Parental Journal 32 from Planet Elderly -Driving Up For Christmas Visit Tomorrow

Sunday, Dec. 13, 2015 afternoon

Call from Mom. She was cheerful and wanted to tell me that Dad asked about me today. They had a good lunch, and she just wanted me to know that sometimes he remembers.

Monday, Dec. 14, 2015 8:30 a.m.

Call from Mom. She was very upset: has no money, can’t find bank books, convinced Dad comes over and steals money.

Instead of reminding her that Dad can’t walk or drive, I reminded her that just a couple days ago she could not find the three bank books, but then she did find them in a garment bag.

“Oh. Hold on,” she said.

She found two and was relieved to know she has some money to buy food. Then she talked about feeling like taking all the money and moving away. “I need to start taking care of myself,” she said. “I need to see an eye doctor. Don’t be surprised if I sell the house. It’s a nice place, but it has too many bad memories for me.”

I asked her if she could wait until I get there Sunday and not go anywhere right now.

“Well, I guess I can do that.”

Monday, Dec. 14, 2015 11:45 a.m.

While doing research online, I received a call back from the Neuroscience unit of Condell. The lady I spoke with gave me the names of two neurologists who might be of assistance.

Knowing Mom’s appointment with Dr. D. is tomorrow; I called Jose and gave him the name and number of the doctor I would like Mom to see. Jose said he would give Dr. D the message, but that Dr. D tried to get her to see someone else after her last visit and she refused. “We can’t force a person to go to a doctor, but I will give Dr. D this information. I stressed to Jose that Mom is a danger to herself and others, especially since she is still driving. I also acknowledged that all the doctor can do is refer, and if she says no, that’s her right. I thanked him.

Will go back to the Alzheimer’s Organization discussion board to see what advice folks can give or what options I have. I think I remember reading about similar situations before, and in the end, it was pointed out that eventually one stands back and watches a train wreck.

Saturday, December 19, 2015 9 p.m.

Sneaky Mom. She went to her appointment without Kevin. He called to let me know. That means she drove there and home without a problem…unless she got lost a bit going to or from Dr. D’s office.

I have felt more down than usual this past week. I worry about what we are going to do as things get worse. Maybe that’s the problem. Stop worrying about that and just focus on what’s going on now.

Because of my down mood and feeling near tears most of the time, I did call the Alzheimer’s toll-free hot line number and was referred to a counselor. It was helpful to talk with someone and explain our family’s situation and my feelings. I was told that I was doing exactly what I should be as someone who lives 400 miles away. Because my mom is functioning fairly well with daily living, there is no emergency…just the lingering anxiousness.

Suggestions, when I think they might be useful: 1) call the Dept. of Motor Vehicles, but they will need verification from a doctor, lawyer, or law enforcement officer that she should not be driving. 2) call the police department, and 3) call the area agency on aging.

I did call the police department and spoke with a lady who was rather rude. According to her, “If she passed the driver’s test, then she has the right to drive.” Sure. But if I won’t ride as a passenger with her and if neighbor, Kevin, won’t…what should be done?

Turns out they made a wellness call and did not say who referred her. Kevin said she was pissed big time.

Have had two recent phone calls with her and they were fine. We chatted about everyday things. It was nice.

While researching dementia recently, I looked at recommended videos on YouTube by Teepa Snow, an expert in dementia who trains caregivers and professionals. Very, very helpful. She’s an excellent trainer and has tons of energy. I highly recommend starting with “What Is Dementia?”

I’ll leave early tomorrow morning for my Christmas visit. If things continue to be fairly stable, I’ll return to MO in about a week. But I need to do some planning: how to talk Mom into changing doctors. I think it would be best to switch to someone who has a specialty in geriatrics.

Another goal is to see if there’s any way I can encourage Mom to think about the possibility of her and Dad moving down to MO. That will be a continuing endeavor for each visit. It will probably never happen, but I need to keep trying to point out the benefits.

I think this Christmas visit will be an emotional roller coaster.

I have two parents whose brains are dying.  That’s sad and I am actively grieving.

About jjmummert

This blog was originally titled "Drifting Toward Planet Elderly," and it shared a journey I had with my elderly parents as they both finished their lives battling the complexities of dementia. After both passed on, I changed the title to "Living on Planet Elderly." I am a retiree who is reluctantly adjusting to the reality that she is now elderly. In July of 2021, I relocated to Middleton WI after living in Columbia MO for over 40 years. I decided that I want to experience a new and vibrant location in a cooler climate with lakes...a bucket list item of mine. I have a first cousin who lives in Madison. We have nice childhood memories, and I thought it would be wonderful to spend some time together as elders. It was. AND March 2023, I returned to Columbia. I had a wonderful time experiencing the Madison area of Wisconsin, spending time with my cousin, and making some wonderful friends. No regrets.
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2 Responses to Parental Journal 32 from Planet Elderly -Driving Up For Christmas Visit Tomorrow

  1. Patti Brown says:

    It’s so good that you’re able to write your thoughts and fears as well as the day-to-day happenings. It will all be in one place when you need it. My heart goes out to you and your folks.


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