OK, I am the senior in question. I am in an add on room (living/bedroom/powder room) at my daughter and son in law's house. I have no idea if it stress or aging related. Today I left the frying pan on after using it. I put my egg on a toasted muffin. My son in law came in the room and added his pop tart right as I took my muffin out. When done he left he the room. I focused on putting the toaster away immediately. My daughter constantly complains if something is left out on the counter. I said I leave the toaster out until it cools and she said she doesn't care if I put it away hot. Other times, she said she doesn't care if I let it out to cool. I know a lot of her unhappiness and anger are because her husband leaves food, dishes, etc. out constantly. In fact, he doesn't much put anything, including tools, away. Then she has issues with her son. Anyway, how do I know if I forgot due to aging versus stress. I left a burner on about 2 months ago and a faucet running once. I have been here just about a year and the constant criticisms are draining. Any suggestions? Thank you.

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If you truly want to get a baseline then go to your doctor and ask for a cognitive exam/memory test. That's the only accurate way to know.

If it makes you feel any better, 2 years ago I parked my van at the office and came out 8 hours later to find it still running. I did it twice and it freaked me out. I was 60 years old with no other memory issues except sometimes my life is frantic and I have a lot on my mind. It hasn't happened since, or anything nearly as weird.

As a daughter who lives next door to my 91-yr old mom, managing her care and having very different personalities, I think you have every right to have a calm and diplomatic but truthful discussion with her about how she engages with you and how it impacts you. Even if she owns up to it, if her behavior doesn't change going forward I think you should consider IL in a community of peers where you don't have to walk on eggshells and be a "friendly fire" casualty in your daughter's marriage and family life. She will appreciate you much more. Also, what is your plan for when you really need a lot of care? You cannot just assume your daughter will slide into the caregiver role. This is another good reason to move out that you get to call all the shots and pick where you go. Ofter seniors wait too long until there's a crisis and others must make those decisions for them. I wish you much success in working things out with your daughter and peace in your heart if there's a need to move out and move on.
Helpful Answer (18)
Reply to Geaton777

Are you sure you really want to live with them? I love my sons AND their wives DEARLY, but I’d NEVER want to live with them. NEVER!

If and when I need a supportive setting, I WANT it to be in an Assisted Living. I’ve TOLD them all that. If my very dear husband is failing when I am, I’ll hope that both of us are able to go.

If you’re able to pull together the funds to do it, LEAVE. You’re entitled to pleasant criticism free surroundings. If you can’t do that financially, figure out what you need to set yourself up with a kitchenette (small microwave oven, one cooking burner, mini refrigerator, toaster) and set YOUR cleanup rules and times for yourself.

If you and your “host and hostess” can find a truce that can function among 3 ADULTS, feel free to do that. Just make your decisions based on your desire to live a comfortable self managed life. You’re worth it!
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Reply to AnnReid
Moira1933 Mar 15, 2021
Thanks. Stunned, senior living by my old house and friends is $4000 a month. I prefer to live alone. I like reading, belonged to a book club that met weekly. Nice people. Still looking for some place I can afford back where I moved from. As stated in an other reply I sold my house to help a son. He could no longer work at his job, ironworker and wanted to take early retirement at age 63. He had paid of an equity loan for me. I tried to help a grandson with a business and when it failed, I could not pay the loan nor did he ever try to. I made my son take a promissory note stating he would get interest so that he would not lose out on this deal. Unfortunately that took a good part of the money post sale. Not giving up yet.
Yet in the back of my mind, I wonder if I move out if that would make my daughter feel worse about herself. Augh.
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Welcome! I do hope you find support here for your questions.

Honestly, all of us do things and wonder later if we in fact turned off the iron, or the water or left the hose running. I have a 37 yo daughter who is so 'frantic' in her life, she will pack up her kids and run out the door of my house and I go around and pick up a basket worth of stuff she's left behind. Every. Single. Time.

So--age isn't totally the issue here!

So you are wondering if your memory is slipping? How about making a little list that you keep in your place that lists all the things you feel you may forget? Like,
put away toaster. Turn off water. Wipe down counters. Sweep floor. A list for when you leave the house. Purse, keys, jacket, etc. There is NOTHING wrong with making lists. I can't function w/o a list for each day, helping me remember. Otherwise, I'd just be driving/wandering around everyday, wondering what it was I left the house for.

You aren't going to change your SIL, so maybe help out your daughter a little. You sound a little frustrated and that's normal. I'm sorry for you being criticized. I get that too, from my kids and DH, both. (I had cancer and chemo last year and the chemo brain has left me with a lot of deficits in my memory.) DH teases me relentlessly when I cannot remember a name of something. It's bad enough I don't remember things, but to be criticized or teased just makes it worse.

Any chance you can TALK to your daughter and express what you've said here. Tell her you feel really minimized when she criticizes you. She probably is mad at her DH but you're RIGHT THERE and quicker and easier to get to. This is totally displaced 'anger' and she'd probably feel bad if she knew you were hurt.

You sound lovely and kind. I wish you all the best as you navigate these waters!
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to Midkid58

Everyone forgets things and with age it happens more often but I wouldn't worry too much about it.

Consider adding a table in your room and having your own toaster, microwave and a small refrigerator put in your room.

All families have good and bad days. I'm sure her husband isn't doing anything new and probably has always not picked up after himself.

And you being a mom knows that kids can be trying at times.

It's hard enough to deal with family and having another person around can make things a little more edgy as even tho your her mom, it's still her having Company 24 7.

If things get too stressful, you can always see about moving into a Senior place.

If you have the energy, you might ask her to make a list of things you could help her with to ease her work.

And by all means, Don't talk bad about her husband or your Grand kid. Only he is allowed to do it.

Is there any place you could go for a weekend once in a while so both you and the family can have some Alone Time?

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Reply to bevthegreat
Moira1933 Mar 15, 2021
My room is not big enough for a stove or oven; that would be great as I like cooking. I do have a refrigerator in the garage but have to use their stove and oven. She confiscated my microwave and toaster to use in the kitchen. Liked them better than hers as they are smaller.

I understand having company 24/7 or even shorter is difficult. I stay in my area mostly until I need the kitchen or the shower. I make my own meals and clean up after myself. My thoughts are to behave as closely as I can as if I was still living alone.

Thank you.
My first thought is if you can clearly recall what you did and what others did you do not have to worry about a memory lapse being caused by aging but by stress. I think a lot of us leave a burner on once in a while. And leaving a faucet on once is not the end of the end of the world, I am sure something took you away from the faucet a phone call, the someone calling you away any number of things.
If I were you I would start looking for...
Assisted or Independent Living facility (whatever one would suit you better)
Look for Senior Housing in an apartment or condo complex if not a small house whatever is more affordable for you and would fit your lifestyle.
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Reply to Grandma1954

Based on your added comments, sounds to me like your daughter is stressed out and very angry, leading YOU to walk around on eggshells all the time, asking for permission to breathe. Out of place and feeling like an outsider in your daughter's home. That leads you to feeling stressed out all the time and not able to pay close attention to what you're doing for fear of making a mistake and getting criticized for it.

Put the toaster away hot, no, leave it out and let it cool off first.
Damned if you do and damned if you don't.

Your daughter doesn't even want to chat.

My mother's mother lived in our home, much to my mother's chagrin. Grandma always asked her why she was so mad. "I'm not MAD. Only DOGS get mad," was my mother's continual response. Oh yes, she was full of pure rage all the time, that's for sure. She was resentful about having her mother living in her house, just wouldn't admit it. We all suffered as a result of mother "not being mad."

You sold your house to help your son, are now living with your daughter and can't afford your own place or to help her fix up HER place. Yeah, she's pissed off and resentful. You are likely feeling that and not "cognitive impairment".

If I were you, I'd ask my son to give me the money back that you loaned him by mistakenly selling your house and leaving yourself without funds. Then find your own place to live where you can leave the toaster on the counter 24/7 if you like. If you are STILL leaving the stove on or the faucet running after a few months of stress free life, then go to your doctor for a chat.

I could be totally wrong about all of this, and if so, I apologize. I just recognize so many similarities between what you're going thru and what I saw my mother and grandmother going thru, that I'm sharing my thoughts. I wish my gram had gotten OUT of mom's house 20 years before she did, for ALL of our sakes.

Good luck and Godspeed my friend.
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Reply to lealonnie1

I did that about three weeks ago -- and I'm 59. My husband was horrified, especially since my mother has dementia and did that once. He was convinced I had early onset Alzheimer's.

Guess who did it last week? :-)

I'm going to say stress is the primary cause, especially because you didn't do things in the normal order (dealing with the toaster instead of finishing what you were cooking). However, if you're truly concerned, do as the others say and write lists, get checked out by the doctor, and don't put more stress on your plate.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to MJ1929

I think the fact that you are asking is a good sign. It means you are in a position to put prompts in place. Most people start with making lists and checking them off as you go. It can be really simple and straight forward but takes away the anxiety. Write a recipe and include 'turn off burner' as the last item. That kind of thing.
Stress exacerbates memory issues, so it might be a bit of both. I would ask your daughter for a chat at a time that suits her - tell her how you are feeling. Often people surprise us. It might also help her re focus and take her mind off her own frustrations a little.
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Reply to wiseowl
Moira1933 Mar 15, 2021
Thank you. Problem is that she won't chat. She either walks away or gets mad and accuses people of making her the bad person. I know her comments, at times, snarky, most likely are because she is already mad re: the situation with her husband. Doesn't help that he left one job for another (good reason to) that ended up them losing 1/4 of his former income. His answer is always, "It'll work out." I wish I didn't sell my house but I did in order to help a son so I don't have enough money to buy a new home. Just hoping I am not losing cognitive functioning. I did get her to listen to me one time. I told her I love her. I don't want to upset her but she said she is tired of people accusing her of being mad. I tried to explain that upset and mad don't mean the same thing. She said they do. Augh.
Moira - Living with adult children is very difficult. Different personalities, being nitpicking or easy going, being a neat freak or a slop, personal space, privacy, styles, tastes, etc.

Or just the fact that your daughter doesn't want to have you living with her. Not that she doesn't love you, it's living with you 24/7 that she doesn't like. Too much togetherness will drive anyone crazy. I know your daughter loves you, otherwise she wouldn't have you live with her.

I like my MIL a lot, she's a very nice person, very generous and caring, but she and I won't like having another woman (any woman) sharing the same house. Maybe that's how your daughter is.

Perhaps, you should ask her directly and calmly if she doesn't like having her mother living in the same house. Ask her to be honest.

Depending on her answer, then we can give suggestions on what you should do next.

p.s. I don't think it's aging. It's the stress of walking on eggshells day after day that causes forgetfulness, and probably high blood pressure, and eventually a host of other illnesses, too.
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Reply to polarbear

Is the add on area yours exclusively? Maybe you could rig up a mini-kitchen of your own...Little fridge, hot plate, toaster, microwave. Kids in dorms do that all the time.That way if there's a mess in the main kitchen, it's theirs, not yours. Of course, you need to clean up and tend to things on your end. My sister's MIL lived in an add on room and had a mini kitchen. It worked well. Your daughter is probably stressed and even angry and small things add up. The more you are out of the way, so to speak, the better. Try to get out and make a life away from the house if you are able...a group or class or something. Take walks if you are able. Good luck!!!
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Reply to bb1123

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