Mom keeps telling different stories. I'm worried it might be Alzheimer's.

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In the last year I have noticed changes with my mother such as changing stories of our past, and recently telling stories that are mine, revising them as her own. I am familiar through Alzheimer's with my grandmother, who lived with us her whole life,so I am familiar with it. There is also much re-telling of the same stories all the time, but she knows she does it - even states "I know you've heard this before" but then launches into it.

She is still mentally with it; the history revision is most concerning. Also, she will interrupt me in the middle of what I am talking about to talk about something of interest. My husband asked her about this and she just said that when she thinks of something, she doesn't want to forget it.


Sorry - my title was deleted and I cannot figure out how to edit here yet..
Don't worry about your title -- a moderator will fix it. I'm not sure, though, what your question is (perhaps that was in your title).

As you perhaps know from experience, repetition of stories, questions, and statements is common in some kinds of dementia. Also quite common is a loss of social inhibitions. Mother knows that interrupting is not polite, but the switch that would actually stop her from doing that is not working optimally. This may also be why she repeats stories even though she remembers that she has told them before. Telling someone else's story as if it were her own is fun, and without the correct inhibitions in place, why not do it?

(This can lead to embarrassing public behavior and inappropriate sexual acting out and all kinds of grief for caregivers. Interrupting is a pretty mild form!)

Dementia has common traits, no matter which of the 50 varieties one has. But no two people have even the same kind of dementia in exactly the same way. Each human mind is wonderfully unique. And when things go wrong in the mind the results a recognizable as dementia but also unique to the individual. If Mother is not behaving exactly as Grandmother did, that is not surprising.

Best wishes to you as you cope with this new development in your relationship with your mother.
My mother goes a step beyond. She confabulates, filling in parts she doesn't remember with imaginary stuff. Usually it makes sense. She also mixes times in her stories. A story from 20 years ago can be combined with something from last year. A new one is that she has started is saying she did things I did. She'll tell all about her conversation with a repairman on the phone -- only it was me talking to the repairman and much of what she says was made up.

EH, my mother does the same thing yours does when it comes to highjacking the conversation. In her case it is usually something about her, so can seem rude to the people who don't know her. Well, it seems rude to me, too, but I know to expect it. She is not meaning any harm. Her mind is just not working as well as it once did.
Hi Jean, thank you for your response :)

My original question was basically what kinds of aging mental issues are there other than Alzheimer's; I know there are many, and I'm not seeing typical signs of confusion, just changes in interaction. Everything I found just led to Alzheimer's.

My mom moved in with us a few years ago after my dad passed away and I have learned a lot. I've learned about letting comments go, not taking the bait that leads to arguments. My mom has always been a big talker and had a lot of friends; she made new friends here but it's not the same as the ones she had her whole life, so we are the ones that get it all.

The interrupting thing, while annoying, came to a head today: she was dropping me off to pick up my car and when I was leaving I asked if she had house keys as I had left mine inside. She said she had them; I replied that I would come in with her when we got home & she said fine. I picked the car up, came home & she wasn't there; she went out to get something and I was sitting in the driveway with no key.
I now realize that what happened was much like the interrupting thing: she wasn't listening to me and what I said. When she got home she had no idea why I was upset, eye-opening in and of itself.
It was the first time that one of the noted changes moved from verbal annoyance to an action.

As is typical in these situations, I have 3 siblings but they all moved away. My sister & I used to be close but since these issues have come up, she blames me all the time (says I am mean and impatient, keeps saying "so what, let it go") and takes my mother's side, so it's not worth it to talk to her. I do think at least another of her family needs to know some of these changes so I will probably talk to my realistic (if not local and/or helpful) brother.

You have already been helpful (and made me laugh about fun telling other people's stories!). I know there is more to come down the road; I remember with my grandmother, we noticed changes but they never seemed problematic until she left the stove on one day, etc., which is what happened today - a little too familiar to forget.

I look forward to hearing all of your stories and hopefully we can all help each other along in our journeys. Thank you!
It sounds like your sister may be coping via denial. On the other hand, there is some value in what she is saying. "So what? Let it go," is not a bad mantra when dealing with someone who has dementia. It is highly unlikely that you are going to be able to change Mom or teach her better behavior. So yours in the behavior that you can work on to reduce your own stress.

Alzheimer's is the most common form of progressive dementia, and the one we all hear the most about. But almost half of all persons with dementia have something other than Alzheimer's. And it is not uncommon to have more than one type of dementia. Also there are other forms of mental impairment besides dementia. If possible, a thorough evaluation could narrow down better what it is that Mom has, and therefore give you better ideas of how to cope with it. A geriatric psychiatrist or a behavioral neurologist would be a good source for such an exam.

It sounds to me like Mother should not be driving.
Thank you all for your insights!
JessieBelle, it is very helpful to read your experience about your mother telling your story as if it was her own. The hijacking is irritating to me, but she doesn't usually do it outside the house. I guess they just feel comfortable being who they are at home.

Jeanne, that is good food for thought that my sister is coping by denial, not that it makes it any easier on me. I have learned to let lots of things go, but still I'll get blindsided every now and again. I guess, too, it's easier to take that advice from my husband who is living this too, and even from you guys because you are living it as well. It's just hard to take from someone that is completely minimalizing the truth, who doesn't live with it and gets to go home afterward. Isn't it easy to let it go in their shoes?

It's hard to describe a whole situation over e-mail. Her driving is not a problem; what happened yesterday is that I got fooled into thinking she was listening to me when she wasn't. I do not look forward to the day she can't drive, but I am watching out for that day. That's why I am trying to figure out a support system now, so when we cross that bridge and bigger problems down the road. I decided last night that I am going to talk to my older brother; although he also doesn't live around here, he is realistic and is usually pretty fair.

I am so happy that I found this forum; I plan to catch up on all of your posts too. The daily post e-mail questions have also been very helpful.

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

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