I have a coffee shop buddy --- not a close friend, but we usually sit together if we're there at the same time. Twice recently she has told me the same anecdote twice inside an hour. She's in her seventies, lives alone and has no local family. Is there something I should say? Do? Should I just assume that other people who are closer to her have probably noticed also?

Good grief. If repeating yourself means you have dementia, I’ve had it for years! Sometimes I’m in the middle of telling someone something and suddenly realize I’ve told them this same story before. Oops. They were kind enough not to say anything. Dementia is much more than simply forgetting you already told someone the amusing story of Uncle Freddy and the leisure suit.

Unless you are close with her, I wouldn’t call attention to it. If she seems like she is able to take care of herself, don’t interfere. You don’t know what provisions her family has made for her or what her life is truly like. You are the most casual of acquaintances. Only interfere if she gives you reason to truly fear for her safety.
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Reply to Ahmijoy

I agree. Everyone repeats at times. Everyone forgets at times. Especially if stressed about something.
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom

I am a RN with experience. Pls convey your suspicions to family members if you are able to contact them. They will make decisions for her, probably not on what you say, but will take that into high consideration when assessing this for themselves. Alerting others to a potential problem is not interfering, it is helping.
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Reply to jdevorah1

How caring you are to be concerned about someone who is not a close friend! Yes, I believe you should say something. My mom lived 2.5 hours from me until last year. Although I spoke with her every day and visited her every other week, her friends and acquaintances were the first to notice something wasn't right. Though it took a little while for me to accept my mom needed to see a doctor about her forgetfulness, I am deeply grateful for the people around her to help me to see it sooner rather than later. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. She is now 12 minutes from me, and I'm able to see her every day; the disease is progressing rapidly for her, and it might have been too late to avoid an accident if it hadn't been for people, like you, who cared.
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Reply to schrederkim
GrannieAnnie May 18, 2019
The same happened to my aunt.  Even when neighbors called to tell me something was not right, it took a few overnight visits to see it.  My aunt was good at putting on an act for us on a short-term visit.  Thank goodness they cared enough to convince me!
Just twice in an hour? I am over 70 and do that frequently. My doctor has assured me that is not dementia. My suggestion -- don't have a talk yet. Have another meeting and try to discern (1) other symptoms and (2) if she has family that she is regularly in contact.
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Reply to MsRandall
jacobsonbob May 18, 2019
Good point. Realtime could start a conversation about "wanting to know her better" and get her to tell more about her family situation.
I have a friend whom I have known for 40 years. Last few months, she has made some major 'slipups' and I don't mean repeating herself. I mean, going for a walk in the neighborhood and getting lost. Wearing her dress to church inside out and not caring. She led the music in church and several times must have thought the hymn was over, she simply sat down.

Now, THOSE are the thing you worry about.

Her DH is a functioning alcoholic who does not take well to outsiders stepping in. I went to her youngest daughter and told her what we'd observed. Sadly, daughter said her other sisters were aware and were "treating' mom with essential oils.

Not my problem, esp since I informed her family, such as it was.

She's going into decline very fast. She doesn't have the spark in her eyes she always had--she looks confused all the time.

Dh did take away her car keys--but I don't know who I fear most on the road: The undiagnosed dementia patient or the alcoholic.
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Reply to Midkid58
Shell38314 May 17, 2019
That's just sad!
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If you're going to interfere into the life of someone you only know from the coffeeshop then do it directly: "Buddy, are you okay? You seem distracted lately. Is there something going on that you'd like to talk about? I'm here to lend an ear if you want to talk." Then be quiet and take good note of her reaction.

One of my friends became awfully forgetful while she was going through chemotherapy for breast cancer.
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Reply to NYDaughterInLaw

Thank you for caring, even for a casual acquaintance! As others point out, repetition and forgetfulness often happens with advanced age. But trust your instincts, it might be an early sign of dementia. Even so, it could be years before it becomes a serious issue. I like the prior suggestion about inquiring after family in case there is a need for intervention.
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Reply to Libbby

Please say something. If she's showing signs like that, it's possible that she no longer has the ability to properly handle her finances. She could wind up destitute from poor decisions or falling prey to a scammer.

Though it can be tricky because you're not particularly close personal friends, I think you can bring it up in a chatty way, by talking about yourself. Maybe something like, "I have a friend whose mom lost thousands of dollars being taken advantage of by a scammer. It really made me think about protecting my own finances. Do you have an advisor or someone who helps you with that sort of thing?" Anything to broach the subject and feel out how she's faring in that area. She sounds like she may be in the early stages, so probably isn't doing anything dangerous (wandering, etc), but all her choice-making ability will disappear if she is making bad financial decisions. She's especially vulnerable with no family around. Maybe they are keeping tabs from a distance though.
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Reply to IsntEasy

Thank you all for your answers. It's particularly helpful when you don't all agree since it gives me different points of view to consider. As it happens, soon after I posted, my buddy invited me to dinner with some friends. I'm reassured to know that she isn't isolated and there are other "eyes" on her. (I know she has no family nearby.)
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Reply to realtime

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