Mum has become pretty forgetful recently, and sometimes asks me the same questions over and over. I’m worried she might be in the early stages of dementia, and that she might get defensive if I try to talk about it. Any suggestions?
Has your mother been to see her doctor recently? Is she on any new medications? Is she feeling well?
Dementia is not the only reason for forgetfulness in the elderly. Sometimes it can be caused by medications, other times by illness. If you address those concerns first then your mother might not become as defensive as you anticipate.
If the questions she keeps repeating have to do with things that are happening in her life, such as when appointments are, it might be helpful to put a large wall calendar in her home on which you can write everything down.
Finally, is you mother able to continue taking care of herself? Is she eating well, is she dressed in clean clothes? If she were in the beginning stages of dementia, some of those regular activities of daily living would be affected in some way.