Follow
Share

My mom is 86 and still very proud and positive. She writes down dates and notes that keep her going daily. I resist the urge to say I have heard that 30 times before because I know it will upset her and anger is something she does not forget. I know one of her children, myself included, needs to get her to the doctor though she says she is fine. I have seen here vitamin b12 is a good thing, so I will look into that ASAP. I have been there for both of my parents and live the furthest from them and drive to help out, after all they put up with my wild teenage years and stayed intact. The least I can do is show them I care. Any advice that has the best results for memory I will take to heart. I have had family members say we need to all get together and confront her memory loss, but I don't think it is a good idea. She remembers anger well and it could ruin her spirit. Do you agree with this thought? I don't see what is gained from it. Patience is a virtue. Accept the loss and save the good spirit is my belief. Thank You, Kirk.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
What would be the point in confronting her about her memory loss? If she brings it up, "I seem to be more forgetful lately," you can agree. "I've noticed that too. You do a great job with notes and reminders, though. Let's get you a doctor appointment to see if you might have a vitamin deficiency or something like that."

Getting her to a doctor, in case the causes are treatable, seems more important to me than confronting her. Once you have a little more information about her condition, then you and your siblings can have a meeting and discuss what to do in the short term, and also come up with a tentative long-term plan.

After my mother began showing signs of dementia my sibs and I arranged for more and more care for her in her apartment. With things like a visiting nurse to oversee medications, cleaning, laundry, and meals on wheels I think we gave her about 4 extra years of independence. When she needed more care she moved in with my sister (essentially assisted living level care) and after that she spent the last 2 years of her life in a nursing home. By the way, she never knew that she had dementia and she was aware that she "had some memory problems." I share this to illustrate that you and your sibs can certainly do what is best for your mother now and as things progress, without ever confronting her.

I strongly recommend against a confrontation.
Helpful Answer (16)
Report

Let me see if I understand your concerns. You and siblings have noticed a change in your mothers memory. You are concerned that if you confront her, she will become angry and you know from experience that she doesn't forget her anger at being questioned. You would all like for her to get her memory checked.
Explore with me for a moment. You get her to a dr and learn that her cognitive ability is in decline. Then what? Is your mothers memory loss causing her problems with her essential life skills? Is she eating, bathing? Paying her bills? Keeping her home clean? Does she drive? Take her necessary medication? Is she living alone? Does she have help with her food shopping and preparation? Give us a bit more detail. It doesn't do much good to upset her if you don't have a plan on how to keep her safe and well cared for. If mom is able to make her own decisions you have to accept that. If she's not, you need to take action. I wish you the best in caring for your mom.
Helpful Answer (12)
Report

If you have concerns you should document specific examples and take that to her doctor, if no one has medical poa/healthcare proxy at this point you can nonetheless write the doc a letter giving them a heads up that you want some testing. (A wise doctor could get it done under the pretense of routine testing for their elderly patients). Any fall out would then be directed at the doctor, not family.
I expect that your sibs want a confirmation of their belief that she should begin to explore a change in her living arrangements, looking toward future mental and physical decline. It would be best for all if a negative diagnosis gave mom the impetus to make reasonable arrangements for herself, but if she stubbornly refuses to accept reality then at least the first step of documenting early dementia (or not) will have been made.

And to answer your statement about patience being a virtue, sometimes it is merely a cop out, a way to defer an unpleasant task. My own mom remained in her home after my father died and she lost her eyesight. She was resistant to change and we were busy with our own lives, but I believe that allowing that to continue was a terrible thing... I shudder to think how lonely and isolated she must have been.
Helpful Answer (10)
Report

I would NEVER say a word to my mother about her obvious mental decline. There's absolutely no point to be made, and nothing good can come of it.
Mother is noticeably declining--she can't do the crossword in 20 minutes, it takes all day and it's the "easy one". She can't remember who people are, or what she did yesterday, but she can tell you in detail about something that happened 70 years ago.
Sometimes she's stuck for a word or name, and I'll gently remind her, or help her if I can, and she'll say "What is wrong with me?" I just say, "Oh well, too many things to have remembered for 87 years". She has all her affairs in order, so we don't have to worry about her making crazy financial decisions. She's just going from day to day. I'll email the 3 MIA sibs from time to time and remind them to call or visit--preferably visit. They do or don't. She wasn't a stellar, loving, involved mother. My sis said yesterday "She hasn't really been a part of my life for 43 years, Why should I bother trying to have anything other than a superficial relationship with her now?" (Sis is very practical and supper Zen.) The other sibs just don't care, really. I care for her a couple days a week, doing whatever she'll allow me. When she gets under my skin, I leave.
Getting together as a family to tell her she's losing it? Why? To what end? My kids tell me in one breath I'm losing it and in the next ask me to fly 800 miles and tend their small kids for a week. Of course I am "losing it". We all are. Sheesh.
Talk together about concerns for Mom's well being in the privacy of one of your homes, but don't share it with mom. Being confronted by all the kids at one time over something is hurtful to the max.
Helpful Answer (8)
Report

ahelpingson, if you and your family feel that Mom does have memory issues, the whole family needs to learn everything they can about dementia/Alzheimer's so that when Mom does something out of the ordinary, you will understand it is just part of having memory issues.

Scroll down to the bottom of this page to the blue section. On your left you will see ALZHEIMER'S CARE, click on that. Now scroll through all the articles and pick out what you feel reflect Mom... and make copies for the rest of the family.

We all have some memory loss as we age... my boss and I are always trying to figure out someone's name :P
Helpful Answer (6)
Report

Dementia patients are angry with the world that they can no longer understand. I think the first thing to do is to have a family meeting, online or by phone, or even email, and select one person to suggest to mom as possible and a back up to that person. Have a 3rd just in case. Get the POA done *first* before Mom gets mad. 😉

Then take her to the doc after she's forgotten about the POA. Then she won't revoke it when she has to face that she really does not remember things and has trouble filling in the gaps.
Helpful Answer (5)
Report

"Confronting" a person with cognitive decline is the wrong road to take.

As mentioned above, work on getting the important legal docs in place. Get her to her doctor and outline your concerns about her memory/cognition in a brief written document you hand to the receptionist when you arrive. Or fax email it beforehand.

One hopes the doctor will suggest a workup for memory loss " to get a baseline measure" or " to rule out certain conditions".
Helpful Answer (5)
Report

Wow, My mom still drives, and cooks, she is very clean and organized. I know grief has been a large part in all of this, she has told me she has been depressed but will not join a grief counseling session. I see the need for the family to participate in the shopping. She has RA and it hurts her knees much of the time. I speak with her 3 or 4 times daily. Her memory surprises me at the same time it concerns me.
I work for my parents business and her business pays all of her bill's, she asked us to do this for her. She knows she is forgetful and even purchased a book to sharpen memory loss. Her vision is great and does not wear glasses, a gene I didn't inherit. Gently reminding her would be the best way to handle this, I comment on my memory to ease the tension.I will go see her next week and get her to her doctor's, it has been a long time. I stay there a few days at a time and she is the mom I have all way's known, I just need repeat myself more than before. I appreciate the input here, my father had dementia and I don't see that in her at this time.
Thank you for the valuable input here, I appreciate it!
Helpful Answer (5)
Report

Great suggestions above. Get the paperwork done on the premise that it just needs to be done now, while everything is fine. If she's angry, she may refuse to do it. Afterwards, I'd try to get a family member to go visit with mom for a few days, so they can observe how she's doing. Check the fridge for spoiled food, landry being done, bills paid, chat with neighbors, ask about anything odd going on, hoarding?,, count medications and compare to date they were filled to confirm compliance, etc. There's a lot to check on. I'd make notes on the findings and then have the family discuss what to do, if she needs help. ALSO, EVEN IF she has cognitive decline and is in need of help, it's highly likely that you will not be able to convince her of this. IMO, few people will accept it. There are ways to deal with that, but, getting her to agree with a diagnosis of cognitive decline or dementia, is highly unlikely. Maybe, if the doctor tells her, but still.....sometimes the brain just cannot accept it. So, as long as she is cared for and protected, having her confronted and accept it, may not be necessary.  Of course, a complete medical check up would be good, so other ailments can be ruled out and/or treated.  Having the doctor know what's going on is a plus.  The family member can provide that info on a memo so he knows what's going on at home and can order the appropriate tests.
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

I was worried about my and my husband's memory. I went to a gerontologist and had a slew of testing done. I also enrolled in a Federal program on a new way to test for Alzheimer's. I don't have dementia but my Vitamin B12 was low. He put me on a gummy bear thingy a day and I could tell the difference immediately. Unfortunately, we found out at the same time that my husband does have some dementia.
I agree with others that a physical exam with a specialist would be worth the time.
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

See All Answers
This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.

Ask a Question

Subscribe to
Our Newsletter