Is it just me, or do others encounter elder parents' asking to borrow things, result in never seeing them again?

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Recently, My elder mother wanted to 'borrow' a English-German translation program. Because, She wanted to install it on her Apple computer. I said she could. She said she needed to get her external drive so she could install it.

She put it on top of her Apple Computer, and went back to watching tv. Without making any effort to look for the external drive.

Almost immediately, I took the program back.

In the past, my elderly mother has 'borrowed' something, with(or without) my permission. Resulting in my never seeing something again or, my mother denying her keeping it. When I find it somewhere else in the house, months' later.


People seem to have different attitudes about borrowing things. I have friends who will make a special trip to return disposable pans I gave them food in. Others will keep casserole dishes for months, perhaps until I happen to see it at their house. I never loan out a book that I care about getting back.

As a borrower I fall someone in between. I may keep your serving dish for a long time, but when I finally return it it will be filled with homemade goodies.

So ... if this is just the way your mother is, keep an eye on anything you loan her. Some people are like that!

Most of us would be thrilled if our mothers wanted to borrow a software program that they intended to install on their computer themselves! Many of us would be thrilled if our mothers knew what a software program was.

Did you really need that translation program back in a hurry?

How about (next time) saying, OK. Let me know when you have the hard drive and I'll bring you the program.

Here's the thing: As our parents age, there is more and more for us to worry about. To survive with your sanity intact, don't sweat the small stuff. Not interrupting her television program so that you can immediately have back the program you probably don't need back right away anyway is small stuff. Browse through postings here if you want to see what isn't small stuff. :)
The other detail I did not mention, is that. When it comes a book, or manual. If it is paperback, she will deface the book by bending the pages backwards, and markup the pages with a marker of some sort. If it is hardback, she will mark the pages.

I needed the program back in a hurry. Before it was defaced, and lost.

I am waiting for when she will finally get the external drive. Until then, I won't let her touch it.

Yes, It may seem small. But, As the saying goes, 'Money does not grow on trees'. I spent $ on the program that, since I am on disability, is hard to come by.

True, I may need it back in a millisecond. Also true, as our parents' age, there is more for us to worry about.

In my mother's case. It is a pattern of behavior.
I would rather give than lend, that way there is no disappointment. If I do borrow something it is promptly returned and in as good or better condition.
A young man i know had trouble with his MIL.She would actually steal. They had two little girls and no money for day care so this woman babysat for them. Now they paid her to do this but while they were out she would use their house like her personal store and stock up on things she needed.
Chris I think you are handling it the only way you can. Mom is not going to change,and in her case I think it is more than just a bad habit. The only way to deal with it is, as you have found, supervised borrowing
I do not believe old age is a reason for this behavior, it is part of a bigger problem.
Chris, I see that your Mom is only 75 years old, and that is still pretty young in my book as I was dealing with parents who were in their 90's. My Dad would have me buy him [he pays for it ] something he really wants and when I give him the item, he usually just puts it aside and the box will remain unopened for weeks.

Please note as we age [I am pushing 70 myself] we tend to get more distracted. I see that happening with myself and I use to be organized to a fault. A project I want to do I will get started but then put it aside because I remembered there was something that needed a higher attention that I had previously forgot aboutt.
I think there is a phenomenon that occurs in homes of older folks, and often in those caring for them. It's the "disappearing syndrome."

Things seem to disappear and can't be found. It's a mystery where they hide. Perhaps they're tired and escape to rest; perhaps they're tired of use and just want to spend old age hiding out.

The bottom line is that for caregivers and the people they care for, things are going to disappear, not to be found for years. Then it's a surprise to remember they existed because by then people have forgotten all about them.

Distraction, preoccupation with more important concerns, medical and mental issues - all can contribute to people forgetting or misplacing things, even important ones.
Veronica91-I totally agree about giving, than lending. My mother makes far more money on her Social Security. Than I do on my Disability. So she can go out and by the program herself. Then even deface it however she wants. Even lose it.(which then she would even forget she bought it in the first place. Then find it and wonder why she bought it)

Yes, This has been going on for years.

freqflyer-Young, maybe.. Instead of my mother buying it for herself. She wants to borrow(keep) my stuff, quite often. Where your father will put it aside for weeks, unopened. My mother will want something, get it, then forget about it for months.

It is almost like she is trying to emulate the 90yr.-old neighbor. Who has a severe hoarding problem.

As for getting distracted. Yes, With age, it becomes more prevalent. Because of my lifelong disability. I have a program on my computer. That helps me keep track of appointments, things that need to be done. I can even set the level of priority for the item.
So you're POed about a behaviour that you admit has been a lifelong irritant, I get that. What I don't get is why you are writing on this forum about it, as it really has nothing to do with aging and everything to do with the dynamic between you and your mom. If you know she doesn't return stuff in a timely manner then you have my permission to stop lending her things, easy peasy!
cwillie-How does it NOT have anything to do with aging. Additionally, ONLY to do with a family dynamic. To say that aging is NOT, increasing the situation. Is terribly ignorant.
I need to jump into the fray and defend CWillie. I have been in the situation where brain fog obscured my common sense, and by no means was I old. It was due to multiple family crises occurring close together. It was like being kicked by a horse, getting up, getting kicked again, getting up and trying to start over again.

I also used to get it at mid terms and finals, and that was when I was in my 20's.

There are times when people become so overwhelmed that clear thinking and remembering is just difficult.

And as to the program, I don't know how it could be defaced - it's my understanding that those software programs aren't subject to any kind of alteration. Other than putting a magnet on it or damaging the disk itself, how could she deface it?

Seriously, I think there's tension building up over the years over small things, and one irritant leads to others. Maybe it's appropriate for a time-out to assess the relationship and figure out how to make it better so you can live more compatibly. And I do understand the possible resentment that she has more money than you do - that can be a real irritant.

Could you take a different approach and just load the program for her? And if you have access to her charge account, get or order the external drive for her. I realize it might set a precedent, but it's a way to get the situation resolved and move on.
To lighten the mood -- the real problem is when you let them use something and it becomes theirs. They said they bought it and no, you can't have it. So you have to go buy yourself another one. (This isn't really a problem, just one of those things you can expect in the world of dementia.)

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

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