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I Guess I"m the World's Worst Daughter (basically, a rant)

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
This happens almost every tme I drive my Mom on her errands (and I've been doing that since my Dad passed away in 1993). She's shopped at the same store for over 25 years, yet she can never find anything. As soon as we get inside the front door she loses half her IQ for some reason. (now I know why my Dad usually waited for her in the car ) She asks the same questions over & over, then walks off while I'm answering her. It's almost as if she wants me to lead her around by the hand, and I just don't understand it. She's in great shape for a woman her age, and still mentally sharp, so I just don't know what's going on.
I'm afraid I got feed up with it today. She asked where an item was and I told her it was exactly where it had been for the last 5 years. She got ticked and told me she'd know where it was if she'd ever bought it before. When I reminded her she bought the item every time it was on sale she got really ticked and walked away. Then she asked where she would find the frozen oj. When I told her 'if it's frozen oj it's in the freezer' she got so mad at me she sputtered! Then she comes off with, "I hope this happens to you someday!" Well, by then I'm totally clueless. I finally said, "Mom, you are not so old or so decrepit that you can't figure out that frozen juice is in a freezer." She didn't speak to me all the way back to her house, where I apologized for upsetting her.
I honestly don't know what to do. I can talk my DD into doing the errands once in a while (she did them last week, came home and said, "Your Mother is a pain in the *ss.") I couldn't say anything about it, because I agree. Mom and I have never been close, and I have to admit I do resent being the go-fer all the time. On the other hand, I spent most of my life working with the elderly (as a nurses' aide and home health aide) and I was always patient & understanding.
I know I'll have to keep doing the chauffering and hopefully I can suck it up for awhile again---altho' I still don't really undersstand what I did wrong this morning. I guess I just needed to get it off my chest.
post #2 of 25
My first thought is that it sounds like she may be developing Altzheimers...you may want to speak to her doctor. Her anger at you for answering a question she KNOWS she should know the answer to but can't remember...that's a red flag to me.

It's hard to tell especially in the early stages. And she may be in denial about it - how much time do you spend with her outside of these shopping trips?
post #3 of 25
Thread Starter 
I usually see Mom 2 or 3 times a week (she only lives 5 blocks away).
Honestly, I don't think Alzheimer's even begins to enter into it. In fact, she had a complete physical just a couple of weeks ago and her dr. says her only problem is that she needs to lose weight. I've gone with her (took her) to her appointments and her dr. is very open about any health issues.

Like I said, even my Dad used to sit in the car and wait for her when he took her shopping. As he used to say, "I can't go shopping with her, she wears me out." I do realize that she's probably become a bit more forgetful over the years but today was totally out of character for her. I think part of the problem may be that she really should get a hearing aid and she absolutely refuses to admit that she may need one. If I try talking to her a bit louder than normal she gets annoyed because I'm "treating her like she can't hear."

My brothers like to say that Mom's gotten 'crusty' in her old age, and they're right. As I mentioned before, we've never gotten along; I think this is just another instance of rubbing each other the wrong way.
post #4 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by GingersMom View Post
My first thought is that it sounds like she may be developing Altzheimers...you may want to speak to her doctor. Her anger at you for answering a question she KNOWS she should know the answer to but can't remember...that's a red flag to me.

It's hard to tell especially in the early stages. And she may be in denial about it - how much time do you spend with her outside of these shopping trips?
That is my first thought too. Early stages of Alzheimers can be very subtle, and a doctor who sees her once or twice a year won't even notice because frankly until they see the patient's face at their door, the probably can't remember who that person is who is coming to see them.
post #5 of 25
If it isn't the early stages of Alzheimers it could just be the way she shops. I had a good friend in the city where I used to live that I only went shopping with once. For her shopping was like a social outing and an adventure, for me it is something I do because I have too. I get what I need and get out. She spent the entire afternoon doing what I could do within an hour. If that's the case, and there is no one else to take her, than you probably have to just cope with her. Fortunately with my friend I could simply choose not to go shopping with her.
post #6 of 25
My mother is the same way... and we know she's developing early senility/Alzheimers. The doctor won't know something is wrong unless someone tells them. My mother doesn't realize how forgetful she's getting... and she sure as all heck isn't gonna tell a doctor about it! She doesn't think anything's wrong.

Seriously... if you know her doctor at all, I'd suggest making an appointment to sit down and talk with them. Let them know your concerns, bring up the senility and the hearing. She sounds about as stubborn and huffy as my mother... so she won't bring up stuff like that to her doctor. Just be lucky she's not driving herself to the store and getting lost... that's what we're dealing with now... don't get me started on that...

Good luck!
Amanda
post #7 of 25
Please, please be patient with her -- even if it's not Alzheimer's (which can occur even in the 50s and 60s), it could be another form of dementia, or even another type of memory or focus problem altogether (and you should see about getting her diagnosed). These kinds of memory issues can come and go, can apply to one kind of thing but not another... it's not easy to recognize a diagonosable pattern.

One thing is for sure: your mom isn't pretending to forget, or to be unable to reason. This is not fun for her. If she seems to want you to lead her by the hand, maybe it's because she needs you to, and finds it hard to admit.

I know that her anger makes it difficult to keep your cool -- I went through this with my father, and it's beginning with my mom, too. You are not the world's worst daughter. But they honestly can't help it, and the best thing you can do (for her and for yourself) is stay calm and patient and loving.
post #8 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Natalie_ca View Post
That is my first thought too. Early stages of Alzheimers can be very subtle, and a doctor who sees her once or twice a year won't even notice because frankly until they see the patient's face at their door, the probably can't remember who that person is who is coming to see them.
i also agree - very similar to how my paternal grandmother was in the early stages.

her doctor told us she didn't have it, either - but she did. it wasn't until it got quite advanced that the medical people saw it, but we saw signs much earlier.
post #9 of 25
I look after my mom, who's almost 85. In the last few years there has definitely been some mental deterioration - her hearing definitely took a hit - and she has gotten more and more forgetful and has some challenges processing and keeping things straight. That said, she is still a very bright/sharp woman. Physically frail.

Each time her faculties drop a notch, she gets very upset. She knows she is deteriorating and it scares and upsets her.... me, too!!

She's not crusty about it - she never was that type of personality, but she sure does complain... partly because her world has gotten so small. Stopping her driving was one of the worst in this regard.

We have a very good relationship - but this does wear on me quite a bit.

I finally brought up the subject of the forgetfulness with her doctor... and he ran her through a battery of questions and said he, too, could see a decline ... we talked about her taking a memory booster. I also noted that she seemed depressed, which is not unusual for the elderly. So he said memory loss and depression can be linked and decided to start her first on an antidepressant.

Of course, Mom has come to me several times and said that she doesn't notice ANY difference with this drug. Hmmmm....

It is a huge challenge dealing with our elderly parents. I lose my cool much, more more than I should and more than I would if it were a stranger.

I would agree - if there is a change in behavior or an apparent deterioration in faculties - go talk to her doctor! And if need be, can you and your brothers HIRE someone to take her on her errands??? I know that can be $$$$ - but that may help with your mental health!
post #10 of 25
Something the others have failed to add is that if the doctor she is seeing is just a GP, that doctor may not be able to handle or even remotely diagnose Alzheimer's. She would need to see a neurologist, especially since it could be something other than Alzheimer's going on.

A lot of health problems can cause "brain fog" too - I've gotten lost in a store I regularly shop at simply due to my brain not getting enough blood. Again, a neurologist could help sort through causes.


If it is Alzheimer's, there are drugs that can help prevent it from progressing.
post #11 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by strange_wings View Post
Something the others have failed to add is that if the doctor she is seeing is just a GP, that doctor may not be able to handle or even remotely diagnose Alzheimer's. She would need to see a neurologist, especially since it could be something other than Alzheimer's going on.

A lot of health problems can cause "brain fog" too - I've gotten lost in a store I regularly shop at simply due my brain not getting enough blood. Again, a neurologist could help sort through causes.


If it is Alzheimer's, there are drugs that can help prevent it from progressing.
That may be - but a GP or internist is often the first line of defense. My mother's internist is very smart and I trust him. He doesn't brush off what family says. He would refer her if need be - no problem. I guess we are lucky.
post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by AddieBee View Post
That may be - but a GP or internist is often the first line of defense.
They are. My GP is confused and spooked by my weirder health issues, though.
And, yep, you are lucky. A decent doctor is hard to find, a really good is even more so.
post #13 of 25
I can only really offer support ! If she's always been this way maybe shopping just stresses her out for some reason.

One thing I do want to ask though....how many different medications is she on? My Grandmother was on 20 at one point, and after a year she could barely remember her own name. My grandfather took her to another physican that actually looked at what she was taking, and realized the combinded drugs were doing more harm than good. I really wish doctors would actually LOOK at the list of drugs someone is already taking, and know how they would interact before prescribing something else. Some of the drugs were for problems that were already taken care of, but no one told her to stop taking them so she just kept getting them refilled. After regulating her medicines she was a new person.

It's something to look into.

My first thought was Alzheimer's too, or Dementia (as far as I know the only way to tell the difference for sure is a brain autopsy).

Whatever the reason, I know it's hard on you. I agree, be patient. As HARD as it can be at times. I think today was fine and you DO need to vent. That's what we're here for. When you take her for her errands grit your teeth, smile, and follow her (or lead her) around the store 15 times if you need to. Believe me, there will probably be a time you would give anything to be able to take her on her errands one more time.
post #14 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by strange_wings View Post
They are. My GP is confused and spooked by my weirder health issues, though.
And, yep, you are lucky. A decent doctor is hard to find, a really good is even more so.
For instance, my brother is a doctor - he doesn't live here - but Dr. Klein - Mom's internist- has no problems discussing the situation with my brother, taking his calls, input, etc. Or any of us for that matter, but sometimes drs dont like it when medical personnel in a patient's family get pulled in. I think they view it as a challenge or a threat or something.

Sorry - hope I didn't hijack Libby's thread!
post #15 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
One thing I do want to ask though....how many different medications is she on?
She takes meds for cholesterol and acid reflux; like I said, Mom's amazingly healthy for a woman her age.
I have talked to her dr., and even taken her to see him when she didn't think there was any reason (at one time I thought she'd had a slight stroke; tests showed that she hadn't) The memory 'tests' didn't show any problems. As for getting fitted for a hearing aid, she refuses. As I said before, the dr.'s only recommendation is that she lose weight. She also refuses to do any extra walking or cut back on the fattening foods she eats.
As I mentioned, even my Dad got to the point that he wouldn't even go into the stores with her (and he would have done anything for her). The first thing she does when she gets into the store is stop dead, right in the doorway, and start hunting in her purse for a pencil. She has her list in her hand and refuses to budge until she digs that pencil out of her purse to check things off her list. This isn't a new occurence---this has been going on for YEARS and YEARS. Every time it happens I say, "Mom, you need to get out of the doorway, people can't get around you." And everytime she gets 'huffy'. This isn't a deterioration of her mental state, this is my Mom being herself. And yes, I've tried telling her to put the stupid pencil in a certain pocket in her purse, or tie one onto the handle, or dig the dumb thing out before we even get into the store.
I seriously appreciate the input, but the thing is Mom isn't acting any different than she ever has. I don't believe this is old age creeping up on her,this is just the way she is. In nice weather she'll walk a couple of blocks to catch the city bus and do other errands. When my siblings and I point out that she could take the senior citizens bus anywhere, anytime, for free she refuses because "that bus is full of old people". The woman is 86, so I'm not sure just what she classifies as "old".
Again, thanks for all the advice but seriously---this is just my Mom being herself.
post #16 of 25
I feel your pain, Libby. My Mom has weird little quirks that drive everyone up a wall- my family's favorite is my mom's version of 20 questions. She will ask you the same question 20 different ways until she gets the answer she wants My Mom's only 55 too, we can't wait to see what she's like as she gets older.
post #17 of 25
I don't know if you have this service where you live but what about something like Fresh Direct. You order groceries and they deliver it to your door. Then Mom doesn't need to go shopping and they find the items.
post #18 of 25
If this is not new behavior and you're pretty sure she can get through the shopping by herself, why not take a book and wait in the car while she's shopping? Of course, if you find yourself sitting there for more than an hour or so, you'll need to go into the store to check on her.
post #19 of 25
It has long been known that stores employ various strategies to actually cause a certain kind of "hypnotism." It's very subtle, but it's designed to increase time in the store, which usually increases sales.

Personally, I'd rather be horsewhipped than go grocery shopping, usually.
post #20 of 25
For what it's worth, the places I shop regularly change where they put things. Another strategy to keep people shopping longer. Anyway, it drives me bonkers. Maybe she doesn't like that either? I hate grocery shopping but it's a necessary evil.

post #21 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
It has long been known that stores employ various strategies to actually cause a certain kind of "hypnotism." It's very subtle, but it's designed to increase time in the store, which usually increases sales.
No offense intended, but I find it hard to believe that all stores do that. Why don't I believe it? Because my DH is the manager of a grocery store (not the one I take my Mom to). They also only move items when they do a complete reset--every few years or so.

Quote:
If this is not new behavior and you're pretty sure she can get through the shopping by herself, why not take a book and wait in the car while she's shopping?
I've thought about that, but this time of year it just isn't possible because of the cold. My car's heater doesn't work particularly well and I would probably freeze to death. When the weather's nice, or I know it will be a relatively short shopping trip, I do wait in the car. Of course, then Mom gets mad that I don't go in the store with her--"Are you embarrassed to be seen with me?"

Seriously, I can't win. If I go with her, I'm rushing her. If I don't go in with her it's because I'm embarrassed by her. If DD takes her it's "why didn't your Mom come?" If I suggest she take the senior bus her answer is "I just won't go; I've got food in the house, so I won't starve."
I think I just figured out part of the problem. Could my Mother be a drama queen?
post #22 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by libby74 View Post
I think I just figured out part of the problem. Could my Mother be a drama queen?
LOL, that could be the problem!

Ok, if this is normal for her, maybe you can try to split the shopping list? You take half and she takes half and get what is needed? Or, wouldn't your mom agree to that?

My mom was similar to that. She would take forever shopping, and it wouldn't matter to her where she stopped or who she was holding up. If she is used to that routine, all I can say is bite your tongue and .

God bless you for being there to help your mom!
post #23 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by libby74 View Post
No offense intended, but I find it hard to believe that all stores do that. Why don't I believe it? Because my DH is the manager of a grocery store (not the one I take my Mom to)...
I'm sure you're right, not ALL stores do that -- and in those that do, it would rarely be the decision of the on-site owners or managers, but rather of the marketing division of the parent company of a big chain.

What Mike (mrblanche) referred to is indeed real -- from the product labels to the shelf arrangements to the positioning of sections in the store to the music you're listening to as you shop, it has all been researched and orchestrated to lull you into a pleasant sort of daze, slow you down, make you spend more time in the store, force you to walk the length and breadth of the store so you have as much opportunity as possible for impulse buying... all sorts of tricks are used. Sometimes we succumb, sometimes we can resist. Sometimes I catch myself drifting down an aisle of things I don't need and have to shake myself out of it!

And sure, things do get changed and moved around -- that's part of the marketing technique. Even in our little bead store, we shift things around frequently, because we want customers to see new things every time they come in. It's good psychology, although it can be annoying if you have trouble finding what you're looking for.

But as I say, not all stores employ these research-driven psychological marketing techniques ... mostly just the big chains.
post #24 of 25
Lots of for you for helping your mother this way, even if she tests your patience!

I went through that with my grandmother. Her entire life, she has had this... personality quirk. She gets in her mind that she can't do something, just can't, and if it needs to be done, she needs help. Period. It's not dementia (though she did get that later in her life), because she did it from before I was even born!

So, if you are sure it's not some form of dementia, she could just be like my grandma. All the hints and gentle persuasion and patience never changed her... We ended up having to adjust to her. Plan ahead, know it will take a while and you will need to hold her hand. Can you do your own shopping at the same time? Maybe split up? You take half her list (3/4?), and she can get a few items on her own like she used to with your dad?

Can you and your daughter go? Then one can help her and one can do your shopping? Or at least, you can help each other with patience!

We just ended up planning to spend a long time there!

Good luck!
post #25 of 25
pay attention to the music the next time you're grocery shopping... the tempo is usually quite slow. people have a tendency to unconsciously walk in tempo with it. slower pace means more time spent in the store, which equals more money spent overall [gross profit].
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