I know this sounds horrible but my mum is a lifelong manipulator and attention seeker. She has a history of hypochondia and an eating disorder. After my dad divorced her 30 years ago she turned her focus to me and took regular overdoses if she didn't get her way until I had to watch her have her stomach pumped. There is always an end game, she does these things to get what she wants and can never ever ask for it.
She eventually met someone else and subjected them to the manipulation and attention seeking until he died three years ago. Then the focus returned to me, culminating on demands to move home as she felt all the people in her sheltered complex hated her and she didn't fit in. She applied for an independent living flat nearer to me and got it. As I began to prepare for this I had more contact with her and discovered that was taking vallium given to her from a friend as well as cocodamol and her 'normal' medication including heart tablets, blood pressure and cholestoral, anti depressant and gabapentin. She is 79.
When she moved she started to say that she was confused, moving on to not being able to get out of bed. I was worried I eventually called the paramedics and she was admitted to hospital and was diagnosed with low blood sodium, which they said could be causing confusion, kept 4 days on a saline drip, then sent home. I asked for a care package and she was assessed but answered all the psysical and memory questions perfectly. She is physically well and has had no falls. They know about the over medication as I told them (although she asked me not to). We have also been down the memory clinic route as she is convinced she has Alzheimers disease. It was found through brain scans that she has mild vascular disease (the Dr was at pains to say it wasn't vascular dementia). She passed the memory assessment and was discharged to her GP.
This is all recent. Now she keeps saying she is forgetting things. She keeps telling me, my brother and my stepsister that she is confused and can't remember what day it is. She says she hates her flat and wishes she was back where she lived before. She is looking after herself, washing, eating, watching TV. We have had her medication assessed and asked the friend to stop giving her vallium, got a medication carousell and warden control, but she is not happy and complains that she never sees anyone, but won't socialise or even go out, even though she is able to. She doesn't want friends round, only me and my brother. She is complaining all the time that she has no food/library books/cigarettes/hairdresser/crisps/chocolate but she will not do anything for herself - and if we don't do it she is accusing us of neglecting her.
She chose to finish work and look after my elderly grandparents who had strokes and cancer and she has mentioned this several times until I had to tell her that I just cannot quit my job as I have a mortgage and dependents and neither can my brother and, anyway, she can look after herself. She now keeps saying 'things aren't the same as when I looked after my mum and dad.'
So on to me. I honestly cannot tell if she is really having memory issues and confusion or if this is another manipulative act to get what she wants - mainly me and my brother - round there doing everything for her. If we don't go round when she thinks we should she is horrible to us and accuses us of neglecting her and says things like 'your families come first and I come nowhere' in a sarcastic way. Social services say she doesn't need carers and she is completely capable of doing things herself. At her recent hospital visit they did not diagnose dementia. I love my mum, but her past behaviour makes me think she is making this up. Also, she says she can't remember things, but she keeps saying it, for example 'I can't remember that I had my dinner' and 'I don't know what day it is. I was going to put the TV on to see if songs of praise was on so I know it is Sunday' on Sunday. So she can remember that she can't remember. Other elderly people I know with memory issues forget things or their behaviour changes, but they are mainly unaware of it or confused about it.
We have got to the point now where non of us feel like going round there because she just walks around smoking and saying how she can't remember things while we do everything for her. I asked her last night if she would go to the doctors with me and she said she wouldn't. She told me again that she has no idea why she is in the flat, how she moved and insinuated that I had made her do it and she doesn't like it. I would usually discuss with her but I am so tired that I just agreed and got off the phone. Half an hour later she rang back saying she was confused and was I coming over tonight. I said no, and it soon escalated to the usual 'I don't want to go on like this' and 'I want to end it all' that I have heard all my life.
I feel like a horrible person writing this because she might be ill, but I have no way of telling. Her tests all came back OK except for the vascular disease and I have done all I can with my brother to make her very comfortable in her new home. We visit at least three times a week, more lately and do all her cleaning and shopping. Although she has been manipulative and treated me badly at times I still want to do what I can for her, she looks so tiny and helpless all the time as she doesn't eat much and I feel sorry she is not happy.
I don't know what I am asking here really except would someone who has the memory issues she says she has be so aware of them that they script it and tell everyone all the time? Would she be so aware of her confusion in a way that she can describe it fully to anyone who will listen? She is always saying 'I'm keeping clean' and looking solemnly at us as if its some kind of qualification of her mental state - surely someone who is depressed or has memory issues stop washing not on purpose and because they are ill? Is there anything else I could look for?
I guess I need to tell someone (apart form you kind people) about this but I don't know which way to turn, the hospital and the doctors are overloaded.
Apologies for the long post and thank you for reading. Just writing it has helped a little.