Is my mother experiencing early signs of Alzhemier's?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 18, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My mother woke up suddenly at 2 am and kept on asking whether (1)has she worked (she currently works in a hotel as a head of dept (housekeeping), she is has actually retired 10 years ago but took another job because our family's financial crisis, she always complains about how stressing the job is) (2) has she prayed (we are Muslims and always prays 5 times a day and never miss it). She hardly remembers anything except for the name of her family members, and some random things. My mother also seems to have a short memory span at the moment, because she kept asking things that has occur (I cried in her arms and when this happened, after 5 minutes or so she asked me why I cried when I told her the reason behind it). Her memory loss happened for about 2 and a half hours, in during that time she was able to do basic things (going to the toilet). Her memory also improves slightly as we ask her same questions a few times) She then began to sleep at 4.30 am. And when she woke up at 5 am she regain her memory except for what had happened. She doesn't remember a single thing as to waking up at 2 am and not remembering anything. However, after the event she seems to lack the energy and is tired (but calm). We went to see the doctor that morning and her blood pressure dropped significantly (from what the nurse said, but the doctor said her blood pressure is good). The doctor also said it could be sleepwalking but is not very sure. My mother is diagnosed with hypertension (10 years ago, never skipped her med). It's been two days since that terrifying event happened, and our family is really scared that it would be the early sign of Alzheimer. Please help us :'(

Expert Answers

Ron Kauffman is a certified senior advisor (CSA), senior lifestyle radio host, syndicated newspaper columnist, and the author of Caring for a Loved One With Alzheimer's Disease. In addition, Kauffman is also the primary caregiver for his mother, who has Alzheimer's.

Dear Anonymous:

I'm sorry to hear of the difficulties you're facing with your mother.

My experience, based on what you're sharing in your question is that your mother should be seen by a geriatric neurologist for a complete physical and mental assessment. By doing this, you will determine if she is indeed suffering from a dementia, memory related disorder or a physiological problem that can be treated and resolved.

Her symptoms certainly sound like it may be signs of early dementia, but without a confirmed diagnosis and mental evaluation, it's impossible to know for certain.

If you do not know of a good neurologist, contact the Alzheimer's Association for a list of referrals. I suggest you make the appointment as soon as possible. Doing so will provide you a path to treating your mom, and as important, peace of mind for yourself.

Based on the outcome of the visit to the physician, you can begin making plans as to the best course of action for your mother.

Best of luck.