My mother just turned 70. She is having more memory issues with little things. I don't know what to do.


I am an only child. She lives at home with a friend who also has trouble with depression. I've noticed some odd things... sending two cards at once, more hoarding behavior, repeating the same question or statement 5 times in a conversation, talking about sex alot, keeping irregular sleep patterns, etc. I go back between my house and my boyriend's home and work two jobs. We don't have a whole lot of money for paid help to come in. I'm not really sure if these things are normal for 70 years or not. I did talk to her primary care doctor about my concerns this week.... they prescribed an anxiety medication in addition to the depression medication. Please give me any suggestions or guideance.

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I'm 71. My memory sure isn't as good as it used to be, and sometimes I tell a person the same news twice -- but never five times in the same day! I haven't started talking about sex a lot. I'm pretty messy but not hoarding. Hearing your description of your mother makes me think there may be more than aging going on here.

But depression can be behind these behaviors, and you already know she has depression. Is her PCP an internist or a family doctor? Your mother may benefit from seeing a geriatric psychiatrist or at least a geriatrician. Someone who doesn't specialize in mental health or in treating the elderly may not be the right person for this particular problem.

Maybe Mom needs a different antidepressant instead of or in addition to an anti-anxiety med.

Do you think her roommate's depression has an effect on Mom?

Keep an eye on her. My suggestion is to have her checked out by a specialist. Get the depression under control.

And congratulations on having all the paperwork in place! Good for you! I'm sure you'll be proactive for your mother's health.

Medicare does not pay for in-home help. Medicaid does. Would she be eligible for Medicaid?
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She does have a POA, Deed of Gift, Will, Advanced Directive made out and funeral arrangements prepaid. That was an unpleasant process, but we had a discussion like that last year after her friends had some difficult experiences. I'm going to try to get her on a schedule, but that has been really hard. She has severe hearing loss.... we've purchased two new Clarity Phones and she does have a hearing impaired alarm too, but she just doesn't want to stick to a regular sleep schedule (or take medications at a regular time). Alot of her bills were set up a while ago to come out automatically, but I think I will need to set up a time to go through everything with her (and help her with the hoarding behavior too some). We cannot afford to pay for home help right now, but maybe Medicare covers that? I will try to search for the AARP memory issue article. That may ease my worries.
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I can't speak to depression but the aging process does result in different behavior. Having said that, the fact that you are noting some changes is cause enough to begin steps to help protect her in the future. Help her make sure that her paperwork is in order --- health care proxy? POA? Will? If you think she will balk, gentle story telling may be in order "Gee Mom my neighbor's Mom has had some health issues recently and friend wasn't able to pay her bills or speak with the doctor " or whatever will help get her off the dime. If she goes the memory care route, having processes in place can help. Can you help her set up a system to take meds on time? That routine often goes early and then no meds on top of other issues really hurts! Can you visit when bills are due to be paid and say , oh let me help you with that. Can you get her to add you her bank/checking account so that you would be able to pay her bills? 70 isn't old (and I am sure many others here will agree). But some people do exhibit memory loss early on. AARP had an interesting article stating when memory issues were a concern vs normal forgetting. e.g. misplacing keys - routine ; not knowing what the keys are for = problem.
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