Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 7,643
Registered: ‎03-28-2015

My hubby's sister is in the early stages....She can remember what happened last year but not yesterday or an hour ago......

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 7,300
Registered: ‎02-22-2015

Re: Memory Issues

[ Edited ]

@Susan in California  For her own protection and safety, please speak with her sons immediately. Driving is out of the question. She also may no longer be safe cooking, running appliances (which may overheat), bathing alone (falling or burns), correct medications, and so many other concerns. Tell them exactly what you have noticed. She needs to have an evaluation done for dementia. Her family needs to make important decisions about living facilities, legal health documents (DNR ?), Will updated, finances in order and so much more. Hopefully, they won't feel "Mom is just getting forgetful." That is not forgetful. She's in trouble and need help. Blessings for asking this question. You are an amazing woman to care and share. Thanks for helping her get the help she desperately needs. (I'm sure she is frustrated, but doesn't know where to turn or who to confide in and has her pride.) 

Money screams; wealth whispers.
Honored Contributor
Posts: 12,724
Registered: ‎11-16-2014

@Susan in California wrote:

I had lunch two days ago with a dear friend.  I have known her for almost 40 years.  She had a long career as an elementary-school principal.  She is divorced with four grown sons.  Our sons were friends when they were children.

Over the past few years, I have noticed she doesn't remember shared experiences we have had. 

At first, I took it personally, and felt these events might have just meant more to me than to her.

Then at this most-recent lunch, her memory seemed really poor.


She didn't even remember my older son's wedding party which was a fairly large affair which she attended with one of her sons and his wife.  (FYI--her sister actually officiated at this wedding.It was only family in attendance at the wedding itself, but this friend suggested her sister officiate.)


She couldn't remember the names of people we both knew, and acted surprised when I spoke of another friend's sister.

("I didn't know her sister"., when in fact she did.) There are many more examples like this....

It was so nice to see her, we have so much history together. But it also felt odd.  At times she is very lucid, and then she seems very befuddled.


I do know her mother had Alzheimer's disease.  I just hope this isn't the case with my friend.

It is just sad, and I can't stop thinking about her.





Before jumping to any conclusions, she very well may be taking medication that is affecting her. I know statins can really change a person, so I would proceed with caution.


If you do say something it probably should be to her directly. Going behind her back and telling her sons could possibly end a long time friendship and be thought of as meddling.


Let me reiterate...Proceed with caution....

Respected Contributor
Posts: 3,152
Registered: ‎02-05-2018

@Imaoldhippie wrote:

My opinion is you should tell her your concern and suggest she see her doctor.

I agree and I would contact her family, if possible. (Especially since she may not remember your discussion and take action.)


And a reminder, no matter what runs in her family, Alzheimer's is a form of dementia, but it's not the only one.

Honored Contributor
Posts: 8,955
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

There are many kinds of “memory”, some related to social functioning, some to life skills, etc. 

In our family, we have recently become aware of the devastating effects of persistent stress on memory loss.

Memory itself is a complex and confounding subject, for both victims and for those who love them. 

What to do next? Really a very tough call. If you know the family dynamic among the 4 sons VERY comfortably, you might ask the one you know best about her welfare, but there’s also an element of risk concerning violating your friend’s privacy.

How often do you see her? Could you visit with her a little more often? Maybe find out a little more about what might be going on in her life? Doing so might help you figure out what to do next.

She’s lucky you’re there for her.

Honored Contributor
Posts: 9,305
Registered: ‎06-08-2016

I'm your friend.


And I agree with John


I can barely remember where I lived growing up.

I just can't recall so much of my past but I've always been that way, this is nothing knew.


I rely on a friend I grew up with to fill in the details.

For example, she remembers chapter & verse our prom and all the activities surrounding it.    All I remember is my date & meeting his family.   


When I was young, I could memorize complicated classical piano pieces.   Play them all from memory.    But who sat at my table at prom, have no clue.  I see class pictures and I may be able to pick out a very few classmates.   I can't remember most of my teachers' names.  I hated school, maybe that has something to do with it plus I didn't have the greatest childhood.


Unless she remembered at one time and now can't recall, I wouldn't worry

Trusted Contributor
Posts: 1,261
Registered: ‎06-02-2014

Re: Memory Issues

[ Edited ]

Thank you to all who have responded. So many wise people on these forums.


There is a lot more I could say about this friend and the memory issues.  I'll try to be brief:


All of her sons live close to her.  She is good friends with her ex-husband and his wife, and he accompanies her to all her doctor

appts.  I am not close to them, but I knew him when they were married.

Her sister lives in San Francisco and visits her often--a close drive.

My guess is they have all talked about this--the sons to each other and maybe her sister with her daughter.  This is a family that is close, and they all circle the wagons when issues happen.

I've always admired that about them.


During our lunch, she was confused about a lot of her personal information.  She couldn't remember if her brother was married or not (he lives in Sacramento and they see each other several times a year).  She couldn't remember so much.  But then she would be lucid about other things.

  There were some really strange forgotten events too:  A horrible fire on her street when a son's birthday party was about to start.  People had to evacuate, the road was closed and it was a terrible event.  Their house was spared, and it was all over the news. They lived in a semi- rural area, and kids playing with fire works had started the fire, and it happened really fast.  No memory of that.  (I brought this up casually when we were talking about fires in CA.)


I totally understand when responders here felt maybe what was important to me was just not important to her (or that she had

"moved on"). 

At this point, I don't want to talk to anyone in the family.  I would feel like a meddling friend.  I might feel differently if she were more alone, but there are many in her family.

I agree, it could be just how she is, and there is nothing going on other than that.  I also agree, that some events/experiences are just not important to some people.


Thanks to everyone for responding. (Sorry...not brief at all!)











Honored Contributor
Posts: 34,432
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

@Susan in California


I am going to say that with someone you know, you just know.

I would need to say something to her family if she was my friend.  In fact, you might start with how your opinion is that you have noticed “personality changes.” You could even word it that you are concerned because your friendship just seems “different.” And have any of them noticed anything different?


I wish the retirement complex my mother lived in had been more forth-coming with me. Then I would have believed what I was seeing. HTH

~Have a Kind Heart, Fierce Mind, Brave Spirit~