Mother In Law Living in the Past

I am not sure if I should be worried about my mother in law. She is 82 and lives independently on her own. She used to have quite a full schedule before lockdown but now it’s only us once a week for company. She is fit and well but lately, she only seems to talk about the past. It doesn’t matter which topic is raised, she turns the conversation round to something about her and her past/childhood. We have busy full lives and it’s a bit frustrating to be honest, we can spend the whole of her visit talking about things from 70 years ago when there are quite important things happening now in our family that she seems a bit oblivious to. Sometimes she won’t even ask about her two grandchildren when I pick her up, she just talks about herself, her news and her past. It’s a bit strange, possibly just a side effect of being in lockdown for so long?? I’m not sure if it’s a sign of dementia or or just her getting older? Any insights would be appreciated! Thank you.

Hi Joanne, I am sorry to hear about this, indeed it can be worrying. My mum does this, some of it down to her mental health and the medications she is on. The best thing I can suggest is talk to the gp’s about it and raise the concern that you are worried incase something might happen to her. I know it sound like worst case scenario but sometime you have to play on the bad side a fair bit to get something moving. Your mother in law could be suffering to cabin fever by being stuck in but like I said speak to the GPS and they will bound to help. Also if none of the family can be with her full time, let a neighbour know that you can trust to keep an eye on her incase there is a problem. It might be worth speaking to the the red cross or the salvation army as they do have some programs running at the moment to check on older people. Even check with the local police station as they might have a local bobbie that could check on her now again, it does not harm for the uniform to be seen as there are more villains around at the moment playing or taking the advantage on older people and being con out of money or items.

hope this is some help. you can always get in touch with me if you need any further help.

It’s fairly normal in the “very elderly”.
My mum became totally self focussed in later years. Even complaining about dad dying early at 78 when my husband died at 58!!!

Hi Joanne, It sounds like your mother in law is very lonely (who wouldn’t be if we were alone for most of the time!). Contact Ageuk - they now provide Sparko which is an interactive TV channel that can connect people to local activities such as Bingo, chair yoga, art, quizzes etc as well as friends and family via their tv.

Hello, thank you very much for your replies, reading through them, I wonder if perhaps it is because she is lonely which makes me feel very sad. We ring her every day and see her often outside of our one set day with her for shopping, company and dinner. Thankfully she has great neighbours next door on both sides and two houses over the road. They all sat out for tea this weekend when the weather was a bit nicer which she liked. She has friends who call her as well but it’s no substitute for the very active life she had before.

She is quite a young trendy 82 year old and does a lot for charity, so I’m not sure if she would thank me for involving her GP, Police, Red Cross or Salvation Army at this stage but I will bear that in mind just in case it’s needed at a later date. I might however contact her priest to see if there is any way he can give her a call from time to time, she would talk to him.

I think the Age UK TV Channel is something I could drop into conversation when I next see her and set it up for her on her telly, it’s worth a try and sounds like fun.

Thanks again for all the advice, much appreciated. :slight_smile:

Hi Joanne, thank you for getting back to us.
You sound like a very caring daughter in law.
Sparko has to be installed by Ageuk and will need internet access. It only takes about 20 mins to set it up.

Sounds like dementia.

We went on a course once. They had a book case in front of us. They explained it to us saying if the book case shakes, all the books at the top will fall off leaving only the ones at the bottom.

A person suffering from dementia has all their recent memories (top of the case) fall off so they only remember things from the past.

It’s very upsetting. My auntie suffers from it. Just before lock down when my uncle died, she was talking about going to get my Mum (her sister) from school because it was 3pm. My Mum who is in her 60s was sat next to her. :-???

I’m so sorry. It must be so upsetting for you.

I agree with ontheverge. Sounds like she could be in the early stages of dementia. Obviously lockdown hasn’t helped.