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Senior Health

Inappropriate behavior

06/20/2007

Question:

My mother in law has been asking my daughter of 6 very personal questions about me and my husband (who does what in the house, who cooks, cleans, where we sleep? ) who do yo like best mummy or daddy? Apparently my daughter feels nanny doesn`t like me much and always speaks highly of her dad. My mother in law has very often waiated for my husband to leave the room before the questions start? Is this a normal thing for a 90 year old to do? My husband is her favourite son and she does worry a lot about himn

Answer:

Normal or "usual" behavioral interactions for an individual, regardless of age, is somewhat subjective but usually consistent over the years. According to experts, if a person behaves a certain way in younger years, that behavior doesn't usually change that much during the usual or normal aging process, no matter what age.

Wondering if your mother in law has behaved like this in past? Has she asked personal questions of you in the past? Her son? If you and your family concur that this current behavior is not usual or is "outside" the norm for your mother in law but represents a major change, I suggest that she be seen by her primary physician for assessment to ensure that all is well physically and cognitively. There could be underlying conditions that may result in significant behavior changes and need to be assessed.

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Response by:

Evelyn L Fitzwater, DSN, RN Evelyn L Fitzwater, DSN, RN
Associate Professor Emerita
Associate Director of the
College of Nursing
University of Cincinnati