I think my mom might be trying to divert attention away from herself because she is sick. What should I do? - AgingCare.com

I think my mom might be trying to divert attention away from herself because she is sick. What should I do?


I live next door to my parents and intereact with them everyday. My mother, who has had declining health for about five years now, is constantly trying to point out things that my dad does that she beleives indicates he has Altzheimers. My dad behaves in a way, and has the memory of a 76 year old. There is nothing there to indicate he has Altzheimers. If my dad forgets to mail letters, she points it out to him, me, and anyone who will listen. Literally everything. Just yesterday, she was writing a check at a store and wrote it out to a completely different store that she was at, and left her ID behind. She said 'don't tell your father.' When I asked why she didn't want me to tell him, she said "you don't believe anything I tell you he's doing." I don't know what to do. I think she might be trying to divert attention away from her because she is sick. Honestly, I want to start pointing every little thing out to her that she forgets but I love her and don't want to be mean but I want her to leave my father alone. Just today she told me the same story twice in a matter of about 6 hours which she constantly does. I don't know what to do.

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Good to hear.(Agent)
 and i hope again she does NOT have it. God bless you, and you're a great child of your parents, to care this way.adios.
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Thanks for all the answers everybody. You guys are very helpful. I think I'm just going to monitor them both.
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I wholly agree w/each part if it too.
My closer friend (he is only in his late 20s! near early 30s)he forget literally alot and i am friends with a man mid 50s i know, and he forget just about
everything lol he said since mid 20s ya know AND his recent check-up was fine, no sign of a dementia et.al., he is great.

As far as the thread starter OP(ORIGINAL POSTER?)
I understand her concern, the op(original poster)

Chica....In any event, just speak to your mother, insofar as "how she repeat herself at times, as you're citing six hrs. the same convo et.al.,"I have a friend who just says, "Mom(with a smile) you're just telling me this a week ago lol or a few hours ago,then they both are "ok"with it,and laugh it off,and have a great healthy productive day. It do not happen "each conversation she said,but it happens at times for only the past 6 to 7 months off and on nowe. Her mother who does NOT have dem,  and is in her late 70s-early 80s and she does the same as i witness this and we always laugh smile joke.A woman who do not even seem old/senior citizen yet, because she has been blessed in life as her mother, my friend mom do not seem her age at all. Dr. told her she is fine... Doing exceptionally well and a sign of old age feasibly...Nothing more as she is healthy but simply forget about a few things she said "earlier."But she is fine. Part of old age/aging et.al., 
Personally,if i was you, and this concern,Agent:

Just monitor things/changes,insofar as your mother  "forgetting and or repeating a thing she did or say or did not say doesn't mean what you're feasibly thinking, that is just again my OWN opinion.One last thing i want to share this morning with you:

A few things, dr., share with me as an advocate/learning so much more now for a long time
Bills are being remembered as being paid/and or due =Not Alz,Not light to mild dementia or full dementia at all.
REMEMBERING just about everything of such relevance, = Not Alz,Dem.
Repeating a few conversations she or he just had a day or two ago or 1 to six hours ago the(original poster/thread starter)has said "six hours?"This happens when you're elder senior citizen mid 60s and up, at a certain age,not for all but some."Even younger people do that under mid 50s at times or younger.Does not men she is "ill w/a type of early dementia."As several dr's i have spoken to as an advocate,and shall continue doing so, i recall few trained in this field was advising me how it really is just a sign of a person aging et.al., in their 70s t0s 80s,90s.Hence,agreeing with the member FREQFLYER post.God bless you, and yours,Agent and everyone here.Adios.
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97yearoldmom said exactly what I was about to say - best to persuade them both to get themselves checked out. Make the key point to them that this is for clarity and reassurance, so that you all know where you are and how best to stay in control. It's not about accusing "anyone" of losing her marbles.

And anyway, that's true. It's very difficult to know what absence of mind and other difficulties could be the result of stress and anxiety separately from any physical health problems. Better to find out for sure what's going on than to have this nameless dread hanging over her.
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Time for a baseline evaluation for both. If they both see the same doctor, call and ask him about a referral for them to have a baseline assessment. If all is well, it will make them quit worrying about it which in itself is valuable. I'm not saying that the examples you give are that bad, I'm just saying that for lots of reasons you can check it out and make everyone feel better.
There is so much on tv about different meds etc, it's easy to see how someone might think there is something wrong just by watching tv.
I have a mean SIL. She picked on her husband all the time. If she lost at cards, it was his fault. If she forgot something at the store, it was his fault. He was constantly having to do for her and he lived to make her happy. Some thought they had a great marriage because they didn't know how she belittled his memory etc.
At 68, on a hot summer day, he was mending their fence, left to go get more supplies and had a heart attack and died. She felt so bad (for several weeks) about how hard she had been on him. It was true and she should feel bad. She's about ran the rest of her family away with her constant complaints. I'm not saying your mom is that bad but it does make it very uncomfortable to see someone you love being abused.
You worrying about them is one thing. His having to live with being harassed is another and her worried about both their of their health is yet another. So instead of worrying, take action and see what the issues really are. Come back and let us know what you decide to do and if it helps.
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There could be any number of things going on with either or both of your parents. Maybe just old age but your mom sounds like early stage dementia. My dad starting getting forgetful about 6 years ago. I wrote it off as old age, at that time. It's clear now he has some form of dementia at an early moderate level.

This may be a case of the pot calling the kettle black. Mom needs to understand that crabbing at you dad solves nothing. Most people with dementia think they are just find.

Mom and I have to work around my dads loss of memory. We don't remind him all the time of his lapses, just divert, fib a little and keep him happy.
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agentcooper, forgetting things are the normal part of aging, it will happen to all of us [I have my moments]. From what you have written, it sounds like your parents are just being normal for their age. Don't over analyze.

As for telling the same story within a certain time frame.... major memory loss is when a person tells a story, then 10 minutes later retells the same story. Six hour later isn't anything to worry about.

Do your parents have any friends that they can chat up with? A senior center that is close by that they can attend? If Mom is kept busy then she wouldn't have time to play neurologist.

As for writing a check for the wrong store, sounds like the shopping trip had tired her out, or she was thinking she needs things at that other store. Heavens, a couple years ago I handed a clerk at Hallmark my grocery card instead of the Hallmark discount card... it was just one of those mentally tiring days where I was at the grocery stores minutes prior.

Just keep a watch. If your parents aren't paying their bills on the time, or if there are too many old items in the refrig, or they aren't bathing, then become worried.
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Your mom is absolutely trying to divert attention away from herself by trying to convince everyone your dad is the one with the problem. She is aware she has health issues, and she may be scared that both she and your dad will go down at the same time. Would she believe your dad's doctor if HE told her your dad is ok? Make an appointment for the three of you to go together. Since mom is certain Dad has Alzheimer's, she shouldn't be averse to going. Tell her your dad needs to see the doctor for medications for this. She can't argue since she's the one who's convinced dad has this disease. It would be ideal if they saw the same doctor, because while you're there, the doctor could also observe her. I believe your mom knows what's going on with her. No one wants to readily admit there's an issue with their mental health. My mother did not want to admit she was having issues either. It was always someone else who was trying to confuse her. Confronting your mom about leaving Dad alone isn't going to work. Like I said, if she's convinced he has Alzheimer's then she knows he needs to see the doctor. If the doctor says there's nothing wrong with Dad, you can use that diagnosis to hush Mom up when she starts. If there is an issue, the doctor can prescribe meds for him and that should help the situation too.
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How does your dad take these criticisms? Does he understand that Mom herself is failing, and does he humor her? If so, all sounds OK. But if he gets defensive or hurt then helping him cope is the first order of business.

Of course you are not going to be so mean as to point out every little failure to your mother, but you might want to start tracking them and then evaluate the pattern that emerges. Is Mom just experiencing aging? Or is there something going on that should be discussed with her doctor?
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