Follow
Share

My mother lives in New York, me and my husband visit her frequently but she has not socialized or seen friends in a year because of the virus. Her personality has changed dramatically, it's quite scary. I have noticed for the first time in her life she's very depressed and is a little forgetful, her self esteem is rock bottom. I'm not sure if she has dementia or Alzheimer's but this could be early symptoms, how do I get help for her or what type of doctor should see? Before the lockdown she always was happy and upbeat had high self esteem and didn't allow to be put down. No memory problems. I do know for that past year her brother who is 93 -my Uncle- calls her almost every day and they talk for about 4 hours. He is much better off than her, has much more money and lives in a better area, he will brag about that for hours and she tells him things like "wow you're the best, you're so lucky and perfect" also "wow your family is pefect and wonderful" but he will never say anything nice about her family, he then is always talking about dying and how he will look in the casket and what his funeral will be like, he told her she should prepare to die and get photos and make sure to have the outfit she wants to wear for the funeral. We also have a family plot which was purchased by grandfather , Uncle has the original deed. He constantly asks her "who is going to be buried there" (meaning me and my siblings). Not just once but every conversation she has with him. ..... These are conversations I have overheard and that she has told me, I'm sure he has said more abusive things. She just told me she's cleaning out her house to prepare for when she dies and is throwing her wedding dress away, something she told me she would keep forever! She also told me she's trying on outfits for her funeral burial.


She has minor health probelms but nothing major at all, overall in good health, my uncle on the other hand is in failing health.


It's been so depressing and sad listening to all this and now I'm not sure what to do.

I just posted a moment ago and then read the other answers. Consensus seems to be that your uncle is a problem. I have to disagree about doctors, counseling, etc because I have found that THESE PEOPLE KEEP RECORDS AND NOT FOR THEMSELVES ONLY. If your mom doesn't want a lot of meds or social workers showing up at her door... happened to me and I learned the hard way to keep it to strangers or a hairstylist unless I have a physical need that forces me to go to a professional. Dr's, therapists, appts, urology, psychiatry, gastroenterology, on and on. It's a full time job keeping up with it all. There is a Proverb that says, "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he."( or obviously "she"). I said before; redirect and refocus. "Whatever things are pure. Whatever things are lovely. Think on these things." And I like to add, a bit of focused "crazy" is fun and makes great comedy!!!
What was your mom's favorite thing to do when she was 15???
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Sle247365
Report
Tothill Mar 14, 2021
Doctors and therapists are mandated reporters in many jurisdictions and that is a good thing. If something is disclosed during a session that is of concern it should be reported to the proper authorities.
(0)
Report
SLE--
You are spot on with the media trying to keep us terrified and stupid.

Has anyone else noticed that since the vaccine rollout---the news is now shifting back to 'other stuff'---news has to stay fresh and interesting or it ain't news!

I have a friend who calls me daily with the coivd update. I had to ask her to please stop doing it. It was just depressing! We had a very light infestation here where I live and I just kind of 'turtled it'. Pulled in my little head and didn't watch the news for more than a few minutes a day.

It was what it was--and now we can focus on a new norm--soon I hope.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Midkid58
Report

Hi. You answered a lot of your questions with "lives in New York", the most poorly run State when it comes to this virus. The job of the media and "leaders" is to keep you in terror and, especially for the elderly, out of the way. I'm one of the highest risk groups there is so I know some of which I speak. Your mom sounds awesome! Your uncle, not so much. I also suffer from deep depression, at times, from the lockdowns. Sounds like mom likes to talk on the phone. Oftentimes, I call my insurance company, cable co., Silver and gold dealers, car dealers, loan comps, respond to ads or mailers... I especially like it when someone calls me wanting to forgive my nonexistent student loans, sell me something or ask for money and I yak at them about whatever. Sometimes I can talk with them for a couple of hours about how I just finished coloring my hair and wondering out loud if I shouldn't leave it gray like my mother did. She always said, " I earned every one of these gray hairs and I'm proud of them." After all, she raised 7 children. I have 6 brothers and they teased me relentlessly but when I was 12.... see how easy (and fun!!) it is to have interactions with others? Talk about how the lockdowns affect you. Tell your life's story. Ask them about theirs. If they call you to take up your time, take up theirs. No medical records kept or diagnoses given. Talking to strangers ( I am stranger than most! LOL!!) is refreshing and at my age, I often get a "Thank you" for a tidbit of wisdom or lighthearted experience or relationship advice. Like this forum. Younger people tell me how they miss their grandma and I helped them.
Your mom is getting more depressed. She will cheer up tremendously the 1st time she simply chats with someone who is also having a hard time, (they are easy to spot by the tone of their voice. )and she lifts them up. Sooo rewarding! At the least, they'll just think she's NUTS!! Encourage your mom to talk to people other than your uncle. Bad news...
Bottom line? Redirect and refocus. Hope this helps.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Sle247365
Report

I have got to the point when I suspect that people who are not suffering under lockdown are either over-medicated or cheating.

One of the best adjusted men I know confided in me the other day that he just wants to go to bed until it's all over. He's keeping busy, he socialises remotely, he works from home, he's deeply philosophical in attitude - and it's still getting on his nerves more than anything he can remember.

I should talk to your mother about it freely. Allow her, maybe even encourage her, to have a good rant about the bloodiness of the phenomenon and what a monumental mess it's making of everything. Do what you can to encourage gentle, private, satirical mockery of the uncle ("sent him any good brochures lately?"). And then look ahead. God willing, no more than a few more weeks, months maximum.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Countrymouse
Report

It may be depressing and sad to hear, but preparing for death is a topic for practical discussion for family members. Especially this past year. Most everyone has also decluttered or downsized or gone through their version of the Swedish death cleaning. Her brother sounds like he may be overthinking or projecting his opinions onto your mother. Maybe you can balance the conversation by listening to her preferences so she feels heard. If you overhear the conversations with your uncle, maybe interrupt and say hello to divert the morbid conversation. I was surprised when the topic came up with my own mother and she was very straightforward with her wishes
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Pasa18
Report

Imho, these phone calls are detrimental to your mom's mental wellness, but I can't tell you that they should cease.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Llamalover47
Report

Those phone calls must stop at once - this is horrible and cruel. Somehow you have to prevent them. And at this age, dementia could be setting in, along with general depression.
Seek out a good doctor and see what you find out but stop those terrible phone calls. Sounds like your uncle is "nuts" - no more phone calls.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Rusty2166
Report

My Mum is experiencing depression, anxiety and feelings of a lack of worth too, this past year.

Pre Covid, Mum was an active community volunteer, church goer, Dragon Boater, a book club member, played dominoes once a week, etc, etc. She turned 86 during covid and I have been very concerned about the impact to her mental health.

She does not have a brother who is fixated on death, you could say that Mum is somewhat fixated on death, or being prepared, so not to leave a mess for others to deal with. But her younger brother was diagnosed with Cancer late 2020 and we almost lost him just before Christmas.

Her twin sister is starting to lose the plot, which is scary for Mum.

Mum has had a degree of forgetfulness for several years, but she is aware that she is forgetful and she uses her calendar and a note pad to stay on point. She does not miss appointments, or events (pre covid). She maintains her home and garden.

I did arrange for Mum to have 3 telephone counseling appointments. They helped. When she told me late 2020, that her dominoes ladies had decided to start playing again, I was worried, but Mum needed human connection and something to look, forward to each week.

Her book club is now meeting on Zoom and I have set up a laptop for her to use for those meetings. Her desktop computer is too old to use for zoom sessions.

I am in my 50's, I too live alone and I too have felt significant mental health impacts from the isolation of Covid 19.

Marcie, it is normal that your Mum is depressed during isolation. Humans are social creatures.

She needs someone else other than her brother to talk to each day. Better yet someone different to talk to each day. Does your state have a friendly phone call service?

Can she get out of her home daily for a walk? A bit of sunshine on my face really helps my mood.

A full physical is a good idea too, but it may not prove anything.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Tothill
Report

Office of the Aging probably can help......they take seniors out for the day to a center. They socialize, have lunch and do crafts or short trips. Call your local town hall and ask...I'm sure they'll steer you in the right direction..
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to DiamondAngel14
Report

Seems like your mom has depression and her brother isn't helping with all the talk about dying and his self-focused conversations. Depression is very common with older people and COVID pandemic has created more problems with isolation. Please take your mom to see her primary care doctor to evaluate for dementia and depression. He/She may also make a referral for her to a geriatric psychiatrist. The doctor may prescribe medications that are useful in early dementia and/or medications to help with depression. I would also suggest that your mom limit her phone conversations with her brother to more upbeat topics and limit them to considerably less than 4 hours.

Please consider that it might be wiser to have mom living with family or having somebody who comes in daily to visit with her. Of course, all visitors should wear face masks, wash hands well, and social distance.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Taarna
Report

The Best thing fir Mom, is to get her out of the Senior Home as fast as you can!

you'll see a dramatic change in her as soon as you tell her she's checking out.

Is it possible for her to come live with you?

Prayers
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to bevthegreat
Report

I’m so sorry that you are dealing with this situation. It’s very hard to watch our parents suffer.

Your mom sounds lonely and possibly depressed as well.

Many people are struggling with these emotions during Covid.

I certainly hope things will start to improve for her soon.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
Report
marcie88 Mar 9, 2021
Thank you, I hope she can be the person I used to know, I'm really not sure if things will just get worse, Will get her to see a doctor soon,
(0)
Report
Thanks so much for the advice, Yes going for a full physical exam sounds good.
I had a talk with her earlier and told her it would be a good idea to take a break from taking to my Uncle, she agreed! I feel he has caused a lot of her depression.
Good news is she has had 1 dose of the vaccine so will get her to the doctor soon,
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to marcie88
Report

Get your mother to the doctor for a full physical as soon as possible! Let the doctor know what's going on and that you believe she's either depressed or suffering from dementia, and see if s/he can administer a cognition exam in the office. It's short and simple, nothing that takes hours or is very stressful at all. The doctor can get a pretty good idea if your mother is suffering from cognitive impairment based on the score she gets on the MoCa exam. If s/he feels she's depressed, maybe an anti depressant can be prescribed at the time of the visit. Hopefully you have medical POA for your mom so you can speak to the doctor as well.

You should also think about speaking to your uncle who may be suffering from dementia himself if he's speaking to your mother about her funeral and how she should dress for it, and how he's going to look in his casket for petesake. That's very morbid and not helpful for her AT ALL! Especially not to be spending extended periods of time on the phone dwelling on such a topic.

Depending on what the doctor has to say, and especially if s/he feels that dementia is at play here, you may need to get your mother some in home help. Being lonely and isolated is not good for seniors especially for long periods of time like has happened with this miserable virus. Even if you can hire a companion type of woman to come into the house every day for a few hours to keep her company, do light housekeeping and things like that, you may notice a big improvement in her general outlook on life. Just NOT listening to your uncle all day long should help her tremendously!!

Wishing you the best of luck getting an evaluation for your mom and some companionship for her in the home.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to lealonnie1
Report

Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter