I am not sure which topic to list this as, but I wanted to introduce myself and explain where we are at within this journey...
My grandmother (who is now 68) has been showing signs of Alzheimer's. Close family started recognizing issues a couple years ago, but my grandma always convinced us that it was normal age related. These things were pretty much just conversational. Repeating herself, mixing up names/details, not remembering what we just talked about, etc... It seemed pretty minor, as she was (and pretty much still is able to function in daily life). Although we are starting to wonder about this now...
Fast forward to now and we notice the same things, but they are definitely getting worse and we have noticed that her judgment and reasoning are also being affected. She is starting to get more confused about things. She is having a hard time understanding simple instructions, and sometimes it is hard to even understand what she is talking about. Other family and friends have started to notice and have contacted me about it.
Also, Within the last 1.5 months, her live in boyfriend of 15 years passed away suddenly of a heart attack. This event really seemed to make the symptoms much worse. So much so that we decided that it was time to talk to her doctor. She gave us the okay to go in with her and released her medical records to us, but she has since gotten angry at us for "interfering" and going "behind her back" as she has said.
Anyway, the doctor did the full panel of labs and an MRI and determined that there are no other medical reasons for her cognitive issues, so he thinks that it could be early stages of Alzheimer's. Looking at the warning signs, I agree, but he is reluctant to give her a definite diagnosis. However, he did suggest that she start on medication (Aricept).
We have spoke with her about the medication, and she has a different impression of what the doctor told us. She thinks that he said she is fine for now, and doesn't have to start on the medication at this point. We are kind of stuck at this point for now. He did leave it up in the air a bit in saying that we could wait to see if the symptoms get worse before starting medication, but he also told us that the sooner she started medication it the better. She does not seem to understand this, as she truly doesn't think that she is that bad off. She does recognize that she is having problems, but I think she thinks that we are blowing it out of proportion.
So that is my story at this point. I have a million questions, but I will hold off and read some of the other posts before I jump in. I guess at this point I just wonder if there is anyone reading this that could share their insight on how to get her to understand that things maybe changing soon and that she is going to need our help? Anyone else deal with this in the early stages when their loved ones are still able to be independent? She is still able to take care of herself and for the most part function, it's just that we know there is a problem and know that it will be getting worse if we don not do anything about it.
p.s. in case you are wondering why I (as her granddaughter) am so involved I can share a little detail. My mother had me at age 16, and my entire life I have looked at my grandmother as more of a mother to me. My mother has been in and out of our life and has her own issues. I also have an aunt (my mom’s sister) that is just as involved as I am. Together we are most likely going to be the primary caretakers, but there are also other grown grandchildren that will most likely help with care, It’s just that I am the eldest grandchild and I am the closest to my grandma.