mental health declined. I've been her constant caregiver 24/7 for the past year. My mother has been screened by two primary physicians who agree she is in the severe level of dementia and needs consistent care. She is not receptive and insists that everything would be fine if she lived alone. My sister and I must seek guardianship because there is no general power of attorney. Once this is done we can take appropriate action.

Comment from: Cadabams Group, 0-2 Male (Caregiver) Published: January 11

Dementia isn't a specific disease. Instead, dementia describes a group of symptoms affecting memory, thinking and social abilities severely enough to interfere with daily functioning. Though dementia generally involves memory loss, memory loss has different causes. So memory loss alone doesn't mean you have dementia. There are different types of dementia.

Comment from: 65-74 Male (Caregiver) Published: August 20

My husband was diagnosed 3 years ago with dementia after he began to lose things. He would accuse someone of stealing, even in the night. He is on medication but his symptoms have progressed to anger and short fuse over little things. This was a man who was soft spoken, slow to anger and gentle. It is such a change for us to try to manage a whole new way of living. He is 67, I'm 66 and I feel so stressed sometimes. I don't know what each day will start with.

Comment from: Redmichelle582, 75 or over Male (Caregiver) Published: November 06

I heard this and it works for me every time. Take a big mouthful of water and swallow about 15 times while holding your breath and plugging your ears.

Comment from: Find A Cure, 55-64 Male (Caregiver) Published: July 15

My husband was diagnosed with 'early onset' of dementia 3 years ago at age 55. He had loss of memory, poor cognitive skills and unable to follow basic instructions (similar to a stroke). He had surgery two consecutive weeks and I wonder if the anesthesia and being sedated two weeks in a row contributed to this condition. He did not start displaying symptoms until afterward. He has more than perfect vision, but is unable to focus on objects directly in front of him. A cure needs to be found for this awful disease. I retired in April and am with him now 24/7. He follows me around like a puppy constantly.

QUESTION

One of the first symptoms of Alzheimer's disease is __________________. See Answer
Comment from: Daughter, 75 or over Male (Caregiver) Published: June 17

After my mom died, dad bought his dream RV and spent 8 months of the year travelling. He was always a happy man. Two years ago when dad was 75, we noticed big change in his personality with some people. He was mean and paranoid. At 76 he suffered a stroke. MRI confirmed two bleeds on the brain. Six months after stroke dad was diagnosed with vascular dementia. Exactly one year after his stroke he now requires full time care. Shocking what this disease has done to my father.

Comment from: KatMM, 55-64 Male (Caregiver) Published: October 22

My husband was just diagnosed with Vascular Dementia, he was 59 at the time of diagnosis. He first showed signs of memory loss and now has difficulty with walking down stairs, he has frequent dizzy spells and severe headaches. He says his head hurts 24/7. He has confusion and is constantly asking what day it is. In a way I think he's still in denial as he feels he should be working and treated as head of the house. He has difficulty making decisions and I have had to undertake every aspect of our home. He does not sleep at night and his hygiene is questionable. I tell him he needs to clean himself and he disputes it saying that he already had. We get into disagreements a lot because he feels he's always right. This illness has taken its toll on me as I do not have help. He tries to cook but burns everything. I'm worried leaving him home alone at this stage.

Comment from: Fran, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: August 31

I have been diagnosed with Vascular Dementia about 1 1/2 years ago. I knew what was happening and asked my doctor who sent me for tests. The doctor I saw was amazed about how aware I was of what was happening to me. I had known for a while. I was tripping over nothing. I was offered meds but said no and that was a mistake because before long I messed up our checkbook which I kept . I got us in trouble with money and began not remembering names. Sometimes if I am over stressed, as I still work it gets worse. I seem to go down in stages - a little at a time but I always seem to know when there is a drop down. I feel it getting worse but I am lucky. It is a little at a time. I tell everyone who interacts with me so they will know but still they will say, "don't you remember this?" I want to scream every time they say it. Hell no. I don't remember that is the problem. Be patient with us. I know it is hard on everyone around us but it is hard on us too.

Comment from: P, 75 or over Female (Caregiver) Published: October 27

The dementia patient is up all night, and packing up things.

Comment from: Thedude, 75 or over Female (Caregiver) Published: January 02

My father passed away and mom began to have auditory hallucinations; with medication we had things under control. She could not handle her finances but could drive and shop for herself. She took a fall and sprained her leg. Now she is in a long term care facility and will never leave it. Her decline was from driving herself to not being able to feed herself within 1 week. It has been a month now and she has regained the ability to feed herself but will never regain her independence.

Comment from: edgehurt, 75 or over Female (Caregiver) Published: April 04

In the beginning of my Nana's dementia, she would repeat the same stories or ask the same questions within 15 min. of one another. She would deny the repetitions if told about it. She also stopped cleaning the house as well and wore only 2 outfit's constantly. Planning meals became harder and harder for her to do, including working her own oven.

Comment from: devastated, 55-64 Female Published: December 20

My 63 year old sister was just recently diagnosed with vascular dementia following a year and a half of serious and multiple health problems. It was first noticed by some memory loss but now every week when I see her it has markedly increased to the point of her not being able to carry a conversation, confusion, talks about non-related things to the conversation at hand. She lives in an assisted care facility. We have always been very close and this just rips my heart out. She is like a child now with that wide eyed vacant look.

Comment from: 75 or over Female (Caregiver) Published: November 02

My mother in law suffers from dementia. She is 88 and it has progressively gotten worse. It started by not knowing what day it is and then snakes in her bed to worse hallucinations. She is up all night seeing people. Scared that someone is going to get her. It is so hard caring for someone you love and you can't do anything to make them better.

Comment from: Daughter, 45-54 Female (Caregiver) Published: April 22

My mom's "odd behaviors" were the first things we noticed. She would go out of the house less. She started collecting mail-in million dollar sweepstakes contests. She believed the ads on the front that said, "You have won 10 million dollars!" She also started getting paranoid. She was scared there were snakes in the bed or scared of going too fast in the car. One day she tried to buy a birthday card for her dad who had died three years prior. It was all hard to watch.

SLIDESHOW

Dementia, Alzheimer's Disease, and Aging Brains See Slideshow
Comment from: carrie, 75 or over Female (Caregiver) Published: March 01

I care for my 85 year old grandma who does have moods and up and down all night. She has memory loss on some things but does remember things way back. She still knows who I am at this point. She has problems on remembering how to use a fork for her food. Some of the Doctors rather give their patients meds to keep them calm well it did a reverse. Our doctor took her off her meds because they are finding out it actually makes them worse. This is time for our loved ones to be with their families.

Comment from: lostboy, 75 or over Male (Caregiver) Published: May 13

I am hospitalized because my body is cramped and the worst part is I can't stand up, walk or move my body. This is embarrassing because this happens every time when I masturbate or have sex. The doctor said I am low in potassium.

Comment from: judie, 55-64 Male (Caregiver) Published: April 19

My 15-year old has really bad motion sickness lately. It is not new, but it is getting worse.

Comment from: DB, 75 or over Male (Caregiver) Published: June 02

I care for someone with dementia. There is a different look in his eyes when he is going through a bad spell of being agitated, i.e., there is a very slight cast in one of his eyes as though he is really digging deep to explain what he is thinking.

Comment from: donna mae, 55-64 Female (Caregiver) Published: January 02

I am caregiver for my husband who has dementia. At the age of 60 he is at stage 5/6 now and I don't know what do expect now. I have a hard time some days with my man but we have been together for 29 years and I will not put him in a home. It's been 2 years now I think I'm doing well so far.

Comment from: Lesley, 75 or over Female (Caregiver) Published: August 01

My mum developed certain obsessive behaviors -- hoarding, pegging curtains closed, wearing the same clothes, suspicion of others, and checking that doors and windows were locked. The behaviors increased over time together with a steady decline in memory, judgment, and reasoning. I also noticed that the outer ring of her iris which is normally darker than the rest of the iris looks bleached so that it is now lighter than the main iris. I don't know whether this is usual. It is not noticeable to the casual observer.

Comment from: broken 77, 75 or over Female (Caregiver) Published: December 07

My mom is currently caring for my grandmother. Everyday is something new. One minute she is laughing and joking with the family even to the point of dancing, and even smoking and drinking like she is 21. The next she is yelling and cursing at the family trying to leave the house saying she doesn't know where she is and we are stopping her from leaving. When I try to help she yells at me and tells me to go away and when I do she says I don't help. I don't know what to do anymore, it's like she is pushing the family away and that is really a concern for this family.

Comment from: 65-74 Female (Caregiver) Published: September 17

She was short fused and paranoid. She also had delusions that were affecting her relationships with her family.

Comment from: ali, 55-64 Female (Caregiver) Published: April 13

Yes, she is my Mom. The Dementia symptoms had started when she was 58 years old.

Comment from: MB, 65-74 Female (Caregiver) Published: July 25

Our family is really upset with the strange behavior of our mother since over last one year. She doesn't recognize us and even the place she live in, she has lot of hallucinations and imaginings. We took her doctors, but she refuses to take medicines just after one or two doses.

Comment from: Concerned Son, 75 or over Female (Caregiver) Published: June 28

My mom is 86 yrs. old. Recently her behavior has changed drastically. It has really impacted the world for my dad, who is also 86, and the entire family. My mom cannot remember certain information and especially locations. She is very anxious and cannot seem to relax. Nausea is also a very big part of her symptoms. She will tell us that she feels very bad and needs to go to the hospital. We have gone to the ER at 4 times over a week and a half. Mom was admitted for a day and a half and then the hospital let her go. All of this is so frustrating, and trying to get a doctor to see her is almost impossible!!

Comment from: Kathy, 55-64 Female (Caregiver) Published: May 26

My husband was diagnosed with frontal lobe dementia last year at age 57. He suffers severe debilitating headaches that are about 8 to 10 on the pain scale. These headaches keep us homebound instead of being able to enjoy life, even with his other symptoms of dementia.

Comment from: 65-74 Male (Caregiver) Published: March 16

Very early in the disease, my dad started having trouble walking down stairs and seemed off balance. He also started over-reacting to situations and seemed a bit paranoid, like everyone was out to get him somehow. Now, 2 years later, he falls a lot, has lost some of his vision, and mimics people in a strange way. In other ways though, he is incredibly observant and on-the-ball.

Comment from: cremom, 75 or over Female (Caregiver) Published: May 15

Last night my 91-year-old mother woke me (I stay with her during the night) but when I entered her room, she said "Who are you?" She kept saying she was sick but couldn't identify what was wrong. She kept asking where she was, what country she lived in and became upset because she was so confused. It took about 30-40 minutes for her to finally recognize her surroundings and who I was. She has in the last several months had very disturbing dreams, snakes in the bed, dead babies on the kitchen table, but does not exhibit any other signs of dementia/Alzheimer's.

Comment from: graywolf, 55-64 Female (Caregiver) Published: February 22

My wife is 63 years old and in reasonably good health. She does have migraines that are now under control. They were so bad that they would cause absent seizures. She now cannot work because she is disoriented and has trouble working problems out. Yesterday, while in the store, we were looking for feminine hygiene products, and she was standing in the aisle looking at diapers and said she thought they were right here -- of course they were not. She thinks she is in New York sometimes or in someone else's home. Last night she called the dogs, cats. I said they're dogs, not cats. I worry about her all the time, and it is taking its toll on me but I am not giving up.

Comment from: SneakyPete, 75 or over Female Published: January 24

My mother who is 78 years. old has been recently diagnosed. Being closed to my mother, it was hard enough to watch her suffer while taking treatments for her breast cancer. Then she began asking me about relatives who have died. But what really troubles me is that she has started waking up asking about my nephew (who lives in another state) thinking he is in another part of the house. It's really scary and I often get impatient when she says the same thing over and over again.

Comment from: Plaques, 65-74 Male (Caregiver) Published: May 12

I care for my husband who has Vascular Dementia. When we first noticed something was wrong he was asking the same question over and over. Now we are at the point where he has a hard time with balance and walking. He is up 2 or 3 times a night wondering and repeatedly get lost in the bathroom and cannot get out. He is incontinent and has to be watched all day. We have qualified for home health care to assist in his care.

Comment from: Tiegra, 75 or over Female (Caregiver) Published: March 25

My neighbor is in her 80's. We have been very close and a couple of months ago I noticed that she was starting to ask the same question over and over again within minutes of asking it and each time I answered her the same and it was if it were the first time she asked it. She has also started to go off on subject tangents and was in denial of certain things (losing her hearing). Tonight I spoke with her adult granddaughter who told me my neighbor has been diagnosed with dementia. I take fruit over to her and walk with her and just visit with her several days a week and take her on errands with me and to the dog park with my 2 dogs which she enjoys.

Comment from: 75 or over Female (Caregiver) Published: December 21

First was difficulty with reading and writing numbers. Example, she could not add or subtract and eventually became unable to understand a simple card game like go fish or rummy.

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