(Closed) I think my mom is getting senile and it's DRIVING ME NUTS.

posted 4 years ago in Family
Post # 3
2516 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: December 2011

my mom repeats stories but i just tell her she already told me and she goes on to something else. she’s 68 so she’s a lot older than your mom though. she can be annoying but i know she won’t be around forever so i just enjoy my time with her (even when she’s being annoying). can you tune your mom out and daydream about other stuff when she’s repeating stories? if she really doesn’t realize that she’s telling the same stories over and over again, maybe she should get checked out by a doctor.

Post # 4
3041 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

@iarebridezilla: Well, first of all – if you really think your mum has a problem (like an early state of Alzheimer), could you talk to her about it and direct her somewhere for help?

If that’s not it, and this is just part of her personality – it does help to get out of the house. Perhaps for a walk or a drive with the car, anything that means you’re not cooped up with her and getting increasingly frustrated.

Also, whenever I get SUPER frustrated with my FMIL – I’ll walk into the bathroom and have a silent SCREAM AND STOMP MY FEET moment. Then I walk out again and it’s a little easier for a god 10 minutes or so. 🙂

Post # 6
3041 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

@iarebridezilla: Well, perhaps you should just drop a suttle hint to your dad?

As for daydreaming, that’s a good old one – I call it “selective deafness”. I find it works best if I can do mental lists – like “what will we have for dinner this WEEK” and “Hm, what are all the renovation projects that we need to get going in the cottage”.

Post # 7
748 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

@iarebridezilla:  My mother will tell me a story, and then tell me again about 20 minutes later. I’ll also tell HER a story, and 10 minutes later she’ll tell it back to me like it’s the first time I’ve heard it.

I blame it on the fact my mother works with kids all day. She’s got toddler brain.

Post # 8
3887 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

Your mom may just have fallen into such a routine that she’s genuinely got no new stories, or she may (as PP have noted) be struggling with early onset Alzheimers or early stages of dementia, or other mental health challenges. It is difficult to know which you’re facing, but my mom (who is quite a bit older to your mom) has dementia so I know what a challenge it can be to watch your loved one go downhill. 

The best thing you can do– and hopefully your family will support you– is to help your mother get proper mental stimulation on a regular basis. We all need it, but it becomes more important as we get older. Some folks have built their whole lives around career and family, and when they reach an age where they’re thinking about retiring or even already retired, and the kids are adults and don’t depend on them heavily, the parents don’t really know what to do with their free time.  They become more isolated which means fewer new experiences and fewer challenging conversations with their peers— and talking to your kids about what they did all day/week isn’t the same level of mental stimulation as talking to a peer about common life experiences. 

Help your mom get the mental stimulation she needs. Encourage her to start some new group activities. Check the local YMCA and other community resources, or even meetup.com, for book clubs and social societies.  There are lots of ways to become more mentally active by volunteering, too. See if a new set of experiences and friends can give her new stories to tell, and watch for more troubling signs such as general disorientation, a change in her normal sleeping and eating habits, or a decline in her hygiene. If you see those, then it’s time she sees a doctor.  Also try not to toss the word “senile” around lightly, as there are a lot of emotional triggers associated with aging and senility, and your mother may feel less likely to admit she’s struggling if she’s already formed negative emotions about getting older.  A lot of older folks hide their symptoms because they’re worried about being “too old” or being a “burden” and they’re afraid the next step is an old folks home (aside, there are some very wonderful senior residences out there so going to live in a community for older people is not the depressing end-of-the-line that many think it is).

Post # 11
454 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

Seriously, you need to work on your tolerance, patience, and empathy. She’s not doing this to annoy YOU! It could well be that there is a physical problem, so a visit to her doctor would help zero in on any potential medical issues that need to be addressed.

More than 200,000 people in the US today have early-onset Alzheimer’s, which affects people in their 40s and 50s.  Getting a comprehensive medical evaluation with a doctor who specializes in Alzheimer’s disease – which  includes cognitive tests, a neurological exam and/or brain imaging – will help everybody understand what might be going on. It will also help to write down her symptoms of memory loss or other cognitive difficulties so that you can share that info with her doctor.

Trying to solve your problems by drinking them away won’t do you any good, by the way . . .

My 95-year-old mother-in-law has dementia, and has about 12 “tracks” of stories she tells over and over again. It’s an act of love to listen to them as if you never heard them before! At 95, there are no medical approaches that are going to help, but in your mother’s case, intervention could make a huge difference for her quality of life.

Many people have found that including daily doses of organic coconut oil into the diet has had profound positive effects on dementia and Alzheimer’s – stopping the deterioration of the brain and sometimes even reversing it. Google it and see if that’s something that might help your mom.

Post # 12
170 posts
Blushing bee

I have good luck with redirection- whether we’re talking about an older adult or a toddler.  My grandmother responds really well to direct questions.  I have heard the same few stories over and over BUT I know almost nothing about her teenage years or her father so I will slowing start pushing the conversation towards whatever I’m curious about.  She loves telling stories and although these stories are probably ones that, for instance, my dad may have heard 10,000 times, they are new to me!


And you should also probably ask her about memory issues and/or recommend a doctor.  Get some back-up from other people for that, though.  It’s a sensitive subject.  I’d recommend saying “gee, mom, I’m noticing some repetition in your speech.  I’m a little worried- are you having any memory trouble these days?  That can be a problematic side effect from medications, you know.  Maybe we should look into whatever you’re taking” 

Post # 13
1628 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

@iarebridezilla:  Am I correct that you’re pregnant? I’m trying to recall a previous thread. I just ask because since I’ve become pregnant I have no tolerance for basically any of my family members except my DH haha! I don’t think its horomones, I think pregnancy is just making me not care to deal with BS anymore lol!


Post # 14
8141 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2013

has she always been like this, or is it new.

if this is new.  talk to her privately and calmly and suggest you go to see her doctor together.

yelling at her isn’t going to help and maybe she is doing it for attention.

Post # 16
379 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

@iarebridezilla:  Hello! I used to be a CNA (certified nurse’s assistant) in three nursing homes, so I went through a lot of dementia training, even worked in a couple of specific wards. That said, Alzheimers cannot be diagnosed without an autopsy – there is no way to find out if she has it until she dies. What she may have is Alzheimers-type dementia (there are other types of dementia as well, but Alzheimers-type dementia seems to be the most well-known) BUT the thing with dementia is that people who do have it, don’t realize it. They don’t forget where they put their keys, they forget they have keys and a car/house. They don’t know they’re forgetting, they just forget and move on with their life. So if she really doesn’t know that she is repeating stories, that can be a sign, but if she is she is just forgetting addresses and dates, that’s not as big of deal. She at least knows those things are happening – such as your ultrasound. If she were to forget you were pregnant or that there even was an ultrasound, that is definitely when you need to consult with a medical professional.

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