Letter writing and dementia.

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MIL has always been an avid letter writer. It was her main mode of communication with out of state friends and family. She is now in the mid to end stage of dementia. When speaking with her she repeats herself constantly. We found out from some recipients of her letters that she also repeats whole sentences in her notes & letters. She also sends multiple letters to the same people, repeating her messages, almost word for word. She goes through a book of stamps every two weeks or less. We stopped buying rolls of stamps because she lost the first one the day after we purchased it. Anyway, I thought this was an interesting but none the less sad symptom of this disease.


Well, she has some good intentions, so just focus on those. My feeling is that if it makes her feel good, let her do it. People can just thank her for her thoughtfulness and kindness for the letters. Stamps aren't that expensive - it's not as bad as using stamps to send donations to unsavory solicitors for bogus charities.

I wouldn't disagree that it's a sad symptom of dementia, but fortunately it's a relatively harmless one.

I'm wondering if she would like to write letters for local Meals on Wheels delivery programs? My father occasionally gets cards and short letters from students who participate in reaching out to senior citizens. It doesn't really make a difference what's written - it's the thought that counts.

You know, at some point, these letters might bring back cherished memories of your mother-in-law. Even if they are repetitive, they express her thoughts, her desire to grasp onto some semblance of her formerly more cognitive life.
I agree with GardenArtist, let Mom-in-law keep writing letters. One thing you could do is get a package of thinking-of-you greeting cards, that way she could write on the blank left side of the card.... with less room to write, she might not repeat herself.

Remember back when we could get a whole box of greeting cards, now these cards come in a smaller package [no longer boxed] and usually are located in the same rows as the individual greeting cards.

As for stamps, if Mom-in-law is using stamps that come on a strip row, make sure she knows on the back side of that strip are more stamps. I wonder how many of us forget to turn over the strip :P
Thank you GardenArtist & fregflyer for your suggestions and comments. Yes, we believe all of the recipients are very understanding & have thanked her. We pay for the stamps along with my SIL who said "imagine if she know how to text" :-).
..if she KNEW how to text.
Utzie, I've been thinking that she could also send cards to veterans and active duty service members, especially those overseas, but someone would have to ensure that she doesn't provide too much personal information - that's recommended for those corresponding with people they don't know.

She could just write something cheerful and sign with something patriotic but not revealing her real name.

Also, why not contact the people she has been writing to, explain the situation and ask that they continue sending her notes and letters. I finally gave into email and the digital world but I grew up writng letters. Nothing like getting a nice letter from a friend or family member, dementia or not. I'll bet she'll cherish the letters she gets and read them over and over. Thanks for sharing this story.

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