First, let me start off by saying I'm not trying to say I'm doing enough for my mom, but of course as she ages, it will all be a process of making adjustments for both of us. Like my boss told me, when she was dealing with her aging mom (who lived in another state), it was a learning process and they adjusted as they went along. With me being 400 miles away, it takes a bit of creativity on handling some of it.
I had emailed my step brother (he is about 10 years older than me and retired) asking him what brought on all the changes to my mom's logins and passwords? I said she's starting to have memory problems, especially hard on her this past week, so I was just curious what prompted the need for the changes. I explained I had taken down all her info so I can help her with this kind of things, so I need to be in the loop if it gets changed. I didn't mention that he changed all this and she's suddenly all confused! (she even said this to me, several times past few days). When she gets too many things to have to think about at once, she then gets very flustered and then can't remember anything. I have learned that over the past year or so.
That is why, when I last went to visit her, I took a notebook. Sat down with her and wrote down just about every little thing I could think to ask her. (some of it I already knew, as she had put me on her bank and investing account). Income, bills, insurances, doctors, medications, home security info, log ins and passwords for everything.Names and ph#'s of who she would want me to contact if something happened to her. I asked her permission to do all this first. We discussed that I would be the one to help her with all this and that, most of it, I can still help with, even though I don't live down the road any longer. I also did everything I could think of to make her computer use easier. (if I recall, we actually went and bought her a new computer those days I spent with her). She didn't have to enter a password to open her computer. I set her up with Firefox being her link to the internet. In Firefox I set up all her favorites that she likes to access regularly. Her bank, her investment account, AOL email, and Facebook. I set them up so she doesn't have to enter her login and password each time. Even before her memory issues started she has always been awful about her logins and passwords. This has driven me nuts for years! She writes them all down on little slips of paper, but half of them not knowing which account they are for. Then she gets confused. So, I thought I had it set up pretty easy for her. I also put a program on her computer where I could log into it remotely if she ever was having computer issues. We've only had to use it once, but it worked great. She had accidentally changed some setting on her computer and I was able to log on and fix it.
I call her regularly, DD calls her regularly. We let each other know if it seemed like she was more confused at times. She would forget recent conversations but overall still taking care of herself, her home (spotless), mows her little yard, drives to stores, to visit her bf. She still does her crossword puzzles and likes to do solitaire on her computer. It just seems like the things like spam phone calls or emails, or something extra to deal with, is when she plain gets confused. As it got a little worse the past couple of months, is when her BF said he'd go with her to her dr. appt. to make sure the dr. got all the info. I've kept up with him about it and any concerns he's having, since he's the one who sees her all the time.
So, I think this past week, she totally got overloaded with stuff. First DS asked her for the loan (it also appears she loaned my uncle, her bother, a little money just before that). She wrote a check to uncle, gave DS her credit card#. Almost similar amounts. At the same time, step brother had just changed ALL her log ins and passwords, as well as changed her computer so that every time she opened her computer she had to now put in another password. I had realized last year, that if she gets too many things to think about at once, she gets worse. That is why I tried to take away any extra confusions....like all those spam emails she was getting....or blocking whatever spam phone calls I could. She rarely gets spam emails in her regular email inbox anymore.
Then she sees that credit card charge last Friday, in the middle of being overloaded, she doesn't remember, and then her trying to deal with that, she got totally confused and can't remember anything the past several days. I could so hear the relief in her voice yesterday when I took care of that credit card deal and figured it out. And yesterday morning, she was much better. She logged right into her computer with no issues and remembered how to do it. She was calmer and rested.
So, I get this email back from my step brother. While we are all completely get along, we are not close. When my mom married his dad I was 11 and he and his older brother were already grown up and in college. From what I gather, he seems to call my mom every few months. Visits with her maybe a few times a year. He lives about an 75 minutes from her. Of all my step siblings I am probably closest to him, but that's minimal. When his dad (my adopted step dad) was in the hospital, dying, (10 years ago now). He was the only one of my step siblings to be at the hospital every day with my mom. And me. I took off work and was there everyday/all day, too. One lived out of state. The other 2 didn't/couldn't take time off work. So he and I got to chat and get to know each other better during that week.
here's an excerpt from the email he sent me
Your concerns about your mother are real and immediate. She needs you to take a break from everything and come out here for a few weeks, a month, or whatever time you can take, and help her get situated into a lifestyle that will guarantee her the comfort she deserves.
I know all about her finances, her thing with the credit card., her account ID's and passwords (correcting them when she gets locked out due to memory issues), and so forth.
There was a little more (about her loaning her grandson the money), but this is the gist of it. Honestly, I was a little miffed at first reading it. Then I thought maybe I am just being to sensitive. I sent it to DD to get her thoughts. Right off the gate, she was more upset with what he wrote than I was. He said he's willing to help whatever he can, call him but not last night...he was busy taking care of his wife last night.
I started a reply, but I feel like I am just trying to defend myself. I haven't sent anything back to him yet. Here are my thoughts (and some from DD)
1) I have been completely involved with keeping in constant contact with her to monitor how she is doing. In my last visit I took down ALL her information, so I know what is going on and would know how to take care of everything for her.
2) I have been in contact with her BF, who went to this last dr. appt with her and we discussed her health and medications.
3) I've also spent enough time with her to know that when she has to deal with a lot of new information or changes, is when she gets worse. Like she did this past week. Otherwise, she does ok.
He swoops in - makes all these changes on her, doesn't realize how hard that is on her, then tells me "oh she's bad...you need to do something". Like my DD said, she wasn't like this, until this past week and everything she had to deal with. As I mentioned above, it's not like she's not been able to take care of herself! If he knew all about "her thing with the credit card" then why didn't he do something to resolve it?! As soon as I found out about it, I took over taking care of it from her. Problem was resolved fairly quickly and as soon as it was she got over her confusion.
I'm just not sure what to say back to him. Yes, for sure there are some things that will need to be addressed as time goes on and her needs change. But, like one of my commenters mentioned yesterday, there can't be 2 people handling the same stuff. It's just causes confusion and she certainly doesn't need that. And she doesn't need someone trying to help and making things actually harder for her.
My dd's opinion: ...I'm not retired. I still work full time plus a p/t job. This past year I have been trying to finish getting a house being built, both of DH's parents dying, a wedding, not to mention extra (though thankfully only temporary) work responsibilities. Unless she is in the hospital or something, I just can't take a month off.
More to follow. I just got off the phone with my mom (who is doing so much better). I've got an update to write about that.