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My mother's mental health

R

ratishjob10

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Jan 4, 2021
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1
Location
Mumbai
My mother is 72 years old as of October 2020. My late father, a physician had mentioned a decade ago that my mother could be suffering from dementia. I am my parents' only child. Currently she is in Bangalore and we can't take her in person to a psychologist for a session because of covid. My mother won't attend online sessions. So I thought to mention my mother's behaviour to get suggestions and opinions . We want to find out what is really her ailment, how to proceed and what to expect in the future.

My mother was a very motherly presence till she hit 60. In Mumbai, India, having a house maid is very common but my mother went through her entire married life without a maid. Till her late forties she managed things at home wonderfully but then we moved to Mumbai when she was 49. My Dad got busy with his new clinic working long hours and I went away from home exploring life as a young buck. I never talked much on the phone , leaving my mother alone in the house for most of the day. She really didn't mingle much with the neighbours and was mostly getting through the day herself.
In her late fifties, my father suggested having a maid to keep the house clean but found that my mother had trust issues with all the maids he chose (trust issues means she accused maids of stealing). She also treated the maids derogatively. When she reached her early sixties, I started realising that my mother wasn't answering questions properly, had problems listening and kept repeating whatever she said. I started calling her more frequently but found that she was not answering most my questions but instead telling her own stories. Meanwhile as common in my culture, I had an arranged marriage with the blessing of my parents. But as soon as my wife entered my parents' house my mother started finding reasons to blame my wife and make her life miserable. Eventually my wife and I moved to another city pursuing our careers. My mother was always bad mouthing my wife to all the relatives. My father and I thought maybe my mother may have an issue with sharing the house and her son with another lady. Meanwhile I lived with my wife for a few years, had a baby and just before Covid struck, I went to Australia to pursue a project. Before my wife and kid could join me in Australia, covid struck, borders closed and I got stuck in Australia,my wife and kid in Bangalore and my parents in Mumbai.

1. loss of empathy and reality
My father got covid and was lying sick, his condition worsened but my mother kept saying that he was fine , just a bit of fever. When my father was not answering the phone, I panicked and called his brothers to check on him. It seems my mother had driven off municipal doctors who had come for a home visit and she stated that my father was fine. My father oxygen level was down to 50 and he was in a bad way when his brothers rushed him to hospital. My father struggled for 2 weeks during which both his brothers took shifts in the hospital. My mother on the other hand seemed oblivious of the gravity of the situation. My Dad died after 2 weeks after which I was allowed by the Australian government to fly back to Mumbai.

2. False sense of self esteem.
My mother claims herself to be very intelligent, has a lot of friends and people who adore her. During the time when my father was sick with covid, we found that people were mostly annoyed at her total disregard for safety rules in effect for covid. Most people didn't consider her as a friend and the security guards were complaining because she wouldn't respect their instructions. I also can affirm that she doesn't have any other friends.

3. Lying , secrecy and hiding.
My mother has a strange need to hide everything. I found hidden cash in bags, the currency notes were crumbled and just piled up. She hid house kitchen items, household items etc. She would even hide her purse everytime.
She would try to manipulate information and have secrets from people within the family but would reveal all about her gold, family assets etc. to strangers in shops (repeating her past over and over to people).
She would lie for simple things, petty things. Hide things that really made no sense.

4. Failure to understand the situation
Since my mother was alone, I left her with my wife in Bangalore and rushed back to Australia to save my job. Since my wife is the lone responsible adult there in a high covid struck part of Bangalore , she mandates that she, our son and my mother stay locked in the apartment at all times. She only goes out for work (non-avoidable) but she takes extreme caution. My wife offered to take my mother for a daily evening walk within the apartment campus , but my mother refuses. My mother wants to go shopping without my wife. Inspite of the death of her husband because of covid and me trying to explain the danger of my wife and son getting sick if somebody brings home the virus, my mother wants to roam free. She lies, manipulates information, is deceitful, bad mouths my wife to all our relatives, fakes injury and pain blaming torture from my wife and tries hard to make my wife's life miserable, all just to be able to get out of the campus. My wife and I have been together for 6 years now and I know that my wife as a person. She doesn't adore my mother but would never physically abuse her and mostly tries hard to shy away from a verbal tiff with my mother.

5. Appearance
My mother was very sensitive about her looks and would spend atleast an hour before the mirror everyday for most of her life. Her closet housed around 250 dresses. But in the last decade, she dresses up very shabbily. She keeps wearing old , torn clothes even if she has better ones. Most of her dresses in the closet are still her pride but she never wears any of them.
Her kitchen utensils and cutlery are dirty and old. But she won't change them.

6. Hoarding
Her house is filled with things she doesn't use at all. Her closet and wardrobes are very unorderly and piled up. All the drawers are bursting with unused stuff. She cannot dispose off anything though.

7. Repeating conversation
Repeating instances, happenings from her past over and over all the time during conversation.

8. Poor learning ability
Her ability to learn is very low now. She used to be a well respected teacher till she was 50. She is very poor with gadgets and technology. She also wants newspaper and magazines but does not read them. She says she cannot read because she gets a headache. Got her eyesight tested. She just does not want to read.

9. Poor listening and low patience.

10. Hightened level of happiness when meeting people.
People and relatives usually don't talk to her much because it is a bit weird having conversation with my mother always repeating the same thing again and again. My mother doesn't have friends as well. But when my mother does get somebody to talk to, she becomes highly animated and excessively happy, often over expressing her emotions. Often hugging and kissing small children making their parents uncomrfortable, talking without coordination, not really completing sentences, missing important/key words in a sentence, being monotonous , not listening to the person that she is conversing with.
 
Mayflower7

Mayflower7

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Hi,
Welcome to the forum.
I'm so very sorry for the loss of your father.
I do hope you understand we can't diagnose on the forum as we're not qualified to do so.
it can be hard for some patients to realise they are mentally unwell. It's important you get a dr to assess her as soon as is possible.
Take care
 
H

Hopeendsfear

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Joined
Jun 16, 2020
Messages
10
Location
USA
I work as a pta here in the states. I believe in many other countries it’s referred to as physiotherapy. I don’t have the ability to diagnose anything but I have worked in nursing homes (elderly) for over a decade and most patients I work with have some degree of dementia. Where I can’t state outright that the behaviors your mother is exhibiting are the result of dementia, I can tell you that I see many of those behaviors at work pretty often. I know how hard it is to receive certain medical services due to covid but maybe a neuropsychiatrist can see you and your mother at once via a telephone appointment? If she has to be seen in person, can it be done with proof of a negative covid test? It’s important in my opinion that she sees some professional for their opinion as there are certain medications that may work to slow the progression of some forms of cognitive loss. I wish you the very best of luck and offer my condolences on the loss of your father. Due to my line of work I was working in the thick of the pandemic here in downstate New York at its worst and had to watch with inadequate protective equipment whilst many people that I knew for many years passed due to the virus. Hang in there, you’ll be in my thoughts.
 
P

Pink1234

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Jul 8, 2019
Messages
175
Location
UK
Hello @ratishjob10 and welcome to the forum.

As has been said, the best thing to do in this situation is have a chat with the medics. Many treatable conditions, such as depression, stress, thyroid problems, vitamin deficiencies etc., can cause dementia like symptoms so it's important to have a check-up. Please don't cause additional stress by jumping to the immediate conclusion that it's dementia. On the other hand, if it is dementia then a diagnosis may open up support for you.

Here is a link to an Alzheimer's Society Fact sheet about the diagnosis issue. Just click the second line to read or print the document. The document relates to the UK but it may give you some pointers.

Assessment and diagnosis (426)
PDF printable version

Now that you have found us I hope you will keep posting as the membership has vast collective knowledge and experience.
 
M

ManDss

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Jul 24, 2020
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Argentina
I think the best way to know if she have dementia is by testing her memory, thats a clear sign of dementia, because about personality is hard to tell.

See if she cant remember where she putted something. Or if she have troubles to remember something you know she should know very well (like a phone number, a name, etc), if she know what day of the week is, etc.

Or if she have problems with words, like if she tries to tell you something but seems she cant "find the word on her mind".
 
calypso

calypso

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I worked as a senior sister for people with dementia for ten years. I also can't diagnose on a forum but not much you write sounds familiar. We have an article on here which might be of help, or may not. Often the elderly have poor ability to manage even a small amount of changes to their blood chemistry so its a place to start if you can get her there. That is the problem she won't accept any help though isn't it?

 
M

ManDss

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Argentina
I worked as a senior sister for people with dementia for ten years. I also can't diagnose on a forum but not much you write sounds familiar. We have an article on here which might be of help, or may not. Often the elderly have poor ability to manage even a small amount of changes to their blood chemistry so its a place to start if you can get her there. That is the problem she won't accept any help though isn't it?

She doesnt accept to tidy up her house, the house is a mess and for her "thats ok".

Sometimew she realize that the house needs some clean, and she cleans or asks me to clean a bit, but not so much as should be.

The roof have water leaks, and its been destroying the walls, I told her, she was retisent to do the repair.

Now its repaired, but because she didnt repair it on time the leaks made a mess on the walls.

Its not a case just needs some external medical help. I mean, psychiatricaly she is controled and at her top. No meds can help her now.

So its just "dance" with all this, ups and downs.
 
calypso

calypso

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It might be an idea to think about depression. In the elderly it rarely looks like it does with young people. Not caring for herself and not listening to others could be that. I a not diagnosing but suggesting to you something to think about.
 

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