I just wrote about some of the physical challenges Mom's had the past couple of years. Her psychological challenges have been around most of her life.
For a good twenty years or so Mom responded well to her medication and did ok. The key for her turned out to be a very low does of lithium. Unfortunately, over time lithium damages the pancreas and results in diabetes. Luckily for Mom, when she stopped the lithium her diabetes became easier to control and finally disappeared (this isn't exactly common but not unheard of for people in her situation). Without lithium, it has been harder to control her depression. Unfortunately, some of the meds have made her loopy. Calm pleasant Mom is nice; Mom who can't hold a conversation, not so much.
A couple weeks ago Mom got lost in Sears. Dad dropped her at the door and went to park the car. They were suppose to meet at the cookie place. Mom couldn't figure out how to get from Sears to the mall. She knew Dad was suppose to meet her and he'd come find her, but she couldn't remember where she was going in the mall or where the mall entrance was. I don't know how long she actually wandered, it was long enough for two people to ask her if she needed some help ("No, thank you. I'm just looking for my husband.") and Dad to get the big cookie and come back and find her. She said as soon as she got in the car she could see the store layout in her head and knew how to get to the mall and realized she'd walked past the mall entrance multiple times.
I don't know if this was the medication or if something is really wrong. She thinks something is wrong. Yesterday, she was asking me what I'd do if she dies (to help my Dad with Nettie...Guess I'll have to start cooking again.) and then went over all the financial stuff that only effects me if they both die. She said she's losing more and more of her faculties (her word). Like I said before I think some of it is that she's not been reading and she's isolated. I also think some of it may be medication related. Some of it is the physical difficulties (back, knee,...) affecting her mind and vice versa. Some of it actually early signs of dementia? She's 10 years younger than her mother was when she first started to lose it.
I decided last night that I need to start actually speaking up instead of just nodding my head. I need to ask her when does she see the optometrist and psychiatrist next. I need to ask her when she last had her hearing checked (she's having problems on the phone). Has she thought about a therapist? When the meds worked great she didn't need one, but maybe now she does.
I also rededicated myself to being a better sister (& third parent) to Nettie. I need to do more stuff with her. Take her camping, swimming, hiking, on day-trips...all the stuff my parents did with Pat and me but are too old to do now.