My mom has had alzheimers (plus other health issues) for the past 2 + yrs. Lately she has had my father (who lives w/ her) call me nightly or when I call her nightly she tells me she has a question to ask. She asks me "who her husband is". I tell her the same thing each and every night- she has been married to my father for 50 years!! She used to believe it, but now,she doesn't believe it, says I am not telling her the truth, how would I know, and then she breaks down in tears and tells me she is so confused. It is breaking my heart!!!!!!! I do not understand how she can live each day w/ my dad and not recognize him, but still recognize me. That is question one on here. Can anyone help me out? Then what do I say to her because I am getting so frustrated and upset. I have 2 brothers who are no help at all. I am worried about my dad's health(although currently he is hanging in there, but he is also elderly). I am by myself, working full time at a very demanding job and these nightly phone calls are upsetting me so much. Having her not call or me not call her is not an option as she is my mom, but I don't know how to hold my patience or not to get upset. Advice from someone who has been there would be so appreciated. Also, does anyone have any advice re. how to organize clothing to help her get dressed easier. She dresses on her own, but throws everything on a spare bed and each week I have to go clean up the bed and hang everything back up in the closet or figure out what is dirty/clean. Suggestions?? Thank you.
Bless you, I do know what you are going through...and quite well with the brothers; or in my case, one brother.
I just put my mom in Assisted Living, today, while myself and my elderly aunt were her main caregivers. Today went better than I expected it would, but tomorrow could be a whole different story. Sad thing is, my mom looks like she doesn't belong there. She's very pretty; young looking and still quite alert; doesn't use a walker; but gets so mixed up on medication at home and cannot even make a cup of tea.
Thank goodness you have your dad there, but it seems as though he might need the support of help as well. Personally, if my dad were alive, I'd make plans to get them BOTH into an Assisted Living Facility before something happens that your dad cannot really handle. Keep in mind, they are leaving their home, but they have each other. That can make a world of difference. How I wish my daddy were alive.
In the meantime as far as her clothes, I just start hanging things up or if they looked dirty I'd put them in the laundry to be washed. My mom would put her clothes on backwards so I'd check the back and I'd see the spills from her eating.
Best of luck to you and I'll keep you in my prayers.
Last edited by sunnydaze1; 11-14-2007 at 07:43 PM.
Thank you for your words of kindness and advice. I'm also sending (hugs) back to you re: your mom.
I keep asking my dad if he thinks it is getting to be too much and we should look into assisted living options etc. He is absolutely set against it. I am not sure if it is his pride or what, and I know he loves his home, but I worry terribly about this whole situation.
Re: my mother's clothes...I constantly hang up the clean clothes and put the dirty ones into the wash, but I didn't know if someone had a "closet system" to make it easier. Is there a trick to this whole nasty disease that I am missing?? I seem to spend 1/2 the day on a weekend re-hanging and sorting her closet/bedroom.
I know I need to find more patience...actually around her I have lots of patience. It's just when I hang up the phone or leave the house that I lose it. Thanks, once again, for your kind words.
Oh boy...do I know EXACTLY what you're dealing with in regards to clothes! My 86 year old mother CONSTANTLY rearranges her dresser, and her closet; claiming that most of the clothes are mine, and she's trying to find hers.... they are all HERS! But she swears that I wear her clothes, and mix mine with hers, and she will pull everything out of her dresser at least 3 or 4 times a week, then forget that she's done it, and accuse me of coming in and throwing her clothes on the bed - then call me everything under the sun.
My 74 year old father is also here, but she sometimes thinks that she is divorced from him...and they've been married almost 50 years, too!
I wish I had answers for you....I'm still trying to figure this all out myself, even after dealing with it for over 2 years now! *HUGS* to you.
Maybe you could take some of these clothes and put them in a closet in a spare bedroom so she doesn't have so much to choose from. She could be overwhelmed with trying to figure out what to wear. I also put all my mom's summer clothes upstairs and out of the way so she didn't have to wonder what season to dress for.
I was able to get the majority of my mom's clothes out of the house and into the facility without her even knowing because she seemed to wear the same clothes over and over again. I took her clothes that she saves for "nice" which is really just everyday decent stuff. She never even knew it was missing from her closet.
So if you could just limit her outfits to a couple pairs of slacks and tops, I think it would help. BTW, have you looked into a live alert help system? My mom wore what looked like a little watch and you'ld press a button for help like you'ld call 911. She never needed to use it, but it could give you some peace of mind.
Thank you for your kind words and know that you're not alone. Sometimes, especially this week, I've wished I could just run away, but I know I can't...but I do feel that way..and a lot! Hang in there, that's all I can say.
Last edited by sunnydaze1; 11-14-2007 at 09:42 PM.
Bless you Sunny... I know exactly how you feel today. Anticipation that the adjustment will go well, relief that your Mom is safe and well cared for, a little guilt, and every other emotion known to man.
Broken, I agree with Sunny about limiting the choices of clothes. The number of choices is overwhelming. She loses what she is doing before she finishes. Her clothes selection becomes a closet clean out and then the chore is forgotten. The less she has to chose from the better.
As for your Mom not remembering your Dad, my Dad is that way with Mom. He would seem to know who I was but ask me who Mom was.... and if he could have sex with her (snickers). He also ask every day if his Mother and siblings were still alive. This usually happened in the evening. Other times he knows who Mom is. You have to know that your Mom honestly does not know who your father is at these times and no amount of repeating will make her remember. She may think her husband is a young man and this old man could not be her beloved. She may have no memory of him at all. It is not her fault and there is nothing you can do to change it. You just have to be calm and reassuring with your answers. Most of all do not argue with her. That only aggitates the situation more because she KNOWS she is right even when she is wrong.
My mom was caregiver for my Dad (vascular dementia) for 7 years before she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's over a year ago. She was diagnosed with depression two years before that.... I think that was the beginning of her ALZ. Dad was dead set against a "home" and Mom refused to go because she could not "do that to Dad". They have been married for 58 years and lived in the house that Dad built for 54 years. The situation spiraled out of control in September. We took Mom to a nice assisted living facility and she was impressed. THe new assisted living facilities are not the "homes" of the past. Now they are both in Assisted Living together. Mom adjusted quickly but Dad took a little longer and some medication help. I talked to them both today and they were happy and laughing. I had to hang up because they were off to supper and then play bingo. Mom said she needed another roll of dimes so she could keep playing bingo. Maybe you can take him to see a facility.... for the future.. and see what he thinks then.
I truly do understand your frustration. It is a combination of fear, guilt, pain, and confusion. I believe it was Martha that called ALZ the imposter. When I realized it was the disease and not my Mom that was acting that way it was much easier for me to deal with. I could not make her think clearer no more than I could make walk on a broken leg. Mom does the best she could with the disease she has.
Know that you are not alone and there are great people on this board that are willing to listen, give encouragement, and have great ideas. They have been my salvation at times. Know I keep you in my thoughts and prayers..
We made different decisions in different situations.
What ever you decide or are feeling...those belong to you alone. You are struggling for the best for you and them.
You would not be here if you weren't.
We can't change life but we can deal with the hand dealt with support from friends.
I hope to reach people here to help them get through this trying time. We had to put a 100 year old woman (grandma) in a foster home...we'd promised her we'd never do it. We regained our sanity and she thought her room mate was her deceased daughter and she found peace.
Who could have thought that would happen? We agonized for months what to do....break a promise? She died happy.
Best decision we made for her and us. But deciding didn't come easy. Guilt over a broken promise.
Take guilt out of your vocabulary. If you are here...you are doing your best.
My next Grace post will be of Christmas 1996. I'll tell you though that I learned of grandpa's alzheimers at thanksgiving ('93) after he booby trapped the pots and pans with strings and mouse traps during the night! That is the only thanksgiving I'll never forget!
In his words, "...a thief on thanksgiving would steal turkeys and pots."
The synapses in her brain that retain certain memories of her husband may have more tangles right now than the ones relating to you, so those memories are more impaired/damaged. She may also be confusedly thinking of her husband as he looked years ago, and not recognize the man in her home as well. Someone explained it to me once as being equivalent to camera film (before digital). The film is damaged, so it won't be able to record new memories or the memories will be missing pieces. If it was a used roll of film left in a drawer too long, the images captured on it would fade or be damaged too. One picture on the roll might still be legible for a little longer, but others could no longer be viewed.
As far as clothes go, I'm at the point where I put my DH's clothes out. His judgment about clothing is very impaired, and he gets very confused when he looks in a drawer or his closet. He isn't able to do all the clasps or zippers anymore, and has been known to wear two pairs of boxers and my socks.
Can your father put outfits out for her, if you put them together for the week? I found it helpful to put out-of-season clothes away, limiting the number of clothes in DH's closet. I also tied dollar store ribbon around outfits (pants, shirts, underwear, socks) for awhile, so that all he had to do was pick up a bundle instead of selecting pieces himself. I'm slowly replacing jeans and button shirts with pull-on sweatsuits and slip on shoes. He used to dislike sweatsuits, but he appears to have forgotten that he didn't like them. Now he's just relieved to have something easy to wear, and I tell him he looks great. I get sweatsuits in different colors, so finding the matching pieces is easier. Once in awhile he will still go into his closet or bureau and tear it apart looking for something, and I still have to put it back together. He doesn't remember what he was looking for. It happens less and less, though.