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To think that my grandmother's behaviour is strange?

(26 Posts)
Wamster Sun 19-Jun-11 17:32:31

My grandmother is widowed, 75 years old and very active and 'good' for her age, but something happened last week that has given me cause for concern.
She lives 100 miles away from my mum and last week she just turned up announced at her house one afternoon. Now 100 miles is quite a drive, isn't it? I mean surely you ring up and say, 'Can I come to see you?' beforehand, right?
She's always arranged rang up to say 'OK to come to see you all?' before.
Must state here that we love her very much and always nice to see her, but this has got us a bit concerned. AIBU? (or are we being unreasonable)? Not thread hitting and running, but got to go out now. Any replies appreciated.

celebmum Sun 19-Jun-11 17:35:03

Is everyone sure that this visit wasn't arranged beforehand? At the last visit perhaps? "oh I'll come on such n such a date..' and that gran has just assumed everyone remembered? smile

Psammead Sun 19-Jun-11 17:39:09

Maybe she just wanted to do a nice suprise for everyone? Was it a significant date (her DH's birthday, the day he passed away etc) that may have prompted her to seek out company?

notsogoldenoldie Sun 19-Jun-11 17:45:00

I would keep a very close eye on her. it could be a one-off, but could also be the start of something more sinister. Do you know any of her neighbours? if so, could you contact them to ask whether they've noticed anything strange in your gran's behaviour? Also - how did she behave when she got to your mum's? Was she behaving in her usual way?

You may also try to look out for signs of self-neglect (not eating, wearing stained clothing etc) and perhaps random forgetfulness. My aunt had dementia which started with forgetting things; unfortunately she became very stubborn and wouldn't see the doctor. As it was, her memory loss was put down to "getting older" and she wasn't diagnosed properly until it was too late.

Good luck to your gran - she sounds great!!

pranma Sun 19-Jun-11 18:41:03

maybe she felt lonely and a bit depressed and suddenly thought,'I'll not sit here brooding I'll go to see dd'.Dont start reading too much into what could be a normal impulse.Be glad she is able to do it.

diddl Sun 19-Jun-11 19:00:22

Wouldn´t it be more worrying if she hadn´t arranged something but thought she had?

Did she turn up on a day/time when your Mum was likely to be in?

If so, I wouldn´t worry tbh.

Maybe she just fancied a drive, headed in a familiar direction & thought that she might as well visit her daughter?

CharlieCoCo Sun 19-Jun-11 22:53:06

maybe she planned to call, forgot, then thought she had called.

Wamster Mon 20-Jun-11 07:47:24

No there was not an arrangement made that had slipped my mum's mind and there was no anniversary or anything.
I don't know; maybe some of you are right- perhaps she did it on impulse. It is possible, I suppose.
Anyway, all we can do is keep an eye out for other behaviour that seems odd or out of character. She is usually well-organised and plans her week meticulously.
Thanks.

Wamster Mon 20-Jun-11 07:48:27

You see, if she had driven just say 20 miles or so, we'd think nothing of it but 100 miles is a lot.

diddl Mon 20-Jun-11 07:50:46

TBH I would think the fact that she can safely/competently drive that distance on a whim is a bloody good thing.

Unless she was insisting that there had been an arrangement?

Wamster Mon 20-Jun-11 08:06:53

No she was not insisting that there had been an arrangement but to just turn up like that, expecting to be 'entertained'; it was bad as mum had to ignore her as she had a meeting at work which she could not put off.

So she was alone for about 3 hours anyway.
I understand that some may view this as a good thing given her age, but it does go against the social norms, doesn't it? Just turning up like that from such a distance with no warning?
She is usually well-organised and not given to this sort of thing.
I don't want to let the fact that she is good for her age cloud things for me; people with dementia-as far as I am aware- manage to still drive OK.

It also makes us feel awkward because, much as we love her, we cannot drop everything just because she decides to pay an unexpected visit.

Wamster Mon 20-Jun-11 08:15:43

Anyway, thanks for input. It may be harmless impulsiveness and at least there are other possibilities to consider rather than she is losing her mind. So that is good.

RavenVonChaos Mon 20-Jun-11 16:20:22

Could you just ask her? And also explain that it's better to ring ahead just to make sure someones in?

Wamster Wed 22-Jun-11 07:53:04

She says that she thought it may be a good idea to visit. We explained that it would be better to say so first (in case not in). She looked a bit put out by this suggestion.
I don't want to give offence- I know that people with advanced dementia cannot drive, but I believe they can in early stages. Not legally, of course! But before diagnosis, they manage quite well.

Wamster Fri 24-Jun-11 08:30:08

Something else has happened now. I don't know what to make of it. Anyway, on wednesday evening, my uncle (mum's brother) received a phone call from gran saying that it was urgent and sounding really sorrowful that he speak with her. He talked to her (thinking something really awful had happened). Gran said that it was urgent that he inform my mum about an invite he had had for my brother's wedding.

The thing is, my uncle had spoken to my mum sunday about this. Yet gran rings my uncle on wednesday evening stressing how 'urgent' it is that he speak to my mum. confused

I'm getting a bit worried to be honest.

GrimmaTheNome Fri 24-Jun-11 08:39:43

It may be the start of something, or it may not. My mother and MIL both started to totally forget they'd already told us something and tell us again. My mother didn't develop dementia; my MIL is just starting to (92 and after small strokes).

You're quite right to keep a watchful eye on such things, of course.

Socy Fri 24-Jun-11 08:42:08

I would be worried too tbh. It may be nothing but where I've known/known of people with dementia it seems to start with these kind of 'odd' incidents. Is it possible for your mum to talk to the doctor and get her to have a general health check?

Wamster Fri 24-Jun-11 08:50:45

My uncle -nice guy-but a bit forgetful, was late in sending reply back to mum, so mum rang him on sunday to find out what was happening. Yet gran rings on wednesday to say how urgent it is that he makes his mind up about invite.

I find this bizarre, I mean why would it be suddenly 'urgent' if gran knew that mum and unc had already spoken? Or if she did not know, why suddenly get all worked up about it? Could there be an innocent explanation?

PiousPrat Fri 24-Jun-11 08:58:04

It may well have only just occurred to her that he hadn't replied, maybe prompted by seeing her own invitation on the mantle or something, which jogged her memory into getting your confirm uncle to confirm.

If he was late in replying she may well have thought it urgent, as she mightn't like the idea that he would be thought rude, or potentially be missed off the list and miss her grandsons wedding. Did your gran definitely know that your mum had spoken to your uncle on Sunday?

FruStefanLindman Fri 24-Jun-11 08:59:20

I know people are trying to reassure you Wamster, but I do think it's worth all of you trying to keep an eye on things.

When my Mum was in the early stages of dementia (none of us knew she had it at the time) she turned up unexpectedly one Saturday lunchtime. We had talked about her coming up to us for a weekend, but hadn't set a date. By that time she didn't like driving distances (she lived 60 miles away), so she used to get the train and we'd pick her up from the station at our end. This particular Saturday, DP and I were having a lunchtime drink with some friends when one of our neighbours phoned me asking where I was. When I said out with some friends (fortunately locally), she said "well, your Mum's here - I'm making her a cup of tea".

It turned out Mum had it in her head that it was that weekend she was coming. But there had been no phone calls between us to confirm anything. Fortunately we managed to get back quickly and collected Mum from the neighbour (lucky she was in). But it was very worrying.

And the panic stricken phone call sounds alarmingly familiar, I'm sorry to say. I agree with notsogoldenoldie about having a chat with any of her neighbours to see if they've noticed anything odd. And perhaps your mum and/or uncle ought to go with her to her GP.

sad for you, I know how worrying it is.

Wamster Fri 24-Jun-11 09:03:28

Your explanation is plausible, PiousPrat, if gran didn't definitely know that mum and uncle had spoken. Maybe I'm just looking for things now when they're innocent enough. Thanks.

Wamster Fri 24-Jun-11 09:08:25

But then I think, it was her tone that gives us cause for concern; I mean had it just been: 'By the way, have you told your sister about your invite yet? Better get on to it' perhaps that would be more acceptable, but it wasn't. To be honest, uncle had thought somebody had died or was dying (and he is not one to exaggerate).

Wamster Fri 24-Jun-11 09:24:58

All we can do is keep an eye out for things and try- in as a subtle way of possible- to ask others about her behaviour.

girlywhirly Fri 24-Jun-11 09:25:32

I second a check up. Also to make sure she is still OK to drive, which could be the reason you give your grandmother for seeing the GP.

diddl Fri 24-Jun-11 09:45:36

My Dad is in his 80s & forgetful & does (imo) place unnecessary importance onto things.

It will sort of "prey" on him until he has handed the info over iyswim.

But he gets up, showered & dressed every day, cooks for himself & keeps appointments.

I think the key is did your Gran know that your mum & uncle had spoken?

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