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Old 11-08-2006, 12:22 PM   #1
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OHchick HB User
Hello all from a newbie


My name is Tanya. I am caring for my Grandmother who is suffering with demensia. She is 82 years old. My Mom is the primary caretaker for my Grandmother, but I am living with her right now until next month. My Mom is having a new home built which will include a living room, bedroom, and bath for my Grandmother. Therefore she is still living with me (in her home that I have allready purchased) until next month when my Mom's house is finished. Was that too much information? LOL

Anyways.............she is driving me crazy. LOL So I came here hunting for people who understand. I have been living with her for two months and the repetativeness is really starting to get to me. Has anyone seen the movie "Groundhog day"? That's my life. Which is probably your life too because you understand.

Every night when I get her ready for bed she doesn't want me to throw her clothes down the laundry shoot. She always says, "Don't throw those down there. I'll wear them tomorrow." (She was wearing the same clothes OVER AND OVER again before I moved in.) I always tell her "No". She says, "But do I have clothes for tomorrow." Then I tell her, "Yes. You have a whole closet full." EVERY NIGHT the same thing.

She is bored A LOT, and I feel bad for her. I got her doing 100 piece puzzles and she can even do puzzles on, if I set it up for her. She use to nap every day before I moved in, but now she never takes one. I run a home childcare. I have 5 kids here all day. That is VERY helpful! The kids ask her to read books to her and she's always picking up their toys even though I tell her I can do it. She gets bored in the evening though and on the weekends.

Every night after dinner she cleans the dishes (puts them in the dishwasher) and then she won't leave the kitchen for an hour or more. She "cleaned" my microwave by picking the paint out of it! I was so upset. I loved that microwave. Gotta buy a new one now. She will only clean things at counter level. She doesn't always use soap to clean, so I have to go back after and ACTUALLY clean it.

I should tell you that I am married and have two children (1 & 7 years old). Then I watch 5 kids during the day (counting my 18 month old). Then I also take care of my Grandmother. It's VERY tiring. I am more metally exhausted than anything.

My Grandmother is also diabetic. She is JUST NOW starting to accept the fact that she can't live on her own. I say STARTING to. She will still tell people that she lives on her own. She is also hearing impared. She has been since she was in her 30's. So she can't watch TV unless it's BLASTING. She doesn't like TV much anyway. She wears hearing aides, but they don't work very well. It's hard enough having to answer all her questions OVER AND OVER again, but then I have to repeat them over and over because she can't hear me to the point I'm having to yell for her to hear me. VERY EXHAUSTING

Anyway..........I'm babbaling. Hello everyone!

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Old 11-08-2006, 01:23 PM   #2
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Re: Hello all from a newbie

Dear Tanya - welcome to the club. No one wants to be here, but since we have to, we can help one another.

I am happy to hear that your grandma will move out fairly soon. Her condition and all the things she does and says, all the repetitions, all the mistakes, etc are just 'normal' for dementia patients. But it is extremely bad for childlren to be exposed to a 'not quite right' adult. They are too young to deal with it, and could be frightened or taken aback by her irrationality.

Please try a few tricks which work, (I know because it took me a year or more to finally 'get it' and start using them - I was Mom's chief caregiver for 5 years) ..

1. Do not explain anything. It wears you out and shortly afterwards she forgets the explanation, or even that she asked.

2. Whatever she says, agree. Yes, grandma, OK, I'll do that. Sure, wear the same clothes again tomorrow, good idea.

(THEN get them to the wash and put out other clothes for her for the next day, which she will probably not put on, but at least you tried!)

3. keep her away from breakable things like a microwave, or keep IT away from her. My Mom is much shorter than I am, and I was able to keep certain things on a high shelf in the kitchen. That is, until she forgot that she was afraid of heights and had injured her knees once before by falling, and climbed up on 2 chairs to get something - but that's another story.)

4. Try never to leave her alone at home.

5. Get her to do things in a sneaky, fabricated way - entirely unlike the straightforward honest approach you learned as a child, probably from her.

Instead of 'the microwave will be ruined if you scrape off the paint" you unplug or otherwise disable it and say "it is broken" and only use it behind her back. Instead of "you have burnt so many pots that I cannot let you use the gas/electric stove any more" you disable it and say "it is broken."

Your mother is going to have a 24/7 job on her hands when she lives with grandma (who at this point should not have her own kitchen or access to Mom's kitchen) .. she will need help, either family members or a paid aide to take Grandma off her hands OFTEN, for the sake of her own sanity.

Whatever you do, don't let Grandma EVER be alone with any of your daycare children. If she ever does anything ***arre (my Mom walked around naked once) you could lose your license.

GOOD luck to all of you, especially your Mom - in the end we had to put my Mom in a good nursing home which saved my sanity as well as my physical health ...



Old 11-09-2006, 04:43 AM   #3
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OHchick HB User
Re: Hello all from a newbie

Thank you, Martha for all the good advice.

I agree with it all except her being around the kids part. She isn't THAT bad, and they LOVE her. They have no idea that there is anything wrong with her. She's is still in the early stages. I would NEVER leave her alone with the children. The children I watch are all 3 and under. My Gma gets down on the floor and plays cars with my 18 month old. It is ADORABLE!

My Mom will have her hands full soon. I plan on going over EVERY Tuesday to help her out and just break up the monotiny (sp?) of it all. I have four brothers, but they have all just seemed to write my Gma off as if she is already dead. That's kind of getting to me. I know they all have their own lives and are busy, but I was also busy before I moved in with her and I some how figured out a way to make time for her.

Do not explain anything. It wears you out and shortly afterwards she forgets the explanation, or even that she asked.
How do I do that? I hate lying to her. She is constantly asking about her bills and if she owns her house. I tell her that she doesn't have to worry about any bills because my Mom takes care of it for her. I guess a simple, "They are all paid for." would suffice. Huh? I am learning the correct answers to each questions that will not get her to ask MORE questions. Like her cat.......She was never attached to him, and he was put outside a long time ago. She still asks where he is and if he is in the house. When I first moved in, it was a constant argument about the cat. Now I have learned to say, "Ohhhhhhhh He's around here somewhere." And that is enough for her and she doesn't ask anymore.

My Gma took care of her Mother,. Mm Great Grandmother. She was more gone than my Gma is now though. My Gma still knows who everyone is. So my Grandmother understands where her path in life is going.

Old 11-09-2006, 05:34 AM   #4
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Re: Hello all from a newbie

Tanya, Martha is dead on on her advice. And do be careful. Even though your Grandma loves the kids she has a disease that can cause her to do things that are dangerous. Even though you think she is ok with them it is for all your safety.

Don't think of it as lying to her. First off, the Grandmother you loved and grew up with is fast disappearing. The person that is in her body is not your loving grandma. When she asks about the bills, just tell her they are paid. And if she asks about the house tell her yes she owns it. You ar putting her mind at ease. Arguing with her will only make all of you miserable!

Don't ask her if she wants to do this or that. Just say calmly, "here are your clothes for today." "We are going to get your haircut today" "Let's sit down and whatever..." You get the picture. She is losing the ability to make decisions and giving her a set routine and stability will make her and your day easier...

Also, be prepared for your mom and you to notice a change when you move your grandmother over to your mom's. Changes in routine upset them and moving can be difficult for them.

My mom is now in a lock down unit and my father still hasn't figured out not to argue with her. He hasn't figured out that changing direction and agreeing with her is the best way to keep everyone happy. Now i have found out that he has "it" also.

Hang in will find little bits of humor that will lighten the load. My mom sent me a birthday the right month even, that was burned on the corner. I panicked, called dad yadayadayada. Mom just said, well, guess next time I shouldn't put it down on the burner first...oh well...

Old 11-09-2006, 07:48 AM   #5
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Re: Hello all from a newbie

I had a really hard time adjusting to treating Mom any differently from being the wise counselor she had always been to me. It was a long slow learning process. I was a Pre-K teacher, and everyone said ,"it should be easy for you, just treat her like a 3 year old." But, I couldn't. This was my Mom, my mentor, my role model! I 'explained' everything over and over again to the point that neither of us could stand it any more.

I explained that you have to stay in the kitchen if you are cooking or even boiling water. I explained that you can't carry $100 with you to the senior center and then leave it in a purse inside a shopping bag hanging over your chair. Thieves KNOW that every old lady carrying a shopping bag has a purse in it somewhere! (we lived in Queens, New York City.)

I explained that it was cold outside and therefore you need to wear the blue winter coat. As soon as I was away to work, she went out wearing the red summer jacket. With a pot of water boiling on the stove. Carrying lots of money in the purse 'hidden' inside a cloth shopping bag..

I tore out my hair in frustration, suffered from high BP, insomnia, nightmares, and shortness of temper with her, which mysteriously disappeared as soon as I got to work and had REAL 3 year olds, who got smarter every day and were never irrational, only little. There is no comparison really.

So I had to learn to deceive or not survive. I hated it and never wanted to 'lie' .. but it was a matter of keeping her safe, calm, and happy.

Whatever problem was worrying her, I said "I will take care of it." Even if it was entirely imaginary. I said, "that's OK, I will take care of it." If that didn't work I told her "Bill (my brother) will take care of it", or "Bill has already done that for you".

I wish you all the patience and understanding you can muster up!



Last edited by Martha H; 11-09-2006 at 10:50 AM.

Old 11-13-2006, 12:08 PM   #6
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OHchick HB User
Re: Hello all from a newbie

Thank you both for the advice and words of wisdom. (((hugs)))

Old 11-16-2006, 02:14 AM   #7
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Re: Hello all from a newbie

Hi Ohchick

i know exactly what your going through... just like you, i also took care of my grandmother who suffered from dementia. it drive me nuts too y'know. i remember that there came a time that i wanted to hurt my self because she's really hard to deal with. i can't hurt her, so instead of taking it all out on her i had this urge to hurt my self. thank God, he gave me strength to maintain my grace under pressure.. ... patience, patience and lots of prayers... that's my formula...

Last edited by grlw/noname; 11-16-2006 at 02:15 AM.

Old 11-16-2006, 10:15 AM   #8
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OHchick HB User
Re: Hello all from a newbie

It's so nice to be able to talk to people who have gone through the same thing.

NO ONE can understand what it's like dealing with someone with alzheimer's on a 24/7 basis until they have done it. There is no way to describe it, for someone to understand.

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