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My mother is 85. After a fall 15 months ago, she’s had episodes of mental impairment. She will be fine for a few weeks and then not for a few weeks. And then the cycle repeats, over and over. When good, she can plan meals, make grocery lists, prepare meals. When bad, she can’t do any of this. My father steps in and prompts/leads her through the days.


My question is, during a good week, should I talk to her about the bad weeks? Is it a good idea to shatter someone’s perception of themselves? Is there a valid reason for doing this?

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It depends - if she is aware that something is awry and that she is missing big chunks of her life it might be helpful to her to have you validate what she is experiencing by allowing her to talk about her fears and frustrations. If, on the other hand, she has no self awareness and this is an exercise in trying to convince her that she has dementia then no, especially if she has been told repeatedly and just can't remember - what purpose would that serve?.
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jazzyabby Dec 14, 2019
When she is in a good week, I don’t think she remembers the bad weeks. During the bad weeks, she knows something isn’t right with her.

This is my dilemma. You are correct. Since she has short term memory loss, would she even remember a conversation I have with her? Is there a point to telling her what is happening.

I want to have a talk with her because I feel I’m enabling the denial. But is that a good reason? Is there a point to it?
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It sounds as though your father is very supportive which is a blessing. Perhaps at this point that is enough.

I had to inform my mother of her issues regarding mental impairment. She lived alone and in general was going downhill. She was making alot of financial errors in judgement. That was what I first could try and get control of. She entered AL. With your father present I guess the discussion would be between you too. You are fortunate in that there are good weeks. My mother's stroke just helped stop some of her unrealistic behavior such as attempting to market a book she had self published that there was no interest in.

My mother had been a serious professional dancer in her youth. She also had an ability to draw well. As she aged all this regressed and she sought life choices that never served her well. I have had to deal with the aftermath of that. Didn't mean to turn this into about me but just giving an example possibly to help you decide. I will hope for better times for your family.
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jazzyabby Dec 14, 2019
Thank you. I’ve been reading this forum for a few months and it has helped me knowing how others have handled similar circumstances. And to understand something now about what may happen in the future.

Of the two sets of parents, only my DH’s father has died. From him we learned a lot about anastognosia and hospital induced delirium. We always felt he was changing so fast, we couldn’t keep up figuring out what was happening.

Thank you for the suggestion that this “talk” may be better with my father. He’s in denial but he, at least, has experience with my mother’s bad weeks. I don’t think my mother remembers them. When the good weeks start, she has trouble understanding why everyone is treating her so differently.
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Not to worry Jazzy, category really doesn't matter unless you are wanting to read about that category.

Has mom been seen by a geriatric doc and evaluated for dementia which can be caused by strokes? Her level of function and ability to do activities of daily living fluctuate? How often do you see her? How do you get information about her? Maybe you are not being told the truth? Could be someone's denial on how difficult things have become for her.
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jazzyabby Dec 14, 2019
No, she hasn’t been seen by any doctor other than her normal ones: GP, Cardiologist, Pulmonologist, Opthalmalogist. She would not have a pace maker if I had not insisted we find out why she was having dizzy spells. She would not be using a CPAP if I had not taken her to ER when she couldn’t stop coughing.

She has allowed me to be at all doctors visits for the last couple of years and manage her medications because she knows she was having trouble keeping track of doctors instructions and medication renewals and her daily/weekly pill boxes.

I see my mother every day. Ten years ago they moved in next door to my husband and I. Their reason for doing this was to move to a city where 3 of their children live so they would have help in their later years. I’m the oldest and also the only one of their children not working. All this sounds good and I was glad they did this. BUT...Neither they nor I had any knowledge of the aging process. They moved their young family across the country away from all relatives. I didn’t know how getting older affected people’s reasoning and judgement while at the same time allowing them to believe they are mentally ok.

There is definitely denial in both of them. Denial of their own abilities and of each other’s.
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I’m sorry this is not in the correct category. I could not figure out how to change it.
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