My mother’s friend from church asked my little sister to write a “cover letter” which she could bring with her when visiting doctors. My sister emailed me a copy. Here is what she wrote:

To Whom It May Concern:

My mother, Kathleen Gagne, has recently been displaying some short-term memory deficiencies and difficulties functioning in day-to-day activities. She repeats herself in the same conversation within minutes and from phone conversation to phone conversation. She has left me multiple voicemails that sound more like a message one might leave on an answering machine, calling out my name as if I could hear her and pick up the phone. She has also left me voicemails where she is crying desparately, either calling out to me or God, and then has no recollection of leaving these when I question her about them.

My mom has dealt with some form of depression as far back as I can remember. She spent most of her time working hard to provide for my brother and me, but she did not spend very much time on herself. Once my brother and I moved away, she often remarked on how she could not understand what she did to make both her children move away from her. She spoke frequently of loneliness and not having friends. My brother and I encouraged her to join a club or something of the sort to get out and meet others. She seemed reluctant, and she continued to ask us when we would all live closer together. I believe she was at her happiest when she returned to college to complete her degree. She seemed happy, too, or at least content, when she was working with the AmeriCorps Reads program. This was the last job she had, and I believe when the program lost its grant and she lost her job, she began to lose her self-confidence and began sinking into her depressive ways again. Without having a job to get out of bed for and the interactions with others it provided, I believe mom became more and more isolated. Her job ended in August of 2008, and some time after that she became overwhelmed and stopped opening her mail. I flew to FL in July of 2009 to help her move out of her house because she believed she was getting foreclosed on and had to get out fast. While I was there, there was a lot of confusion as to what was actually happening with her house and the foreclosure, and mom seemed to have a difficult time focusing on what needed to get done simply to pack up. She seemed lost. She also began having difficulty managing her finances. Because our bank accounts are linked, I was able to observe how her account became overdrawn more and more frequently.

Mom has suffered panic attacks in the past and frequently expresses fears in all kinds of things, always finding the negative outcomes for each situation. She seems to have made some improvements as she has given her life to Christ and is working on trusting God more, but her memory issues seem to be the same. Some phone calls she seems more lucid than others, and I have not been able to notice it relating to any particular time of day.

Her most common voicemails include comments that “nobody cares”, she “feels like she is in jail”, she “has no control”, and she feels “alone”. Mom also frequently asks me questions about my brother, David, showing a lot of concern as to what he thinks about her. She has said things indicative of her insecurties regarding him, such as asking if he will be disappointed in her when she visits him if she is stumbling in her speech. I spend a majoity of my time on the phone with her trying to reassure her of his love or encourage her in her own worth. Although, at times, I have become frustrated with her continuing self-deprecative statements. When I apologize, she tends to take the blame.

I know my mom is a strong, competent woman, but she is having some problems now that I hope can be addressed with the right kind of intervention. I don’t know if it is a chemical reaction to the constant stress and anxiety she has burdened herself with or a reaction to her blood pressure medicine or something like dementia or alzheimer’s, but I do know something is going on with her and would like to take care of her asap.

I appreciate any input into this situation and would like to offer any assistance I can.