My elderly mum is losing her short-term memory - any advice?

My mum is doing amazingly well at 97, still lives at home by herself, and still drives!

Her short-term memory has really gone in the last 6 - 9 months.
Hopefully it won’t get too bad.

My mum is typical of the WW2 generation and doesn’t make a fuss about things. But I can tell she’s getting more concerned as she notices her memory fade (which she’s quite open about).

I live abroad, but my brother lives close to my mum, and helps with groceries etc.

I had the idea to instigate and video record a conversation with my mum, my brother and myself discussing where my mum is currently as far as her memory is concerned. At a later stage, if she’s more confused and then sees herself talking about her memory loss, hopefully it would give some reassurance.

Any thoughts?

And I’m very open to any other suggestions to help both my mum and my family with what appears to be early dementia.

We haven’t had a doctor’s diagnosis - my mum is not one for doctors unless essential, and I’m not sure whether a doctor’s diagnosis would do anything, and might be traumatic for mum to hear.

Many thanks,

It’s time she gave up driving. Do you have Power of Attorney? Vital now. While she can still remember, bring together all her financial details into one place.

This will be a worrying time for you, but, as with my mum, I kept a check on things and decided that if she was not a danger to herself or others, then the happy little mum-world she lived in was ok. I live next door to her and am her full time carer so I can keep an close eye on her. I also cannot get an official recognition of dementia and I simply now think of it as a nasty word for older people who’s brains are full up and bits and bobs fall out occasionally to free up room.

Do get Lasting Power of Attorney sorted asap so you can also be responsible for her health decisions and financial life (you need 2 separate ones - government kerching for charging for them!). If you can afford it, do this officially with a solicitor who visits; chats with mum to make sure she fully knows what she is signing and isn’t being conned; then the solicitor completes the process and forms; sends it off to the governmental department to finalise. Currently, this is taking far longer than is acceptable and being blamed on covid. It can take a couple of months at least to go from setting up; visit; paperwork sent; letter asking if any objections are to be submitted; finally getting the official paperwork (we started this in October 2020 and still haven’t received the paperwork).

It’s all a bit frightening to see your mum lose her memory, but as I keep telling mum, with all the repeats on television at least you don’t remember they’ve been on before every week for the past 50 years so each programme is new to you! You really really need to keep a sense of humour and take each day as it comes.

My mum kept feeling sorry for herself when at 87 she couldn’t do a lot of things.
I had to point out that she was lucky to know her grandchildren and her great grandchildren, that she was paying the price for a long life.
My husband died at 58, he never even got to meet his beautiful grandson.

Thank you.
Yes, we recently got the LPA (both health and finances).
We’re monitoring her driving. Amazingly, she’s still a better driver than a lot of people I know! And she says she’ll know when it’s time to give up. (Unless we have to decide for her, but so far, we’re choosing to let her keep that last piece of independence).

Thank you for your excellent response!
We’re on the same page.
We just recently got the LPA in place (health and finances)
I applaud you for your positive and lighthearted perspective! I agree, I think it’s better to go with the flow rather than think of early dementia as a terrible thing. There are many worse scenarios. Of course, it depends on the severity… I’m sure severe cases are horrendous for all concerned, and I salute anyone going through that. I’m just talking about this early stage of some short-term memory loss).

She’s definitely happier since the decline… she’s lighter, and more fun, and a nicer person.
(Again, if anyone else is reading this, I’m only talking about this very early stage of short-term memory loss).

Thank you. I admire you taking the lighter perspective!

Hi there
My 89 year old mum has quite bad memory loss. She lives in an Assisted living apartment so gets a carer popping in to administer her meds and check on her. What she finds useful is writing pad where she can write down messages as she thinks of them (she’ll call me and forget what she’s called about). The notes reassure her - she’ll have to write down if she’s eaten her dinner, gone for walk. I also have a whiteboard where I can write down notes and or instructions - ( E.g what to do if the tv doesn’t turn on) - this doesn’t suit some people but so far it’s working for mum.



Cathy the white board idea is brilliant.
I will try this Ula
Richard you are v thoughtful towards your Mum.

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