Hi there! For the last year I have noticed changes in my parents behavior, she has almost no patience, gets angry easily (mostly at me) frustrated at situations and cries over them rather than problem solving, cries over little things, is mean, has no financial smarts and spends money recklessly, and has had some memory problems, and also seems different around friends (such as a lack of caring to get to know them..see how they are, and just talks over them). She also seems to lack judgement, she lets almost anyone drive her car and had it almost completely totaled and has been without a car for 2 months, had she been in the passengers seat she may not be around. The problem for me is she retired years ago, overseas so I only see her 1-2 times a year. She has her own home but allows “couch surfers” to visit her and stay with her for free so they help her out with cooking, cleaning, run her errands etc. I can’t tell if she’s just getting older and dealing with some normal “getting older” problems and behaviors or if it’s more, She also has good days & bad days where she seems fine and then I think I’m crazy. My husband has also noticed these changes in her as well. Her dad passed away from dementia several years ago at the age of 90. Any advice or if anyone can help steer me in the right direction would be helpful.

Hard to care for someone that far away. Are there services in her country you can call and ask to go in and evaluate her. Then a service who can oversee her.
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Reply to JoAnn29

I agree about making sure she has properly executed necessary documents like durable POA, Healthcare POA, Advance Medical Directive, etc. I'd keep the originals in my care asap, because, she may hide them and you won't be able to find them. If she doesn't have them, contact Elder Law attorney immediately, to get done, if she is still competent.

If she has been the driver, when these wrecks happened, I'd stop the driving immediately. It's just too dangerous. You might contact a separate Elder Law attorney to get advice on how to do that with the state DMV.

Her doctor may also want to do some office evaluation to see how she's doing. An objective observer needs to be present when he asked her questions to provide important info on how she's really doing. A discreet note with your observations in advance is helpful. The part about the driving is also important, since in many states, the doctor can send word to DMV that she needs to be examined. In some states, private individuals can also make request for review, if they explain why in writing.

I'd keep in mind that she likely will deny any cognitive issues at all and no matter how obvious it may be to everyone else, she will likely not believe it and even become angry that you have suggested it. So, in that case, it becomes developing strategies to manage their care, which isn't easy. There are a lot of tips on sites like this though. And, there are good books out there that help.
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Reply to Sunnygirl1

Hi and welcome. To me this sounds very much like dementia not just old age. I am 81 and don't have any of these problems. I think she needs to be thoroughly assessed by a geriatric psychiatrist. She is making decisions that are not wise nor safe for her. I was a distant care giver for my mother and managed to get her what she needed. Do you have POA financial and medical? Has she made a will and appointed an executor? Paperwork like this needs to be done, A visit to see her with appointments to a lawyer to do paperwork, and also to her doctor to arrange for an assessment are needed at this point. Dementia progresses and I strongly suspect things will only get worse, As well,she should not be driving. Your mum needs help - and not from strangers. It may be time for her to be in a facility. I doubt she should live alone or with these couch surfers. Good luck!
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Reply to golden23
anonymous896490 Apr 3, 2019
Thanks! I have POA over her financials but am often screamed at or told I’ll kill her if I don’t “give her money”. She’s supposedly worked on a will and POA for medical. She lives in Asia and I live in the US.
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