Thursday, July 12, 2012


My mother in law is 91 years old, and she is in the early stages of Altzheimers.  She has lived in Friendship Village, a retirement home, for five or six years.  She has four children, two whom live out of town, my husband (R.W.) , and one of his brothers who moved back to St. Louis five years ago to help take care of their mother.  He still works full time as a lawyer for SIU, so most of the day to day care is done by my husband, who is retired.  

She rides in a scooter and is quite dangerous--going about fifty m.p.h.  Last year we went and had dinner with her, and when I went to tell her good bye she ran over my foot.  A few months ago we got a call from the management that she had run into the mailman and put a whole in the wall and would have to pay for the repairs.  She kept insisting no one was around when she ran into the wall.  We finally found out she was going to get her mail, and the boxes are built into the wall.  The mailman was on the other side putting in the mail when she ran through the wall and into him.

The past few months she has been getting more and more forgetful; her daughter came from Texas in May to clean out closets and my mother in law called the front desk and told them someone was in her apartment taking her stuff.  Last week she told R.W. that his older brother plays left field for the Cardinals. Besides her fantasies, she always seems to be getting angry at someone or another, but I think that's understandable if one's mind is going. 

A few weeks ago R.W. was taking her to one of her doctor appointments, and she casually commented that she wasn't taking any of her medicine anymore because there was nothing wrong with her.  Her mother had died in her sleep at 91, so she figured she would just go to sleep one night and not wake up.  So my husband and brother talked to the administrators at Friendship Village and arranged to have a nurse give her her medicine every day.  She also needed some vitamin shots, which the nurse could give her.  She seemed okay with that, but a week later my husband was supposed to take her to another of her doctors, and she called a few days before and said she wasn't going because she had never met this doctor, though she had been going to him for years.  He finally convinced her to go, telling her they would go and get her records and go back to her old doctor.  When she got there she recognized the doctor and was very compliant.  She asked if she really needed to take so much medication, and he said yes, so she just said okay, no big deal.

Then this past Tuesday she called R.W. and said she had gotten a bill from the health care office at F.V., for whom the nurse who distributes medication works, for $136 and was not going to pay it.  She only pays $28 a month to have her sheets changed once a week, so why should she pay $136 to get her medicine which she didn't even need in the first place.  So R. W. said he would come out and talk to her yesterday to see if the bill was correct.  

R.W. always calls her before he goes there to let her know he's on his way, and her phone was busy for 45 minutes.  He finally got through at 11:30, and she said she couldn't talk to him because she was so hungry and it had taken her half an hour to get this other guy off the phone who wanted her checking account number and social security number.  She wasn't sure who he was, but she gave him her checking account number and couldn't find her ss card.  So R. W. went out there, and by that time she realized she had been scammed.  He told her she was going to have to change her checking account since she had given out the number to a stranger.  Meanwhile, the guy called again to see if she had found her ss card.  R.W. got on the phone and asked him who he was, and the guy hung up on him.  So R.W. spent the rest of the afternoon going to her bank, contacting the people who deposit her retirement checks and social security who also does direct deposit, opening a new checking account and arranging for direct deposit.   

She called last night around dinner time and asked R.W. casually if he had been out there to visit her yesterday.

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