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My 90 year old mother lives with me and is still quite capable of doing everyday tasks. She even still drives!
She's always had a bit of an edge to her but I've been noticing lately that she has frequent mood swings. She flipped out on me the other day over nothing. (She was looking for her bin with Christmas decorations.) She gets so annoyed when her phone rings because she thinks it will be a telemarketer she even complains about her junk mail. Frankly it's driving me crazy. She hung up on an important call the other day because she thought it was a telemarketer. I'm starting to wonder if these actions may be pointing to the onset of dementia. If it's not that, then she's just a miserable, unhappy woman. I don't know what to do! My 3 brothers are worthless so I can't turn to them.

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Your mom is 90 and dementia is a memory impairment that can cause some behavior issues. She is probably frustrated as part of her knows this is happening. You need to get her evaluated by her physician who can perform a simple exam to identify her deficits. If this is a quick change in her personality you might want to have her physician perform a urinalysis as behavior issues with elderly that are sudden can be related to a urinary tract infection. Contacting your local altzeihmers association will be great help here is the national organization's website. If your internist discouraged a psychiatric evaluation from geriatrics he is wrong and should be told so. Here is the website that is very helpful

http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_what_is_alzheimers.asp
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My mother would cry about her incoming mail, which was just a few pieces at best. She had wet macular degeneration and dementia. Of course, I assisted her while I lived there for 6 months. The problem was she insisted on living alone (but in no way should have) in Massachusetts and dug her heels in big time. I live in Maryland.
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You need to find a geriatric neurologist/ neuropsych or Geriatric psychiatrist to see them. Do you have POA and health care proxy? Really important things to get.
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Thanks for asking..Dad & Mom is starting to burnout. It was some yrs. ago..about 2010 from a supposed geriatirci physcian other than their internist who doesn't do demintia/alhezimers diagnosed. They do exactly what the dr says. I did write a plea to the dr since I couldn't be there but got the same flack.
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Eldercare here I come! Each week I have a basket of junk mail to put out for recycling. And don't talk to me about telemarketers. Let it ring three times then when you pick it up they have moved on to the next sucker. i did think of keeping a shrill whistle but the phone but they would probably sue me for busting an eardrum - well maybe not from India. Yep I am in line for the loony bin. one of my friends has offered to share a room with me then we can have competitions for who can pull most fluff off the blankets each day. I wonder if they will let me use my computer. They let me use that and my cell phone in the hosp. last year, even in ICU. I refused their phone and TV,
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Tv, I'm confused by what you've said. Is it mom or dad who has dementia? Who diagnosed him/her? The internist discouraged a geriatric psychiatric evaluation? If you weren't present for this visit, I would call up the doctor and ask what he suggests as a way of addressing your parents' behavior.
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Wow! I tried to get a psychiatric behavioral evaluation thru my Dad's internist. The dr. convinced my Mom that what would happen would be home health care that would not be helpful & not what we needed. I haven't found a clinic like you speak of but I did find an internist that claims they do geriatric care. I am going to check that out next. Then, I'm just going to try to hire non-medical help for maybe a couple days a week for 3-4 hrs. & someone to clean the house (mostly bathrooms, dust & floors). Very frustrating situation.
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Why don't you ask her what is making her so unhappy? Just because someone is elderly, does not automatically make them having dementia. Old age is not a prerequisite to having dementia.
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If grumbling about junk mail and telephone marketing is diagnostic of dementia I'm in big trouble. But any marked change in behaviour wants reporting and investigating, so go to it and good luck - I hope it'll turn out to be something simple and treatable. By the way, how is your mother's hearing? If she's having new difficulties with that it could cause all kinds of problems - including short temper!
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Hi Jessiebelle,

Yes, well, I considered my mother to be a grouchy old trouble-maker. Turns out, she needed a tune up! Who knew?

No one could be more surprised and grateful than I am.
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Oy, it sounds a bit like me. Nothing like junk mail or unwanted phone calls to make me grumpy. My tolerance for frustration now is very low. If I can't find something or if it is hard to get, I get cross. What I figured for myself is that I'm becoming a grouchy old lady.
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Wow what great information. I have never heard of these clinics and am definitely going to do some research. Thanks for sharing.
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I'm in agreement with Babalou, first thing is to check for a UTI. The second thing is that she may be having mini strokes. These will bring on this kind of behavior as well.
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While I would of course make sure first that she doesn't have a UTI, which can cause all sorts of behavioral and psychiatric symptoms in the elderly, I would get her seen by a good geriatric psychiatrist. I would also write out the behaviors that you've been seeing beforehand and either fax them to the doc or hand them to the receptionist when signing in for her appointment.

I hope that she has appointed you poa and Healthcare proxy.
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I am happy that you wrote in and happy that I have just had an experience that might help. My mom has complete short term memory loss. And, in addition, she was getting really weird emotionally. She was paranoid with a capital P.

She has been in AL only for 6 mos. and they suggested that she go to a special clinic to have her meds adjusted. These clinics are called "senior behavioral clinics"--or something like that. They kept my mom for ten days and gave her a good "tune up." The result? She is no longer paranoid and seems quite content. She is getting much stronger anti-anxiety meds and also memory meds. And I no longer dread visiting her.

I think these clinics are a real miracle. They exist because we need them! The alternative is to go to the doctor every two weeks for a year or so trying to get the meds right. And the adjustments will be made on what we report--not on what an expert observes. We are not experts. So, my advice would be to talk to her family doctor or a geriatric doctor and find out about this. Your mom may well need anti-anxiety meds even though she has no memory loss. Lucky for you. The memory loss is a huge problem that causes much friction in a family.

Good luck and a big hug!
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