Yesterday morning I spent with my MEM (Mad Elderly Mother) and a psychiatrist who had come to assess her memory loss. Apparently there are many types of memory loss and her doctors want to make sure it is not the start of dementia and if possible give her some guidelines to help prevent further deterioration.
I arrived at crack of dawn as I needed to make sure MEM was up and dressed as she was bound not to have remembered the appointment … and I was right so by the time the doctor arrived I was ready for a lie-down on the sofa – oops nearly forgot it was MEM that she had come to assess!s
She started by having to do various numerical and verbal tests finishing off with some written ones. The number ones she absolutely nailed (as my youngest son would say) and I was left trailing (I was doing them too as I just wanted to check on my own exhausted memory). She was then read a very dull story, fit for a 5 year old, and asked to recall it but she failed this one strangely, maybe the numbers one had drained her, but I put it down to the dullness of the story! Happily I managed to gain some much needed points after my disaster with the numbers test. Then she had to do the written one which involved joining dots in a particular sequence but she couldn’t read the writing as she keeps sitting on her glasses which are bi-focal and then they get bent and out of sync with her eyes so she ends up looking through the wrong part!!
We were then both asked how she fared in everyday life and I had to admit to the microwave incident and the forgetting where her car was parked which were, needless to say, all things I do regularly and I am 32 years younger than her! MEM says the most irritating one for her is setting off from one room to do a task and getting to the next room and wondering why she is standing in it……..sound familiar? I do that at least twice a day!
I have to say it was all rather exhausting but when it came to how we can help this fading memory the advice was simple – STIMULATION! Learn an instrument, learn a new language, do the crossword or Sudoko, learn to play bridge or some other stimulating game but do not relax and let go!! Not great advice for my mother as I am not sure she can be bothered and for me well the question is when will I find the time?
We do have a second assessment in two weeks where apparently we will get more practical advice and there is a possibility, if she has the right kind of memory loss, that there is a pill! We both agreed the pill might be easier if she can remember when to take one!! And if not I feel I and most of my friends could do with it!