Re: Help! This is all new to me...
It would be very useful if your Mom could contact this website and tell her story. I came across it almost by accident at a time I was almost climbing the walls in frustration. I was Mom's live in caregiver for 5 years. Many do it longer than that.
Most of us begin by being in denial, and then get upset with the victim for all the weird things they do. We try to explain things to them, "look, all you have to do is carry this ID tag so someone can send or bring you home if you get lost." "You need to take a bath." "You have to stop forgetting food on the stove." "Of course this is your granddaughter, not your sister!" etc. Then we go on to tell the world and especially our non resident siblings how awful it all is. They react with disbelief.
FINALLY we get the point. The person has Dementia! They are not going to start remembering their ID tag, the pot on the stove, whose name is whose, or anything else, in fact they are going to forget EVERYTHING.
My Mom forgot how to shower. She forgot how to chew and swallow. Eventually her body shut down, not able to process the little food she did eat.
It is a fatal disease. It needs the help of professionals. You can't go by what the patient tells you, which is usually, "I am fine, what is wrong with YOU?" or by far off relatives who say "here's what you do --- give her more water to drink, and watch less TV."
You find a doctor who specializes in the ravages of age and Alzheimers. You follow their recommendations, which will be either full time care in the house by shifts of paid health aides, or entry into a nursing home.
You get the sick person professional help - and finally, after a few rebellions and disasters, lo and behold ! You have your life back, what's left of it.
I advise your Mom to come here for help, but she can also find a local group that meets in person, and share ideas and coping methods. It is a hard task. Not everyone is suited for it.
You can help by encouraging your mother to get professional help for your grandmother, to the extent of having her move to a nursing home when the right time comes.
Believe me, in my case we were all happier, most of all my mother, the patient (who since passed away at age 99) when she finally got the full time care she needed.
Last edited by Martha H; 08-09-2008 at 02:04 PM.