My mother (92) has been extremely worked up about her roof. Should I be concerned about her mental state or just the roof?

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The roof does need to be replaced, I own the house with my sister and we're trying to figure it all out. I've got a few bids, I need to check references, insurance, etc. It isn't leaking, so there aren't any immediate issues. My mother is insisting that it be done right now, when I try and talk to her about it, she bangs her fists on the table like she's an army general giving out orders. She actually got so worked up about it last week that she gave herself a nosebleed, which landed her in the ER. She's on Coumadin, so it was difficult to get the bleeding to stop. She's never been an easy person to deal with, but I'm wondering if this could be the early onset of some kind of dementia. She went to her doctor and they didn't seem to think anything was especially wrong. She's had urinary tract infections in the past that made her very impossible to deal with. Thanks for any feedback.

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JessieBelle-
Not to hijack the OP, but I guess to add to it...anxiety over EVERYTHING is just debilitating. MIL has this with some people (me, my other SIL, some neighbors) she is just fine around her own daughter.

Life is just too much for her. She will not medicate for this crippling disease. She literally cannot be around our family--b/c she hasn't ever chosen to be a part of us, she now is overwhelmed by more than one or two of the great grands at a time. My kids are very understanding and don't bother her when they come to town, sometimes they will pop in for 10 minutes, but 15 would be out of the question.

She dislikes me intensely, always has, and one of the ramifications of the illness is that she doesn't want to have to deal with me in any way, shape or form. She doesn't acknowledge my presence anymore, doesn't even send a b-day card. I am not allowed inside her home any longer--(long, kind of hilarious backstory on that)..so I keep away from her. My hubby thinks this is all my fault and says he cannot go visit his mother because I am not allowed there. (Actually, I can go, but I have to stay on the back porch and am not allowed to use the bathroom.)

Writing this down, makes her seem really unbelievably mentally ill. I think she is, but she's not my mother and I'm not making that call.

I just mostly feel bad for her, her world of comfort is so small. And she is one of those people who is going to live forever and ever.
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Midkid, I feel so sorry for her. It must be terrible to have that type of anxiety. It is hard for people around her, but it must be torture for her.
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My MIL, who has no dementia, but is just super, super anxious, cannot handle having ANYTHING done at her house, yet she keeps calling repairmen to deal with things, then she calls my poor hubby to come "supervise". I know it drives these repair people crazy to have her standing over them wringing her hands at the thought of needing a new garbage disposal or having the pilot light re-lit on the furnace.

Hubby and I have done a lot of small jobs for her and she will inevitably end up sitting in her recliner with a cold compress on her head due to the "stress" of us just "BEING THERE".

I had to turn on her sprinkler system one year and it was a messy, muddy job. Hubby was out of town so he was guiding me through the steps via cell phone. MIL about had heart failure. She went in the house and LOCKED THE DOOR on me. I finished, got the sprinklers adjusted and went to tell her that I was leaving, and she would not answer the door. So I called her on my cell, left a message and went home. She was just so stressed out by the mess (which I completely cleaned up) she was in bed for 2 days.

Since then, when any major repairs are done, she is hustled off to a long lunch with one of her kids.

Get the roof done and take her away while it's going on. If she is anything like my poor MIL, the stress of people making one heck of a lot of noise--it will kill her.

I feel sorry for her. The perceived stress of anything out of the ordinary just puts her in a terrified state, and we can't talk her down.
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My mother went eight years ago due to metastatic lung cancer at the age of 79
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Get her off Coumadin ASAP. There are other drugs that are much less dangerous. Sounds like your mother is a control freak & has a nasty temper - that's not dementia if she has always behaved thus. I gave Mother Pycnogenol and Ginko to regulate blood clotting. I know that's herbal and I'll catch hell from some members of the group about it, but it worked. She died in her sleep at 104.
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Just be careful with the Savaysa. My cousin, who is a nurse, warned me about the newer anti-clotting meds. My mom is on Warfarin too and also gets her INR regularly checked and her dose adjusted. My sister-in-law with cancer just went on Xarelto. As my cousin told me, the problem with the newer meds is they don't have a reversal agent like Warfarin does. So if your mom was to take too much, there's not a med that can be used to counteract it like there is with warfarin.

If your mom takes her own meds, I'd be careful...if you administer them and she has no way to get to them, then you're probably OK.
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Thanks for all the helpful replies. The roof definitely needs to be replaced.

I used to go to all of her doctor appointments but I got so burned out that I now pick and choose the ones that seem most important, her cardiologist and her rheumatologist are the ones I make sure to always be present at.

Her primary care physician is just awful, a few years ago I was able to switch her to a really wonderful geriatrician, unfortunately, my mother decided she didn't like her and fought with her at every visit. It got to the point where she would call their receptionist and would threaten her that she was going to have the doctor "reported to the authorities". At the last visit, it was recommended that my mother go see a therapist due to what the doctor described as "psychotic thought patterns". Her irrational behavior is nothing new, she has always been paranoid and belligerent, and drama addicted. She ended up going back to her PC physician.

Every time she ends up in the hospital (on average 2 times a year) they will give her the simple cognitive test, my mother always comments that "they're trying to see is she's crazy" - so on some level, she's actually acutely aware of what's going on around her.

The concept of the "voice" being the last bit of power in their possession really is intriguing. It puts a lot of her behavior in perspective.

The one silver lining that's come out of the nose bleed ordeal is I was able to get her cardiologist on the blood thinner Savaysa. She complained bitterly about getting blood tests she had every couple of weeks due to the Coumadin )who could blame her?) and I think she was having a difficult time adjusting the dose correctly. Going up tomorrow to get the prescription filled.
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I read the original post again. Doh. How did I miss that the roof does need to be replaced? We're having to have some work done on the house now. I called some companies to get estimates. My mother started pushing at me even before the estimators showed up. And she pushed me to call to get numbers. When are they going to start? Why don't you call them? I hadn't even gotten all the estimates in yet. I'll be glad when it's all over. I'm not worried about my mother. I'm worried about upsetting the rabbit, with all the workers outside her room and on the roof. She is going to be so scared.

Good luck getting the estimates and work done without so much angst, Ruggles. I know you'll be glad to have it all behind you. I hope you have a stretch of sunny weather to get it done quickly.
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And I agree with Jeanne - an elder needs and SHOULD HAVE a patient advocate that accompanies them to the doctor appointment. Else, the doctor is, quite likely, going to send the elder away with nothing accomplished. My late mother would go to the doctor by herself because she refused to live with me. The doctor would ask what her ailment was and my mother would respond "oh, nothing."
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Ruggles: Yes, Jeanne is correct-early onset dementia is that which starts at 65. Elders' minds do not work correctly and they're going to be agitated easily. I suggest you take her to a psychiatrist, who may be able to prescribe a low dose anti-anxiety med.
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