Parental Journal 37 from Planet Elderly: Tears and Confusion From Across the Miles

Friday, January 8, 2016  12:30 p.m.

I’ve been recharging the mental battery here in Missouri for about a week.  The phone conversations I’ve had with Mom have included tears and continued confusion.

Mom received mail about health expense refund program.  Could not understand it and was upset that it was sent to her instead of to me since I’ll be managing any health insurance issues for them.  Call received Jan. 4.

The evening of Jan. 4 Mom called to tell me she wanted to have her social security checks deposited into a checking account of her own.  I explained that this is already in place.  She has the gray checkbook with the note “Mom’s Checking” written in large letters on the outside.  Each month both her and Dad’s social security checks are deposited there.  She left the phone to go look for it.  Returned after having found it and cried as she said goodbye.    Maybe on some level she is aware that we have this conversation over and over and over…and it’s torture for her not to be able to remember that she does have funds easily at her disposal.


Mom in a panic because she received a call from someone at Walgreens profit sharing.  Someone was calling for “Victor,” and Mom tried to say he wasn’t there.  She was crying and upset.  She gave me the phone number and I told her I would call to find out what was going on.

I called and left a message.  This morning  (Jan. 8) the lady called me back.  She explained that Mom called her first; she then called my mom and could tell she was a bit confused.  The lady, Sue, was very kind and understanding. Both of her parents are 89.  At least now I know Mom generated the phone calls to begin with…not that she would remember.

Another panic call from Mom yesterday.  Received another piece of mail about health care refund fund or something like that.  I told her it is fine to put all that kind of mail in a pile on the desk upstairs and I will look at it when I come back on the 23rd.  Also told her she might receive some information we’ll need for filing taxes and to just put everything in a pile.  She said she would.   Let’s hope so.

Earlier this week I wrote a letter to Mom’s new primary care physician.  First appointment is February 1.  I gave some background information and highlighted some concerns.  I also included a document created by Dr. Leslie Kernisan who has an active blog Better Health While Aging.  She developed a quick start guide to help people check on elderly parents in five key areas:  Life Tasks    Safety    Physical Health     Mood and Brain Health    Medication Safety and Management.   I filled out the guide and sent it with my letter.

I truly hope the new doctor will have the right approach to helping my mom have better quality of life.  We have to first learn what’s really going on, and then move on from there.

In the meantime, I went ahead and put my Mom on the waiting list for Lenoir Woods here in Columbia.  It may never happen, but at least I have an option in the event that she has continuing problems and will no longer be able to live independently. Although I have Power of Attorney, I hope I don’t have to obtain legal guardian status.

During each visit I mention that it’s possible to move them both down to Columbia where it would be easier for me to be of assistance.  She usually ignores the suggestion or says she doesn’t want to be a bother.   Hmmmm.  How would one define “bother?”   I have to force myself to keep my mouth shut.

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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