Any suggestions out there on what to do with Mom's packing and her need to go home? I have unpacked her 5 out of the last 6 days. She is wearing Dad out hauling stuff up and down the halls. I have removed the small none essential stuff and she is not moving the furniture and pictures. Today she threw her favorite canvas oil painting that is almost 60 years old, along with other items, over the court yard fence. The pictue survived and we have supplies to bolt it to the wall now. The gate that intriques her as a way out is being covered with a tarp. But then she moved a table to the bathroom window which is high, got on the table, and tried to crawl out the window. It only opens about 4 inches.
If I am there she will calm down. From time to time she will bring out an arm load but I just put it right back. She is constantly pacing and I have not seen her sit down for long at any one time. She insist that Dad goes with her and he dutifuly follows behind her but his knee is a mess and all the walking is making it worse.
She is on Zolof for depression, Depakote to enhance the Zolof, and Remeron for the manic depression she was having. She also gets a Xanax in the afternoon with PRN as needed. She has had one every morning this week. Despite all the meds.... She is determined to leave and randomly packs and moves items.
The good part is that she is not crying hysterically or showing the manic rage she was before. It's much more calm..... just consistent from the time she gets up until she goes to bed.
I have written her notes, "no packing tonight because you are spending the night here" ect, and left them all over the room. She reads them, stops for the moment, and then is right back at it.
I know it is a phase... but geeze louise I am exhausted from undoing what she has done this week. I have a mountain of things here that I have taken out of the apartment. It is bare compared to a week ago. And she's still packing.
At some point she leaves all she has packed, takes her pocket book which has a flash light, a bag of trail mix, her latest financial statement, my phone number, and an alarm clock in it, grabs a 4 pack of gatoraid and gives Dad his electric razor and she's off to find an escape route.
I am so VERY glad that I moved her to the secure facility when I did. I am getting a break tomorrow. Sister 2 has been extremely busy for the last two weeks but she is going to the facility for me tomorrow so I can have a day off before she goes back to work Monday and I get another week of unpacking.
All suggestions are welcome and needed.... I'm exhausted and going to bed
I wish I had a solution other than pills that make her so sleepy she has no energy to pack. I just keep hoping this phase will end. Have you asked her doctor what to do? It seems she is already on a huge load of various medicines. Do they have side effects which clash with one anther?
My only thought is to lessen the amount of loose packable items in her room. Not a closet full of clothes but 2 outfits, not 10 knick knacks but 2, not a shelf full of books but 1 book. Is there any place in the facility where some things could be temporarily stored? is there a way of locking the closets and cupboards (baby proof locking devices perhaps) to make it impossible for her to get at them? If there is a suitcase handy, get rid of it. No large plastic bags either. Nothing to pack and nowhere to put it should help some, or will she become hystercial?
OMG I am wondering if perhaps this latest move kicked her into a moving mode. I mean her mind could be stuck on moving from when she did actually move there. I know that is of no help to what to do about it. I would take her apartment down to the bare necessaties.
I have watched my Mom constantly take things out of all her draws in her bedroom clothes etc and pile them up beside her bed then put them back then take them out. She has spent days and hours in her room doing that at times just pulling things out all over the place. While she has been in rehab I did a good cleaning out of these draws for when she comes home so that she will have LESS to pull out. I don't think you can actually stop the behavior I only think you have to make it so there is LESS things for them to have. Kind of like a childs playroom the more toys they have out the more of a mess they can make. LESS is always better with alz/dementia people I have found.
You must be so tired Deb. I feel for you.
Deb, do you keep your mom at home and if so, how long have you been doing this??? The guilt of my putting mom in a NH is what has been eating my lunch. Everyone tells me..."you can't handle her by yourself, you will be the one that gets sick and it will wreck your marriage. I know it is a really hard job but it's my mom, isn't this what I am suppose to do???? I don't know if I will ever except my decision to put mom in a NH....
Deb's mother and father are in a facility that's called a locked facility -- Nursing homes have different stages and it got to the point where Deb's parents were leaving the security of the place they were in (assisted living) therefore they were asked to find another place for them with more security.
You should STOP feeling so guilty. I know of marriages that ended due to this type of demands on person. We all keep supporting each other and tell you that it is better that a loved one be cared for by individuals who are fresh with each 8 hour shift than what you will be after being up 24/7.
Last edited by caringsister54; 05-03-2009 at 02:36 PM.
Deb, can you just let her pack and leave everything piled near the door "waiting for the truck?" I'm not at that point, so I don't know if it would work, but I think that's what I would try.
I did just lock my MIL's bedroom closet. I got tired of searching for the dirty clothes she had taken off and hung back up. It took too many washings of every item she owns to get the odor out when she came. I'm not about to take backwards steps and make MORE work, and I refuse to have a stinky house! So far she hasn't discovered that she can no longer get the sliding doors open, but I'm sure something's going to hit the fan when she does. I feel bad, but not bad enough to unlock the closet! What would your mom do if you locked up her closet, as Martha suggested?
I'm tossing you a very special guest towel that was hidden in the back of the linen closet. Use it well. (Sorry, that's all I could find. Your mom packed all the regular ones from the front. )
Seriously, I hope she gets through this quickly and that you and your dad get some rest!!!
Poline... Mom was not present when we packed up and unpacked her. I took her to my sisters, where she spent the day with her grand daughters while we packed. She and Dad rode with Sister 2 and I to Sister 2's house for the night. Then Sister 2 took Mom to another grand daughter's for the day while we unpacked. She left her room in perfect order and arrived at her new room after it was set up with the same furniture. Her only concern that day was that we were separating her from Dad and she seems to be over that obcession.
Suz... Diane is right. Mom and Dad were moved into Assisted Living when it was obvious that they could not stay at home, even with help. They were there for 18 months. Dad started hallucinating and wandering out the back door while Mom was running out the front door looking for the van that they never had at AL so she could drive home. So they were moved to a locked ALZ unit, that they cannot escape from, the first of April. I have tried to keep them at home and the day I moved them to AL it was a relief. Now that they are in the locked unit it is even more of a relief. I wish it was different but I gave up on the guilt trip. It's not beneficial to me or them. They are exactly where they need to be!!! How can I feel guilty for giving them the best care possible... and that inclues any care that I could give them. They have fresh faces every 8 hours and a huge ancillary staff to take care of them instead of one tired grumpy me I found out that what I thought was guilt was really my wish that they were back to their old selves.
Blue... I so understand the dirty clothes in the clean clothes. I have been pulling dirty clothes out of the closet and drawers with regularity. I also found dirty clothes in the trash can.
Martha.... I am going to try the child locks on the closets but it would be impossible to child lock all the drawers of the antique chests. I have removed about half or what is in the apartment including all suitcases, tote bags, baskets, boxes, and anything else she might be able to pack in... including the base of the humidifier. I have also removed the important pieces like the antique crystal german stein with the puter lid that went sailing over the fence. Today my brother in law and I covered the gate in the fence with a tarp in hopes that it will deter mom. She marched right over to that corner, unhooked the bungy cards, and gave us all a thumbs up. So much for her not remembering what was behind it. We replaced it in hopes that by morning she will forget.
Today she had a physical altercation with one of the med techs. Mom accused the med tech of being in cahoots with one of my nieces that owes her money. Mom loaned her the money and she was unable to repay her. But Mom thought the med tech was hidding the money in the med cart. After she was shown that the money was not in there she hit the med tech and grab hold of her arm refusing to let go. When I arrived Mom had calmed from that episode but was packing again. I found the orchid my daughter gave her for Christmas... that she loves... pulled out of the pot and thrown over the fence. If she would leave it by the door it would be ok but she hauls it down the hall to the office or outside and throws it over the fence.
Yes, I am exhausted. Sister 2 was going over this afternoon to give me a break but after the altercation this morning I was at the facility early this morning.... I got home at 7 PM with another load of things taken out of the apartment. I need to get to bed because I am sure the phone will ring in the morning
Thanks for all the suggestions... and if you think of any other's let me know.
PS. I have been writing notes telling Mom not to pack and that she is going to spend the night there. They have at least stopped the bed from being stripped every day and slowed the packing at night. But by morning the notes are all stuffed in pocket and the packing begins again. She has slept there so it must be time to pack.........
Oh Deb...good grief...I have no idea what to tell you..they are like a dog with a bone! With my mother it is her CONSTANT searching but it is only her energy being used, not mine. It just frustrates the hell out of me! But what you are dealing with is unbelievable.
I'm out in California with mom and was going to tell you all how that is going but saw what you are going through and wanted to jump in and offer my support..it's all I can give...what the heck do we do with them????
In June of 2000 I moved my Mom and myself out of her apartment in Astoria where I had lived with her for 5 years, and where she had lived since 1976. She went to live with my brother and I came here.
For many months it had become increasingly difficult with her. Wandering off and getting lost in the big city was solved by having a home health aide stay with her during my work day, but nothing could prevent the toileting accidents or convince her she had to go and shower. (later I understood that the whole routine of showering, all the many steps we do automatically, were impossible for her to remember). Your remarks about finding clean and dirty clothes mixed in the drawers brought back memories of that move. Mom was already at my brother's home when I started packing. To my amazement I found over 40 pairs of unused underpanties. Mom used to tell me every so often that she had no underpants left, so I went and bought more. I guess she stashed them in a drawer and then couldn't find them. What I also found were maybe 20 or 30 soiled ones! Instead of putting them in the hamper, she replaced them in the drawer among clean clothes.
I cannot tell you how many bags of garbage I lugged down to the garbage cans. Going though her closet, I also found clothes with awful stains, clothes 3 sizes too big (Mom had shrunk as the got into her 90s, went from a size 18 to a size 12) and as for paperwork - she had income tax copies from 1977 (the year Dad died) but nothing up to date - new things were thrown out, old things saved.
I had lived there for 5 years! But I never went through her closet, hanger for hanger to see what was there, not did I go through her metal boxes of 'old papers'. It took me around 2 weeks to get everything cleared out. If only cleaning out her befuddled mind could have been done next!
My God Sweetie, I also don't know what to say to you that could help in any way but I pray for you everyday. You have to be completely exhausted and mentally worn out. No wonder you forgot about the popcorn, I'm surprised you can think at all. I don't want you to think that I'm not concerned about your Moms health but there just has to be something you can give her to help with her quest to leave and calm her down. I suppose you have already discussed this with the Dr but it seems there must be something out there that will help her STOP and give you both some peace.
When we visited NH's last Monday Sis kept saying "Mom doesn't belong here" now I think I know why she kept saying that. If we had tons of money and a place to keep her, Mom belongs with us along with hired caregivers in 8 hr shifts. Thats what we did for Gram for two and a half years, kept her at home until the day she passed away. But Gram had around 3 hundred thousand in her savings and it took it all. Which was fine with us, it was her money and we were more than glad to spend it on her. I finally had a conversation with Sis and she opened up about the guilt that she feels about putting Mom in a NH. She needs a support group but thats not her way of coping with things. She just pretends that everything is fine and I suppose thats how she gets by in life?? Its not my way of course but she's not going to change at this stage in her life. And so it goes..........
Yes, we do have a place that is just for Alz. patients here. They have different levels of care and its close. That's the one I didn't care for at all. The smell of urine was strong in every hallway and there were some other things I saw that I didn't like. So that was a definate NO for me.
Thank you for the laugh this morning. "We love them enough NOT to put them in the whirlpool upside down"!!!!! That was a good one friend. I laughed till I cried. It just struck me so funny. Maybe I'm losing it deb? No, your just a funny lady.
I'll be thinking of you and praying for you and Mom to find some peace in this place that I still refer to as "Planet Alzheimers" it seems to explain the hell we go through in the best way I know. God Bless You
Chris, you have your hands full right now. I know your thoughts are with me. Glad I could give you a laugh.... I laughed when I thought about it myself. Did I tell you what my T-shirt said that I wore to the facility Sunday...... Printed on the front was...... "The voices told me to do it" I grabbed it and put it on because it was red.... then read it and decided it was just right!! Yep, I have to keep my sense of humor Sorry your locked unit is not up to par. It is the best of both worlds if you can find a good one. I feel extremely lucky to have found the facility Mom and Dad are in. They are great!!!
Martha.... I have more underware stories!! They seem to be the item that Mom does strange things with.... from wearing multiple pairs to wearning none. Hidding her new ones, putting soiled one in the drawers, throwing them in the trash, or rolling them up and stuffing them in the strangest places. I'm always on underware alert!!
My first call from the facility was at 8 AM this morning because Mom was swinging a glass peanut jar at the staff. I decided to eliminate one possible cause and get a urine sample. But first I had to make sure Mom was not harming staff. Then off to the doctor's for a sample cup. Back to the facility to see if Mom would pee. No such luck!!! So I went off in search of a toilet urine catch.... we call them a toilet hat. While I was gone Mom packed up and guess what.... the urine cup disappeared!!! So it was back to the doctor and knowing better, I got several cups and the toilet hat I didn't find the first trip. Back to the facility to find Mom and Dad in another altercation because Mom was swiging a picture off her wall at staff. At 3:30 I had finally gotten a small urine sample and ran it to the doctor's. Then back to the facility to find Mom, Dad, and Woody (a resident) outside planning their great escape. Woody had managed to take the tarp that was over the gate down. Then Mom went into her sundowning so I stayed until Supper.... Then Dad went into his sundowning so I stayed and put them to bed. I got home at 8:30 and had only lost my cool ONCE.
Hopefully the urinalysis will come back with abundant bacteria, they will give Mom some antibiotics, and life will get better. If not.... medication changes are in order. Mom will not be physically abusive of the staff and right now she is bruising herself with all the furniture moving and fighting that locked gate not to mention she is wearing Dad thin with her constant wandering as he hobbles along cluelessly behind her. When I am there she is not nearly as bad but the minute I leave.... WOW.
I have no complaint about the staff. Even with the upheavel this morning, Mom and Dad's caregiver managed to get Dad in the shower, his hair washed, him shaved, and actually rather spiffy looking!!! Mom refused her shower but I can always put her in the whirlpool (I will decide which direction based on when my first call is tomorrow)
Yep, I am mentally and physically exhausted but I am still going. Sister 2 is going to the facility tomorrow afternoon after she gets off work and I just hope the morning goes better than today. If not, at least I know I will be home by 5 instead of 8:30. I am counting the days until sister 2 retires June 12!! She has insisted on taking care of Mom and Dad the weekend of May 16 so I can go to my daughter's college graduation party and I have taken her up on that offer. That is what keeps me going right now.....
I had thought about that Diane. They do have a written procedure for cleaning the jets that I have seen followed carefully each time it was used. The behavior she is exhibiting was there before the whirlpool and had accellerated in the last few days so it's a possible. But then again the two times we have used the whirlpool it has made a huge difference in the her level of anxiety. So it's a catch 22. If it is a UTI... it's probably more a result of dehydration. They give her something to drink constantly but she will only take a sip and sit it down. I handed her a cup of gatoraid... maybe 6 ounces... no less than 20 times yesterday to get it all in her. Her urine was dark, concentrated, and very sparse. So I started pushing fluids. Again a catch 22... she loves sprite zero and will drink it better than anything else. I know carbonation is dehydrating so I had taken that away. So do I give it back in hopes of getting a little more liquid in her.... even if it is the wrong kind? I am leaving small bottles of various drinks in the fridge to see which ones disappear. So far they are all there but the one sprite zero and the tropicana pink lemonaid... both of which are carbonated. With this disease there always is a catch 22....