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Do we tell mom and dad they have no short-term memory?

One of the things that has struck me about this journey is that when the psychologist finally confirms both parents have no short-term memory – I wonder for a few moments if we should tell them.

For more than a decade, my mom always told us we wouldn’t have to worry about them; they were going to take care of everything. They didn’t want us to have to go through what they went through. Both of my grandmothers had some type of memory issue the family managed.

So now that we are struggling with how to help my parents since they don’t believe they need any help, I wonder what I will do to make sure I don’t repeat the cycle. I wrote myself a letter that my children can have delivered to me if I’m repeating the cycle. I have made several copies in case the first few don’t work.

Recently, I had lunch with a friend who said that his wife wants to make a video confirming that if she gets dementia and has no quality of life, she wants the option to end her life. She’s watching her parents languish and just doesn’t want that to happen to her. He wanted to know if MemoryBanc would store the video. I told him absolutely.

While the miracles of modern medicine have improved the quality of many lives – the fact that it also extends a life that isn’t worth leading must be the curse. While this conversation seems silly – it’s really a quite serious and important discussion to have now with your spouse, siblings and (adult) children.

I decide not to tell my parents. They won’t remember and who wants to really know their memory is slipping away? If I’m in the same position, the only person I want to hear it from is myself. My video session is in the works. Compelled.


One comment on “Do we tell mom and dad they have no short-term memory?

  1. My parents short -term memory issues are profound enough that I am not sure anything would have helped them now.They generally do not believe anything they choose not to, or can’t grapple with in a logical way. Even if we made a video, I am fairly certain it would be met with denial at some level. I am not saying it isn’t worth doing, but I suppose timing is important, and the ability to comprehend, admit, and/or believe it is also just as important.

    At this point we have stopped trying to convince my parents they have lots of money and can afford to live anyway they want to. They currently think they don’t have enough money to maintain more than one property. We have stopped trying to convince them of this since they need to settle into their retirement home/community once and for all. The point being that their short term memory really ruins any attempt to communicate with them about most past, or any future events/plans. My siblings and I have stopped trying, and just want them to be safe and comfortable.

    As to the topic of when life ceases to be worth living, we have never nailed that one down, but from earlier/recent conversations, my parents now seem to want to be kept alive rather than pulling the plug when it makes the most (non-emotional, but quality of life) sense to do so.


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