How can I reassure my Mom that I'm not trying to make her feel bad or stupid with her memory problems? - AgingCare.com

How can I reassure my Mom that I'm not trying to make her feel bad or stupid with her memory problems?

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I moved in with Mom a couple of years ago. Living with mom (with my dad that i took care of for some years) and I'm 60 years old to keep an eye on them both...altho they have been divorced for 40 years...dad is gone now ( 1year ago) and my disabled brother also moved in...another brother and his 20 year old son are now with us....we all pay to live here..altho I am the main caregiver, so to speak. we live in a big house....My mom is 78...she was recently in the hospital and rehab for 5 months due to intestinal problems resulting in a colostomy...it has been very hard to dealwith her in trying to get her to take care of it herself...she has finally lost fear of it and can do it herself....but now the main problem is her memory...altho she repeats herself a lot..I believe she uses it as a means to avoid certain subjects...but the truth is that she IS having memory problems and when we try to tell her, she gets very angry and tries to make us feel bad about telling her so...she thinks we are trying hurt her fellings or control her somehow........I hope she can be happy.....im so worried about the future..

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Another help is to remember to react every time as though it's the first time you've heard it so you don't unconsciously remind her that she's told you already. My kids were young when Dad was ill - I learned a lot from them about rolling with things, finding humor in it all and how little of it really is a blip on the radar. If Gpa put ranch on his spaghetti and meat sauce, they put ranch on theirs too. They intuitively knew that making things a game kept Dad from being frustrated or upset that he'd somehow messed up.
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My mom gets frustrated with her memory problems at times and tells me that she's stupid, that she's an idiot. I simply tell her no, that she's not stupid, it's just that her brain has short-circuited a bit due to a health problem and that's causing her problems. It's not her fault and she's not stupid, that that is why she's going to doctors and taking medication. That makes her happy for a while.
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How can you reassure her that you're not trying to make her feel bad, or stupid?

Don't tell her things that make her feel bad or stupid.

If she hasn't figured out that she is forgetful, she doesn't need to learn it from you.
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My mom lives with us. She's 87 years old. She's nutty as a fruitcake. Know what I've never done? I've never told her she's having memory problems. I've never said, "You already told me that, mom." I've never said, "You're getting forgetful." Never once. What's the point?

She's so loopy, she wouldn't believe me anyway.

Listen to the same story three times. Listen to her say how she was at the store yesterday and bought you a gift. (Mom does that a lot. She hasn't been shopping in two years.) "Oh, thank you, mom! It was lovely!!"

Trying to tell someone with dementia that they're losing it is like putting screen doors on submarines. Forget it. Use loving manipulation to get what you want. Works every time. Well....ALMOST. ;)
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Let her think she is in charge. You will know better, but don't let on.
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Best thing to do is not tell her that she has memory problems, she already knows that something is amiss.... but it won't be easy to get everyone in the household to be onboard thinking the same way.

If she has been in and out of the hospital/rehab a lot, that can makes one's memory slow to respond. Give her time. Or she could be developing dementia. Once we get to a certain age our memory takes longer to find the information we want. Some repeat things over and over trying to jar lose whatever they are trying to find in their memory.

Just let Mom age gracefully.... try to find humor in her forgetfulness if done in a playful loving way. At one office I worked at, our front desk receptionist was in her 80's and she would forget she had someone on hold, etc. but she would laugh it off, blame her age, and announce to us it will probably happen again, and that she had earned her right to be forgetful :)
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