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Does "mental decay"/dementia show on brain scans? - Page 3 - Carers UK Forum

Does "mental decay"/dementia show on brain scans?

For issues specific to caring for someone with dementia.
Hello Sam,

In my case I have had experience of both the MMSE test and a CT brain scan to determine dementia.

My Mum had Alzheimer's and it was the result of her first MMSE test that resulted in her being referred to a Consultant Geriatric Psychiatrist who repeated the test and arranged for the brain scan. The brain scan showed shrinkage in the areas of the brain related to memory and was a definite indicator (a scan for Vascular Dementia would show damage in other areas of the brain) and coupled with her MMSE test scores a diagnosis of Alzheimer's was made. Over the years her consultant repeated the MMSE test on a regular basis but always with the same result.

If you are worried about your Dad first step should be a visit to his GP who can then refer him to a consultant. In the early stages of dementia there is medication that can help to slow down the progression.
Thank you Susiq ,
I have read and studied the horrible illness dementia, and as far as drugs. am

maybe it is good, with Alzheimer's, not with people with different sorts of dementia.

I see this illness eating away at dads life changing him, but I will do what I can for him.
I will never let him down.
She-wolf (do love that name!) (reminds me of Arkela in Cubs!!!).....it's interesting what you said about your own mum, and how she's 'got used' to being 'pampered'! I do feel that is exactly what is happening to my MIL. Me 'waiting on her hand and foot' (bringing her cups of tea, her evening G&T, meals on a tray, refilled hotwater bottles, changing the TV channels, etc etc) is now her 'new normal' (!) and if that stops, then she feels both deprived and, I think, increasingly 'helpless'. (Possibly - probably? - she's actually forgetting how to do things for herself now??)

But I do think it is not pure 'laziness' (not the right word I know, because too harsh, but in that direction!) on her part. For example, if I am upstairs on my laptop in my bedroom, and it's gone 6 pm (Pointless ends, and the news starts on the TV, so she knows it's 6 pm!), after about five minutes she'll come out in to the hall and call up the stairs 'Are you there, Jenny?', and I call back 'coming down in five minutes Granny!', and if I am not down in five minutes she comes back out into the hall off the sofa in the living room, and starts coming up the stairs, huffing and puffing, and with great effort, as the stairs require of her now, and looks into my bedroom and says 'Are you asleep?', and I say 'Is it time for your G&T?' and she says emphatically 'YES!'....and so down I go to make it for her.

My point is, she would rather go to the considerable physical effort of getting off the sofa again, and labouring all the way upstairs to get ME to go down and mix her G&T, rather than actually just go to the fridge and mix it herself....

That's why I say it isn't 'laziness' so much as 'I want someone to do something for me'. I think she both likes being 'waited on' and also maybe she fears that if she ever resumes doing anything for herself, even just make a G&T, she'll be expected to do more for herself. Or she's got into a 'routine' mentally whereby #normal# is me doing things for her, and 'not normal' is having to do things for herself.

So, 'laziness', 'habit', 'mental decay'.....? Any or all I suspect! And yes, your final sentence about 'an easy life and waitress service' rings very, very true!

That said ....amazingly, the other day I was in the garden sitting in the sun (bliss!), and she was in the living room watching more TV (she'd been sitting outside as well, earlier, but gone in when she felt chilly, and, probably, bored, as no TV in the garden!)(and she no longer reads) (though she does enjoy watching the garden birds, so that is nice), and I heard noises in the kitchen through the kitchen window, and discovered she'd made herself a cup of tea!!! Bravo Granny!

Sam - I ought to point out that she isn't my mother, she's my mother-in-law (I'm widowed, and her other son is in the USA and divorced, so can't help with care) (he's very appreciative of what I do - unlike MIL who has never noticed what I do as in has never said thank you to me!)(she does say thank you if I bring her a cup of tea and things, but never 'Thank you dear for all you are doing for me now I can't live on my own any more'!).

Looking after a MIL is very very different from looking after a parent of one's own - even with affection and familiarity and compassion, there are no 'heartstrings' to make it 'easier' for me to give so much of my time and effort to her. Unlike if she were my mother, I get 'nothing back' from looking after her in terms of emotional fulfillment.

PS - Sam, I know you're finding some attitudes towards caring expressed here (eg, by the likes of me!) very difficult and different perhaps to what you are used to, but I've come to think there are fundamentally two different 'coping mechanisms' that carers adopt. The first is to 'embrace' the caring role, and say 'this is it, and I give myself to it with love and devotion' (I don't doubt for a moment that is the most exemplary way to care for those who need our care, and I applaud wholeheartedly those who choose that path). But the second is those carers who still try to keep something, at least, of their 'own' lives....and for them (eg, me, at an extreme end!) it can be a moral, emotional, physical and practical struggle to find the right amount of 'giving' to do. It's a subject we debate here quite a lot, but it can be unnerving when a new member comes across it for the first time!

The question I'm asking on this thread is a good example of the practical issues that such a debate can throw up. I'm trying to discover whether my MIL actually CANNOT do anything for herself any more (because her brain has 'gone' in that respect), or whether she just WON'T do anything for herself any more (because she likes me to do it for her - just as any of us would like others to do things for them!!!!). If she CANNOT do things for herself any more, then my response is different to if she WON'T do things for herself, because if she CANNOT then she 'needs' my help, but if she WON'T then she is just being 'selfish' and 'lazy' ((I put those in quotes to show I don't mean them quite as accusingly as they sound, but to indicate that her response is based on her preference and personal ease and comfort, not on her medically-mental needs!) (And that's even before we get to the even more complicated question of even IF she CANNOT do things for herself because of her medical-mental conditon, should I encourage/teach/insist on her trying, because if she makes the effort it actually HELPS her medical-mental condition and prevents further deterioriation - ie, the use it or lose it therapy!)

All of this (and this is a trivial example compared to many on this forum!) indicates just how complex a situation caring can be, with few, if any, easy answers!
Jenny, interesting point re the G&T... there's just no logic to that really, is there? Maybe it's the part of the brain dealing with logic that gets affected in the early stages of dementia? I guess every case is different and in a way it's irrelevant whether my mother or your MIL can't or won't do certain things for themselves, because trying to get them to do certain things can be such an effort it's easier just to do things for them.

I tend to take the easy route now and just give Mum the full waitress service when I'm round there. Mum hardly goes to the kitchen at all nowadays, even to get herself a cold drink from the fridge, or a snack from the larder. Worrying but I'm unsure what the answer is, because although I've had the "lose it or use it" conversation with her, several times, I think it's all forgotten pretty quickly, so it seems like she has the early stages of dementia, but at 86 that's hardly a surprise. I'll just carry on, supported by the carer, and hope we can keep her on an even keel, in her own home, for as long as that is safe and practical.
SW - yes, I agree with you! On both the 'give in' grounds - ie, that in the end it takes less time for us to do it for them than to chivvy/cajole/insist they do it themselves (shades of trying to get kids to tidy up, and it's such a pain to make them that we do it ourselves!) - and on the 'they just forget again' grounds, whereby the next time around they'll just have forgotten all over again that they are supposed to do it for themselves, it can simply be a case of 'well, that's it, they're never going to do it for themselves ever again - accept it!'.

I think, though, that what you describe is fine when one is NOT a live-in carer, because, as you say, you can give the FWS (Full Waitress Service!) without a great deal of effort or stress when you are there, because you aren't there all the time! For me, with MIL here for weeks, it does become incredibly exasperating and I get so damn resentful of having my 'house guest'!

Still, hopefully that is now coming to an end, as I am finally in sight of resettling her near me, and so won't have her in my house for weeks on end, and I can 'come and go' more at times of my own choosing from her.

All the best, J
Hope it all works out Jenny

Me too - and then the time I give her I will give freely and affectionately, knowing that I can 'get my own life back' as well. Hopefully a 'win win' all round! Once she's settled, I really want to get a portable wheelchair organised, so I can wheel her around National Trust gardens in the summer (I've joined her up already!). Plus nice cream teas afterwards!
Does your MIL tip well Jenny? If not, you could always tell her that it's self service from now on! :lol:
SW - bless her, the only time now she opens her purse is when we go through the Birmingham M6 toll! I find it rather touching really.... :) (It doesn't really matter, as anything I am paying out for her is coming from her son's money anyway!)
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