NEW FEATURE!

I’m hear

Dear Liv,
My name is Connie. I have a situation on my hands, and I’m really hoping for a bit of direction. I’m presently living with my wonderful 82 year-old mother, as my husband is back in Connecticut in the process of selling our home, so we can move here in order to be closer to her. At first all was going well. She was happy to have me staying with her, and I was glad I could help her with things that needed to be addressed. Prior to me moving in, I wasn’t aware of any issues with her mental or physical health. I had decided to move back in order to assist her in her later years, and get a chance to spend some quality time with her. Unfortunately, I’ve started to notice that things aren’t exactly as they seem.

There are things going on with my mother that either she’s not willing to face, or is completely unaware of them happening. Because my mom has always been a stubborn woman (which has been both good and bad), I’m not sure if she’s aware of what’s going on, or if she’s lying and just being stubborn. For example, my mom passed out while walking around in a store one day a few weeks ago. Obviously she was aware of this, however, when we took her to the doctor; she didn’t listen to anything he had to say. She quite adamantly stated that he knew nothing, and that she was fine.

Well, that would be great if she was, but one minute she’s complaining to my two brothers, me, and anyone else who will listen, that she’s so dizzy she can’t do anything, and the next minute I come home from breakfast with a friend, and she’s returned from having DRIVEN to the grocery store and has a trunk full of food and supplies. When I remind her that she was complaining of being dizzy, and ask her why she would be driving to the store when I would be happy to get those things for her, she very angrily responds that she’s fine, and that I should leave her alone!

She has now resorted to blaming me for everything. She tells everyone that I’m the problem. She goes on to say that she was doing fine before I came, and she wishes I would just keep my nose out of her business. Now, not only is this not true, but it’s so hurtful to hear I can’t tell you. So what do I do about this? Do I take her back to the doctor? Do I have her tested for dementia or something like that? (Not sure she will do that). My brothers and I feel she needs to have her driver’s license revoked, as she has become very confused and has even called us from her mobile to ask us how she can get to where she’s going. How the heck do we go about taking her license away without her having a complete fit?

PLEASE help me if you can. I’m frustrated, sad, hurt, and worried. Where do I turn?
Connie – Concerned and Confused

Dearest Concerned and Confused,
Yup, this is a tough one. It sounds very much like there is something health-related going on with your mother, and you’re probably looking at some rough days ahead. My first suggestion is to arrange a little meeting with your family members (excluding your mother) to discuss everyone’s concerns. Once you’ve establish that there is a real concern (not that this is the way she acts when she gets a cold or the flu, and then goes back to acting normal), you need to take action. Unfortunately, life doesn’t hold back it’s fury from anyone. Although we can get sick or afflicted with a disease at any age, we all know as we age, things really start to happen.

From there, I would make an appointment with her doctor (again, excluding your mother). If you feel you trust the doctor’s opinion, then listen to what he has to say. He’s most likely dealt with this many times, and will be able to give you an idea of what to expect, or what to do next. Your mother’s stubbornness may cause lots of road blocks. In the end, if she gets into a state where she becomes physically aggressive or is putting the world at large in danger, you’ll have to act quickly. A psychiatrist could write an order for her to be hospitalized and assessed, if needed. It all depends on what happens from here on in.

Keep your eyes and ears open. Talk with your mother’s friends and neighbors on the sly, to find out if they have noticed any significant changes in your mother as of late. Any information you can pass along to the physician will be very helpful to him in determining the actual problem.

I know this is terribly disturbing for you, as it is for every child who loves their parent and has to watch these types of changes occur.

Take a deep breath. Gain support from your husband, your brothers, and any other calming element in your life. LOVE your mother. If a form of dementia IS starting to take over…she’s not to blame. As hard as all of this is; just keep loving her. Your love will lead you to the answers you need to keep her, you, your family, and everyone around you safe. I wish you didn’t have to experience this, but remember, our parents cared for us when we were children. I’m sure that wasn’t always easy. Now it is our turn to be the caretaker.
Live and Learn

If you would like to ask Liv a question that may be addressed in a future column, send a short email to livannelern@gmail.com

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