My mother has recently started to rush through every activity she is engaged in. Can anyone relate and help me with suggestions on what to do? - AgingCare.com

My mother has recently started to rush through every activity she is engaged in. Can anyone relate and help me with suggestions on what to do?

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It is becoming hard to keep up with her pace, not only for my elderly father, but for me as well. If we are for instance eating together, she quickly finishes her meal and starts to get restless so that we feel we have to finish quickly and help her remove everything from the table to do the washing, etc. If she goes out, we barely arrive and she states she is ready to leave. My father cannot keep up with her anymore and neither can I. She seems unware of it and totally disregards other people's needs. I am in charge of my elderly parents, who are in their 80s. Thank you so much. Beatriz

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Lovely, country mouse I am a bbc radio4 listener and I will listen to the podcast tonight. Bless you for thinking of my mother and the no woman is an island made me laugh you are of course so right. It is hard to find the right balance because I can but symphatize with her struggle to keep whatever is left of her independency and privacy, even when we know we are all at some stage going to be humbled by our human circumstances, being us young or old but mainly in our advanced years the loss of control is unavoidable. Yet her identity is linked to her resistance, I have to give her that for not being humble also... Bbtwinks, what you describe about mom's visits to her doctor is so accurateraly what we guess takes place and when she comes back to us after consultation glowing with self-confidence and determined to keep us in the dark, except for mentioning how handsome her doctor and friend is, we mostly hope that she really is as healthy as she reports he finds her. Unfortunately this is not the case as we soon find out. As for contacting the doctor with our concerns, my brother tried it once without much success but you are right, we should try it again. It is however vital that she does not learn about it - I fear the confidentiality pledge is between patient and doctor, not extended to concerned family members? God bless you and many many thanks for being there for me.
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Perhaps you can contact mom's cardiologist, outside of mom's regular visit, and let him know what you have been observing . That way he knows and can refer your mom to the appropriate doctor/doctors. Mom is probably telling her doctor that everything is just fine and may not recognize her own behavior or the effect it is having on others. Good luck and God bless you...
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Beatrice, I was listening to a programme called "The Shock" last night, 24th April, and thought of your mother. You can get it as a 28 minute podcast from bbc.co.uk/radio4/ and going to the iPlayer section. It's quite interesting anyway, but there was a section in the middle about brain + heart + autonomic nervous system interactions which seemed relevant and might perhaps help explain how your mother is feeling.

If she won't discuss her health at all it must make life a bit difficult. Can you also be "firm" (I like that word!) with her about your and your father's Need To Know? Privacy and confidentiality are her right, of course, but she does also have to consider your legitimate concerns - no woman is an island, and all that.
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Thank you so much Countrymouse, Bbtwinks and cdnreader. You all raise valuable points and help me to ponder further on this. The possibility of being open with her about this does not exist, nor can we persuade her to see a geriatrician. Her doctor is a cardiologist and although we take her to appointments regularly, she keeps those mostly private. Mother is scared of losing control which is understandable at her age but then it is also impossible to avoid when she needs more help each passing day. Anxiety and the fear of running out of gas (she has referred to it once or twice) leading to panic are most probably causing the change in her behaviour, you are right. It is difficult when we all feel that she is rushing us, failing to enjoy whatever it is that we are sharing with her. I've noticed even my son standing up shortly after eating his meal and removing plates from the table. I am mildly but visually impaired, which means I have to do things slowly and carefully and this she finds irritating. I have had to be firm with her on occasion, pointing out that I needed more time to accomplish what was being demanded of me but it is difficult to do so without feeling that I am letting her down. I cannot thank you enough for being there for me. Just to hear from you made all the difference.
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In my daily paper, correspondents have recently been discussing how they react to stressful situations. It started with a lady reporting that she was finishing a hem on a sewing project when, six inches short of the end, she realised there wasn't going to be enough thread on the bobbin - infuriatingly. But in a sort of Hail Mary reaction, she put her foot down hard on the treadle and raced the last little bit in some kind of subconscious hope that if she was quick about it...

Similarly, drivers of both sexes wrote in about fears of running out of gas - some held their breath, some drove faster to get the journey over quicker, one lady turned the radio up louder (!).

So this makes me wonder - is your mother experiencing a kind of panic? An urgent need to crack on with everything before time or health runs out?

Without knowing your mother it's difficult to suggest how you might broach the subject. Is it possible for you to get her alone for a general heart-to-heart, and see if you can work round to how she is feeling about life?
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I'm wondering if your mom may be suffering from anxiety? Being in such a rush to do things can be a sign of being anxious such as: "I better get this done while I can still do it or before I feel bad" and etc. Also, have you asked mom why she is in such a rush? She may have an answer!  I also think that bringing mom's doctor on board is a really good idea.  He may have some good insights and solutions.
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Dear Beatriz,

I'm so sorry to hear what is happening with your mom. I wonder if this recent personality change is related to any meds she might be taking. Or is she depressed or anxious about something. Vascular dementia? I would ask her doctor and see if they can make some suggestions for this change in her. I know its a lot on you to care for both your parents. Its hard to see a change.

If your mom is finished eating, then I would let her be. And you and your dad should continue to take your time and finish your meal. Maybe consider leaving her at home for some errands now till you can figure out why she is all of sudden feeling rushed.
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