Dear Annie: Over the past 10 years, I have noticed that my sister’s memory has become very confused. She often has false memories, believing something that happened to a friend or celebrity actually happened to her. She also says hurtful things and doesn’t remember saying them. My husband and I decided it was best just to let it go, as she gets upset quite easily.
Recently, she said something that really hurt my feelings, and I decided to talk to her about it and clear the air. However, when I mentioned it, she became terribly agitated and insisted she would never say any such thing. She actually got her family involved, and they agreed that I was imagining things.
I love my sister and don’t want to upset her, but this really bothers me. She has mentioned that her friends joke about her memory, and she doesn’t like it. But I’m surprised that her children and husband are not aware of the problem. Should I just let it go? – Massachusetts
Dear Massachusetts: We suspect her husband and children are well aware of the problem, but have chosen not to deal with it. Please encourage your sister to talk to her doctor. Say that you are worried about her. Memory problems are common, but if she is substituting others’ experiences for her own, it could be more serious.
Ask if she is scheduled for a regular checkup and see whether you can accompany her, alerting the doctor if she neglects to do so. Also mention your concerns to her husband and children. Your sister may be too embarrassed to address this, so they need to be more proactive.