It is currently 530am and I've been awake for 2 hours. My mother gave me a scare I just can't get over. I opted to sleep on the couch tonight because she had a bad day and I knew it would be a bad night. Sure enough, I was right. I was dozing a bit, trying to get what little rest I could. At a little after 3 I open my eyes to my mother standing over me with a knife in her hand. My heart nearly leaped out of my chest!!! I'm guessing it was left on the counter from dinner last night and we missed it. Well she sure found it. I'm not worried about her hurting one of us, but I'm was terrified that she may have hurt herself being as she was holding it by the blade. Thankfully she has no scrapes or cuts, but it is still bothering me. Once everyone is up, we are having a family meeting. I have repeated stressed that we need to be careful what is left within her reach. I missed this one, and I would never forgive myself if something happened to her that could have been prevented. I am so upset I am sure I will not be going back to sleep any time soon. I have already turned all the lights on and gone over every table and counter to make sure nothing else was missed. I just got her laid back down and am hoping she will at least rest for a couple of hours, if not sleep. She is getting worse by the day. I am working very hard to get her medicaid/medicare sorted out so that we can get her placed in a home. I don't know how much longer my step dad and I can safely care for her at home. It's getting to the point now that we don't even get to take shifts as it is taking both of us to keeps eyes on her at all times. Sometimes I feel like I am slowly losing my mind along with her. So here's to another long day. As soon as her doctor's office is open, I am calling. She needs to be on something to help her rest and I think it wouldn't hurt for her to be on some kind of anti depressant. I've noticed lately she is not smiling as much and has quit talking all together. I don't know if this is another "slide" or if it's natural progression, but it's getting to the point that I know I won't be able to handle her much longer. Please pray for us, we can use all the prayers we can get. I am so exhausted, but I have to keep going. I know this may sound bad, but as soon as we can get her placed and settled, I'm asking my boyfriend to take me somewhere warm and sunny where I can spend a week on a beach and not worry. Thanks for "listening". I don't know what I'd do without this wonderful group.
The following 2 users give hugs of support to: sleepless84 aras (01-24-2012), ninamarc (01-24-2012)
Gee, that must have been scary. You need help. You can't go on doing this alone. Please do whatever is necessary to get help before something happens. You are to be praised for the care you have given her but now you need outside help. Will keep you in my prayers.
Sleepless, it sounds like you are starting to burn out, please get some help, mom probably would never "intentionally " hurt anyone but with the dilussions that they have you can never tell, she may mistake someone in the house for an intruder. They are very skillful at finding things and if not a knife then something else. Don't blame your selve. I don't know how your system works, but ours you can admit someone to the hospital for observation for doing something like that. is that possible. take care
I have thought that you are so lucky that you guys are living together like that.
However I do know when your Mom gets sicker and goes into moderate stage, she will get worse in her behaviors.
That is why many families have to send the loved ones to a locked unit for dementia. It is harder to deal with a "mentally ill" or confused person 24/7.
It sounds like she may be in late early stage and may be going into moderate stage.
For earlier stage, she can try aricept - the dementia drug. Have you asked the doctor about that? It would improve her perception.
I really would like to point out that the reason that she can still stay with you and the kids is that she is in earlier stage such as late early stage or early moderate stage.
Later on, she would scare the kid and drive you nuts. You would not be able to cope with both your Mom and your kid. You will need to get part-time paid caregiver to help.
These are the signs that she is getting worse. So you need to get ready for the possibility that she will not be able to stay at home with all of you.
She needs to have her own space so she is not confused.This requires a bigger space in the house with her own living space/room and etc. The husband may have to stay away later on as he may not be able to cope.
Not to scare you but this is the potential issue. That is why now you have begun to be disturbed by your Mom who is in a state of confusion.
Sleepless.. you pen name says it all! Amazingly, exhaustion is the number one reason that that residents are placed in a facility. The family is just too exhausted to effectively give the necessary care. Then that "ah ha" moment arrives when you know. Somebody told me way back when Mom needed placement that Mom was ready.... it was all just waiting until I was ready. No, you can not keep going 24/7/265 and be fair to your Mom or yourself. And the toll it is taking on your Dad as well. No, you can't continue like this.
As for the incident last night... please do not blame yourself. As careful as you are there is no way you can prethink everything that might or could happen. They will rummage through drawers and investigate corners. You might have put up the knife. Mom would not intentionally hurt anybody but delusions and paranoia can cause unforeseen actions. The way she was holding the knife would definitely have hurt her but don't negate any possibility. There is just no way we can safety proof our houses to the point that it is safe for the demented mind. It takes constant vigilance and NOBODY can do that alone. You do have to sleep. It is not optional. And if you don't sleep you are destroying your own health. What happens when you are down and can't take care of Mom? As I have said before, sometimes it take a wake up crisis to let us know just how bad it truly is.
When you talk to the doctor ask him if he can prescribe in home care for 8 hours a day. A night care giver to watch Mom so you can get some sleep. It can be acquired under Home Health and Medicare should pay. It's not a long term solution but might give you the respite you need to get some sleep between now and placement. Yes, do ask for medication for Mom to sleep and to help with her recent sad behaviors. I am still a fan of Melatonin. It has worked well for Mom.
How much more needs to be done on the Medicaid application? Is it possible to place Mom now and then let the Medicaid work itself out? Many facilities will take residents and then help with the application... especially if they go through the hospital. Hospital admission is an option. Because of her behavioral changes you can have her admitted and then insist on placement. Sometimes that is the easy way. It's worth thought and discussion with her doctor. Just let him know that you are at the end of your rope and just can't continue.
Know I keep you all in my thoughts and prayers constantly. Care giving is not for the faint of heart. You have do so much for Mom and I pray for you an alternative that gives you some relief!
Talking about keeping the sharp objects away: we did remove all the long decorative swords and the fireplace poker while my FIL was home. At times he could explode so we prevent him from being hurt or hurting the others by putting away the "weapons". But we kept the knives in the drawers in the kitchen as there was one-on-one caregiver in the house.
He never really endangered us like that. Once he did threaten to hit his caregiver by putting his cane on her shoulder. Scary! We didn't put him in a home yet as the house could still contain him. Just no one should argue against him, that is all. 2 or 3 years later, we moved him to the NH because he was sick with other physical conditions. We had no small kids in his house at all.
In your case, I really think it is best to put your Mom in a home. You have a small kid and you need to worry about her safety and how you can have time to be with your own kid. You won't have time for your Mom. Please get help ASAP.
I actually have 3 children. 11, 7, and 4. And yes, caring for my mother does take away from my children even though I've tried to find the best balance I can. I am waiting to hear back from Mom's case worker to find out what I need to pull together to get her medicaid straightened out and she's been on a few waiting lists for some time now. I am just keeping my fingers crossed that something will come through. I love my mother, that goes without saying, but I can not keep this up and can not endanger my children. I know this disease has it ups and downs, but this is a definite down and it's scared me.
Sleepless... it has nothing to do with how much you love your Mom. We all know you love her intensely. You have proven that. It is about what is best for Mom, and your children, and you. There is nothing written that says we have to be the primary care giver in order to do the best for Mom... we just have to be sure she is well cared for... period. Placement is not done because we love less... it is done because we love them enough to give them all they need... even if we can't do it ourselves
Stay on that case worker and tell her it's urgent!