Do you know of seniors who are obsessed with the weather?

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I have a family member, who is in her mid 70's, who is obsessed with the weather. She doesn't have dementia, but does have anxiety, socializes quite a bit, attends church, visits with friends, has fairly good health, though she has many psychologically induced ailments, HOWEVER, when it comes to the weather, it's like she is totally obsessed.

During the spring and summer she is constantly watching the weather reports and Weather channel, worrying about storms, wind, rain, lightning, etc. She is so over the top about it. She sits up all night if storms are predicted. Our entire family is aware of this and she knows that a lot of the younger ones roll their eyes and patronize her about it, as she is very verbal in warming others about storms. It really is concerning.

I suppose there isn't much that can be done. She refuses medication, which the doctor has prescribed for her anxiety and she is adamant that she doesn't want to end this obsession! lol I've never known of anyone else like this before.

Answers 1 to 10 of 25
Why do you think this is not dementia, or its precursors? Has she had a workup by a geriatric psychiatrist or neuropsychologist?
I do keep dementia in mind when looking at things in seniors, especially after my cousin developed VaD, but, I don't see much with this person that she hasn't had for quite a few years. The psychologically induced ailments started when she was in her 40's. Although she's deathly afraid of lightning, the obsession with the weather didn't start until about 12 years ago.

I have discussed it with her primary, but she won't go to a psychiatrist. I did get my dad to one and he did quite well after diagnosis of Conversion Disorder and is on meds and doing very well now.

She refuses to take meds for anxiety, so......
Does she stay inside or go outdoors? Does she drive?

If she's out and about, I can easily understand this. Weather became more of a concern as my father aged. During the winter I added plenty of blankets and emergency supplies in the event of car problems and being stranded, even for a short time.

When he went on oxygen 24/7, I became even more concerned. I've made it a policy not to make any appointments, or I'll change appointments on sweltering 90+ days, because of the danger of co-morbidity factors being compounded by excessive heat. I also carry extra water in the car, and now plan to try to find some powdered Gatorade to carry as well.

I also follow weather closely for gardening purposes, but that's a bit of a different story, although gardeners I know do b/c (a) they start seeds indoors and during the change from winter to spring are constantly monitoring weather to determine if they can set their seeds out to harden off, and (b) for general purposes such as watering, mulching, harvesting, etc.

There's another remotely possible issue and that's that the storms often bring devastation, which I think frightens older people, and the news channels dwell on the disasters in all their dismal detail. People who are vulnerable I think can't help wondering what would happen to them if something like that occurred in their area.

Last year when (I believe it was) an island off Mass., was flooded, power was out, heat was out, and the situation was really a disaster, I couldn't help thinking what I would do if that happened here....with an older parent, no heat, no electricity, nothing to power the oxygen...even if there was a generator, it probably would be sitting underwater.

Those kinds of situations and the anxiety they create are real, for caregivers and for those who might be compromised if disaster struck.

Sunny, you write that she has many psychologically induced ailments. W/o prying, what are some of the others, and are they related to personal fears, situations that could create harm (including ones such as being in unsafe areas)?
Sorry she's refusing meds - it would probably help. OTOH, the weather takes her mind off all her other worries that undoubtedly are too hard to even think about. Try going at it more indirectly to find out if there is something else she might need to think or talk about and see if there is any way to make it safe for her. I'm proposing a little sneaky end-around amateur cognitive-behavioral therapy here, I know, and probably totally unrealistic, but there may not be anything else you can really do. Unless something like this would work: soulshepherding
My FIL is. I believe it helps take his mind off the myriad other things that worry him.
Like that he's going deaf. It worries him when he can't hear a conversation. But watching the weather lets him not worry about hearing because television weather reports are highly produced. The animated maps appeal to him with their swirling winds and temperature readings in big numbers. All that visual "stuff" popping up keeps him interested.
Okay, I'll confess. I'm 64 years old and fairly obsessed with weather. I find it fascinating. The big difference is that I won't stay up all night waiting for it and it doesn't cause me great anxiety... that is unless a tornado or hail storm is heading our direction. Tornadoes and hail scare me more than any other type storms.
I appreciate all of your comments. And thank you JessieBelle for your perspective of your own behavior. I will take that into consideration. I suppose it depends on the degree of the focus on certain things. My mother's just brings her so much misery. She is especially miserable through the stormy season and in the south, we get a lot of that in certain months.

I will address some of the questions to better highlight her situation.
She does get out in the yard and garden. She has lovely flowers, plants, and vegetables that she tends to with her husband, but they don't seem to be the reason she is obsessed with the weather. She does worry that hail will damage the cars.

I have played professional and tried to diagnose her and came up with her brain trying to focus on other things so that she won't have to deal with worries in her life. I know many of her worries and they aren't all that bad, although, I'm not 75 years old. I have to understand that you have certain fears at that age, that you don't when younger. All families have issues, but currently, there is nothing huge that is pressing her. One of the grandchildren has a serious medical condition, but that is stable. Mom's issues predate that problem though. Her misery is all in her own mind, imo.

She wasn't this way when I was growing up. It started later on. I recall her thinking she was dying and getting a complete physical exam at Duke Medical Center. They checked out everything and gave her a clean bill of health. She was livid. How dare they say there was nothing wrong with her. She KNEW something was very wrong. It started then. Endless doctor visits. She's had a few actual issues with GYNO problems, hernia surgery for that, and gout, but according to her it's constant and endless, though she has no awareness of how deep it is. Everyday, it's complaints of one or more of the following: constipation, diarrhea, headache, back pain, hot scalp, earache, sore eye, shoulder pain, nausea, funny looking vein on arm, odd feeling, just plain sick. The list is endless. She even says, "There is no need to see the doctor, because he'll just say there's nothing wrong with me." But, she does regularly see her primary and takes her pills for hypertension and Vitamin supplements that doctor has ordered.

Her medical files would fill an entire room. I know that previous doctors have suspected psychologically induced ailments, because she has shared how insulted she is that they have inquired if she was abused as a child! lol She's insulted by that. I know why they ask it. She denies it.

I've been working with her current primary and he is aware. He's prescribed various meds for anxiety and depression, but she always says she can't tolerate them. They make her feel funny. So, she keeps being obsessed with her ailments and the weather. She takes an occasional Vistaril, which does help her a lot. But, she is only suppose to take this for itching. It helps her anxiety a lot too.

She refuses to see a psychiatrist. That's the only doctor she won't see. lol
Oh, I forgot to add that she is very social. She has many friends and talks to them on the phone every day. They visit each other, she cooks wonderful meals, cleans, and babysits her grandchild.
Sunnygirl, the family is always the first to know when something is off. Some of the things you wrote about your mother fixating on imaginary health things made me think of my own mother. I believe there were three things involved -- vascular dementia, mental health, and liking her doctor too much. He doctor was kind and made her feel good about herself. My mother was cured of her need to go to the doctor when hers retired and she started seeing one she didn't like so much. Her dementia and arthritis were also advancing, making it less pleasant to go.

My mother didn't fixate on the weather, but she did fixate on imaginary problems with the house. This began after my father died 4 years ago and still continue.
My Dad [94] has been obsessed with the weather since he was child as he grew up on a farm and weather was pretty much #1 on everyone's radar, especially out in the midwest because of tornadoes.

Dad will call me at home if he knows of a tornado heading in my direction, that I will take notice as I am scared silly of tornadoes and hail [hail mainly because my house has skylights]. And if there is a lot of wind, I won't sleep upstairs.

The "Dad Weather Alerts" I will ignore are the ones like he will call and say "schools are closed in Chicago".... ok, but he and I both live in the Washington DC area so it doesn't affect us.

The weather obsession I now find is good, especially if Dad is sundowning he is alert about the weather and that helps me change the subject to weather.

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