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Old 08-06-2011, 08:04 PM   #1
kacaju
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Mom is having memory loss

UGH..I posted a few weeks ago in the community room about how to have a talk with a parent about not driving.

My Mom has been getting very forgetful lately and our concerns (me, dh, my brothers and SIL's) is that she has told us she has been getting lost while driving.

She blames it on the town...town is growing and changing so much (yes it has to some extent...but not fast enough where you cannot remember how to get around) She blames it on the bad winter we had (she didn't drive much with all the snow we had)

She got lost recently in a neighboring town because she went down the wrong street and she said she could not find her way back to Main Street for a while. I guess she drove around until she found it.

So a few weeks ago I did borrow her car (because I really did need an extra car that week)...then when I was supposed to give it back my brother called her and asked if he could use it.
So I take her to her Dr (calling the Dr first) and the Dr. brings up driving and in a very gentle way explains to Mom we need to find out why she is getting forgetful and until then it would be best if she didn't drive. I said in front of the Dr. the car is now in my town and it will stay there until we figure out what is wrong with her.

Mom took it well, extremely to well.... Until this morning. She called here at
8am (I was in the shower) so she hung up and called my SIL (to speak to my brother) She completely flipped out and my brother went to her house to talk with her. She had calmed down..but told my brother she will take me to court if needed to get her car back...She does not remember that my brother needed the car after me...even though I have reminded her HE has it not ME.

When db reminded her we are concerned with her getting lost...she said she will get a map of town and mark off where all the stores are so she can find her way (around a town she has lived in for 40 years!!)

She has to write everything down because she forgets stuff..even when she does write it down, she still forgets. We have to call her to remind her of stuff (another brother just got married so there was a lot going on) She need sto move because she cannot afford to live in the townhouse she is in...but she keeps putting that off and stalling...telling us she needs 6 months to a year to sort things out....One day she agrees with us that she needs to move and be closer to us and a day later she does a 180 and refuses to talk about it. UGH!!! Times like this I really miss my Dad he died 7 years ago...
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Old 08-06-2011, 08:52 PM   #2
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There are many of you who are noticing your mom's changing behaviors, so you haven't made any wrong decisions by talking to her about not driving. How old is she, in her 80's?
I imagine it must be tough to watch things change like this. You only have her best interest in mind. I would be scared that she would get in an accident by not paying attention. How often does she need to get around?

I know what you mean about missing your dad. Every time my mom does something that I can't handle, I start crying and just want my dad back. He was much more stable, self assured, and confident. He could make good decisions without needing assistance. My mom is so much more needy and less assertive. She relied on my dad for everything, Now that he's gone, she can't do anything for herself.

Don't beat yourself up over this. You love and care for her. Even if the decisions you have to make are difficult. You'll all come to some type of agreement. Just make sure you have meaningful discussions with the rest of the family so everyone is all on the same page.
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Old 08-06-2011, 09:21 PM   #3
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I know I responded to your other thread and I too said to have a talk with the dr. So I am glad that was done.

I think things are just going to get worse. Been there and done that with fil. I was always afraid besides the driving stuff that he would leave the stove on and burn his house down etc.

I am guessing that since she has threatened to take you to court over the car, that no one is her power of attorney etc. Does she have legal things in place like dnr orders, medical health care proxy etc. My fil refused to do any of this to make my dh life easier and my dh was the only child etc. I think that is the next step that you might want to think about.

Also if she has a townhouse and sells it those assets will be used by medicaid I think for the next 7 years in determining any benefits if need be etc. Something else to think about. I dont know your moms health etc. If she just rents it then that is not a problem.

Might be good to talk to an elder care attorney.
Wishing you all the best. I know its not an easy road to travel.
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Old 08-07-2011, 06:22 AM   #4
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my brother has power of attorney. Mom is young will be 69 next month. I have a number for gereratric Dr. I am calling them Monday to get her in for an appt.I am not worried at all about her threat to take me to court...I know mom and she would not even know where to begin.
She does own her townhouse.
Other then her memory loss Mom is in good health. She did admit to the Dr that she had stopped taking all of her medication for a while but now she is starting to take them again.

Bottom line is..if it turns out her problems are due to her not taking her medication and we get her back to the point where she can remember, I would be happy to give her the car back. But, until then.. we cannot have her driving if she neeeds a map to drive roads she has driven for 40 years.
She really just does not see it as a big deal...if she gets lost she says she does find her way back. My biggest fear is if she hits a detour. She hit a detour over a year ago in town and got lost. Never made it to my brothers house, took her 2 hours to find her way back home. In the mean time we were all waiting for her. She does not have a cell hone because she cannot figure out how to use them (we have tried a few different phones)
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Old 08-07-2011, 10:51 AM   #5
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I feel for you. Seeing these kinds of changes in memory and behavior in loved ones is difficult. And as much as I feel for you, I feel for your mom. Imagine, in her mind, her world being turned upside down.

While I'm young, I've worked in the geriatric field, and geriatric mental health including alzheimers (dementia) patients since I was 15. It is my passion. It is something I study, something I strive to know as much as I can....and to be an advocate for the person who can't always speak for themselves.

You are definitely on the right track!!! Going to see a geriatric specialist is the way you want to go. They are the ones who know the 'older' mind the best and the failing mind. Whether due to medication or a disease process, they are where to go.

I'm glad to hear that you have a POA in place. It's a foot in the door with having to make decisions for your mom.

I'm kinda stuck. I could give you a ton of advice....BUT it's what I know of how the Canadian system works.....and I don't know if it will be the same for you.

It sounds like your mom has some understanding of what is going on around her....be honest with her always. Tell her that her memory isn't what it used to be. Don't just shrug it off as 'old age' or getting older. Use the terms dementia or alzhemiers. It's very difficult. But use that as why she is forgetting things, gets lost.....BUT that her family is always there to help her.

This is an uphill battle. Some days can be good. Some days can be bad. Seek out support groups for yourself. There are some good ones out there, even in the states!!! Read up and get educated.

I'm sorry about your father. I understand wanting him here now He is with you....get involved somehow in a support group and lean on people there....and HERE!!! There are people everywhere that will support you

Good luck with everything!! Will be thinking of you
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Old 08-07-2011, 11:02 AM   #6
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thank you MedicGoofy!!! She does understand she can't remember things, as I said she does write everything down so she doesn't forget. We are honest with her, which just is making her mad at this point. As I said, she just does not see any issue with her getting lost. She is full of excuses...like I said,,her biggest excuse is EVERYTHING is changing in town...and she tells us, she doesn't drive by looking at street names...just by landmarks and they are all changing. The Dr. called her on that when my mom tried to tell the Dr. this is why she is getting lost.
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Old 02-04-2012, 07:17 PM   #7
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its simple your mom isnt one that likes change.. it also could be the start of something medical..or it could be just her getting older..you could go to court and get you or your brother for power of attonry, or whatever it is called.. since your mom is starting to get to a point where its harder for her to take care of herself..
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Old 02-21-2012, 03:28 PM   #8
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UGH...update and a very interesting one. We (me and my youngest brother) took Mom to an Alzheimer and Dementia center for a workup.

Bottom line is Mom also has depression problems (for most of her life) so we do need to rule out depression or Dementia. Interesting was (and this goes with Dementia) the Social worker asked Mom...what brings you here today?

Mom answered with (What I thought) was a far out strange answer. First she starts off by saying she has been having panic attacks and when asked what does she think is bringing it on...she starts talking about when she moved from New York City to New Jersey (which about 40 years ago)
The Dr comes in and asked the same question...Mom gave the same answer...and as she went on and on about that move...the Dr. said...we will talk about that later..I need to know why you are here TODAY...mom gave the same answer...
They told us that is common with older Dementia patients...to go back in time like that.

The answer I expected out of Mom...I am here because my kids think I am losing my mind.

In fact...Mom went to the Dr on Friday...long story short, but she was confused as to why she needed to go (to drop off the medical consent form) She ended up with a quick physical and brought that to the appt. On THAT form it states she is going to COPSA because her family thinks she has Alzheimers and the patient does NOT. So she knew why we were taking her.

So no answers right now...she needs bloodwork, MRI, a Neuropsychology exam and a behind the wheel test. Once we have all those then we head back for a follow up with all results
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Old 02-21-2012, 09:17 PM   #9
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A good geriatric specialist will pay a lot of attention to the meds.

I am in my mid 60s. I had some issues that were directly attributed to the meds I was taking. One was for blood pressure and had been around for decades. The other I had been taking for over 15 years.

Now that I am off of both of them I do not have any problems. I must admit that it was scary as hell.
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Old 02-22-2012, 05:17 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by arminnie View Post
A good geriatric specialist will pay a lot of attention to the meds.

I am in my mid 60s. I had some issues that were directly attributed to the meds I was taking. One was for blood pressure and had been around for decades. The other I had been taking for over 15 years.

Now that I am off of both of them I do not have any problems. I must admit that it was scary as hell.
Good to know...thanks! I do think she needs a complete medication overhaul.
She is not taking all her medicine all the time. She has 2 medicines she is supposed to take 3 times a day and she never does.
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Old 02-25-2012, 12:58 PM   #11
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Good to hear that things are starting to move in the right direction with specialists.

Sounds like your mom is doing the going back in time. If you were to have conversations with her, is it easier for her to remember things from many many years ago? My grandpa used to sit and talk nonstop about things that he would remember from my days as a toddler. Could give me details from things 20 years ago. Ask him what he had for breakfast....he wouldn't even know if he had breakfast. Short memory was gone....but the long memory was so strong.

I hope as time goes on you continue to get answers and stay on path with the right specialists. Continue to push for the answers you need. You are your mom's BEST advocate. You know her best.

Wishing you the best and thinking of you and your family.

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Old 06-27-2012, 08:54 AM   #12
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HUGE update...
Well, I went back to this post and saw I started it almost 1 year ago. Things over the year have gotten worse (yes..no surprise)

One thing I did not mention is my mother lives with my adult alocholic brother who thinks he is helping Mom (he lives there rent free so he is more afraid of losing the gravy train, not helping her)

Over the year, I have taken mom to dr's...once they start talking about Assisted Living places..she doesnt like them and refuses to listen to them. We have tried a home health aide which she fought us on..she said she is not that bad that she needs help.

I have hired an elder care manager to help me because I just do not know what to do or where to turn. I have 3 brothers. the alcholic is usless and he causes mom a lot of stress. Mom refuses to kick him out of the house and once when she did...he came back and told another brother he will not leave.

#2 brother and his wife are wonderful and try to help..but we are not on the same page as far as what to do with mom. They want to try home health care..and I think she is beyond that so it is hard to talk with them. My uncle..moms brother is on the same page as them.
#3 brother is on the same page as me in that mom really needs Assisted Living.

As of last week..mom was still driving..but much less, and any discussion of not driving is met with an arguement.

Mom's a mess with her medicine..she has depression and anxiety which is not being helped by her meds and she started to try to self medicate by changing her doses and times and well...you can imagine how well that worked...

So this past week she completely flipped out..she was very upset I did not invite the alcoholic to my daughters familt graduation party. I am sure he is feeding into it and having pity parties with mom at home about how horrible I am. And how family should not do this to each other....Yes, I am a horrible person for being fed up with his crap and finally put my foot down and refused to ignore his behavior.

So it seems my mom has been telling him she needed to go to a mental health hospital (she was there for post partum 40+ years ago)

I spoke with the care mananger on Monday and explained Mom's state of mind...she was so full of anxiety all weekend due to a number of things that happened...and the alcoholic actually stayed home all weekend..which made things worse (he normally is never home on the weekends and that is her relaxing time)

so the care manager said to take mom to the hospital for a psyc eval and get her admitted to the mental health hospital. Mom was actually excited about going. I HAD NO IDEA SHE HAD BEEN ASKING TO GO.

So after spending Monday 6pm to Tuesday 8:30am with mom in the hospital..I followed the ambulance to the mental health hospital and left mom there. I have not heard from the hospital as to how she is doing yet..I am waiting for them to call me. I can go visit her tomorrow.

So we will see what happens next.
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Old 06-27-2012, 09:07 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kacaju View Post
HUGE update...
Well, I went back to this post and saw I started it almost 1 year ago. Things over the year have gotten worse (yes..no surprise)

One thing I did not mention is my mother lives with my adult alocholic brother who thinks he is helping Mom (he lives there rent free so he is more afraid of losing the gravy train, not helping her)

Over the year, I have taken mom to dr's...once they start talking about Assisted Living places..she doesnt like them and refuses to listen to them. We have tried a home health aide which she fought us on..she said she is not that bad that she needs help.

I have hired an elder care manager to help me because I just do not know what to do or where to turn. I have 3 brothers. the alcholic is usless and he causes mom a lot of stress. Mom refuses to kick him out of the house and once when she did...he came back and told another brother he will not leave.

#2 brother and his wife are wonderful and try to help..but we are not on the same page as far as what to do with mom. They want to try home health care..and I think she is beyond that so it is hard to talk with them. My uncle..moms brother is on the same page as them.
#3 brother is on the same page as me in that mom really needs Assisted Living.

As of last week..mom was still driving..but much less, and any discussion of not driving is met with an arguement.

Mom's a mess with her medicine..she has depression and anxiety which is not being helped by her meds and she started to try to self medicate by changing her doses and times and well...you can imagine how well that worked...

So this past week she completely flipped out..she was very upset I did not invite the alcoholic to my daughters familt graduation party. I am sure he is feeding into it and having pity parties with mom at home about how horrible I am. And how family should not do this to each other....Yes, I am a horrible person for being fed up with his crap and finally put my foot down and refused to ignore his behavior.

So it seems my mom has been telling him she needed to go to a mental health hospital (she was there for post partum 40+ years ago)

I spoke with the care mananger on Monday and explained Mom's state of mind...she was so full of anxiety all weekend due to a number of things that happened...and the alcoholic actually stayed home all weekend..which made things worse (he normally is never home on the weekends and that is her relaxing time)

so the care manager said to take mom to the hospital for a psyc eval and get her admitted to the mental health hospital. Mom was actually excited about going. I HAD NO IDEA SHE HAD BEEN ASKING TO GO.

So after spending Monday 6pm to Tuesday 8:30am with mom in the hospital..I followed the ambulance to the mental health hospital and left mom there. I have not heard from the hospital as to how she is doing yet..I am waiting for them to call me. I can go visit her tomorrow.

So we will see what happens next.
I just went through all of this with my mother. In the end I had to go file the POA with the courthouse so I could take care of everything.

Now I am shocked that she is still driving. Check the laws in your state. Here in NC if she has an accident and it can be proven that she may have memory loss, and you knew she may have memory loss, you can be held accountable. I am also shocked the doctors haven't asked for her license.

We took my Mom to a geriatric neurologist. Had all the tests done and she has Frontal Lobe Dementia.

So my Mom is now in assisted living. I had to sell her townhome, car, furniture, basically everything she owned.

We had noticed her memory loss, begged her to get checked. Well come to find out later she went to her primary care doctor and he told she had no problems! Boy was he wrong.

My Mom was able to "cover" her memory loss for awhile. It took her becoming really sick for her to totally show us her memory loss.

If you have any questions let me know. I am my Mother's Durable POA and medical POA.

Also, make sure you are covered legally in case she harms someone while driving. Some umbrella policies may cover this.
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Old 06-28-2012, 05:03 PM   #14
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sounds vagely familiar. I have had some experience with some of the issues you are now addressing.
- my mom eventually just stopped driving, but in doing so she couldn't go out as much, because physically she wasn't always "up to it" when we were able to bring her out. So she isolated, which worsened her depression. I commend you and your Mom for trying to get her depression diagnosed so hopefully she can move on in a forward motion.
- the alcoholic in my life ... how do I say this... had a solution for everything, as long as HE was not the one who had to implement it. He had "problems" so he had not time/patience.for some reason he thought the rest of us didn't have any of our own problems. I do not want to offend you in any way. I only mention it because it helped me not waste moments of my(and my loved ones) precious life obsessing about the alcoholics "opinions", there is a program called ALANON. you may want to google it to find out more info on it.
-My mom has passed away. My brother dealt with her passing in his own way. Thanks to ALANON I don't have to inquire how. He showed up to "say goodbye" the day before she passed. He showed up to make her final arrangements and was at the wake/funeral. If after you look into what ALANON is IF you decide it may be helpful, perhaps when you speak to the MH facility you could mention ALANON. Many of them are alcohol treatment centers as well, and may have ALANON information to help your mom if they find it would be helpful to her.
-whatever happens just hold true that you loved your Mom and you wanted what you sincerely thought was best for her. I would call that true love. Bless you.
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Old 06-29-2012, 09:32 AM   #15
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sounds vagely familiar. I have had some experience with some of the issues you are now addressing.
- my mom eventually just stopped driving, but in doing so she couldn't go out as much, because physically she wasn't always "up to it" when we were able to bring her out. So she isolated, which worsened her depression. I commend you and your Mom for trying to get her depression diagnosed so hopefully she can move on in a forward motion.
- the alcoholic in my life ... how do I say this... had a solution for everything, as long as HE was not the one who had to implement it. He had "problems" so he had not time/patience.for some reason he thought the rest of us didn't have any of our own problems. I do not want to offend you in any way. I only mention it because it helped me not waste moments of my(and my loved ones) precious life obsessing about the alcoholics "opinions", there is a program called ALANON. you may want to google it to find out more info on it.
-My mom has passed away. My brother dealt with her passing in his own way. Thanks to ALANON I don't have to inquire how. He showed up to "say goodbye" the day before she passed. He showed up to make her final arrangements and was at the wake/funeral. If after you look into what ALANON is IF you decide it may be helpful, perhaps when you speak to the MH facility you could mention ALANON. Many of them are alcohol treatment centers as well, and may have ALANON information to help your mom if they find it would be helpful to her.
-whatever happens just hold true that you loved your Mom and you wanted what you sincerely thought was best for her. I would call that true love. Bless you.
Thank you, yes I have heard about ALANON and have looked up meetings. Truthfully, I am so busy with my own family..I have not given it a priority..the meetings locally are on a night we are busy with other things and one of the other meetings is on the only night have nothing to do...and I hate giving up that one night I get to stay home.

I saw Mom last night and she is a completely different person. Calm, relaxed talking to everyone...this is how she should be. In the mean time my brother is in panic mode because he is afraid mom won't be coming home and he is calling everyone in the family to carry on about how HE is going to help Mom Him and Mom are going to work on this together so they can stay together. I swear...if you heard him talk you would think he was talking about hs wife...not mother...about how much he carries on about them working it out together, so they can stay together.He is desperate and it is really sad.
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