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Old 09-24-2006, 04:59 AM   #1
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Unhappy Dementia - plz read, i could really use some advice

Hi everyone. This is my first post on this board. My name is Ally, I'm 21 and i live in Australia. I have a Grandmother who suffers from Dementia and i could really use some advice.

My grandma is 82 and was diagnosed with early stages of dementia about 12 months ago. My family sold our house, brought my grandparents house (with their consent of course) and built them a Granny Flat (smaller house) out the back for them to live in as they were struggling with day to day life.

My grandpa passed away in July from a stroke. About 8 months before he died my once sweet, caring, happy grandma starting becomming very agressive and quite verbally abusive towards him....Now she's doing the same thing to us! My mum and I are her main care givers also her main targets for abuse - my mum more so.

After my grandpa died we had to shut down his bank account. While doing this we discovered that the car insurance for my grandma's car was being taken out of his account. My mum talked with her many times about selling her car due to the insurance being in my grandpa's account and the fact she hadn't driven in 8 months (her licence has also been void coz of her dementia). My grandma agreed that she didn't want to drive anymore and that it was ok to sell the car.

Recently, my parents took my grandma on a 7 day holiday to New Zealand. While they were away her car was sold and my mum spoke with my grandmother about this 2 to 3 times a day EVERY SINGLE DAY!. On their return my grandma saw her car was gone. My mum had a talk with her and explained about the insurance and reminded my grandma about the many talks they had regarding the car being sold....My grandma got very verbally abusive and basically assused my parents of selling the car under her, taking the money and not asking her permission to sell it. This went on many times during a week or so peroid.

Yesterday my grandma came over and asked where her bowling ball was (she use to bowl in a league about 20 years ago). When moving her into the Granny Flat we asked her if she wanted to keep her bowling ball and she told us that she didnt want it anymore, so we gave it to charity. When we told her that we asked her about keeping the ball, and she told us to give it away, she again became very verbally abusive. My mum took her into another room to have a talk to her and she said to my mum that she hated us, wanted to move out, and that we were ripping her off and controlling her life. My mum was really devestated by her harash words and started crying. The family has given up so much to be around her, care for her and we all get verbally abused. :-(

My grandma even calls up other family members to tell them how were ripping her off, that she hates us and that were controlling her life, and it's really taking it's toll on us, not to mentioned how hurtful it is.

I'm at the point now that i don't wanna spend time with my grandma, and if i see her i feel like i'm walking on egg shells around her, like she's a time bomb waiting to go off. I'm just so frustrated that all i wanna do is cry my eyes out.

I hate seeing my mum cry and being emotionally hurt by my grandma's words when were doing everything we can to make her happy and comfortable.

Were at a stage now where we don't know where to turn. Every day my grandma has a go at us about her car, and now it's the bowling ball. We don't know how to talk to her about these things coz she never remembers conversations. We've considered writing up letters explaining why we sold her car and why we gave the bowling ball to charity and showing them to her everytime she brings it up.

Sorry for such a long post, but i could really do with some advice.

Thanks

 
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Old 09-24-2006, 10:54 AM   #2
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Re: Dementia - plz read, i could really use some advice

Hi Ally. I'm so sorry you're going through this with your dear grandma. As I was reading your post I thought back a couple of years when I was in the same boat as you and your parents are. I moved into my dad's house (along with my husband and son) to take care of him. We thought it would be easier for him if we sold our home and moved into his home where he would feel more comfortable. In the end, it really didn't matter. I was dad's main caregiver so I got the brunt of the abuse. I was accused of similar things that you and your mum are being accused of. So I know the feeling all too well.

What I'd discovered through the people on this board and my own personal experience is:

A. The more you explain, the more confused she'll become. Explaining over and over again is just going to upset her and make her more obessed with the subject. Acknowledge her feelings and try to forget that she's been ranting about the same thing all day. She thinks she's telling you for the first time even though it's the 20th time. Try to change the subject. I've found that most of the people in my family who've had AD/dementia like to talk about their childhood. That's what they tend to remember. Don't apologize for whatever you did that made her angry if it was something that was done in her best interest. But do acknowledge her feelings by saying something like "I'm sorry you're angry" or "Grandma, I love you and I will ask your permission next time." Try to make her feel like she's included in decisions regarding her. That's easier said than done because of her lack of memory.

B. (this should be A) It's impossible to do all the time but try your best to remember that whatever your grandma is saying or doing, it's the disease that controls her now. It's coming from her lips or other actions but it's not coming from her heart. It is not her. It is the disease. You may have to remind yourself of that as much, at first, as she repeats herself.

C. Talk to her doctor about her actions. There are medications that can be given to curb the anger and agression. Zoloft helped my dad a LOT.

D. Look for the glimpses of your grandma as she was. There will be good days and bad days. Cherish those good days because that will help to get you through the bad ones.

E. (this is the last one----I PROMISE! ) You and your parents need to take some time to yourselves. We all need to recharge our batteries sometimes. This disease can wipe out the caregivers faster than the patients if we let it. Do something nice and relazing for yourselves.

Love, Barb
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Old 09-24-2006, 02:35 PM   #3
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Re: Dementia - plz read, i could really use some advice

Dear Ally,

I too was in the same postion about 3 or 4 years ago and not able to fathom what was happening to my mother. It was the hardest time of my life.

I was such a slow learner! It was like banging my head against walls. I kept explaining, answering her questions for the 15th time, telling her what she needed to know and getting upset when she didn't know any of it 10 minutes later.

I finally 'got it' .. as Barb said - no explantions, no matter how simple and clear, will make any difference. Think of it as a tape in a tape recorder. The tape is full and to the end, and you can't tape over old stuff. You can push 'record' and talk and talk but nothing is getting recorded. Soon she will ask you again, forget again, etc.

My Mom got to the stage where she didn't want to wash, forgot how to wipe herself clean, got lost walking outside, threw out good food and ate mouldy stuff, couldn't figure out why I was in her house and who I was (I moved in with her), and became very secretive and suspicious.

Now she is in a nursing home - in a wheelchair, totally incontinent and perhaps in stage 6 to 7. It was a long hard road.

But I got through it. You really must do as Barb says; get a doctor to prescribe anything that might help, and plan (MAKE) time for yourself to get away and have a duty free week, and then do the same for your Mom ... you can get through it with a lot of support and hard work, and remember - she isn't 'receiving ' .. no corrections will arrive at her brain, no matter how long you put them into her ear. Just nod and smile and say, "that's right Granny." and "everything will be fine." "I'll take care of that,"etc.

It works.

God bless you and all caregivers,

Love,

Martha

 
Old 09-24-2006, 05:56 PM   #4
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Re: Dementia - plz read, i could really use some advice

Thank you both for replying.

Your posts help me alot, iv'e printed out the replies from you both and showed them to my family.

My mum rang a company that deals with patients with Dimentia this morning. This company has a support group that meets twice a month, so my mum will start going along to that.

We've also organised for my grandma to go to my Aunts house for 1 weeks every month - just do we can have a break from it all. I think doing that will help alot.

If there are any more tips youcan give us, please, let me know.

Thank you so much.

Ally

 
Old 09-25-2006, 06:20 AM   #5
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Re: Dementia - plz read, i could really use some advice

Hi Ally,

I live up the road from you (about 5 hours drive) ... sorry I havent ducked in before to say G'day, but I'm not home much and when I am, I try and get on here .. but not nearly as much as I would like.

Honey, my heart goes out to you because it's so HARD watching Grandma turn bitter and angry, but honey, it ain't your Grandma doing that, it's the disease she's got.

The very first lesson we've all had to learn is there is no way on this planet you can make a person with Dementia see logic. There world has exploded on them, and they are angry and confused because they are scared .. it's that simple .. most people when scared get defensive, and voila .. it's an instant recipe for disaster.

Before the family get's too damaged (like mine did unfortunately) she needs an ACAT Assessment which can be done through Community Health or through any of the Aged Care Companies (OzCare, Centacare .. etc) or look in the front of your phone book, there is a huge section in there dedicated to Aged Care.

Next step, get some respite in for Mum and anybody else who deals with Grandma .. these are 'donation' only and are either free or very cheap. My ex-charges weren't short of a penny, but I still managed to get services in for Free .. give it a whirl .. do not be afraid to ask for help .. your gonna need it.

Secondly, after the ACAT assessment, get her name down in some homes. You can always say NO if a place comes up .. but they are few and far between (especially in the big capital cities) It's a rare case where the Dementia victim can stay at home.

I just wanna reach out and give you a big hug .. sorry for my delay in replying .. I hope I can help a little.

Cheers

 
Old 09-25-2006, 02:45 PM   #6
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Re: Dementia - plz read, i could really use some advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by angel_bear
Hi Ally,

I live up the road from you (about 5 hours drive) ... sorry I havent ducked in before to say G'day, but I'm not home much and when I am, I try and get on here .. but not nearly as much as I would like.

Honey, my heart goes out to you because it's so HARD watching Grandma turn bitter and angry, but honey, it ain't your Grandma doing that, it's the disease she's got.

The very first lesson we've all had to learn is there is no way on this planet you can make a person with Dementia see logic. There world has exploded on them, and they are angry and confused because they are scared .. it's that simple .. most people when scared get defensive, and voila .. it's an instant recipe for disaster.

Before the family get's too damaged (like mine did unfortunately) she needs an ACAT Assessment which can be done through Community Health or through any of the Aged Care Companies (OzCare, Centacare .. etc) or look in the front of your phone book, there is a huge section in there dedicated to Aged Care.

Next step, get some respite in for Mum and anybody else who deals with Grandma .. these are 'donation' only and are either free or very cheap. My ex-charges weren't short of a penny, but I still managed to get services in for Free .. give it a whirl .. do not be afraid to ask for help .. your gonna need it.

Secondly, after the ACAT assessment, get her name down in some homes. You can always say NO if a place comes up .. but they are few and far between (especially in the big capital cities) It's a rare case where the Dementia victim can stay at home.

I just wanna reach out and give you a big hug .. sorry for my delay in replying .. I hope I can help a little.

Cheers
Hi

Thanks for the advice . Were been in touch with Community Health a couple of months ago, they came out and did an assesment (not sure what it was for). We also have Home Help come in once a month to help Grandma clean her Granny Flat which helps.

I'll talk to mum about putting her name into some nursing homes, we hadn't considered that before. Grandma has always said she never wanted to go into a home, but were the only people in the family who are equiped enough to take care of her, so if she gets really bad the home may be our only option.

Thanks again

Ally

 
Old 09-25-2006, 04:54 PM   #7
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Re: Dementia - plz read, i could really use some advice

Just another thought Ally,

ACAT can re-do assessments if you think Grandma has deteriorated too .. there's no hard and fast rules except sometimes there is a waiting list to get assessments,and unfortunately, by the time people think they need one on their loved one, you've got 12 - 24 weeks to wait ..

Yeah ... under resourced is a word that travels everywhere in Aged Care.

On the bright side however, keep with you the fact that Grandma will get over the anger stage .. it might take a while, depending on her deterioration, but she will again, become the Grandma you knew and still love. The paranoia will go. The suspicion will go. The resentment will go, but unfortunately it takes time.

Also, get Grandma in to see the doctor (under any ruse you can think of) because Grandma can no longer think straight for herself (there's nothing wrong with me you fools, it's the rest of the world that's gone insane!) you have to become the grown up, and as much as we're taught to love and respect our elders, for their better good, sometimes we have to turn into a bully and get them to do things they really don't want to do.

I found not giving choices worked well. Eg: Turn up in the morning and say "Your doctor's appointment is at 10, let's get you dressed for the day" and just hustle her along ... the trouble with dementia IS choices, it's overwhelming for them, absolutely, totally overwhelming to make decisions, so they get defensive, and then a behaviour starts and well, your learning those behaviours aren't always pleasant.

Perhaps you could make Grandma a memory album? Get some photo's of immediately family that she see's regularly with their names next to it (scrapbooking comes in handy here !!) Favourite objects/animals all labelled. When Grandma is having an 'episode' whip out the album to redirect her. Bring her world closer to her .. it will help with her anger and defensiveness.

This is a very hard road, and I'm glad your family has worked out some respite, but depending on Grandma, the week about change might throw her for a loop.

Just remember, this isnt' HER that's behaving like this, it's the disease .. Grandma is still in there, it's now a matter of you going into her world, because she's finding it increasingly difficult to come into yours ...

Hugs again

 
Old 09-26-2006, 05:47 AM   #8
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Re: Dementia - plz read, i could really use some advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by angel_bear
Just another thought Ally,

ACAT can re-do assessments if you think Grandma has deteriorated too .. there's no hard and fast rules except sometimes there is a waiting list to get assessments,and unfortunately, by the time people think they need one on their loved one, you've got 12 - 24 weeks to wait ..

Yeah ... under resourced is a word that travels everywhere in Aged Care.

On the bright side however, keep with you the fact that Grandma will get over the anger stage .. it might take a while, depending on her deterioration, but she will again, become the Grandma you knew and still love. The paranoia will go. The suspicion will go. The resentment will go, but unfortunately it takes time.

Also, get Grandma in to see the doctor (under any ruse you can think of) because Grandma can no longer think straight for herself (there's nothing wrong with me you fools, it's the rest of the world that's gone insane!) you have to become the grown up, and as much as we're taught to love and respect our elders, for their better good, sometimes we have to turn into a bully and get them to do things they really don't want to do.

I found not giving choices worked well. Eg: Turn up in the morning and say "Your doctor's appointment is at 10, let's get you dressed for the day" and just hustle her along ... the trouble with dementia IS choices, it's overwhelming for them, absolutely, totally overwhelming to make decisions, so they get defensive, and then a behaviour starts and well, your learning those behaviours aren't always pleasant.

Perhaps you could make Grandma a memory album? Get some photo's of immediately family that she see's regularly with their names next to it (scrapbooking comes in handy here !!) Favourite objects/animals all labelled. When Grandma is having an 'episode' whip out the album to redirect her. Bring her world closer to her .. it will help with her anger and defensiveness.

This is a very hard road, and I'm glad your family has worked out some respite, but depending on Grandma, the week about change might throw her for a loop.

Just remember, this isnt' HER that's behaving like this, it's the disease .. Grandma is still in there, it's now a matter of you going into her world, because she's finding it increasingly difficult to come into yours ...

Hugs again
Hey

Thanks again for your advice. I LOVED the idea about the memory book! I'm gonna look into doing something like that for her.

Thanks again

Ally

 
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