My mom is experiencing signs of dementia. She also had a stroke recently. My dad is her primary caregiver right now. I am the oldest sister of two and feel responsible for my mom's care as much as my dad. My sister has two boys that she uses as the excuse for not dealing with my mom - she is too busy. I also have an Aunt who is VERY close to my mom and was the power of attorney for my Grandma who ended up in a nursing home and died of Alzheimers. This aunt is a nurse AND lives 300 miles away from us. She has been shooting down everything my family has been trying to help my mom with. "Take her for another opinion". "I think she has MS". "I think it's depression". She tells my mom to just get up and start doing things. Every week she has a different diagnosis for my mom. Bottom line - the doctors have diagnosed her with dementia and my aunt can't accept it. I finally told her that and she probably won't talk to me again.
She was going to take mom for a week starting yesterday and communicated only with my mom about it. Didn't discuss anything with the rest of us. (My mom can't keep facts straight anymore). I told her my mom has a doctor's appt. next Friday and can't miss it. She had the nerve to ask me to change it to a week out. She told me she "just wants to visit with her sister". I told her if she wanted to change it here is the doctor's name and telephone number. I explained she would need Depends at all times. She would have to give her Aricept daily as my mom can't keep her meds straight. My aunt has a 2 story house my mom hasn't been in for 25 or 30 years. I told her she would have to stay on the main floor and the doors would have to be locked so she wouldn't wander outside. I also said my mom told me that she didn't want to go on this visit. She came back with "I get the feeling you don't me involved in your mother's care". I told her she has no idea what we have been going through. My mom has been peeing in the house and throwing the Depends (when she wears them) in the corner. She also is losing her bowels on occasion. My dad had to throw some things out. My dad finally said my mom wasn't going on this vacation. Maybe my aunt has the guilts that she never took my mom when she was healthier. She had a 20 minute crying jag on the phone with me about my mom being her best friend and that my mom is a good person and doesn't deserve this. As if we don't know it!! My mom is also lashing out at my dad about everything and is very mean to him. This whole thing really brought me down this weekend. Sorry to ramble but I feel better. I've decided I won't contact my aunt about anything involved with my mom's care anymore as she drains me emotionally and I need eveything I've got to get through the times ahead. Even though she is a nurse she is in denial on this issue. My dad's health isn't the greatest either. I just thank God he's still here to try to help even though it's taking its toll on him. Thanks for listening.
I'm glad you came here to express your frustration. This is a terible disease. The denial your aunt is in has no relation to her nursing training or experience. She just can't stand it. My sister was exactly the same. She could not accept the fact that Mom had dementia, so instead she blamed all Mom's symptoms on me, the one who lived with Mom and took care of her for 5 years. My sister lived in a far off state, had only telephone contact with Mom, refused to come and stay with Mom for a week so I could have a break, and was generally more a hindrance than a help.
Even at Mom's funeral, this sister had the nerve to tell people Mom was 'as sharp as a tack to the very end." (or, to be fair, was not able to acknowledge that Mom had had Dementia).
I had the same problems you are now having with your Mom, problems with urination and defecation, losing things, not quite knowing who you are, forgetting everything, making plans and forgetting them. In the earlier stages she still went out alone, and one day she had a dental appointment. She came back to say she had gone inside, waited a long time in the waiting room, no one came, it was dark, and when she tried to leave she was locked in! Finally someone else came in and she 'got out'. Mom came home and described this convoluted tale to me, much of it seemed entirely unbelievable, but apparently she was not at the dentists's. I called them the next day and she had missed her appointment.
After that she needed a home health aide to stay with her when I was at work and walk or take a bus with her wherever she wanted to go. Mom hated being supervised, she thought she was just fine.
My sister thought it was better to let Mom have her freedom than to 'keep her a prisoner.'
Alzheimner's drives a wedge between family members. Instead of sticking together to fight the disease, they fight each other.
I wish you luck as you go down this journey with your Mom. We eventually switched Mom to a good nursing home where she was amazingly happy in spite of all our fears. She decided it was a 'spa' and was always very satsified with the many activities, other patients, and the very loving staff. She died last December aged 99. Mom would have been 100 tomorrow if she had lived a little longer!
Good luck; this is a great place to vent!
Last edited by Martha H; 10-21-2008 at 04:28 AM.
Hello, I'm sorry that your having these problems with your Aunt. I think most of us here have had a problem with a family member not wanting to admit that the one they love has dementia or Alz.
My sister could never admit that there was a problem with Gram or Mom. Until she had absoutely no choice. Its the meds, its just old age, your expecting too much from her, she has had a mild stroke.............anything but the truth. Even now when I take Mom to any Dr or try to find out whats going on with Mom I get negative feedback from my older sister. She doesn't want to do the running or talking to the Dr. but she sure wants to tell me that she thinks I'm wrong. I've learned that with this sister its because she just can't bring herself to admit that Mom is going to die. There is a history there that I can't go into here but I just try to understand that she is who she is and I feel bad that she can't face death. When Gram was dying I called her and told her that it wouldn't be long did she want to come and be there when she passed and she said "I just can't do this kind of thing. I'm not strong enough". So Gram passed with just two of us there. It was OK with us. We understood. But I missed her being there. It was one of the most precious moments of my life. I knew my Sis just can't do it. So just keep your Aunt out of the "loop". Tell her as little as possible. I'm sure she loves your Mom and right now she just can't admit that its happening.
Come here often and vent. I would be lost without my friends here. They understand and are caring, loving people.
Thank you, Martha, for your story and I'm sorry to hear of your mother's passing. You were there for your mother all the way and I hope you find some peace in knowing that. I always made a conscious effort to do alot with mom as she got older. One of our favorite things to do was finding treasures at rummage sales and then going out to eat afterwards. I knew in the back of my mind the day would come when her health would decline and we wouldn't be able to do the fun things anymore. I made the most of everything with her so I will have those memories to hold on to as time goes on. Thanks again!
I can also relate to the denial of a sister about Mom's condition. One of my sisters was in complete denial..... and to a point still is. I became the bad guy because I was the one that insisted on the diagnosis. When I was with Mom most of the time she would call me berating me because I was taking away Mom's freedoms. The situation has since changed and Mom has moved to AL closer to her. At this point she has become more acceptant of Mom's condition but she's still angry with me. I never do anything right and she tends to want to shut me out.
Part of what you are experiencing with your Mom's sister can be caused by guilt. The things she didn't do in the past that she thought there would be time to do in the future. Now the future is here and they can't be. Crushing of dreams can be emotionally disturbing. Mom, even in her ALZ is experiencing this. She has cared for Dad (vascular dementia) for 8 years. She truly thought she would do this and then she would do the things she wanted to do. Her ALZ extinguished those dreams and it is the one theme that carries through her depression/angst that has accompanied her ALZ.
Mom and Dad are now in Assisted Living. Mom's caring for Dad did take a heavy tole on her but she has never, even now with her own ALZ, given up on caring for him and refuses help while she agonizes over her plight in life. She is stuck in that caregiver mode and carries it like a heavy burden. For your Dad's sake.... he needs help perhaps more than she does.
I will echo what Martha Chris said. This is a great place to vent frustrations. I have done my share and these great people here all truly understand because they have been exactly where you are. So keep typing!! Welcome to the forum. I will keep you, your Dad, and your mom in my thoughts and prayers.
I was distracted by just what you are talking about jeno and forgot to add something important. You are right to back away if you feel that your Aunt is draining you emotionally. You need your emotional strength to deal with what is important.... your Mom and Dad. But backing away is not giving up on her. Back off when you need to and when you regather your strength you can go back and deal with the situation. Some are just slow to respond and you have to deal with the problem on your schedule.
I have a sister like that as I have mentioned before. Today... I am trying to come up with a way to deal with her antics and move forward. Last week I dropped the situation in order to visit with my Mom and Dad. Now it is time to go back and try again.
I have learned one thing. You know yourself better than anybody else. You know what you can do, what you can handle, and what is best for you. Take care of YOURSELF first. If you are not emotional or physically in a good place you CANNOT help anybody else!! So drag up a chair, grab a glass of wine, and unwind
I'm sorry for the grief that you're getting from your Aunt. For some reason she feels responsible for this and she can't handle it, so avoidance is the best possible thing. And you don't need the taint of negativity seeping into you now. YOu have a hard enough row to hoe as my momma would say. If she asks how your Momma is - you reply as well as can be expected and leave it as that. No more no less and don't be drawn into discussions about it. She will only make matters worse for you.
Make sure that you have medical POA and durable POA for both your Mom and Dad and that you are on their banking accounts. Do this now so that you won't have to be fighting this later. It will help for the doctors visits that you will be making for your Mom and it will be easier for your Dad so you can go to the doctor with him and your Mom.
Keep posting here, we are good group to listen and offer advice-we have all been there and have big shoulders to cry on. Welcome to the board.....