Saturday, January 23, 2010

What are some strategies for dealing with a parent who doesn't want to admit to serious memory loss?

My Mom won't go to get tested by a professional for her clear memory loss. And, every time I try to raise the issue with her, she gets angry and lashes out at me. (I find this very easy to understand as I would likely have the same reaction). Having a calm, loving conversation on the subject yields the same results. Do I really have to wait until she's lost her mental capacity before getting her to a doctors office?

Please, if you have made a ';breakthrough'; with an older relative, I'd love to learn from your experience.What are some strategies for dealing with a parent who doesn't want to admit to serious memory loss?
Do not have this conversation with her. Clearly it's not working and insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

However, if you don't need to get the credit for getting her help, you can have an impact. Identify whom she respects--minister, one of her siblings, one of your siblings, famous person. With the last one, you'll just have to search out quotes on memory loss or going to the doctor and having amazingly good results. With the others, go to them, explain what you're experiencing and ask for their help in getting her to the doctor. The reason for her visit doesn't have to be spelled out in detail. Maybe she's having trouble with her eyes or feet.

Then, you call the doctor in advance and explain the problems Mom is having--particularly mention time of day as Alzheimers' symptoms worsen as the day goes on. Once she's at the doctor's office with a trusted friend/relative (No, not you.) to tape or take notes, the doctor can check out all kinds of things. Given the larger percentage of elderly patients, doctors are getting pretty slick about this.

If you want to help your mother, make sure her home has a large calendar --no, a computer one won't do, several clocks, and labeled pictures of her family. It doesn't have to be too awkward; ';Josh and Molly, at their wedding, 6/16/2005'; is informative and not obviously a memory aid. Also, don't ask her questions you think she doesn't remember. Just refer (Don't remind) to the events or decisions yourself and move on. ';I'll get a stamp for the electric bill envelope'; is lots better than ';Did you remember to write the check for the electric bill?';What are some strategies for dealing with a parent who doesn't want to admit to serious memory loss?
I know exactly how you feel. My older sister is going down the same route and she gets very angry with me and her two daughters if/when we bring the subject up. What we have started doing is making a log of everything when it happens. Quotes, dates, times. It's really the only thing we can do. She is still functional (she's almost 64) and you can't force an adult to do something they don't want to do. Until they are a danger to themselves or others. It's our rights.

I would suggest the log. When you get a lot of ';evidence'; present it to her in a gentle way. If she still balks, just keep at it.
I'm just starting a program based on the book, ';The Edge Effect'; by Eric C Braverman, which I purchased from It has a test which will reveal mental deficiencies in several areas and a very precise supplement regime to counter-act the deficiencies. Since the test allows one to individualize a nutrition program based on needs, I recommend it for all sorts of issues, including memory loss. The great thing about this is that you wouldn't need to directly talk about the memory loss with your mom, but you could go over the questions, and help her realize her own issues, and then supplement to overcome those issues. Recommended reading, recommended nutritional program!
Maybe you could make an appointment in a hospital and go yourself alone and talk to a doctor about it and ask for his advise and help. Good luck ...
I feel for you. As my late fater's memory loss became more pronounced we ended up having to get the family together and kind of force a conversation. He agreed to see a doctor. It turned out to be Alzheimers. This is never an easy situation fo the person with memory loss or the family. It's good that you have an understanding of what she may be going through. Have you told her you understand her anger and her fears?

Good luck to you friend, you and your mother have my best wishes.
Two easy ways to get her to the hospital

1) tie her up, put her in the car and take her


2) Get her drunk, then tell her shes going to go with you to the store or something!
My aunt had alzheimers and she was very difficult to deal with as far as getting her tested and cared for. We basically had to trick her into going to a nursing home. I think that is pretty common.She was so out of it, though, she really didnt understand. I think you will find that reasoning will not work because they are not in their right mind. It is so hard!

Something interesting I learned about determining whether or not you are dealing with alzheimers. Generally, if someone forgets things and KNOWS that they are forgetting, that is ok. It is a normal part of aging. It is when you dont realize you are forgetting, that you might be in trouble. For example, My aunt would misplace things, and instead of realizing she didnt remember where she put things, she assumed someone was breaking in and stealing. It really sucks getting old! Good luck to you!

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