While I am not the direct caregiver to my mother, I'm very worried about my father who is. Little background: my father (74) has always been the one with ill health), mostly heart related, but has been stable for a while. My mother (71) was healthy as a horse but over the past 6 years, she has started to develop memory issue and was diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment. My Grandmother (her mother) died (almost 10 years ago) after a 10 year fight with Alzheimer's, where she ended in a completely vegetative state. While this was happening, my mother was always convinced she was going to end up just like my Grandmother. I used to tell her that she was creating a self-fulfilling situation when she would get lazy with her thinking and excuse it by saying "well, you know how my mother was."
While my mother is STILL very physically healthy and capable (she drives herself, she babysits her grandchildren, etc) she has a lot of moments of forgetfulness and just completely shuts down some days. She tells the same stories over and over again. She also tends to adapt other people's stories as her own. When not traveling she's obsessive about doing laundry and watching TV. When traveling, she has started to forget things...frequently 'losing' her jewelry to one time forgetting entirely to pack her own clothes (to which she claimed someone must've come in the room and stolen them because she would NEVER forget to pack).
My father is now managing her (a place he NEVER thought he'd be). I know he just wants to break down and cry, I've seen little glimpses. I know he feels helpless - he's a very smart man, but he is completely lost when it comes to this. I don't know how to help him. He still tries to protect us and even her. Often 'prepping' her friends (they're still very social) with how things are. We've had a 'family meeting' with her to discuss her condition. She listened, said she had no idea she was so bad.. promised us she would be more active (most days she does absolutely ZERO), drink less (she loves drinking and will often get frustrated if you don't drink with her - many of her friends do drink with her) and listen to us more but she hasn't done any of it. She doesn't feel old so she doesn't want to go to a senior center for stimulation (neither does my father).
I just feel so lost with how to help. What to tell them to do next. Do you just sit back and let it go? How can you fight? How do you motivate them? What kind of support should I be giving my father?