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Advice appreciated re Mum's friend .....

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by piph, Feb 14, 2015.

  1. piph

    piph Registered User

    Feb 4, 2013
    Mum has a long standing friend called Edna who lives about a half hours drive away. They have known each other for more than 60 years and used to be next door neighbours. I think they lost touch for a while, but always sent Christmas cards etc, so knew where each other was. Since Dad died and Mum moved back to Northants they have been in regular touch, phoning each other several times a week for a natter, and Mum used to go on the bus to see Edna at least 2 or three times a year. Since Mum has been unable to manage the bus ride, we have taken her over once or twice. Nevertheless, until very recently they were still in regular contact almost every day. Edna also has mild dementia and it was quite amusing to listen to the conversation repeated again and again as they both forgot what they'd talked about previously. Anyway, the point of this story is that we've been at Mum's now for a month and there has been no phone call from Edna, and neither has Mum phoned her. We've mentioned it a few times, and actually got Mum to call once, but there was no reply, and she seems reluctant to call again. In times past she would have normally been really worried, but now she doesn't seem to care.

    Now, I have Edna's son and DIL's phone number - do I phone and find out if she's ok, (I'm concerned too!) or do I leave well alone? I've just got this funny feeling that perhaps Mum doesn't want to phone because she's afraid of what she mind find out.
  2. pippop1

    pippop1 Registered User

    Apr 8, 2013
    I would have no hesitation in calling one of Edna's relatives.

    Just say that your Mum was a bit worried so you thought you'd call in case Edna was in hospital or something like that.
  3. Dazmum

    Dazmum Registered User

    I would call them too, they are in a similar position to you,so they will understand and may well be pleased that you cared enough to phone on your mum's behalf. You'll obviously need to decide how and if, you convey any news to your mum. If she hasn't mentioned Edna, you might decide not to. My mum has lost two of her friends and I made the decision not to tell her that they have gone, but of course that's up to you. Take care.
  4. Miss shiraz

    Miss shiraz Registered User

    Dec 24, 2014
    I would call if i were you. I think you could find that your mum's friend is in same situation as your mum, in that they no longer think to call for a chat. perhaps she/they find conversation hard over the phone now.
    my MIL always used to be phoning people for a chat as she was lonely, including us at 8.30 on a Saturday or Sunday morning (who needs an alarm clock!!). Her sister has commented that MIL doesn't call her any more. When her sister calls her then she finds if hard to keep the conversation going. She only calls us when she wants something eg ran out of milk, usually food related!! Then the call is very brief.
    it would be interesting for you to earwig a call to see how she behaves.
    if you do call her DIL/son and all is ok, could you say that you've taken a call from her friend and she needs to call her back (friend prob won't know she hadn't called!)
  5. Katrine

    Katrine Registered User

    Jan 20, 2011
    #5 Katrine, Feb 14, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2015
    Good advice already given above. I would phone and ask how Edna is. If she's taken a turn for the worse you don't have to tell your mum unless she asks.

    MIL had a very close friend who lived half a mile from her house. As MIL lost confidence in walking they tended just to phone each other. The friend was housebound through disability but did not have dementia.

    MIL would say regularly that her friend was dead because she hadn't seen her for months (true) and hadn't heard from her (not true). We would reassure her and offer to phone the friend right there and then. "Oh, No, I will ring her later". If we persisted she would admit that she wasn't going to phone because the friend was dead!

    By this time she had a strange relationship with the telephone. Ringing us to say she hadn't got our number, or that her phone was broken, that sort of thing. I think she was afraid to phone her 'dead' friend because she didn't want to speak to a dead person. :eek: The number was a direct line to the person not a piece of mechanical apparatus.

    MIL refused to let me make a weekly date for coffee at her friend's house. There was a certain perversity in this. "I should be able to walk up there any time I like. I don't like to be tied down to appointments. I will just call in when I'm in the mood." I think she didn't like other people knowing when she was meeting up with her pal. As the Johnny-come-lately DIL, it was none of my beeswax.

    I did once arrange to take her to visit the friend by just making the arrangement and then turning up to drive her there. As we approached the house MIL said sadly "My friend M used to live in one of these houses."
    We parked, got out of the car, and M hobbled to the front door and stood on the front step to greet us. The astonishment and joy on MIL's face was so moving. She raced up the garden path to greet her resurrected pal. :D

    Sadly M went into hospital soon after. I took MIL to visit her several times but she only made polite conversation. The friend had got thin in the face so she didn't fit her mental picture of M. That and she was in unfamiliar surroundings, so must be a stranger. By the time M died MIL had pretty much forgotten her, or at least forgotten that M was more than an old friend that she used to know. She didn't attend the funeral, only the wake. I think she had some understanding that 'the party' concerned M but as, to her, M had been dead "for years", it didn't cause her so much pain.
  6. Onlyme

    Onlyme Registered User

    Apr 5, 2010
    It maybe that Edna has already passed away and your Mum was rung to tell her but she has forgotten. Maybe she has a deep feeling that phoning Edna is no longer an option but can't remember why she feels like this.

    We went through this with Mum and only some months later Mum suddenly told us a relative had died.
  7. piph

    piph Registered User

    Feb 4, 2013
    This did cross my mind, but the phone number worked when I got Mum to try it over a week ago - she left message but no call back. I think I'll wait until Mum is out at Age UK on Wednesday and call then - if the news is bad then I will at least have some time to decided whether I tell Mum or not. Thanks for all your advice - I knew what I should do really but I was dithering because Mum gets so uptight whenever I do something on her behalf, unless she asked me to do it.
  8. piph

    piph Registered User

    Feb 4, 2013
    I at last managed to get hold of Edna's son at the weekend. He told me that his Mum was in hospital and had been for over a fortnight, but that previous to that she seems to have forgotten how to use the phone, and also forgotten almost everybody around her. she still just about knows who Paul is, but keeps asking if he's her son, just to make sure. They think she may have had a stroke as she can't walk any more.

    I told Mum that he had phoned me while she was in bed, and told her that Edna was in hospital and she wrote it in her diary, and then got out her box of cards to send Edna one. Luckily Paul had told me which ward his Mum was in.

    Last night when Mum's carer was here, she told her that she'd just found out Edna had died! I had to correct her and she checked in her diary to see what she had written 'Oh yes' she said, 'I dreamt last night that she'd died'! She didn't seem the least bit upset, as 'non-dementia' mum would have been! I wonder how many more people she'll tell that Edna has died?
  9. JayGun

    JayGun Registered User

    Jun 24, 2013
    My MIL is rather like this. We have circular conversations where I say "why don't we get the bus and go and see June?" and she says "I walk to Junes" so I say "ok, let's walk to Junes then" and she says "are you mad? I can't walk all that way at the moment" so I say "why don't we get the bus and go and see June?" And she says "I walk to Junes."

    Love from another Johnny come lately DIL. :D

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