Decreased sense of smell may indicate early dementia

Posted by ngyose @ngyose, Sat, Jan 4 9:32pm

One of the symptoms or signs for this (Early Onset Alzheimer), is the deteriorating sense of smell. This is from my experience as I now recall. But this is not receiving any attention because of self denial on the part of the caregiver or the person.

I had just assisted a senior and although the person seems to be agile (for his age), the person admitted that the sense of smell is no longer there.

I had tried to sound it out,

Although the family did admitted that there are other minor signs, it is perhaps just beginning

But the fact is that, this keen sense of smell that is no longer there, did not ring any alarm bells.

Sad to say that, although the person, due to the age, does not belong to the Early Onset Alzheimer, it seems that the this symptom has not been noticed.

There is no mention in the latest news from the Mayo Clinic.

Is there anybody out there who had noticed this ?

If the above is valid, how can it be put to use to identify Alzheimer, instead of running around the bush to get the necessary tests for it.

And after getting getting to pay for all the costly tests to ascertain that it is Alzheimer’s……what can be done ? Nothing but to retreat into a cocoon to avoid being stigmatized.

Cheers

The first symptom my mother had was loss of smell…about one year before and she complained about it constantly!

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Hi ngyose @ngyose,
I read your words.I worked once in Alzheimer's patients long term facility and what I can tell here that there are doctors who specialized in treating elderly with Alzheimer that you may check with insurance company for a visit. The only thing should be noticed and observed that the onset of the symptoms and the very quick demolishing of some senses become a big surprise, when their abilities to identify and knowing things becoming harder and harder. I am not giving you a prescription, and my words might not be correct 100%. There are also many lectures in health centers, communities and association discussing Alzheimer,s cases and what should be done.I hope gave some information that will help.

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@ngyose, as it turns out, Mayo Clinic researcher, Rosebud Roberts, conducted a study about deteriorating sense of smell and dementia about 5 years ago. Here are links to the study and an article about the study
– Association Between Olfactory Dysfunction and Amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment and Alzheimer Disease Dementia https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaneurology/fullarticle/2469511
– Decreased sense of smell may indicate early dementia https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/302665.php#1

Hopefully this information will help support your advocacy in improving the early detection of dementia among health professionals in your area.

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My wife was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimers in November of 2019. Although I think she has had the disease for about two and a half years. Her sense of smell varies from being able to smell to not being able to smell. She smells things that have no odor. So her sense of smell is all messed up. She really dislikes the smell of most anything that is being cooked. She also has a distorted sense of taste. Her diet has decreased to eating primarily toast and peanut butter unless I can get her out to eat, then she will eat a normal meal. It's a juggling act for sure. Here's a question for anybody that wants to answer: Has anybody noticed with their loved one with Alzheimer's that their eyes have that look of being there but not beong there? My wife has that look all of the time. It breaks my heart. Just wondering. It's kind of a blank stare.

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@greff

My wife was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimers in November of 2019. Although I think she has had the disease for about two and a half years. Her sense of smell varies from being able to smell to not being able to smell. She smells things that have no odor. So her sense of smell is all messed up. She really dislikes the smell of most anything that is being cooked. She also has a distorted sense of taste. Her diet has decreased to eating primarily toast and peanut butter unless I can get her out to eat, then she will eat a normal meal. It's a juggling act for sure. Here's a question for anybody that wants to answer: Has anybody noticed with their loved one with Alzheimer's that their eyes have that look of being there but not beong there? My wife has that look all of the time. It breaks my heart. Just wondering. It's kind of a blank stare.

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Yes, the blank stare. My mom had it. She died of dementia at 88 but looking back I think she started at 74 and was good at hiding it for many years. Another clue was not calling anyone on the phone. My mom ate normal eating out too but at home ate candy and any sweets. It’s very sad.

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@penn1023

Yes, the blank stare. My mom had it. She died of dementia at 88 but looking back I think she started at 74 and was good at hiding it for many years. Another clue was not calling anyone on the phone. My mom ate normal eating out too but at home ate candy and any sweets. It’s very sad.

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One of the things that I've also noticed is that my wife always walks behind me, not even with me or ahead of me. At first, I didn't catch on but after a few weeks of doing so, I finally realized that she was purposely lagging in stores because she didnt want to take a wrong turn or lose sight of me. She also does not like looking at pictures pr watch family videos. I think part of it is that her short and long term memory are effected. I also think that it makes her upset or sad, which makes her cry, get a headache, and shut down (long periods of sleep). I learn new things about this disease almost daily on how it effects the person who has Alzheimer's.
My heart goes out to you. I'm sorry that you lost your mom and had to witness the symptoms of dementia. My mom also had dementia bit would never admit that she needed medical care.

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@greff

One of the things that I've also noticed is that my wife always walks behind me, not even with me or ahead of me. At first, I didn't catch on but after a few weeks of doing so, I finally realized that she was purposely lagging in stores because she didnt want to take a wrong turn or lose sight of me. She also does not like looking at pictures pr watch family videos. I think part of it is that her short and long term memory are effected. I also think that it makes her upset or sad, which makes her cry, get a headache, and shut down (long periods of sleep). I learn new things about this disease almost daily on how it effects the person who has Alzheimer's.
My heart goes out to you. I'm sorry that you lost your mom and had to witness the symptoms of dementia. My mom also had dementia bit would never admit that she needed medical care.

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Yeah, they try to hide it. She had possession of the family photos and she started throwing them away little by little. Didn’t notice at first but later on I would ask where the photo of so and so was and she would feign ignorance. Then she threw away her recipe collection in a binder. Towards the end we noticed her ring and watch were gone and found out she gave them to some homeless types in the neighborhood. She was taking out 100 every three days from the bank on the corner, for years but didn’t go anywhere to spend it. Those people were taking her money. We had to put her in dementia home. sorry for you.

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My wife is starting to "down size" as she calls it. At first I was all about it. It gave her something to do at home but now, she wants to throw stuff that is in the china cabinet, passed down from both sides of the family. I think part of the issue is the more stuff she looks at, the more stimulus it creates, then that increases anxiety, which brings on confusion, which brings on a headache, and the oy way for to get rid of the headache is sleep. Sleep is kind of a reset button for her. Poor punkin. When did you decide that your mom needed 24 hour care?

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@greff

My wife is starting to "down size" as she calls it. At first I was all about it. It gave her something to do at home but now, she wants to throw stuff that is in the china cabinet, passed down from both sides of the family. I think part of the issue is the more stuff she looks at, the more stimulus it creates, then that increases anxiety, which brings on confusion, which brings on a headache, and the oy way for to get rid of the headache is sleep. Sleep is kind of a reset button for her. Poor punkin. When did you decide that your mom needed 24 hour care?

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Her tiny condo got filthy and she was not bathing. She got a meal from a restaurant down the street. We asked the owner how much she was spending a day on a meal and he said 10. $100 withdrawal every three days, you figure it out.We followed her one day and saw her on a neighborhood park bench with one of the young homeless guys (she was 86) who had his arm around her. My husband walked up to them to say hello and the guy asked who he was and when he found out he took his arm off her. He took his hobo backpack and got on his bike and left. I imagine that was when she handed over money. She told us a guy she knew was fixing her watch but we never saw it again or her ring.That’s how we figured out who was getting the money. Obviously you don’t have that problem. When we moved her in she started to get violent, refusing showers, breaking windows, etc from time to time. It was a nightmare. I was the only child. Eventually she got infections like UTIs, antibiotics, cdiff, antibiotics, enterococcus , antibiotics, pneumonia, sepsis then passed.

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@penn1023

Her tiny condo got filthy and she was not bathing. She got a meal from a restaurant down the street. We asked the owner how much she was spending a day on a meal and he said 10. $100 withdrawal every three days, you figure it out.We followed her one day and saw her on a neighborhood park bench with one of the young homeless guys (she was 86) who had his arm around her. My husband walked up to them to say hello and the guy asked who he was and when he found out he took his arm off her. He took his hobo backpack and got on his bike and left. I imagine that was when she handed over money. She told us a guy she knew was fixing her watch but we never saw it again or her ring.That’s how we figured out who was getting the money. Obviously you don’t have that problem. When we moved her in she started to get violent, refusing showers, breaking windows, etc from time to time. It was a nightmare. I was the only child. Eventually she got infections like UTIs, antibiotics, cdiff, antibiotics, enterococcus , antibiotics, pneumonia, sepsis then passed.

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I'm sorry that you had to go through all of those behaviors and medical issues. People have warned me about those things happening. You are a strong person.

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I think it is very sad that other people would take advantage of your mom. I live in a town of about 12,000 people. One of my boys is a police officer so I'm hoping that we can keep a close eye on my wife when shw starts to wander off. She is not to that point yet but she is starting to go through the sun downing behavior. She gets up at 1:30am and is up for the night. I don't know when to put locks or alarms on the doors.

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@greff

I think it is very sad that other people would take advantage of your mom. I live in a town of about 12,000 people. One of my boys is a police officer so I'm hoping that we can keep a close eye on my wife when shw starts to wander off. She is not to that point yet but she is starting to go through the sun downing behavior. She gets up at 1:30am and is up for the night. I don't know when to put locks or alarms on the doors.

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You’re both young and I’m sad you have to go through this. I wish you the best

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@penn1023

Her tiny condo got filthy and she was not bathing. She got a meal from a restaurant down the street. We asked the owner how much she was spending a day on a meal and he said 10. $100 withdrawal every three days, you figure it out.We followed her one day and saw her on a neighborhood park bench with one of the young homeless guys (she was 86) who had his arm around her. My husband walked up to them to say hello and the guy asked who he was and when he found out he took his arm off her. He took his hobo backpack and got on his bike and left. I imagine that was when she handed over money. She told us a guy she knew was fixing her watch but we never saw it again or her ring.That’s how we figured out who was getting the money. Obviously you don’t have that problem. When we moved her in she started to get violent, refusing showers, breaking windows, etc from time to time. It was a nightmare. I was the only child. Eventually she got infections like UTIs, antibiotics, cdiff, antibiotics, enterococcus , antibiotics, pneumonia, sepsis then passed.

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Hi, @greff – I do recognize the blank stare from my great aunt who lives in a nursing home and has dementia. She no longer recognizes any family members. She lives across the country from me, but my aunt sends photos. She always has a blank stare, I noticed.

That is very difficult, @penn1023, to go through seeing your mom not bathe anymore, give money away to strangers in a fashion that didn't seem right to the family, and not keep up her house anymore. My grandma started having dementia symptoms when she lived in a retirement community, and she started doing things like pouring fertilizer all over her carpet and streaking down the hall between units sans clothing. She had to be moved to a higher level of care at that point.

@greff – what do you think is prompting your wife's dietary preferences to get so reduced at home lately? Why do you think it's different there than at a restaurant?

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My mother had dementia and died at 86 yo. I think it may have started during her late 70s. She was sending money to all sorts of charities and a place that sent her pictures of the president. She was feeding her beloved dog moldy food. She also bought furniture that she couldn't afford and would walk on the street (or entertain visitors) with just her underwear on. . Finally, her money was gone so these places started having her send money through money orders (a guy would come and get the money and then send the money orders-I think he was associated with one of the national delivery services). Finally, one of her kids was there when the guy came to pick up the money and he told us what was going on. We changed her phone number since that was how these people were getting in touch with her, We finally had to put her into a nursing home. She lived a couple of years there. I would stop after work to be sure she was eating since they didn't have enough workers there to feed everyone (and make sure everyone was eating). They would remove all the food after 1/2 hour even if someone was still eating. When I asked why they said it was the rules (something about the food could be dangerous after 1/2 hour). Another thing I noticed about my mother in the early stages was that when she was writing something she often crossed out something and wrote something that was similar but a little different.

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@lisalucier

Hi, @greff – I do recognize the blank stare from my great aunt who lives in a nursing home and has dementia. She no longer recognizes any family members. She lives across the country from me, but my aunt sends photos. She always has a blank stare, I noticed.

That is very difficult, @penn1023, to go through seeing your mom not bathe anymore, give money away to strangers in a fashion that didn't seem right to the family, and not keep up her house anymore. My grandma started having dementia symptoms when she lived in a retirement community, and she started doing things like pouring fertilizer all over her carpet and streaking down the hall between units sans clothing. She had to be moved to a higher level of care at that point.

@greff – what do you think is prompting your wife's dietary preferences to get so reduced at home lately? Why do you think it's different there than at a restaurant?

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I think that at home, she pursues foods that are easy to make and she doesn't have to cook. She can't stand the smell of food being baked or fried. She also compulsively eats food that she likes, until she eats herself out of liking it. Candy is a big thing for her.

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