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Mother using odd (embarrassing) words.


Registered User
Oct 1, 2014
I don't think my mother's loss of cognitive skills is really at the point where I'm worried about her safety. She's nearly 94 and I'm more worried by the problems caused by poor sight and balance.

But a small thing that bothers me relates to disinhibition. Yesterday I phoned and her and she was discussing shopping for clothes. She went off on a long reminiscence about a shop where she used to buy what she described as 'panties.'

This is not a word she has ever used before (knickers and pants being her preferred terms) and also one that isn't an appropriate description for the quite old-fashioned underwear she prefers.

I can't quite explain why but it bothered me. Perhaps because my father-in-law who had quite advanced dementia by the time he dies liked to talk - and behave - in ways that were inappropriate.

Any thoughts?

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
Any thoughts?

Absloutely nothing to be concerned about @MrsMoose. There could be worse and even most embarrassing substitutions which have been recorded on Talking Point.

A friend of mine had meningitis when he was in his 40s . When he recovered he found he was using words he hadn`t normally used in the past. One example he gave was using bathrobe instead of dressing gown. He knew he never used bathrobe in the past and just accepted is as one of the effects of the meningitis.

I think we can suggest the same for your mother`s use of panties. At least you were able to understand what she was meaning.


Registered User
Jul 7, 2008
My dad used to say ******** for everything to everyone like oh my ******** friend there or oh ive lost my ******** phone
I dont think he realised it was a rude word


Registered User
Nov 20, 2011
My mum called her neighbour a ****** once. When I explained what it meant she was mortified. She thought it meant something like cheeky and she’d called the priest it more than once!


Registered User
Jan 13, 2019
When she was young she might have bought and worn ‘panties’! My Mum wore quite long pants in her 60’s but when she was young she wore lacy knickers.


Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
South coast
Rude and taboo words are actually stored in a different part of the brain, so are often retained even when language is being lost. Ive certainly met people who have lost the power to speak, yet at times of frustration can come out with a right mouthful.


New member
Oct 10, 2020
Mrs Moose, listen to Grannie G. Believe me, don't sweat the small stuff ! There are a lot of good agencies and charities out there who could also advise and assist with your concerns with regard to her sight and balance, if they are not already involved. Good luck and keep smiling.


Registered User
Jul 9, 2018
Mrs Moose, if you could hear what comes out of my mum's mouth sometimes it would honestly make your hair curl, talking about her toilet habits make me want to disappear in the hole that I wish would open up, and lifting her top/t shirt up means I don't ask her anymore if she is warm enough.


Volunteer Moderator
Jul 14, 2006
Both of our children were in their forties and myself my sixties before we heard my husband swear and oh how he made up for all those years of not swearing.

Hayley JS

Registered User
Feb 20, 2020
My mum was devastated when my stepdad died, this was before her dementia was noticiable, she went through periods of being really angry, so I taught her a string of swear words and Whenever she got sad and mad (quite a lot) we'd stand in the kitchen and shout swear words at each other, we always ended up laughing.... Sorry, slightly off topic I know!


Registered User
Feb 2, 2020
Wow, I wish it was only panties my mother comes out with. She doesn't actually swear that much but its the comments she makes about people. I could die when she remarks about the size of someone's bottom or stomach. Right in front of them too. Thankfully cos of the restrictions we haven't been in that cringeworthy situation for a while.

Canadian Joanne

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 8, 2005
Toronto, Canada
My mother would make all sorts of comments about how fat someone was (this when she was a minimum 3 stone overweight and looked like a little Buddha), how big the nose etc etc. Plus she started using racist words, which is what REALLY upset me, as so many of the workers in the home were people of colour.


Registered User
Sep 30, 2019
Just to add to everyone else's comments my dad truly never ever swore but goodness it must have been in there as he lets it out now. Dad also remarks on people's size, and race, nationality etc and it is embarrassing as a lot of his carers are different and a couple have been upset by his remarks.
Worse situation is when dad starts to make sexual comments when perhaps watching a film but has even said things about my partner's manhood :oops:. which given he's never seen him in a state of undress makes me wonder what goes on in his head other than its his dementia and he cannot help what he says.


Registered User
Sep 2, 2019
Hi @MrsMoose, if anyone asks my lovely (90 year old) mum how she is, she replies " very well, I'm a frisky fanny" 😱😱😱😱😱😱

I think all our relatives, friends and neighbours have got used to it now, thank goodness.

The emphasis of words and how we recognise the meaning changes over decades, mum gets very upset by rude/swear words but is too old to grasp the concept of how her phrasing may have a different connotation to how we convey our wellness now!!

PS I quite understand if the forum moderators edit this message, but mum's f's aren't those f's!!!!


Registered User
Apr 16, 2018
When she was young she might have bought and worn ‘panties’! My Mum wore quite long pants in her 60’s but when she was young she wore lacy knickers.

Hi there,
My Mum came out with some very bizarre words too. She would pull up her jumper and flash her bra! and shout 'look I'm sexy, sexy'. It felt very uncomfortable to witness. She also started to get very racist, which totally shocked us. Taking Mum out shopping was challenging to say the least, she would swear and comment on people "call them fat, or ugly' we stopped taking her out because of it.

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