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For the past 5 years or so she has been more forgetful and repeats herself several times a day. She often inaccurately rewrites past events. Still she keeps track of her appointments and finances and living alone she eats healthy and has good hygiene and remembers people's birthdays. My brother and I get worried about her forgetfulness about conversations we have had and whether that means she is headed for dementia or alzheimers. I wonder if at 92 this forgetfulness is "normal". Can you help me with this?

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Thank you for your well considered answer!
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Melody, a little forgetfulness is normal at 72 ... at least I hope so! It sounds like your mother's forgetfulness is a little more severe, but so far it isn't interfering with her daily functioning.

Rewriting history -- I find myself sometimes confusing two events or putting details from one into telling about the other. My sisters, all younger than me, do this, too. If the rewrites are not delusional ("then a tiger chased my cat, and my brave nephew shoo'd it away") I wouldn't be overly concerned about this. I remember my very elderly aunt telling stories that involved me, and she remembered them very differently than I did! But so what? She got the essentials correct -- I've been baking from a very early age and I have a good memory. Does it matter that the item was ginger cookies and not banana bread?

Keep a loving eye on Mom. If her forgetfulness starts to interfere with daily functioning (she leaves the stove on, she eats long-expired food from the fridge, she pays the same bill twice and skips others, she has unopened mail piled up for weeks, misses appointments, etc) that is the time to take some action. For now she seems competent to live on her own. It is good that you and your brother recognize changes. Keep being observant.

Here is a guideline for when to worry about memory:
Forgets where she put the keys -- don't worry
Forgets what keys are for -- worry
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Melody, my mother will be 91 this summer, and she sounds a lot like your mother. One of my brothers seems concerned that she repeats herself within the same telephone conversation with him. My mother readily admits that her short-term memory is going.
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Hi Freqflyer!
Thank you for your reply. It is truly difficult to know when it is time to worry! This repeating isn't happening every 10 minutes though and basic activities are normal. So that is reassuring.
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Melody70, as we age it take us longer to remember things that aren't a daily routine. It's like our brain is filled with filing cabinets filled to the brim with information and it just takes us longer to pull out the information we want.... that is very normal.

If someone is living alone, it is hard for us to remember what we told whom, so we might repeat a story someone had already heard. The time to start worrying is if Mom tells a story, then 10 minutes later tells the same story again, and again, and again.

Plus, if your Mom has been doing this for the past 5 years, and hasn't accelerated into more forgetfulness and doing odd things, then bravo, she has normal age related forgetfulness.

I remember my Mom was always rewriting history most of her life, and at 95 she could still balance a checkbook and keep up with the NY Stock Exchange :)

Try not to over-analysis this... it could drive you crazy. Use that energy when something really serious should happen.
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Im going to be perfectly honest here ,, that's what my brother and I thought as well just a year ago. they slide down hill rapidly ,, get her to a neurologist that can evaluate her cognitive abilities. We are finding ourselves in kind of a crisis mode right now and getting an in home nurse practitioner tomorrow and hopefully hospitalization as his forgetfulness has led to poor health. It sounds like you have time to make good decisions for her based on a medical eval ,, we are playing catch-up now.
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