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They said she fell off the stool, got back up and acted like nothing happened. They asked me to check on her and I did. Almost 10am and she was asleep. She looked ok, said hip and elbow bruised. Acted like nothing happened. Went ballistic when I suggested she could ask doc about her legs, as this is not the first time I’ve seen her fall, trip and be generally unsteady at times. Right off, she screamed and yelled that she has nothing wrong with her legs and that I haven’t seen ANYTHING. But, oh, I have! We know she frequents this diner a lot (DH and I used to, in the past). Manager said he’s concerned about her as a 79-year-old woman being out overnight by herself, hanging at the diner. Question - should I feel guilty about ‘okaying’ DH to ask about Mom at the diner?

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She doesn't want you to ask her friends anything because she is hiding things. That is what they do. As far as guilt, this makes no sense to me. I can ask anyone anything I want, and I certainly didn't need my husbands approval to do so, and the friends do not have to answer. In both my father's and cousin's case, I lived in Florida, one of them lived in Illinois, the other in TN. I had their friends reporting to me on a regular basis, and they would notify me as soon as they thought something was out of sync. Their friends became my new best friends!
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NeedHelpWithMom Aug 9, 2019
This is a possibility. She very well may be hiding something.
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"Dear Dr. A;

I need to let you know about concerns that my husband and I have about changes in my mother's behavior that we have noticed recently.

1. She appears to have piles of unpaid bills and other paperwork piling up.

2. She has a gun which she, on at least one occasion, shot off inside the house.

3. She has started going to a diner late at night and frequently stays there all night.

4. This past week, she fell at said diner. The owner called me, concerned about my mother's condition, safety and behavior."

I'd send this snail mail, return receipt requested, so that you have proof that the practice got it.
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Katsmihur Aug 10, 2019
Barb - got these behaviors and more in a letter. Faxing it Monday - thank you!!
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No one likes to be told that they have to give up any modicum of freedom that they have, but it’s not fair to the staff at the diner to more or less have to supervise Mom when they have their own jobs to do. Mom is lucky that this is what they've done. I might speak with the manager and ask him that the next time Mom falls, he needs to tell her that he has to call 911. He can tell her that when someone falls, it’s a law that she needs to be checked out because they could “lose their license”. The fuss they make over her, especially having EMS come out, may convince her that spending her nights alone in a diner might not be the safest idea.

On your end, Mom needs to go to her doctor, not only to find out why she’s falling, but why she feels the need to be out all night. You and I both know that’s not safe, not nowadays. Mom may listen to her doctor before she listens to you. I wouldn’t push the issue with her, but she may getting to the point she needs more supervision
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Katsmihur Aug 9, 2019
Yes, she’s fiercely independent since Dad died - probably feels a bit like freedom to her. The manager said exactly what you mentioned - the waitstaff have their own jobs - but he was very gracious about her being there & said he didn’t have a problem with that. DH was surprised 911 was NOT called - TY for that suggestion to encourage that call, if it happens again.

As far as doc, I am not allowed to go with her to doc appointments. Forget who, but in this forum, it was suggested I detail what I see and send to her doc, who is only a few years in (lifelong doc retired). Doc office said they won’t talk to me, but I feel as long as he reads what has been happening in regards to her daily living activities, the onus is on him & the practice. I hope he suggests to her to get the hearing aid and to be seen by a geriatric doc. We’ll see how that plays out.

There are many other things that she does that are NOT safe. Like a gun incident - she decided to take Dad’s gun, spin the barrel and shoot. Said she didn’t think there were any bullets in the barrel, but one went through two walls of her home. She didn’t tell me about this, but confided in my MIL (who she normally would not) at a family function. I could go on about her unsafe habits, but suffice it to say, she argues with me, doesn’t want to hear ANY of it, and told DH (in my presence) ‘I’m not listening to her!’, pointing at me. Unfortunately, she thinks I don’t know anything and pushes me away.

I am done ‘pushing’ and thinking I’m helping her out by reminding her the world’s not a safe place, especially for a woman her age who lives by herself. I have to attribute some of this to a brain aneurysm she had over a decade ago. But a lot is her personality, too. It can only get worse.
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No, you should not feel guilty. You may have to keep an eye without saying anything.

So many seniors don't want to admit that they are having concerning episodes, fear I suppose. But it creates a situation for their loved ones and I am in a situation that I can only watch and stay clear of the train wreck that is coming, at that point I will do what I can, sounds like you are in a similar situation.

I hope that the crisis that gets action is not catastrophic.

Hugs, it is so frustrating.
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Katsmihur Aug 8, 2019
As an only child, I certainly am anticipating a train wreck! Knowing she has the right to live her life, I began to feel a bit guilty. But DH says I should not. Thank you for your confirmation! Trying to set boundaries of not allowing her to yell at me and talk over me and did that today. After seeing that she doesn’t want to hear me or listen to reason, I said ‘bye Mom’ and left, then she slammed the door. Called me a few hours later (probably after visiting the diner for lunch and talking to her ‘friends’) and said how very MAD she was at me and DH. Tried to explain I was at work AND in a meeting, but I would call her later. She countered that SHE would call me, which she did, but phone in another room & didn’t answer ‘cause I didn’t hear it ring! Since then, I can’t get through, as it’s busy - very unusual! I could bet a dollar to a donut she’s taken her phone ‘off the hook’, creating a busy signal for me, ‘cause she’s just that way! Thanks for listening. We both will do what we can, when the train wreck comes.
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I would call the police and ask for a wellness check.

You should NOT feel guilty but I would be a bit worried that you cant reach her. I'm wondering if a UTI or something similar might be going on that is affecting her behavior.

I have a friend who had a heart attack, fell and spent 3 days on the floor of her apartment before she was found. Hence, I'd call the police and ask for them to check up on her.
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NeedHelpWithMom Aug 9, 2019
Good idea about the wellness check. It may may mom reconsider her actions too.
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So sad. Sorry that you have to endure these circumstances. I know an older woman, she’s 80, who does what your mom does. Stays out all night in a casino. It bothers her family as well.

She does it because she’s lonely. I feel she also got hooked on gambling. She denies that she’s addicted of course.

It’s all she ever wants to do. The casino employees chat it up with her and she thinks they are her friends! Just awful how vulnerable older people become in these situations. No one else in this woman’s family gambles. She sees it as a social outlet. Of course the casino is only interested in her money.

Her family has encouraged her to participate in a senior group but she is stubborn and says she doesn’t want to be around boring old people.

Casinos don’t close. She rides there in a cab. She spends every last dime, then calls her daughter or son in law to pick her up in the wee hours of the morning. Her daughter and son in law have full time jobs and it takes it’s toll on them losing sleep.

I would make a doctor appointment for your mom and insisted that she go. She may have a UTI or something else off and it’s causing the odd behavior.

The diner is not going to like her hanging out there all night. She could become injured from a fall. I am sure they are thinking about a lawsuit in their future.

The woman I mentioned has fallen in the casino. They wanted to call an ambulance for her to go to the hospital and be checked out. She refused to go and they asked her to sign a form releasing them from any responsibility if she were injured from the fall. She signed it. Fortunately, she wasn’t hurt.

I know the woman’s daughter. She is very sweet and cares for her mom. Her mom lives next door to them.

The daughter is extremely frustrated like you are. She had hoped that when her mother stopped driving that she would stay home. Nope, now she just hops in a cab.
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Katsmihur Aug 9, 2019
And I know Mom is lonely! 50+ Years married. I can’t imagine. I’ve always included her in our small family gatherings and committed myself to doing something other than eating out with her, weekly. Unfortunately she doesn’t want to be with the ‘old people’ who attend the Activity Center, literally 1.5 minute drive from her home. So that’s out. Other than that, my parents didn’t have friends. Mom never worked outside the home. Consequently, I think her view of ‘friends’ isn’t accurate.

The waitstaff loves to be her server, as Mom cannot/will not understand that leaving $20 tip on a breakfast bill is a bit much. I believe she looks like she has money to them . . . She takes them out a few times a year (that I know of) to the movies, etc. But reality is quite different. Two words - reverse mortgage.

Hostess at diner understood Mom fell, but didn’t see it, she says. The manager didn’t know about it right away when he walked into work that morning. I think the hostess looked a bit timid. I gave her my phone number in case something else should happen with Mom that I need to know about. We’ll see.

If I can’t even talk to her about a fall, and can’t go with her to the doc, how can I even begin to hope she’ll consider eliminating her driving? Not going to happen. She didn’t attend driver’s refresher course, with me, because she ‘wasn’t interested’.

The actual cost of a cab isn’t bad, compared to the distress driving impaired, can cause. After sale of car & factoring in car insurance, I’d keep that cash for a cab or Uber and be GLAD to have someone else drive me around - if I was impaired.

Thank you for hearing my frustration!
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Katsmihur Aug 13, 2019
Good article. Really coming to terms with her refusal of care and ANYTHING I suggest to her in terms of what to do. Time to back away, breathe and be thankful God has protected her from harm, so far.

Thank you for sharing this.
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I agree, she goes to the diner because that is where her "friends" are. Nightime they can pay attention to her. No hustle and bustle like the daytime.

I like what what was said about the owner calling 911. Really, he could be found liable if something happens to her. Maybe he should insist she sit in a booth and not on a stool. Ask him if he would talk to her saying he has seen some problems and he feels she needs to be checked out.

No EMT can force a person to go to the hospital. So calling 911 maybe a lost cause.

Like said, you are just going to have to wait for the train wreck. Yes, you r going to have to deal with the aftermath which probably could have been prevented. Set boundries at that time. It will be what she needs not what she wants. The tables will change. You will become the parent, her the child.
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Katsmihur Aug 9, 2019
DH agrees - the diner could be liable. I’d like to talk to the manager again. Mom called today, asking me to not interrupt her, which works for me ‘cause I’m done trying to make her see reason and safety. Said she does NOT want either of us to ‘hassle her friends’ (we both sat very quietly with waitstaff when they relayed Mom’s activities - no hassling from us!); doesn’t want us to look like fools going to the diner (manager asked us to check up on her and does not think it’s a good idea for her to be out all night, at the diner!). Problem is, her 40-year-old niece works at another food chain that Mom frequents (so much that employees gave her her ‘own table’). Niece is hurt that Mom never remembers her name, let alone that they are related. Niece said I should be watching her, which I’ve been doing . . .

Thank you all for listening. I’ve really gotten some good info from you all and appreciate that.
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It sounds like your mother is suffering from dementia....in so many examples of what you say. None of her behavior is normal,,,,..staying out all night at a diner, falling off of a stool, shooting off a gun in the house......and then the Memory problems, not knowing her nieces name, not asking about her grandson, etc. And then the hiding .......trying to cover up the falls, the mistakes, the inadequacies she's obviously trying to cover up. It all adds up. What you can DO about it is another matter entirely. All this HIIPPA nonsense is causing more trouble than it's curing, in my opinion. Send her doctor that fax, and be sure to mention your deep concern with her cognitive decline of late. Unfortunately, there isn't much you can do until she either asks for your help or winds up in an emergency situation and in the hospital where she can have a full work up.
Best of luck!
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Katsmihur Aug 12, 2019
Good article. I can identify seven symptoms that Mom definitely has:
https://www.activebeat.com/your-health/the-10-common-symptoms-of-dementia/14/

I’ll be including this article in the mailed version of my letter to her doc.
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Have you and/or husband made local police, fire, etc. that mom has a gun and is entering dementia? (She is for sure.) Lives could be at stake here and frankly I would not care how angry she got, or cold shoulder or any of that in circumstances where a gun was present.
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Katsmihur Aug 10, 2019
Yes, we spoke to the police today. I guess it’s not against the law for her to have Dad’s gun he carried decades ago. Mom’s gun incident was five years ago and since then we’ve had numerous discussions with her to sell it, but she doesn’t want to.

Prior to June, I did care whether Mom was angry at me. But through this forum, I’ve learned so much. Also in a monthly caregiver support group, so I feel well connected, and my concerns about her behavior have been validated.

She doesn’t think she has a hearing problem (because we talk low, she says). There’s no way she’s letting me go to her doc, so will fax my second letter to him Monday. Even though the office told me the doc can’t talk to me, I’ll continue to write letters and fax to the practice - weekly, if needed. And yes, I’ve had numerous discussions with her that I should be on her HIPPA, as I’m all she’s got. Deaf ears - literally and figuratively.
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