My mother is almost 71 and recently had her second fall. First one a few years ago shattered one arm; now she's shattered the other. We're in the process of selling her two-story home and moving her to an apartment near my sibling.

I live several hours away, and coming into to help, I'm realizing that mom may be further into dementia than I realized. She baby talks a lot. She makes really broad sweeping, uninformed statements like "They (the government) should get rid of the IRS!" She freaked out on my nephew saying he would get smoke burns because he was sitting on a hearth 2 feet away from an outdoor fire pit. But the confabulation is the worst...

She hasn't been diagnosed with confabulation, but she is exhibiting every symptom. She changes stories from a long time ago, and she changes the details of something that happened yesterday. Nothing is immune. Most of the time, her confabulation twists details to make her look like a hero, a great mom, and even better grandmother. And most of the time, they involve her keeping a great secret for someone else - as if she's the most trustworthy person you could possibly know (she's not). She also makes up stories that pit the siblings against each other, which is not cool. Because, you know, you want to believe your mom wouldn't lie to you.

We haven't talked to her doctor yet. For those of you with parents with confabulation and early signs of dementia, when did you step in? And how do you handle this? Do you point out their reconstructed stories?

I really do love my mother, but it is so hard to spend time with her like this. I get easily annoyed. It's hard to bring her into social settings with extended family because she constantly interrupts the flow of conversation between several people. Usually that interruption starts with something like "It's my turn to tell a story now..." It wears on us all, and I can see it's upsetting to her when we tell her she needs to cool it.

Any advice is appreciated.

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Are you talking about my mother?  Are you my long lost sister that I never knew I had?
Yes, yes and yes!  My mom began having falls and like every other time I would try to get her to see a doctor about something like coming down with pneumonia, having symptoms of a stroke ( turned out she had had 3 of them before she was finally diagnosed through an MRI), etc., the answer was always "NO!"  FINALLY when she refused to keep appointments I was making for her from another state, I just told my job to do what they had to do because I was going to do what I had to do, and went over and strong armed my mom into seeing the doctor, then returning with her to get the results, then more appointments until she got herself into trouble ( BIG TIME trouble), then it became much easier on me to get the legal foothold I needed to help her.  She didn't see it as helping her, but she would have been: dead, fallen under and pinned under 2300 sq. ft. of hoarding stuff in the house, or gone back and finished the job of burning down the house.  None of these things have happened since I stepped in and took over, much to her anger--but she is alive, and being cared for properly.  It has been a war, but I persist.  When she DEMANDED that I pursue a career in nursing, little did she know!  Sometimes we need to be very careful in what we wish for!  And one of the first things that falls out of my mom's mouth when she is being asked questions is that she was the daughter of a doctor.  Well, I'm the daughter of an attorney, the granddaughter of a doctor, and a nurse.  Big deal!
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beaniebaby37, I assume your Mom is not working outside of the house. Many of us who are in our late 60's and early 70's continue to work or do volunteer work to keep our brains active.

I remember one time taking a year off due to a serious illness and it was the worse year ever due to so much boredom. My brain was forgetting so many things. That cleared up once I was back at work. From that point on I vowed to continue working for as long as I can. My boss is in his mid-80's and still going strong.

As for falling, heck I fell in my office parking lot a few years ago and broke my upper arm. I fell off my shoes :P Since that day I haven't had on a pair of high heels. I had turned the heel on an uneven part of the pavement. Accidents do happen.
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shad250 Apr 2019
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Please do get her checked out soon. The sooner you know what you are dealing with the sooner you can make the correct preparation for the future. The sibs will be able to hopefully pull together and mom will get the help she needs.
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Relax, if she is starting dementia it is going to get much worse and you will need to learn to just let things go. Get her to the doc, it could be something as simple as a UTI. Confabulation is a symptom, not a disease, and common with many types of dementia. Their brains are not functioning the way they once did. Cells are dying.

Educate yourself on dementia which will help you to be compassionate and understanding. This could be the beginning of a very, very long, difficult journey.
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