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Could use some answers and or support
Hi all, I am very new to this. Anyway, a little bit of background information on my situation. My mom is 76 years old and is still completely independent. She lives alone, drives, and manages all of her Dr. Appointments, etc. She also teaches Sunday school at her church every Sunday. Up until last year, she drove to California every Thanksgiving and Christmas to see my sister all by herself (we live in Colorado). Her and I have always been very close, as I'm her only local daughter. We see each other once a week or more. That being said, she is VERY private about some things including her medical situations.
I have noticed some changes in her memory these past couple of years. She will sometimes repeat things or forget a word here and there. Two things though really concern me. She got a new phone a couple of months ago, and cannot figure out how to use it half the time. And an even more concerning event happened just today. I teach 4 different college classes at various times throughout the week. She has my schedule of when I am teaching written down at her house. She is out of town visiting an old friend this week. I get done teaching my class and I have a missed call from her. I call her back panicked, thinking there was an emergency since she called me during my class time. As it turns out, she had NO idea what time I was teaching because she left my schedule at home. I have been teaching at the same time for 2 months now. Anyway, as I said earlier, she is VERY private about her medical situation. I know she goes for a physical once a year, and they give her some sort of memory test there, that she always passes but that is about it. I don't know how to bring up my concern to her. I love her dearly and I absolutely hate to watch her decline, but I don't know how to help.
Even if she is fine cognitively, I'd be concerned with my mom driving alone on a long trip. I would describe long as over an hour. Are there any options? Like, can someone else volunteer to drive her? Could she take a train? Could sister come to her? If she is having some decline, your concerns probably won't mean much to her. For some reason, whenever I try to explain why one option is safer, has less risks, etc. to seniors, they don't like it. They want what they want and ignore suggestions. At least, that's my parents do and they don't have dementia or cognitive decline, that I am aware of.
Would it seem awkward to ask to attend mom's next doctor's appointment?
When you go over to visit is it possible to chat with her neighbors, friends, church members, etc? I know people are hesitant to contact an adult child and share things that may be of concern to them, but, if you asks, you might get others who have some input. When my LO (cousin) became ill, her neighbors had stories of things like her forgetting how to get out of her car, but, no one called to tell me. They knew that I was her closest relative and POA, but, still didn't let me know. They told me later, after the dementia was diagnosed.
Have you checked her car to see if there is any property damage? Any unpaid bills? Do you the people have church have concerns? I would imagine that they would not likely confront her there, since, it would be hurtful if anyone said anything.
I think that anyone could be confused with a new phone....still.....it's hard to say. I hope you can find some answers.
My sister and my mom don't always get along and my sister and I don't talk at all. (Long story there that I am not going to get into). There is absolutely no way my sister would come here, I wish, but no. Mom drove because she felt comfortable staying with my sister only if she had her car. However, this year, she has finally realized it is safer to fly so that is taken care of.
I really don't think mom would let me attend her doctor appointments. Like I said, she can be very private about some things.
I like your idea of talking to some of her friends.
Mom keeps a very clean house which is evident every time I go over there. I don't know of any unpaid bills.
Check the back of the refrigerator for expired food. Check the mail for past due notices. Be very cautious that insurance policies are up to date.