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Details are provided, then decisions get made. Then a week or two goes by and then...


Why this ...?


How come that...?


What about the...?


How to stop the Groundhog day circle?!?

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You really can't hold somebody to their word if they don't remember.

I have no idea how to stop groundhog day circle.


Good Luck!
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Any chance of getting it written down? Or taking a video on your phone of the final decisions?
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If the person making the agreement has ongoing memory loss, they are basically unable to enter into such an agreement - if the person has no such memory issues but is just regularly “forgetful”, have the agreement done in writing so that they can reread it to refresh their memory of said agreement.
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Mother has 'promised' her stuff to so many people it's crazy. She doesn't have much, but a few pieces of furniture and some Hummel Figurines and some Lladro, a lovely bedroom set that grandma had (it's well and truly an antique)..and that's about it.

Over the years she has labeled several items with a sticky note on the bottom as to whom she wishes these items to go.

So, having her tell me that the bedroom set that my GRANDMA told me would be mine one day is going to a TODDLER is making me grit my teeth. why? This toddler is the baby of one of my nieces. She doesn't even know who mother IS, but for some reason mother has taken a fancy to her. What 3 yo wants a bedroom set like this? Her mama will probably paint it white or let her color all over it....

Last time we talked about anything of this nature, mom was saying that "T" will be so excited to get this beautiful bedroom set. I said 'hey, wait up. you have told me for 25 years that's coming to me'. Her reply "well, your house really isn't that nice, and you got the dining room set". WTH? The dining room set was headed to GoodWill after she gave it to my SIL and she didn't like it. Mother didn't want ME to have it as my home doesn't have a formal dining area.

And this is what's going on with every single thing she has. I don't really care what/if I inherit anything, I don't collect anything, so my sis should get all the Hummel, and the Lladro, since she's the one who gave it to mother in the first place.

She keeps on changing her mind and peeling the stickers off things and replacing them. Then she tells the person to whom she's 'leaving' this item..and confusion reigns.

Like I said, nothing of real value and honestly, if she really wants this child to have this bedroom set, then fine.

I HAVE made lists for her, along with labeling things, but the list and the labels don't match up.

I do not look forward to settling her estate, small as it is. I don't want to borrow trouble, so I won't, but I don't know which list we're going to work off of.
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jkm999 May 2019
Get the "promises" down as an official addendum to her Will (signed, witnessed, notarized). Once it is specified in the Will it doesn't matter who she promises it to, it goes to the person specified whether they want it or not. Then when she talks about who is getting what you can just respond "oh". No need to discuss because it makes no difference what she says in that minute.
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You're not going to stop it as each time she discusses it's all new to her. Just don't stress over it. Don't go into a lengthy explanation, just give her a breezy answer and some assurance that it is all taken care of. This is much more about changing your reaction to her continuous questions and worries than getting her to remember things she can no longer remember.
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Midkid58 May 2019
Replying to the bedroom set situation:

Mother had seen this little toddler on Saturday and I guess she wasn't as 'nice' as mother thinks she is. (She's 3, Just 3 and so acts 3 and I guess was scared of mother and refused to talk to her. She also has no clue as to who mother IS)

Mother's Day mother asks me out of the blue if I want that set. I said, VERY HESISTANTLY "ONLY if you write it down have 2 of the kids who live at home ( all adults) notarize it AND you tell all the other sibs you're leaving it to me. I do NOT need the hurt that comes when you tell me my home is 'not nice enough' for your treasures".

Yes, it is the only thing she has that has ANY sentimental value. I used to have sleepovers with GG (her mother) and she would let me sleep in her big bed. I learned to play poker in that bed.

I did remind her, gently, that she has to stop pulling the stickies off of all and sundry things she's promised people--to make things clear for us, I told her that Sister will come out and catalog everything. Nothing can be changed out of that catalog without 2 of the sibs 'watching'.

Again, not that she has anything of value. Just so there won't be hurt feelings.

YB is the executor and is the MOST waffly man I know. If his wifey wanted everything, he'd give it to her b/c he will NOT stand up to her. We call him Dr. No Shot.

He's a good and honest man, but cannot do conflict resolution. Why they didn't pick my OS as the executor is beyond me, but she is a 'girl' and we all know girls can't DO things like this. (Except my 3, who are executrixes 1-3. And my son is an attorney. Go figure. I picked the people who will do the best job)
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Get a white board or chalk board or bulletin board and write out the answers to the Groundhog Day circle of questions so that s/he can read and reread them as necessary.
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Those can be erased, and most likely will be. I would do it on a computer and print copies. Let them have a copy and when it gets tossed or lost, provide another copy. Even better is video record it. A lot does depend on whether OP lives with them or not. I do have questions about these "decisions", which I will address in my full comment.

No matter how you try to document anything, it likely isn't going to work long. I do write appointments on a 2 year pocket calendar mom carries around with her. When I can, I remind her by showing it to her. It sometimes "helps" to get her out the door with less balking.

She used to "live" by a full-size calendar, keeping it on the kitchen table (shortly before we had to move her to MC, I found it several times buried in the pile of newspapers - I think the one I gave her at Christmas got lost that was, probably around March - no idea what calendar I was talking about!)
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We went through this when Mom (with dementia) broke up housekeeping. She gave household items she no longer needed away, which of course was her prerogative. Unfortunately, she was promising a dresser to John on Monday, then giving it away to Mary on Tuesday. And so on and so forth. You can imagine the fracas over these decisions. We all kept our heads, except for one instance. Oh, well.

In the end, Mom blamed it all on me. (Of course). Telling all I had given away all her things without consulting her. Sure, Mom. Whatever you say.

Shell is right. Nothing you can do, really. As a family, we've united and refused to allow Mom's misfortune to divide us. So far it's worked pretty well.
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If it is about stuff, remember it is just stuff.

Labeling on bottom with post its may help.

Or take when offered.

Is this about stuff?
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Mother has a 2.5 karat pear shaped solitaire diamond ring Dad gave her for their 25th wedding anniversary because of her chronic complaining about the chip he originally gave her. This ring has been promised to me, the only child, since she got it in the early 70s. She lived in constant fear and anxiety that someone would steal this ring, especially after she had it sized at the jeweler only to INSIST afterward that he had switched the diamond for a cubic zirconia. So she put the damned thing in the vault where it never saw the light of day for the next 30 years. Fast forward to their move here to be closer to me. I was given The Ring for safe keeping, where it lived in my safe in the closet since 2011. In Assisted Living, Mom constantly complained that all the ladies had gorgeous diamonds except HER. So I took The Ring out of hiding and put it on her finger, where its always belonged, and at 92, now everyone can admire it and ooh and ah over it, as she likes. Yesterday at the Mothers Day Brunch at the ALF, my daughter admired The Ring. Mom told her, oh you can have it since I'm getting ready to die anyway. Here, take it.
Gotta laugh about all of it. Personally, I do not give a flying fig about who gets The Ring, as long as it stays in the family. And it's a cubic zirconia after all, right? :)
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Lymie61 May 2019
Hahahaha...I was so sure you were going to say you gave her a CZ to wear too! Your poor daughter must have felt stuck, who would have ever guessed mom/GM would give it up before she passed after all that? Never a dull moment. ;)
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Interesting a lot of the responses here are about things to be inherited, which can also be a problem for sure when talking about memory problems after a long life. But the way I read your OP gooutinstyle was that your problems were more about current events if you will, agreeing to a procedure for instance or hiring someone to mow the lawn or come in and make dinner. More important concepts of course too and I can only imagine how hard it must be to have to reintroduce them all the time. I know how hard these things can be with my mom and it often takes several conversations and giving her plenty of time (days sometimes weeks) to process new important concepts and get her to see them our way or just acknowledge them at all. Sometimes she looses them for sure but with her it often seems like selective memory, frustrating in itself but having to go through everything all over again multiple times...and then not have her prepared when she needs to be even though we worked hard to make sure she was? Ugh!

I will say that there are times more and more often when I think mom really doesn't remember a conversation/topic when it used to be she had conveniently forgotten and it came back to her but I take the same tact I always do treating it casually like something that will come to her, we all forget. So "oh I thought you said you wanted to do this or that" "Last time we talked about it you said..." "R (my brother)said you decided you wanted..." or "I was understanding...when R explained it". We also often say "I know I don't understand either but Dr X said...remember? He is the expert" Also saying "maybe we should ask Dr Y" often works too because even if she doesn't remember she will fake it like she does when we sell it that everyone was on the same page, you kind of give her a way to appear with it, feel ownership of a decision without the option to change it all around yet without calling her out on not remembering. It's hard to explain and a bit of a tightrope but so far it works. We also just made up a few Q cards of sorts that list the things she needs to do in order each morning when she wakes up (Blood sugar, pills, weigh herself) and that seems to help so I love the idea someone else mentioned with the dry erase board. Maybe you could put options down for instance or concepts your talking about so she can glance at it and know that you did discuss this even if she doesn't actually remember it. This way she isn't feeling challenged. You don't have to be recording things because she forgets, you could be making lists or writing things down so you don't forget it just happens to be in a place where she can always refer to it as well. Then when she starts asking about something you just discussed or you know it's coming you could even ask her..."did we write that down on the board, I forget" My brother is much better at getting her to laugh at herself when she forgets or is having a hard time doing something she has done a million times because her BS is off or something, I'm not as good at that. It has to be hard for them when we are insisting they made some major decision or said something and are following through but they have no memory of it at all, I can see why that would be frightening, we all worry about "loosing our minds".

Lol, now all of that said you probably were talking about passing items on as others thought and I'm way off base!
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My 93 year old Mom who has vascular dementia asks me the same questions every single day and also repeats the same stories. 

Because I have accepted the fact that her brain is broken I just answer her and/or try to distract her. 

Good luck to you!
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Interesting stories here. My mom gave MY house to my son because I was living with her to take care of her, so she told him I didn't need my house any longer and he could have it. Hmmm. He thanked her and he and I laughed about it. She and I would go through closets at her request and put items on her porch for charity pick up. Before the truck came, she would take back most of the items. But to your specific question, you cannot hold to a decision made by someone with dementia. Suggestions to have decisions in writing didn't work with my mom. She would just say, well, I changed my mind, or that someone forged her signature. Her world and my world do not have the same truths.
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Write down agreed upon matters then date, time and sign. I even include what shirt, pants and shoes my 94 year old father is wearing and which room we are in. Otherwise he remembers nothing!
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Maybe time to Go to Court for GuardianShip.xx
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My issue is Mom refused to admit to her mild dementia so to get me into the house to care for her we (all siblings) told her I was homeless. Now she says I have to live by her rules, and I have no choice and will (really) be homeless if she kicks me to the curb! So lucky me I get to be a child again.

So similar our situations, I only hope that she can keep in mind that I am helping when her mind starts to really deteriorate. Over the last year she has come to realize i do a lot for her and she needs me. But some days she still thinks she doesn't need anybody of course!!

My best results come when I stay calm and redirect her thinking to another subject. After all tomorrow it will all be different! If I argue the situation just gets worse, so I have to pick my battles.
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I just go with it. But so far I'm going it alone, so there is no one for Mother to complain to except me. In those instances of forgetfulness, I just have to tell her, "I know you don't remember, but *recap conversion*, and arrangements have already been made (or paid for, or whatever applies).
For big money decisions, I keep my brother in the loop so if something happens to me, he knows what's what and why.
It gets old, but it's what works for me at the moment.
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Record her so when she disagrees pull it out & let her hear - remember she no longer calls the shots because she can't remember what she says so stop asking her rather just imply that she agreed to it previously

I did this with my mom & sometimes I would just do what was needed & bring what she needed but saying 'I finally found XXX & now I agree with you, it will be much better ... what a good idea you had' - so by adding a bit of praise of HER then give the impression that it was her idea that you were reluctant about in the beginning she will be all over it .... worth a try
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faeriefiles May 2019
This can be good advice and helpful for some but be cautious about "proving them wrong". It may go very badly and be hurtful for the one with dementia. It can also trigger a stress breakdown, which is rather cruel? You have to know how your loved one is likely to react to the brutal truth of their memory loss before you pull out the video camera. Yes, I speak from experience.
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This is not just about belongings, even if the original poster (notice I didn't say OP) was focused on that. I made my mother a haircut appointment, which she agreed to after asking for scissors to cut her own hair. When we got to the salon, she absolutely refused to get a haircut and made quite a scene. Didn't believe me that she had wanted her hair cut. Now she is back to asking for scissors. Argghh! I will definately try the recording strategy.

I would also like to ask that we stop using abbreviations. They typically are not obvious to me, and sometimes I never can figure them out. Still don't know who DH is! Thanks
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Why not google the abbreviations? They are easy to learn. DH is “dear husband”. Abbreviations aren’t going to go away :)
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You discreetly take the important decisions off their hands. Do you have power of attorney for one or both?

With the less important decisions - I hate turkey, I want beef, I hate beef; I do want to go/I don't want to go - you go with the flow. And just occasionally, when it's really important to you as a normal human being, this may mean they have to go to a family lunch that they never agreed to, except they did the day before; or can't go to something because you didn't get tickets because they didn't want to until five minutes ago... and TOUGH!

But hold them to their word? They can't give their word.

Is there a particular major issue behind your question, though? Plans afoot?
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faeriefiles May 2019
Perfect answer, can I just say Ditto?
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Write it down and/or record the two of you memorializing the decision on video, maybe? It might feel strange, but watching the video of when she made the decision might jog her memory more easily.
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If they don’t remember, why are they making decisions? You don’t mention what kind of decisions but if it’s finances or other important things, you ( or someone else) need to start handling those things.
If it’s dementia you can’t change it. They won’t remember. Get some “ cheats” ie See if you get a whiteboard calendar if they can mark off days. If so , you could mark appointments on there. If they don’t remember to mark off the days they may lose track of time and panic that they missed the appointment so make sure they can keep track first.
But they won’t remember on their own with out some kind of reminder.
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Talk to them and ask if this suggestion works for them because YOU need the help, aka YOU can't remember....(takes it off them initially)

Write it down when they say it.

Ask them to read it to confirm that's what they said.

Date & Time and then post it on the refrigerator or some where you both can see it daily. Next time....point it out. Just keep a running list on notebook paper.

Important! Be kind. Be open to "change" - and then document it.

An option to this is to ask them, "hold on a sec...I'm going to record this on my phone." Maybe a little tacky, but.....

I hope that helps and doesn't just tick off the person.
You're not saying who's who in this scenario.
Good luck!
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Unfortunately you will never win on this subject. People are human beings and it is a simple fact. Human beings have or can get lousy memories and intentions and deeds don't always come out as they should. Never, ever, ever completely trust another human being - you will pay a dear price. If it is something very complicated and important, document and date it at once and if possible get a signature and a witness and keep that document safe. There really is no other way once age and dementia step in. People like this constantly change their minds from minute to minute. From experience, I get extremely firm and "tough" after trying a pleasant diplomatic way. I don't physically force them but I am tough enough for them to know I mean business and they said it before, even if they deny it, and that is the way it is going to be. And then make it happen. It works. Don't be scared or feel guilty. With people like this, it is the only way. So what if they make a scene. They are making an asshole of themselves and they deserve to be looked upon that way. Just get it done.
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If the person cannot remember what they said, they cannot make any decisions. You cannot expect them too because they are INCOMPETENT. Even if you have not had them legally declared they still cannot be held responsible. So you will have to get a DPOA. See your lawyer and find out if the person you are speaking of will give it to you or if you have to have them declared legally incompetent and you get to be their guardian.
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A demented mind is not expected to, nor will they have recall ability. That trait that they once excelled at is lost to disease.
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Get used to it. I’m going through the same thing. Dementia has no reasoning. And it doesn’t get any better.
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gooutinstyle;

Your profile says you are in CA and parents are in MI and FL, and also says you are "caring for mom and dad" (number of issues listed.)

First, I'm confused - how do they live in MI and FL (not living together or snow-birding) and you care for them from CA? One can assist from a distance, but sounds like at least one needs more direct oversight. Is mom still competent, and caring for dad, including migrating to/fro FL? If not, is dad living alone or in a facility?

For your question:
Without more info about them/the kind of decisions to be made, this is a hard question to answer in detail, BUT:

If a person has dementia, they are not considered competent to MAKE a legal decision. Non-legal decisions can be made, but the likelihood they will remember is remote. My mother forgets what SHE or YOU said every two minutes and repeats herself, yet denys it. It was one of the signs that she had issues.

What kind of decisions are we talking?
- Major, probably too late for that ship.
- Minor, this will likely continue or even get worse.

How/where are these made?
- By phone? Not a good way to make "decisions" with dementia.
- In person? Documenting it (paper or video) *MAY* help, but probably not much

"... a week or two goes by and then..." - with dementia a few minutes can be sufficient. The subject may only come up a week or two later, but if you asked them about these a half hour after the decision is "made", do they remember? You need to "test" this out - wait 30-60 minutes and say you need to write something down and ask them to tell you what was decided. IF they cannot tell you, consider decision making is pretty much done.

Depending on the stage of dementia, some people can still make legal decisions (the attorney would make that determination) and sign documents. Once signed, whether they recall it or not it'll be legally binding. This would apply to major decisions - it may be that ship has already sailed.

For minor decisions, where/what to eat, what day/time for an appt, various little decisions, there isn't any way to stop the Groundhog day effect. Our mother used to "live" by calendar on her table at home, so she would remember appointments, special luncheons at the senior center, etc, but that started to fail her - I found it several times buried in the pile of newspapers. The one for 2018 I gave her at the facility was lost in March or earlier, probably went out with the papers. I gave her a 2 year pocket calendar this year, which she keeps now (most of the time) in her rollator basket. I put her appts in it to try to make the balking on appt day easier...

What you have described falls into the short term memory loss. Typical early sign for many dementias.

Many suggestions were made for white boards, chalk boards, document in writing and/or video, but none of these have ANY guarantee of working. Boards can (and will be erased.) Documents can be tossed/lost - copies can be given, but even if not lost or copy provided, they will NOT recall having agreed to it or signing anything and can deny it. Same with video (it's a fake!) At a visit a bit ago, my daughter had a staff member take a picture of the three of us together. First time I showed it to mom, she asked who those two girls are... LOL, one is ME! Last time, she asked if this is Nana (her mother) pointing to herself in the middle! Before we moved her to MC, she would often misplace items and accuse others of stealing the items (who wants to steal used tweezers!?!?!)

If you do not live with them, it will be even MORE difficult to curtail the GH Day circle.

If you live with them, you could post the "decisions" on one of those boards and/or post a printed copy on the fridge, which act as reminders about upcoming events, decisions (short-term, like in the next days or week), plans, etc. For appointments, those "pocket" calendars may help some.

If you can, please provide more info about who is living where and when, and the type of decisions are made
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gladimhere May 2019
D2, parents do divorce and live in different places sometimes. Or don't divorce and live in different places sometimes.
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Just an addendum, and one that kid of stings:

Mother inherited HER mother's diamonds, valued about $10K. After daddy died she took off her diamond ring and just wore the wedding band. Worth about $4K.

My neice gets engaged and kind of brazenly, her fiancé went to Mother as ASKED for both the diamonds to be set in one huge setting for her granddaughter. Not the oldest granddaughter and not the 'favorite' by far, but this guy was so weasely and backhanded--before she knew what she was doing, she handed them over.

$14,000 worth of diamonds on one person? They should have been sold at the time of the disposition of the will and all inherited equally.

SMH.

Stuff like this--thoughtless, shooting from the hip sentimentality (or hucksterism, I dunn) can cause lasting bad feelings.

She didn't consult her POA and she asks him if she needs an enema. Needless to say, he and Co-POA were livid, but let it go.
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This is a situation I have seen happen over and over and over again and it is absolutely infuriating to me - but illness and mentality problems cannot be fixed and will get worse. There are two simple options to protect oneself. First of all, if it something important or very expensive, etc., IMMEDIATELY MAKE A DETAILED RECORD recording everything said, time, date, etc. Don't lose that log. You can refer to it later if need be and you may have to do that. Second, become extremely firm and tell them that this/that was said, etc. Do NOT let them tell you no, or they forgeot, etc. Just stand firm and keep repeating this was the case. For minor things, like special treats, or doctor's visits, etc., keep a notebook and jot things down to jog your memory and theirs. As things get done, just cross it off the list. One more thing - if there are expensive items, such as expensive jewelry, etc., get them away into a safe place until the proper time comes to determine the next course of action. Let the patient rant and rave - so what? You are protecting the items and it will help you with the eventual outcome in the most fair and intelligent manner.
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