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I live far from my parents, and recently spent a week with them. It's been a long time since we've spent that much time in close quarters. A few things I'm worried about:
- Her temper seems to be right at the surface. She's always had a temper, but she controlled it. While visiting, my son did not know she was coming around behind the car and opened his door, hitting her. She pushed it back as hard as she could. He was not injured, but was very upset by it (he's 10 yrs old).

- She wasn't tracking conversations well. I'd tell her something, and minutes later she'd repeat it to me, saying either "I'm not sure who told me this, but..." or "So and so said...". We were very busy (seeing relatives, traveling, etc.) so it could be that she was tired.

- We were leaving a hotel that had those really big revolving doors - the kind you can take luggage in. As we entered the revolving door, she realized she had left something, and turned around to leave through the door, going against the rotation of the door. She didn't make it and got hit in the head by the door. This is not a mistake she would have made a few years ago.

I don't know if these things are part of the normal aging process, or if there is something more going on.

Appreciate any input you all can provide.

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This is a thread from several months ago, and if the original poster is getting any notices, it would be great to get an update. It does, honestly, sound like it could be early dementia to me, and it may have declared itself one way or the other by now. If it is still suspicious, a good geriatrician and/or neuro-geriatric evaluation would make sense. The near-injury to the 10 year old son is especially concerning.
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Your son is 10, you say.
I would be more worried about him at this point, and leave him home next time, for his own protection. Children of any age need to know that they can count on adults for stability and for protection. Even as an adult, I choose to never be in the presence of anyone who, for whatever reason, is going to "go off" on you. Either verbally, or physically. It is just too unpleasant and scary. Your Mom has picked your son to be irritable towards, please leave him home.
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This morning I listened to KPCC interviewing a PhD in Human Behavior. He (the PhD) said when you're used to doing things a certain way but get distracted by other thoughts, that's when things go wonky. The expert was speaking in reference to the 73 yr old man in Tulsa who reached for his taser, grabbed his pistol instead and killed a man. Personally, I have too much on my mind and wind up feeling like a road hazard. Maybe your mom and I should have lunch? It is no small thing that tomorrow is Tax Day. All the best,
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glasshalffull brought up a good point about getting your Mom's vision and hearing checked.

If anyone met my Mom for the first time they would think the poor gal had serious dementia as my Mom can't follow a conversation... but my Mom is sharp as a tack, it's her ever disappearing hearing and being almost blind that gives strangers a wrong impression... in fact, today my Mom was wondering if the CPA had sent form #### [she rattled off the form numbers, I can't remember them] as she said that she and Dad need to sign the form to authorize the CPA to e-file their taxes. Yikes, good for her.
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Maybe she was tired. Benjamin Franklin once said "Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days." She's 79, she gets tired, but she doesn't want you to know it. By your examples, I'm right there with her, doing silly stuff and saying silly stuff. Also when you're not used to being around young children, they can quickly wear you out.
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Have hearing and vision checked...conversations get lost when you miss words
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Please get medical check including check for UTI (urinary tract infection). Also medication check. Neurologist is a good idea. What does mom think?

Best wishes
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I'm also long distance from my parents and used to visit maybe 2 to 3 times a year. About 4 years ago I was alarmed at my dads lack of short term memory. Your story sounds very similar. He has refused any testing for dementia or alz but he has the classic signs. read up on the signs of dementia on this site.
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ncalice, It's nice to know your dad, sister and brother are all there to help if needed. Your dad may not want to "see" some of the issues but I'm betting he will have her best interests at heart if things should get worse. Issues are going to arise, seeing as how she's almost 80, but it doesn't have to mean something as drastic as Alzheimers or dementia is on the horizen. It could be that it's just an issue of advancing age. Glad you're going to be spending some time with her in a more relaxed setting in 6 weeks. Hopefully that time will help set your mind at ease.
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Thanks everyone. My sister mentioned a while back that she thought mom was having issues, but like me, she doesn't see her in her normal environment, so we don't have a lot to go on. I will ask my brother who lives nearby. Dad is healthy. When I asked him about it he didn't think there was an issue, but I wonder if he's protecting her. I know he was shaken by the door thing.

The revolving door was one we had been through multiple times already, we'd been at the hotel 2 days and were leaving, I think that's what shocked me the most.

I appreciate the feedback from everyone. I will be seeing her for a week again in about 6 weeks, under more relaxed conditions, so hopefully I can get a better read on her, in addition to asking my siblings what they are seeing.
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Most older people tend to get more cranky with age in my experience. Those who had anger issues already can get downright cantankerous! It's my guess that this is the result of slowly losing control of things they used to be able to easily control, especially in times of stress, as this was.

Does your mom have anyone close nearby...your dad? Any other siblings? A best friend? If you you might discuss your concerns with them and see if they can't keep a closer eye on her and then go from there. She might be fine when her she's back in her own day to day routine and if so, then you can relaxy for a few more years anyway.

You might want to check this forum from time to time so you'll be better prepared for what might happen in the future If she is in the early stages of any kind of dementia. Sign up for the question and answer email from this site...so many of the questions asked were just what was going through my own head. Forewarned is forearmed and this forum has been a godsend to me in dealing with my elderly father.
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In general, the older we get the more like ourselves we become.

If Mom has always had a temper she may just not be working as hard these days to keep it in check. I guess I'd be more concerned if she had always been mild-mannered and that had suddenly changed.

Those huge revolving doors don't look the same as a more common smaller ones so even though Mom knows how to use a revolving door it may not have quite registered that that is what this was.

I'm not making excuses for her but just agreeing that it is really hard to know if these things are part of the normal aging process, or if there is something more going on. Is Dad healthy? Would he recognize when things aren't right, or would he retreat into denial?
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Hi ncalice, it sounds to me like your mother should go for a checkup, and get a referral to a neurologist.
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Sounds like normal age decline... being with relatives can be very tiring physically and mentally. Also, maybe her prescription meds could be making her irritable... I've had some that have done that to me :P

Since you mentioned parents, has your Dad said anything to you about how Mom is acting, if not, and if he is still sharp, I wouldn't worry about it.
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