View Full Version : My mom is so forgetful

04-03-2007, 12:28 AM
I Know she is depressed. I have taken her to the doctors several times. She gets meds, stays on them for any where from 1-4 weeks. Then she stops taking them for a variety of reasons. The most recent she thought she was. She told me she never stopped taking the pills her doc gave her. She was referring to her blood pressure pills not her depression pills. My DB is trying to help too, but we just don't know what to do.

The doctor a couple of weeks ago told me that depression can cause memory loss, and memory problems can cause depression. So we are going to try once again to take care of the depression, then deal with the memory if we still need to. I call her every day and make sure she is taking all 3 of her meds. (one being a vitamin). She swears she is. I have 3 teens and a 3 year old, plus work it is not feesable for me to drive to her house and make sure she is taking her pills, but I honestly don't know what else to do. She keeps complaining of weakness and a "quivery" feeling inside. Can someone tell me if they or anyone they love has experienced this. I like her doctor, but I'm afraid there might be something they are missing. Also, when I went with her to the doctors last time I went in the exam room with her and her blood pressure was 100 over 62 (or is that 62 over 100). She is 76 yrs old. I was under the impression that would be considered low. Is it? She is on Norvasc for high blood pressure. I am wondering if that should be decreased. I did mention to the doc that saw her, but it wasn't her regular doctor. She did say that that wasn't even as low as the last time she was in. I know I'm rambling but I just don't know what to do. My mom has slowly been getting more and more depressed since my DB died 10 years ago, but she was always able to get up and out. She continued to go to her place of employment and socialize up until recently.
Please if anyone can give me any help I would appreciate it. I know there are so many here with more serious problems, but I feel so helpless. I have begged my mom to go to counseling ever since my DB died, but she is old school and considers that a sign of weakness. I even told her when I went to a grief counselor.
Sorry to ramble. Thank you all for being here.

04-03-2007, 04:42 AM
Gee, I'm really sorry. I can't provide a ton of help, but here's what I can offer. The blood pressure sounds okay to me, 100/62 is a little low, the ideal is 120/70, but it's not terrible. I have low BP (100/60) but it's not bad enough to be on meds to raise it (but I am an otherwise healthy 20-year-old). Also, I'm on SSRIs (like prozac) for depression. I felt "quivery" at first, but it slowly got better, and was completely gone after five weeks. They take a while to work, about a month usually, so giving up after one-four weeks is a bad idea.

As for the grief counselor thing, I have no clue how to get her to go. My little sister died last month, and everyone in my family is going to a grief counselor. She really should see one, especially if she's depressed. Tell her you honestly think it's stronger to admit when you need help than to continue to slip and spiral down (if that's what you believe, that is). If you can figure out a way to say the following diplomatically (I had to tell a friend this a few months ago, and it was very difficult) this might make her get it: It's better for her to go get help than to drag you and your DB down. If she feels better, you all will (your whole family). There's nothing for her to lose. Tell her how much you're worried about her and that you wish she'd see the counselor at least once, for you. If she doesn't like it, you won't make her to go back.

As far as the "forgetting her meds" thing goes, have you tried getting her one of those pill containers with seven slots for the days of the week? I don't know how close or far your mother is from you, but maybe you and your DB can take turns going to her house once a week, talking to her, and filling the container for her, you can bring the kids, they might cheer her up (my grandparents are depressed, refuse meds or help, but feel better when their kids and grandkids are there). So all she has to do is rememberthe day of the week and to look in the pill box (and you can call her and tell her what day it is in conversation). I hope someone comes up with a better solution, though.

:hug: I hope all goes well for you, and your mom. Stay strong,

Mackey Mouse
04-03-2007, 06:51 AM
I felt sad this morning when I read this. I really have no firsthand experience to offer you as I missed the aging part of my parents.....they died way too young.

I agree with the previous poster though, maybe the pill container might help her keep track of her pills, but if she does not want to take them for whatever reason, she can just take them out and throw them away... I am hoping that you can get her to talk to someone and here's the thing, it has to be the right someone. Sometimes you might have to try several to find one who works for her. I do agree it would be great if you could get her some help and find a medication that works for her without any side effects...

Keep plugging here, coming here and asking advice from others who have been there is a step in the right direction....She does need to be helped and maybe others have more information for you on how to get that help.

04-03-2007, 09:37 PM
Thank you both.
I bought her one of those 7 day pill boxes. She couldn't open it. So I bought another one. Broke it in a little. She prefers the first one. I explained there should always be 3 pills in the boxes (days) she has left. She gets it completely while I'm telling her. It's when she is alone. I think she panics a little. I brought her groceries today. I called my DB and he came to my home to discuss what options we have. We have decided to continue on the course of action until her one month of being on the meds is up.
I have told her it is very difficult for us "kids" for her to be this depressed. We worry about her and it would make us feel better if she would go to a counselor. I understand that we have to find one she is comfortable with. She keeps saying she doesn't talk to strangers. AKA she only talks to us kids.
I spoke with her on the phone tonight. She sounded a little better.
Here is the thing that really concerns me. I hate to even say this, but I don't know where else to turn. Hopefully, someone here might understand. My mom has ALWAYS been an extremely neat, clean person. She was a hairdresser and would never have a dirty bathroom. Today when I went there her bathroom was filthy, like public bathroom filthy. I had to clean the toilet before I put my DD on it. That is sooooo not her. I tried to clean it the best I could, but she came in and stood over my shoulder, I don't want to depress her anymore than she is. I think the thought that I consider her to be "dirty" (which I'm certain would be the way she would interpret it) would depress her.

Thanks for being here for me. I am encouraged she sounded better tonight. Dh is afraid she is just trying to get attention. (like me running out and getting groceries for her). She may have played that card once or twice before. But not in a long time and this has been going on way too long.

Sorry, I'm rambling again. It helps. Even if noone reads it. It is like a little journal for me atleast.
Thanks again.


04-04-2007, 02:00 AM
I am so sorry you are going through this. My mother has Alzheimers and I am in no way saying that is what your mom has but I do know a bit what you are going through. Its very hard, alarming, frustrating, sad and draining to be in your situation. Here are my suggestions for what they are worth:

Definitely keep on this depression thing. She needs to take her meds regularly to assure that they work. It maybe that she needs a higher doseage or a differet anti depressant. I know, easier said than done. Would she be upset if you called her daily to remind her to take her meds? That would require you to have some sort of watch timer or system to alert you to make that call but it might help and be worth the effort since it would help put your mind at ease. If you feel that the doctor is not advocating for your mother 100%, find a different doctor. We went round and round for about two years with her oncologist (my mom also has cancer) who often made us feel like we were strange to want resolution with her memory. So we took up her memory problems with a different doctor who finally diagnosed her. I liked then and like now the oncologist but also now realize doctors have their specialities. Maybe think about a doctor who specializes in geriatric care.

As for the grief counseling, what about if you turned it around on your mom. Tell her you are really having a hard time dealing with this and would she be willing to go with you to support you? She may go as part of a family/group type thing if she thinks its for someone else. Tell her you need her help so that you can be emotionally healthy for your children.

I would keep a journal about your mother's memory. Document and date the incidents. Is is just the medicine she forgets? If so than its likely a part of the depression regarding your db's death. If its other areas than you may have a broader problem. Documenting these incidents gives you some data to discuss with doctors and helps you to keep track of this in general.

The bathroom thing doesn't surprise me if she is depressed. Is she still neat with her appearance? Do her clothes match and does she still apply her makeup correctly? Not cleaning the bathroom is pretty common with depression I think. If she is having personal hygiene/grooming issues as well, that could be something else.

I know its tough to have to think about these things. And I also think at 76 and after losing a child its to be expected for her to be depressed and also forgetful. You are a good daughter to be concerned and look out for her. You are part of the sandwich generation, caught between caring for two generations. Its not easy. Just hang in there and keep expressing yourself. Here on this board, with your brother, your husband and maybe a counseler, even if your mom won't go with you.

Good luck!

Mackey Mouse
04-04-2007, 06:27 AM
Great advice in your post Amy & Dan.....I just wanted to make sure you know that you gave some good ideas there..

I am concerned about the bathroom thing......clearly if she was an immaculate housekeeper before something is definitely up there. Sounds like she lost the will to care about those things.. How is she with your daughter? Loving, like a Grandmother, or sort of removed and distant. And is her interaction with your DD different than it was before?

One more thing, like you do not have enough on your plate, I know it takes time for anti depressants to work, but it has been my experience with a family member that you can be also over medicated and the effects are almost zombie like and just rather neutral on everything i.e. they do not see that the bathroom is dirty...they just do not care that the bathroom is dirty, like an Oh Well....

Is she eligible for assistance like a homemaker under medicare or her medical insurance? I know that when my husband's Mom was getting old someone came in the house, gave her a bath, made sure her pills were taken properly....I believe it was under medicare...maybe you could check that? It has been a while for us dealing with these kinds of things..

Hugs, you are doing a great job, just keep pluggin and try to get her help she needs...

04-05-2007, 02:50 PM
Thanks for the support everyone. I have to leave for work soon, but want to acknowledge how grateful I am for everyones advice and support.

I call her every day to remind her to take the meds. Hopefully she is taking the correct 3 pills per day. She claims she is.

I trust her doctor. Unfortunately we can only go on what she is telling us.

Her personel hygiene is still fairly well. Her hair was a bit tosseled the other day, which is unusual for her. (being a hairdresser and all)

I have tried all the angels you all suggested for getting her to a counselor. I am seriously considering just calling makin an appt. and dragging her there.

She is loving, and unbelievably caring with my DD. I hate to say too much so, but .... She says that DD is what she lives for. Heavy duty responsibility for a 3year old huh? She used to tell my now 16 yo's that when my DB first died. I had to ask her to state it differently, as my DS told me one day he was what made his grandmother happy. I explained to him that every person is responsible for their own happiness. That it is very nice that "nena" is happy around you, but you are not responsible for making her happy. I feel like I might have to cross that bridge again with this youngster, but not yet. My other two (who are the same age as the one I already had to explain it to), never took it upon themselves for my mothers happiness, but each kid is different.

I am going to wait and see when the month is up how she feels around the time of her next doctors appt. before I think about changing meds. Certainly something to keep in mind.

I take her 4/23 then 4/24 I fly to FLA to wait for my Dad's corada (sp?) arteries to have stents put in.

But, the good news is my neurologist appt went well. That's another story. And no major issues there, so far, so that is on the back burner unless he calls me and says differently. I have a feeling my problems are stress related. I just have to find a vent. You all sure are helping in that are!!! Thanks again.
Love to all.

Well, off to work.

Mackey Mouse
04-06-2007, 06:30 AM
Hey Dee, take care of yourself too.. We are here when you need to vent or if you need some advice. We are good at helping wherever we can and hopefully with time the meds will kick in and she will be less depressed. Hugs to you and yours.. Hang in there, you are doing great..

04-06-2007, 09:14 PM
i have a daughter with clinical depression and she normally is a decent housekeeper but not when she is having a depressive episode...she is overwhelmed by it needing cleaning then is overwhelmed cause it isn't clean. also with your mom could part of it be other health problems, like maybe arthritis or just not having the energy she used to? ie i have health issues that make it impossible for me to clean my house anywhere close to how i used to. and my mother is active but i need to help her more now at 80 than i did when she was 70. maybe just clean her bathroom for her while she is playing with your daughter( ie go in like you are using it, it doesn't take that long to clean a bathroom) or bring her a meal and then clean up the kitchen as you are cleaning up the lunch or what ever dishes...from my own experience it is embarrassing to not be able to do what you used to do and to have to feel like someone else has to do your job for you. so maybe you could kind of sneak it in every few weeks so it isn't a health risk and she may not even really notice it.
if your mom is depressed she isn't doing it to get attention. she has a real problem. if she won't go to a dr( that is hard for anyone due to the still stigma associated with mental illness and the "pull your self up by your bootstrap" thinking so many have.) maybe call your local mental health dept and see if anyone can direct you. or tell her primary care physician esp if he is a geriatric specialist.. i was surprised to see that one of the highest groups for suicide is among the elderly.

don't really see the danger in your mom enjoying your kids....maybe it helps her feel there is a future. we have had a rough yr and sometimes i think our love for our grandaughter is what has kept us going. and i think the affection doesn't hurt her at all. i know my daughter feels my mother/stepfather aren't going to be around forever and is thrilled they see my grandaughter/her daughter and enjoy her...i think it's a good thing to try to make someone else happy and don't see how that harms a child to learn to give of themselves. we seem to become plenty selfish soon enough all on our own:rotfl:

i forget to take my meds and i'm not 76. :) if she takes a number sometimes it's hard to keep track of them. even the pill things aren't always that helpful i have heard of some kind of organization that actually calls seniors and reminds them to take their meds. in our area it is somehow involved with a senior center so maybe you could call the dept. of aging in your location and see if anyone offers that service...imo it's kind of like meals on wheels, just gives some people a face to see or someone new to talk to each day as well as providing a service.

04-19-2007, 01:03 AM
You all have been so nice. Thanks for all the support. My mom is starting to have more good days than bad. I am extremely hopeful on that note.
She had a "good day" Saturday, Monday, Tuesday. Sunday and today not so much, but that is huge progress. She unfortunately, did not make it to my teenagers confirmation last Weds. My kids were worried about her. I must admit it wasn't the same for me either. Almost like I have already lost her. She has never missed anything like that with her grankids. But that was last Weds. I am trying to focus on today. Her next dr. appt is Tues am. Then I am flying to FLA that night to be with my Dad for his 4th stent. This one is in his corada (sp? sorry). My DB and I are flying down Tues. night then home on Friday. I wish Icould spend more time with my dad, but I don't want to leave my Mom for too long either. Hopefully, the dr. will be able to tell us the symptoms she is experiencing are normal and will pass. And prayers my Dad will be fine, and back to playing softball.

I have no problem with my mother finding happiness in my kids. I have great kids, they all will go out of their way to make people happy, especially the elderly. I only hope they do not think of it as their responsibility for anyone elses happiness. Certain types of people put that on themselves, then they end up blaming themselves when others aren't happy. I have one of those kids. He is a teenager, but that is another story.

Thank you again for all the support. And, if you all don't mind, continued prayers are appreciated.


Mackey Mouse
04-19-2007, 09:23 AM
Dee, absolutely.. prayers said.. I do hope she continues to improve and do well. Hope your Dad does ok too, I do know that is a decent size operation...so be strong for him as well.

05-01-2007, 07:06 PM
Good news here!

My Dad came out of the stent procedure in the corada artery well. His BP was low and he had some discomfort in his neck area when he ate. The discomfort was much better the third day. The BP is up. He had also gained more weight than they had anticipated or wanted, but they believe that to be from all the fluids they pumped into him to help the bp go up, he has a "sluggish" kidney. The weight is going down now. All looks good for Dad.

And, Mom came out of the house today. We were all thrilled. I had taken her to the doctors last Tues. before I flew down to be with Dad. There was some concern when she had taken her last depression pill as when I got to her apartment and grabbed her med to take with us, the depression med was empty. I think it was 3 days if she was taking them as she was supposed to. There were still 3 pills in her weekly pill container. I think she was taking them directly from the persc. bottle. So, when we got to the doctor he told her to start them again. He checked her breathing. She has slight enphasymia.(sp?) She is still about 30lbs under weight. When my DB and I were in FLA we were calling her daily. At one point I realized she was only eating breakfast. That was only a bage with cream cheese. So now I call her 3 times a day and remind her to eat. So far so good. She seemed really good today. She ate lunch with DH and I. She ate a whole JR. whopper and some fries and a small piece of cake and a little ice cream!!!! I am so pleased. I only fear tomorrow will be a bad day. Leaving me bottomed out emotionally. But I shall focus on today... a GREAT day!!!
Thanks for all the prayers! Please continue, as I will for all of you.


05-08-2007, 01:55 AM
Just updating. My mom fell back into a depression for a few days. DH and I went over this past w/e and scrubbed her apartment. We did everything except a couple of walls. (DD 3 was getting antsy). Now my brother and his wife are paying a maid service to go in and scrub the walls we didn't get too! My mom came out yesterday and today!! She seems so much better. I know she could slip back again any day, but I'm praying the meds are kicking in. It seems she is remembering to take them every day and she seems to be eating. I am so happy I am crying. It is so good to have her on her way back to us. Thank you all sooo much for all your prayers. I am so happy it is God's will to let us have some more quality time with her. I appreciate continued prayers. And I will continue to pray for all my friends on the Dis.


Mackey Mouse
05-08-2007, 06:30 AM
I am so glad to hear your news.....Dad came through operation and is doing well and your Mom is doing pretty good too. Woohoo!!!!! you are a good daughter and hopefully they will all continue to do well..

Remember, we can only tackle one day at a time.....so enjoy each of her good days and try.. ( I did say try because I am a worrier too) not to worry about what tomorrow will bring. My DH always says to me stay in the day.. the here and now and focus on that. He is very good at doing that....one day at a time.


05-08-2007, 09:20 PM
Thanks so much Marsha. Today was another wonderful day. My Mom actually put make up on today!!! Woohoo is right!

Mackey Mouse
05-09-2007, 05:31 AM
She is doing great Dee.. so glad to hear it. We will keep her in our thoughts so that she stays on the road and continues to do well.. Make-up... yup, she is feeling better, good for her and good for you too!!!! ;)