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My mom is 87 and I have noticed that when she encounters a problem, any problem, the first solution that comes in her head is the “one and only solution”. The solution to that problem must be done immediately. She has been screened for dementia and Alzheimer’s. I will give you an example. If she normally would have a sandwich for lunch and she doesn’t have luncheon meat, ketchup etc. She will drive herself to the store (without a list) get the luncheon meat and go home make her lunch and eat. If the same thing happens the next day, but this time it’s something else like chips etc. She will go back to the store the next day. She won’t consider eating other foods in the house like a frozen meal or a can of soup. Once “The solution” is in her head it’s the only one. I try to work with her on these issues but when I make suggestions I get a forlorn reply of “I guess I could have done that”. Anyone else have this going on????

My mom, 83 undiagnosed dementia, will not allow me to purchase "backups" when I take her shopping. Example, OJ is 1/3 full. I can't get her to buy a backup because "she still has some". Doesn't matter that these issues mean multiple trips to the store instead of just one. Maddening. The issue isn't money. She does not see the value in having extra on hand.
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Reply to bolliveb
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I recall similar problems, which worsened and persist now. It may be that she's on the verge of some mental decline from aging that her dr has not detected. Are you able to talk to her dr? or go with her to that dr? or as others suggest, seen another dr, specialist? You might be in a better position to tell drs what you've observed because she maybe doesn't think of it at all when there.

As for the same thing or nothing, I've experienced that, too. It's got to be that way or they don't want it. I'm not sure where it comes from; we all get used to things being a certain way. It may be a control thing or a comfort. It's concerning that she's not thinking to get those things and makes daily trips.

Since she's not thinking to get whatever is needed at the grocery store by either not making a list or not adding to a list, or forgetting the list, it sounds a lot like she needs help and does not realize it ~ dementia diagnosis or not. I experienced this, and later learned more help was needed. They often don't ask for help; it happens in little things here and there. Perhaps you could order what she needs from the grocery store and use weekly delivery? If you're nearby, you may need to check her cupboards and fridge to know what she needs. At 87, she may be at risk driving much, and not realize that either. You can present it in a helpful way so she doesn't perceive it as taking something away from her. If you can get something like Meals on Wheels or another microwave heat up meal service, too, that would help make sure she's got prepared, cooked meals vs trying to cook or eating too many frozen tv dinners.
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Reply to lilhelp
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Lea,

Your mom’s personality sounds so similar to my husband’s (deceased) grandmother. She drove everyone around her nuts. I think she even drove herself nuts!

My MIL (her only daughter who was the polar opposite of her mom) tried to warn me not to try to make sense of her mom. In my twenties, I was a bit naive about the elderly.

The family joke was that they broke the mold when she was made.

Isn’t it interesting that women like this has sweethearts for husbands? My MIL took after her dad.

I guess they had to be sweethearts to put up with all of the shopping and demands.
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
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If you try to make sense of the actions and thought processes of the elderly, you'll drive YOURSELF mad. Nothing they do or say makes much sense to US, but it makes sense to THEM. This is one reason we encourage living separate lives; so they can do Them and so we can do Us. Without our folks focusing on what we are doing, and without us focusing on what our folks are doing. Because, in the end, who really cares?

My 94 y/o mother spent her entire life in the stores, shopping, cooking, doing things 'her way'. Food was her life and in many ways, it still is as she's obsessed with it. Now she's wheelchair bound & living in Memory Care with moderately advanced dementia. She'd cut off her right arm to be able to drive to the store to buy whatever she'd like to eat for lunch and say No Thanks to whatever they're serving at the MC.

It's all about perspective, I guess.

Leave your mother alone to do whatever she wants to do while she's still able. Soon enough, most of her liberties will be stripped away from her anyway as age and infirmity creep up & rob her of what's left of her life.
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Reply to lealonnie1
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My mother popped to the shops daily for "oh, just one or two bits and pieces." Never made list. And I can't imagine she ever had any idea what was in her kitchen cupboards - rather than clear them out, she'd buy a free-standing rack or trolley for whatever needed putting away next.

Does it matter if your mother pleases herself about this? It's at least partly recreational, and evidently as well she finds it less effort than efficient planning. Is it a real problem?
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Reply to Countrymouse
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Sometimes we all get stuck in a rut but those are temporary.

Occasionally, I have found myself eating the same thing for lunch too.

That’s odd that your mom runs to the store daily. What was her previous shopping routine?

My mom never went shopping daily. She generally eats whatever is on hand. Everyone gets a craving for something special but again it’s not a daily occurrence.

I believe their attitude came from the depression era.

My grandmother was the same way as mom. Grandma’s favorite expression when she was running low on groceries was, “Make do!”

It’s funny because I find myself echoing grandma’s words when I am out of items.
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
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Mom does this.


But she has ONE thing that she eats everyday, 7 days a week. A salad, if you can call this concoction a 'salad' it's mostly the dressing. It has the exact same 7 ingredients EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

If she runs out of one of the ingredients, she just doesn't eat.

She has some level of dementia, but really, who cares if she does? She no longer drives, she is so stressed out by the last year and being in totally lockdown--we kind of choose our battles with her.

I don't know what you could do to get mom to make a 'different' decision. Keep her cupboards stocked a little better? If she craves ONE thing more than anything else, just keep a good supply of that on hand.

Or introduce her to DoorDash. She could order practically anything. That, however, could be more of a problem than you want to handle.
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Reply to Midkid58
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NeedHelpWithMom Mar 16, 2021
My daughter orders from Door Dash. It’s convenient for every now and then. The only thing I get delivered is pizza! 😊
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What kind of "screening" was done?

A full neuropsych workup would show that she has lost some degree of executive functioning and can't plan her life the way she used to. At least I assume she used to be able to plan.

Most screenings look at memory and basic neurological functions.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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no dementia was found.
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Reply to Jhalldenton
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You say she has had a full screening for dementia. But you don't tell us the results of the screening. Could you tell us those results?
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Reply to AlvaDeer
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Jhalldenton Mar 16, 2021
no dementia was found.
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