My 79 year old mom was recently diagnosed with Alz. she is in stage 4-5. Problem we are having is that she is either in denial of the diagnosis or doesn't remember what the doctor told her regarding her cognitive tests so she doesn't think anything is wrong with her. My dad and I are her primary caretakers. She has all the behaviors listed in the Alz. assoc. pamphlets on behaviors related to the disease, but what is most troubling is her anger and mood swings. She is very hateful towards my dad over the tiniest issues and is not sleeping on a regular schedule so she is up at 2 am and begins screaming at him over things that she can't remember or things that she has gotten mixed up. then the crying starts and it's just awful. She is pleasant to strangers and friends even family members not directly involved in her care, but my dad is having a hard time dealing with her anger outbursts. I am too!! She is very argumentative and I am not having a lot of success in getting her PCP so intervene. Has anyone been through this I even looked at getting her hooked up with a geriatric psychiatrist buy she won't go cause as she puts it "I havent lost my marbles" . would love to hear from anyone who is or has gone through this help!!!!
Of course doesn't know the diagnosis. How could she? If she is in stage 3 or 4 of Alzheimer's, forgetting what you have just been told is the major symptom. Other symptoms are sleeplessness, night wandering, anger, frustration (who wouldn't be frustrated when you actually feel you are losing your mind, or all the people around you are) ...
You have to retrain your mind, both you and your dad, and lower your expectations drastically. She will NOT remember what you tell her. She will in fact remember less and less. Any visits to any doctor cannot be based on ''do you want to see the doctor?" but she has to be taken there as a routine thing. 'Today is your appointment.' That's all.
Lengthly explanations do no good, but make everything harder, because you believe she has heard and processed all that information and is now acting as if she never did. The sad truth is that the info never got inside her brain.
I am not judging you - I learned all this the hard way, by living with my Mom and taking care of her for 5 years, never fully accepting just how bad things were for her.
Your local Alzheimer's Association may be able to give you more info and even a support group, but when I found this website I felt, "at last, people who know what I am going through!"
Welcome, and I hope you find the help you need.
Last edited by Martha H; 04-01-2009 at 09:24 AM.
You have described my mother to a tee a few years ago. Things have smoothed out considerably but we did go through years of what you are going through right now and it was awful.
She was and is in complete denial. One time she was so out of control I tried to explain to her that it was the Alzheimer's. Well, just the mention of the word enraged her so she picked up a small piece of furniture and hurled it at me. We have never mentioned that word again!
She questions herself now and will ask if I ever have any forgetfulness like her...I say of course. She sometimes asks me what is wrong with her..I just tell her it is because she is 85 and she has a lifetime of living in her brain to remember. We tell her she is okay. It is too scary for her. We shelter her from the truth.
The doctors started her on Reminyl..now known as Razadyne ( which helped in the early stages with her general attitude) She is also on Namenda and lastly she is on Lexipro. The last drug is the one that really helped to equalize her moods. One more thing we found out...the importance of B-12 shots. Her neurologist is adamant about them. She has one monthly. After my step dad died and we took over mom's care she began having bad spells again and one of the things we figured out was that she hadn't gotten those shots for 3 months. As soon as we started them again it helped. She is a much more calm and even tempered person now. She of course still has Alz. ..her short term memory is bad, her moods shift moderately from time to time and she is in constant search for lost or "stolen" things, she couldn't tell you the time of day, month or year if her life depended on it. She lives in the moment and from time to time discusses the past and those she has lost. We see her slipping more lately. It is heartbreaking overall but at least the terrible anger and tantrums have subsided.
We never disagree with her..if she tells me the sky is plaid I tell her what a great display it is! There are certain sore subjects that we avoid at all costs. Cars and computers because she used to have them and doesn't understand why she still doesn't have them. We avoid the talk of pictures because she is certain all of her pictures have been stolen from her. We have become experts in the art of distraction. We refer to it as "driving the bus". If she gets onto a subject that can cause problems we steer her to something else and she generally follows.
She now lives in an "independent" living facility. It is with watchful eyes all around her. I am with her 4 to 5 days a week taking her shopping or to lunch...anything to keep her busy and occupied. We keep her on a schedule so to speak. Lunch on Saturday and Sundays, shopping on Wednesdays..she always has something to look forward to..even though sometimes she needs reminding.
It took us quite a while to get mom to this point in the care of her disease where we can function somewhat normally. It is a day to day process. We are like boxers in the ring..constantly bobbing and weaving.
If you can't get her doctor to pay attention or help you more, then go somewhere else!
I'm glad you found your way here. It has helped me immensely!!
I have learned so much.
what you are describing could be a mirror of my mom...my mom is convinced my daughter stole all her silverware even though I showed her where it was 100 times thoughout one day...now each morning I call my mom and ask her if anything is missing, sometimes yes, sometimes she askes why I would ask!!!! I can tell by the sound of her voice if something is amiss..the anger is also there but because I am only there for two days a week I think my dad hides a lot of the issues that are happening although I am getting better at reading between the lines with my dad..I have read about meds that can help your mom feel a little more at ease, thankfully they pass though these phases and move onto other things, like who stold all my pygamas!!!! it is hard to see our loved ones go though this but you have come to the right place to ask questions and cry and rant we are all here to listen when noone else will....
Using a group washing machine here, I find it to be a sock thief. He always takes just one. Maybe that's how I wound up wearing one blue and one red sock last night to an April Fool's dinner - oh no, that was on purpose ...
I agree with all that was said here and have seen it times two. My mom was disgnosed over 2.5 years ago and except for a few moments when she walked out of the cognitive testing and read the report, she has no memory of the testing or the diagnosis. There is nothing wrong with her at all. If we would just let her go home she would be fine. If we would just take Dad home with us and give her a break she would be fine. If somebody would just do something different she would be fine because there is absolutely nothing wrong with her. In fact her ALZ is getting worse rapidly.
Yes, she is aggitated. She strikes out at those that she loves the most. Just this week she had slept for 2 hours and woke up screaming and crying about what had been done to her. She becomes aggitated about things that happen, things that don't happen, and things she thinks happened. Things she is told are forgotten then she is furious because she was not told. Things she is told are twisted in her mind until they do not resemble what she was actually told.
None of this is her fault and she can't help it or do any better. She is doing the best she can. As the doctor explained to us it is like a flash light in a dark room that is flashing on and off. A little bit here and a little bit there sticks in her brain. The rest is just blank. She creates what is needed to make a whole picture and it rarely resembles the reality around her. She is in the den and doesn't know how she got there or why she is there. Her day is disjointed and makes no sense. What she experiences is forgotten. What a frightening experience that must be for her. So she reacts.
To complicate that the parts of her brain that control judgement and control are affected. She doesn't know how to reaction in the rational logical manner we do. She reacts on impulse. If something make her sad she doesn't analyze it and realize it's not that bad.... she cries. If something scares her she doesn't look for rational reasons.... but fights back.
There are medications that can help control the behavior. The geriatric psychiatrist is a great idea. You don't need to tell her that is who you are going to see. You just need to tell her that she is going to somebody that she needs to talk to. You can tell her that she is part of a study of the elderly. You can tell her you are going for an afternoon drive and show up at the office. The truth is manipulated to do what needs to be done because you can not rationally explain to her why she needs to go. Her rationality is not there and even if you do get through to her then she will forget it and you will have to do it again.
An example. Dad was going to be moved to the locked unit for his own safety. This was explained to Mom repeatedly. The day of the move, she flipped out totally. She had absolutely no memory of all the explinations. All she knew was they were "Taking her husband away from her" and she responded accordingly.
So I suggest you keep the geriatric appointment. Get Mom up and dressed for an "outting". Take her to lunch. Then one more stop.... the appointment.