Memory loop craziness

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My mother-in-law is absolutely convinced she has the wrong eye glasses on. I took her to her ophthalmologist and had her eyes checked (she has macular degeneration) her eyes are unchanged. Then I took her the same day, to her optometrist and he verified they were indeed the proper glasses. I have since painted nail polish on them to set them apart. She will NOT stop talking about her glasses. She brings up the subject of her glasses every time I see her. She is living in an asst. living facility which is a wonderful place, but she is convinced people are stealing from her. So now she hides things like, her magnifying glass, TV remote etc. It's like the squirrels I see in our yard looking for the nut they hid earlier in the year. When I see her I have to first look for what she says has been stolen, and find it wherever she hid it. Does anyone have any suggestions about either of these things for me?

6 Comments

Sounds like she's well into dementia. On "stolen", don't argue, just say, "lets see where you put it."

On the glasses, see if you can figure out the underlying feeling and verbalize it. "It's hard and scary when you can't see as clearly as you'd like." Try telling her that you'll take her tomorrow to get them checked. (Assuming that her memory doesnt reach that far.)

Take any glasses you can find - let her try them on one at a time. ASk if "this one is any better." then, "Oh dear - the eye Dr. is right - your eyes just aren't as good as they used to be." Keep the glasses handy and go thru this again as needed.
So does this mean there's no sure way to break or redirect the loop? My mother-in-law does the loop thing with all kinds of subjects all day but at night it's the worst. She goes to bed, loops to being homesick and then cries all night. This keeps her in a constant state of fatigue and is seriously affecting my father-in-law as well. Any suggestions for him to use at bedtime?
This sounds like a time for meds. If you can find a geriatric psychiatrist who can evaluate her and give her an antidepressive or a sleep med, it should help.
I made another appointment for my mother-in-law, this time with an optometrist to see if he can make her new glasses that are stronger. I told her that this is it. If he says there isn't any glasses made on earth that can help her macular degeneration, then I'm done. I told her that she can complain till the cows come home, but just don't complain to me. She agreed. Of course, she won't remember that she agreed... but that's life in the 'big city'.
Well we went to the optometrist and found out, shock...that the glasses she's been wearing for a year now ARE her glasses. Marjie sat there literally dumbfounded when she 'heard' the news. She said on the way out to the car 'I didn't WANT to believe you. But now I know you were right'. I told her we'd still get new frames if she wanted to, but the lenses would be the same. She has decided not to get any more glasses. HALLELUJAH!! I told her why she believed this doctor when she hasn't believed the other 2, she didn't have an answer except that this was her 'last resort' so now she is convinced. About a mile down the road she said she wished we could do 'something about these glasses'. I almost wrecked the car. But then she admitted that she really did remember and was kidding. NOT!!
Today she said that she knows it's not the glasses, it's her eyes. She just wished it was the glasses, cause they can be fixed and her eyes can't. I told her I was sorry.
Wow, naheaton! We can relate. We share similiar woes of memory issues with our loved ones. They come up with some interesting stories at times, and it can be baffling trying to understand and address them. Lately, I just tell my dad something positive, no matter what he says (which never makes sense anymore). He'll ask a question that really isn't one, but sounds like a question due to the inflection at the end, and I'll respond with, "That's an interesting question!" Or the other dad will say he wants money so he can get his eyes fixed, even though the docs have said they've done all they can. (Had a couple surgeries already.) At 90, the dement is taking over, and we just let him vent, try to redirect, or wait until the concern passes back out of mind. Mom's a different story, and we can't quite figure her out, either. She can't operate the simplest things lately, and writes out directions for turning on her DVD player, etc. Even though she has directions to operate her camera, phone, radio and CD player, she asks us and others over and over how to work them. Then she turns around and says she has no problems. We have found it best not to argue, and often restrain commenting like we would prefer... It can be quite humorous at times, but also sometimes sad. Better to look on the positive, forget the rest, have a little laugh, and not get too stressed about it. And when needed, we divert attention to something unrelated. "Look at that pretty..." or "Did you hear from Uncle George?" Whatever works at the moment...though it may not work in the next. Sometimes we need to be creative. Everything works better when done with a smile! :)

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