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View Diary: Lessons from the Dementia Diner (88 comments)

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  •  My mother is just entering dementia and has left (10+ / 0-)

    messages like this on our answering machine.  She forgets things a few minutes or seconds after she's said or heard them.  This is frustrating to me of course, but it also portends a conversation with her that currently neither I nor my two siblings feel ready to have:  about how she is approaching a state of mental incompetence, who knows whether within the year or two years, and we cannot keep sustaining the fiction that she is independent....

    That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

    by concernedamerican on Mon May 27, 2013 at 05:42:53 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Ditto (10+ / 0-)

      My mom hasn't gotten to the point of accusing anyone of stealing her things yet. The one thing I did notice when I last saw her is the expression on her face is one of a different person. She looks lost and sad most of the time. She does not follow conversations or instructions easily. She can still read, work her crossword puzzles and follow her beloved Spurs but other things are declining. She no longer can cook. She was never good at it but does not do anything anymore. If it does not come in a box or a can she is lost.

      My mom suffered from early hearing loss from a hereditary condition. She refused to get a working hearing aid so has lived with compromised hearing for years. Recently though my sister and I were able to get her to get a new one. It has helped some but the mental decline has impacted the behavioral issues with hearing loss (ignoring what cannot be easily understood). My dad's health is declining daily from the cancer and my mom's mental state is going with it. We do not know what the future will bring as my parents refused to get wills or have their wishes for end of life care spelled out.

      •  Lucy, what you describe about your mother's (8+ / 0-)

        expression and the hearing loss is exactly my mother's situation.  The cooking too.  All of it.

        She does not put in her hearing aids and then gets frustrated and withdrawn because she can't hear.  It's a vicious cycle.

        That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

        by concernedamerican on Mon May 27, 2013 at 07:43:01 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It is so frustrating and alarming (8+ / 0-)

          as I know what could be coming next. It is the getting lost one day and not knowing where she is. My mom goes to the store several times during the week for which I worry about her safety. She carries this huge purse around with her filled with almost everything she owns including a multitude of credit cards. My dad has been complaining to us about how much in credit card debt my mom has gotten them into but is to afraid to confront her about it. My sister went online and got her credit report and found she has 17 or so credit cards and has racked up $20k in debt. What does she buy that has caused that kind of debt? It isn't apparent as there aren't boxes of stuff from QVC laying around. My sister and I think it is giving to the "TV Hucksters" as my dad calls them on the 700 Club. We think she has written them the checks you get with your CC statements. I contacted a Senior Advocacy agency about it and the only thing I can do to stop it is to get "Financial Power Of Attorney". We have not told my dad that we have this information as it will only worry him which he does not need at this time. Ugh it is hard being a long distance care giver and we haven't even gotten to the hard stuff yet.

      •  {{{Lucy}}} (8+ / 0-)

        Life finds me about three years ahead of what you describe. I am the primary caregiver for my 92 yo aunt (never had children).

        She couldn't/wouldn't use a hearing aid primarily because she couldn't learn how to put it in.

        It is very important to have a health care power of attorney and a general power of attorney prepared for your loved ones. And a will.

        It was almost a family joke that when asked what I would like for a gift (birthday, xmas, etc.), I would bring up taking care of the paperwork for end of life planning. Eventually, my aunt came around to agreeing that it would be a good idea - but maybe "tomorrow"

        I worked with an attorney to prepare the paperwork according to my aunt's wishes and shared it with her. Eventually I found a notary that could/would make a housecall and we finally got it taken care of.

        My aunt is currently resides in a memory care unit and I visit with her regularly.

        I can share my story with you about getting rid of the junk mail and taking over the finances if you would like to private message me sometime.

        Be blessed!

        Anyone who doesn't take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either. - Albert Einstein

        by TriangleNC on Mon May 27, 2013 at 09:35:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thank you that would be wonderful. (4+ / 0-)

          Yes, I have gone through the gambit of reasons why we need wills, end of life planning with my parents. I get a cursory agreement but no action. I have even asked my dad to just do a holographic will at least so when the time comes there is something in writing. My parents don't really have much in the way of assets but still will be messy as my father has bank accounts without my mother being on the account. We do not know what insurance he may or may not have and neither does my mom. It is frustrating as time is slipping away and still no progress.

          I would love your advice on the junk mail ridding and financial management. I am still trying to get Publishers Clearing house to quit sending my mom stuff. I think they are crooks. She says she gets stuff that she never ordered but since she doesn't remember if she did or not she pays the bill. Sounds like a scam to me. Preying on the elderly knowing they may not recall ordering their junk.

          If you would refer an email to me so we can connect. I do not want to publish my email address on DK as I had a bad experience when first joining with someone that took exception to my comments and got harassing emails about it.


          •  It took my partner two years of constant writing (6+ / 0-)

            and calling to recoup 5000 dollars of the 50,000 dollars that her mother lost to scam artists preying on the elderly in her area.  It was worse than grim to do the work, and she grew totally disgusted at how many execrable, immoral people there are out there who feel no compunction at all about ripping old people off.  But she did get back some of the money and that made her feel really vindicated.

            That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

            by concernedamerican on Mon May 27, 2013 at 11:14:02 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  It is disgusting. (4+ / 0-)

              Back in December I called Publishers Clearing and asked that my mom be removed from their mailing list. They agreed and even gave me a confirmation number. While visiting in April I took a phone call and it was Publishers Clearing calling to verify renewal of subscriptions to magazines. I told the lady on the phone to remove my mom from the list and cancel the subscriptions - she hung up on me.

              Where in the hell are our politicians in protecting the elderly from scammers? It should be against the law to target the helpless. My dad was a victim of the scam where someone calls pretending to be the "grandson" in jail somewhere and please bail me out. My dad took the call went right down to Wal-Mart and wired the money without asking anyone (my sister) or inquiring about it. Sometime later he talked with my nephew on the phone and asked if he made it alright out of Canada and of course my nephew told him "I did not go to Canada grandpa". Right then he knew he had been scammed out of $3500.

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