I know I’m not the only one dealing with a parent with senile dementia bordering on Alzheimer’s. So how is it done? How do I keep my own sanity?

My mother has forgotten I sold her car. And she’s mad at me.

Back up to three years ago when she was admitted to hospital for pneumonia. When she came out, it was decided by the doctor that she should no longer be driving. She was 83. According to our laws she needed to go for a road test and she didn’t feel up to it. So she let her license go. We all thought it was for the best.

I hung on to her car for a year and then sold it. I didn’t need it and neither did she.

For the past three days I’ve been getting calls from her, asking:

What happened to my car?

Why didn’t you tell me you sold it?

Is nothing that’s mine, mine?

Why didn’t I have any say in the matter?

If I’d known, I wouldn’t have let you sell it.

Am I a non-person now?

Do you have anything else of mine you can sell [out from underneath me]?

I may as well die and get it over and done with…

Where’s my car?

Four or five phone calls a day, every day. Each call lasts half an hour or so and and goes around in the same circle. Same questions over and over. There’s nothing I can say to convince her she knew and agreed at the time. The logic that she didn’t need it is met with, “I wouldn’t have given up my license. I’ll just get it again, then I’ll get my car back. I want my car back.”

A couple of times I’ve managed to distract her from the cycle of questions, but she just phones back and starts again.

I’m worn out. I’m an only child and I have no other family here, so I’m on my own with her care.

I’m at a loss.


3 Words A Day – Day 3

It’s funny how we can go through months sometimes of not making any life-changing decisions and then boom! we’re confronted with the need to choose between this and that. It’s a time of life when we doubt ourselves the most – are we wrong? Are we right?

Take my mother, for instance. Last year I had the unenviable choice between letting her stay in her own home and moving her into a retirement residence. I opted for the latter, thinking I was doing it for her own good–no matter, she fought against me. Since then her memory has been getting steadily worse, and just last week she was diagnosed with mixed dementia… a lot of dementia with a hint of Alzheimer’s disease.

I made the right choice – I have to believe that. Getting her into a home at this point would probably be near impossible. She’s increasingly paranoid over the smallest things.

Still, it’s been one of the most trying times in my life. Making decisions for someone else, particularly those who’ve cared for YOU in the past, is not an easy task.

We just do our best.

Today’s words: