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My Mom was in great health when she turned 70. Good husband, family, finances. At 70 she decided she was "too old" to do anything or live life anymore. She essentially became a shut-in, started drinking wine all day and stopped eating. Her personality has changed - she has become nasty and negative and has no interest in her family or world. She won't even watch TV. She is now on day 4 in the hospital - she can't walk or stand. They are giving her IV fluids and vitamins. No signs of dementia other than the personality change. She seems resigned to being helpless, almost welcoming it. My dad is her primary caregiver and I am doing all I can to help. Making no sense to me whatsoever. I don't think my dad can take care of her much longer. I'm afraid she will linger in a nursing home for many years. Her own mother lived to 96.

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Mmm, she might have been abusing alcohol in the last couple of years, but alcoholics don't get to 70 in good health. Something happened, don't you think, Upstream? Not that I don't agree that excessive drinking wants knocking on the head as soon as possible, so I'm glad it's being addressed, but I wonder what made her suddenly withdraw in that way?

It wasn't the fact of turning seventy, was it? Goodness, what's the point of my trying to speculate, it could have been anything. But at least you've got investigations under way, well done. If they even just start her talking, and getting help, there should be better times ahead. Keep us posted, and good luck.
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Thank you all for your responses. Mom is now only 72...in 2 years has gone from being able to run 2-3 miles per day to this. Shakingdustoff, I believe she probably is an alcoholic as well and I appreciate your comments in that regarding. It's sort of that chicken and egg thing - I don't know which came first - giving up or alcohol. It seems that one may have caused the other, they both sort of exploded at the same time. I would be more interested to hear your experiences with alcoholism in family members, if you are willing to share. She is getting numerous tests in the hospital, I'm assuming that early next week we will get some feedback and results. At this point they have given her some meds for alcohol withdrawl, so it is on their radar screen. Thank you!!!!!!
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Have Hospice come in and interview her, it will make her take a real hard look at her intentions. It will show whether this is attention-seeking behavior or a genuine affliction. And yes, she does have dementia issues if she cannot tell the difference. She does have dementia issues if she cannot walk or stand and her personality has changed.
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How old is your mother now, Upstream?
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What do you think precipitated her arbitrary decision that she was too old? Did something happened when she turned 70? How old is she now?

Has she had a really good, complete physical to rule out any medical reason for the change? Any new meds about the time or since the change started?

I do think there's prejudice in society against old people being capable of having full lives, and sometimes that can affect an elder's self-image.

I'm often surprised when I hear someone express surprise that older people can still think clearly and get out and walk if not run and garden!

If there are no medical justifications for what seems like an abrupt behavioral change, it sounds as if she's pretty determined that she's just not going to be positive about her life.

What are the prognoses given by the hospital doctors?

I think I would get a blunt assessment of her current condition, any explanation for the personality change, and the possibility for recovery by the treating physicians, and if it appears as though she's not going to recover, consider involving hospice.

I wish you luck; this must be so frustrating that she's not living her life to the fullest when she could be.
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