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Old 05-05-2012, 12:45 PM   #1
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Smile Lots of Questions

Hello,

Every time I visit my mom she says to me "I don't like sitting here looking at the bed". My mom lives in a nursing home. When it is time for me to go home she always wants to come to my house for dinner. It is too hard on me after spending 2 hours with her at the home. Also, she wants to go shopping all the time and the same thing it is confusing for her and frustrating for me to have to deal with the outing. How can I handle these situations? What can I say to her regarding coming to my house for dinner, shopping and "I don't like it here, why am I here? Another question she wants to know is why is she living there? Where did I live before I moved here? She lived in Toronto, Ontario but when I tell here she wants all the details and it gets really confusing because we don't want to tell her everything because first of all she wouldn't remember and it is too complicated to explain what really happened to her. So what do I tell her because she keeps asking a lot of questions. One day I'm worried she'll ask me about what kind of place she lived in and what happened to all her furniture etc. It is like being on pins and needles because you don't know when or what she is going to ask.

Any ideas would be wonderful to help me out!!!!

 
Old 05-05-2012, 01:10 PM   #2
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Re: Lots of Questions

Am sure Deb and the others will chime in soon but the answer is, as always, deflect, deflect. When she wants to come home to dinner with you, you aren't going home to dinner. You're going to Suzie's recital, Mary's baby shower, to put the car in the shop, whatever. When she wants to know why she is there it's because her house needed renovations, the doctor says she has to stay 3 more weeks, whatever. Or if she wants to know where she lived before, a house that they tore down for an interstate highway, whatever. You needn't worry about her asking tomorrow about the renovations, she won't remember you said that. What would you say to an acquaintance you need to brush off? That's what you say to her. Be polite, decline saying you have another committment, someone won't let you because XYZ. And be prepared to say the same thing tomorrow...and tomorrow and tomorrow.

Last edited by Titchou; 05-05-2012 at 02:23 PM.

 
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Old 05-05-2012, 02:09 PM   #3
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Re: Lots of Questions

You mentioned you had a hard time with this last time. It seems your Mom is so strong and still knows what is going on! Yes you just keep saying the things that can distract her. You will say the same thing tomorrow. If she is like what my FIL did, she would forget what you say 4 hours later. If it is important to her, she may forget about it in 3 days. I know it is hard. Just keep giving her excuses. Even white lies. Say you are busy and have no energy to do anything. You are sick with a headache...

I suggest that you and Mom try to do something together in the nursing home. Puzzle or reading or looking at the flowers/listening to the CD....
You can have dinner with her once in a while in the NH.
Sometimes we sit down and eat with my FIL (we pay for the meals.) I don't like it as I would be among the dementia residents... Some residents would come over and comment on the food or give us the desserts they don't want.... Kind of funny but it depends on my mood... Sometimes some resident said we took over the space for the residents!! Next time we see him, we will sit somewhere quiet near the nurse station and etc. However I was able to get to see what is going on in the NH and see what kind of residents and cafe service they have.

Anyway, try to do as much things as possible in the NH so she would get used to it.
Maybe she would forget about asking after a tiring gathering.

Hugs,
Nina

Last edited by ninamarc; 05-05-2012 at 02:27 PM.

 
Old 05-05-2012, 02:29 PM   #4
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Re: Lots of Questions

Nina, my mom is not interested in doing very much at the nursing home and if she does, then she still wants to go to my home or shopping. She thinks it is a waste of time when we could have gone shopping. That is all I hear.

 
Old 05-05-2012, 02:38 PM   #5
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Re: Lots of Questions

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Originally Posted by bearcubs View Post
Nina, my mom is not interested in doing very much at the nursing home and if she does, then she still wants to go to my home or shopping. She thinks it is a waste of time when we could have gone shopping. That is all I hear.
My FIL moved to the NH when he was in late moderate stage so he was still talking and walking. One thing for sure is he wanted to work. He found the excuse in his NH now - he is working there! Somehow he likes the staff there since they all work there!!
I guess if Mom is still unhappy, you may have to cut off your visits if it bothers you. Once a week maybe... If you are not there, does Mom call you and ask for the home outings?
Maybe you can ask the staff what to do. Probably she moved to the NH kind of early and she still wants to be at home. If she is outgoing or likes shopping, she would ask you. My FIL does not do housework and etc. so at this point we only had to use the excuse: work, work, work!!! Kind of funny because nothing is real for work!

Does she have any hobby? Is there any group she can go? Any special group for some activities? It depends on the NH. Maybe you can discuss with the director to come up with some activity for her.

Also you could hire a part-time caregiver to take her shopping.

Nina

Last edited by ninamarc; 05-05-2012 at 02:41 PM.

 
Old 05-05-2012, 03:43 PM   #6
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Re: Lots of Questions

What is it she wants to shop for? Maybe you can deflect it that way. And what does "go shopping" actually mean to her? In other words, is that a euphanism for some other activity. Did she call all errands "shopping?" Perhaps then you could go around the NH and do those things. Think outside the box. What they say they want to do isn;t always the same thing we understand that statement to mean.

 
Old 05-05-2012, 04:24 PM   #7
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Re: Lots of Questions

Bearcubs, yes these outings would be difficult on you and on your Mom. She just remembers that is what she used to do and has no clue how it would be now. She may want to go but it would end up being a fiasco. So you do what you did about the bank, previous shopping trips, wanting to go home, and all those other questions she has ask you over the last months. You validate her feelings. "Mom I know you want to go" or "Mom I know it upset you" or Mom I know how you feel". Then defer it to another time. "but I don't have anything for supper tonight so we will do it another night" or "there are sales coming up this weekend so maybe there" or "would next Wednesday work better". If you have to do this 1000 times then keep doing it. In the mean time try to get her involved in activities in the facility. Do you go see her every day? If so she is probably clinging to you rather than becoming involved. If you don't go see her every day, what does she do no the days you are not there?

Mom did the same type of thing to me when she was in AL. According to her she did nothing but sit in her room and it was up to me to take her out and entertain her. In reality she was a fixture at bingo, never missed the afternoon socials, and loved the dances.... unless I was there So find out from the staff what she does when you are not there. That might be helpful to your emotional well being. At this point, Mom doesn't remember what she did yesterday but she sure is putting you on a guilt trip huh? Just remember that what she says is a product of the past mixed with no remembering of the present, and all thrown in your direction. So please don't feel guilty because you can't please her... there is no way to please one that has limited connection with the present. If you took her out today... she would be saying the same things tomorrow.

Love, deb

 
Old 05-07-2012, 01:34 PM   #8
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Re: Lots of Questions

Nina, I visit my mom twice a week and once on Sunday with my hubby. There is no one else to visit with her so I am not able to cut the visits. As far as hobbies go, she is not really interested in anything, just shopping, shopping, shopping or coming to my house for dinner. She does go to some activities but the rest of the time she is in her room. As far as getting a part time caregiver, she doesn't want someone coming to take her shopping or to do activities etc. She doesn't want someone feeling sorry for her. All she wants is me, me, me!!!

Elaine

 
Old 05-07-2012, 01:37 PM   #9
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Re: Lots of Questions

My mom knows exactly what shopping means. Going to the mall, looking around in the stores and going to "the ladies department". It is too stressful taking her there because she always wants to buy something she doesn't need. She has plenty of clothes and doesn't really "need" anything. If I tell her we are going window shopping she doesn't want to go for that. Then she wants to go to the bank and we're back to that again. Arrrrrrrr!!!!!

Elaine

 
Old 05-07-2012, 01:51 PM   #10
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Re: Lots of Questions

this so sounds so much like my mom when she was in the nursing home. its so hard. we did take her to lunch several times and that helped. my dad and i decided we would take her shopping. she was so happy but of course did not understand. we figured the best place was pay less shoe store. it took us about 4 hours and it was hell, but my mom was sooo happy. she wanted to try on every shoe there. of course that was not possible. we let her try on high heels that she never wore in her life, but she was having so much fun. my dad and i were spent-so tired. it was so worth it. we bought her 2 pairs of gym shoes and she never wore them! that was her last big outing. as hard as it was on us we thank g-d we did it. we were looking for her happiness. hope this helps hugs to you

 
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Old 05-07-2012, 01:55 PM   #11
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Re: Lots of Questions

Gabriel,

Thank you for the suggestions about my mom coming for supper. I will try this tomorrow when I go visit her because we know she will be asking again and again. You are absolutely right about not remembering what she did yesterday. A good example is: Yesterday we visited with her and we saw a craft sitting on her nightstand and we asked her what it was and she said "someone put it there". We told her there was an activity on Friday which was a couple of day before and she said no one told her about it. That she didn't go to any activity so we just let it go and changed the subject. She is really good at making you feel guilty. When you do take her out sometimes she remembers but this doesn't stop her from wanting to go "out" every time you see her. One day I told her we can't go out every time I see her and she said "why not". I think I'll have to tell her I don't have the car excuse again. Another thing she is doing now is asking me "why did I move here, I wouldn't have chosen this place to live". It is very complicated because she got divorced from my stepfather in January 2009 and lived outside of Toronto, Ontario Canada with him then moved to Alberta Canada in May 2009 where I live with my hubby and lived with us for 2 months then bought a condo and lived there for 9 months, then in the hospital for 3 months and then to the nursing home in July 2010 until present. She keeps asking me where did I live before I came here and I am struggling with what to tell her, trying to think of something simple and not too complicated. Do you have any suggestions? Please help me.

Thank you

bearcubs xoxo

 
Old 05-07-2012, 01:59 PM   #12
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Re: Lots of Questions

Debbie,

Hugs for you too. Please see my post about where did my mom live before. Any suggestions would be very helpful!!!

Elaine

 
Old 05-07-2012, 03:31 PM   #13
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Re: Lots of Questions

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Originally Posted by bearcubs View Post

...She keeps asking me where did I live before I came here and I am struggling with what to tell her, trying to think of something simple and not too complicated. Do you have any suggestions? Please help me.
Dear Elaine,

You're right--you have to keep it simple and you have to be consistent. I would say something like "You used to live in Toronto but now you live in Alberta."

When she asks you why she moved here, try "because I live here and I want you nearby. I love you and want to spend time with you."

Then try to change the subject, but be prepared to say it over and over and over again. I know--it's exhausting! Try to think of it as a light switch that goes on in her head and gets stuck in the "on" position. She can't help it; she's going to keep asking until that switch eventually turns itself off.

My Mom sounds very much like yours--all she wants is me, me, me. If she had her way I'd be in the bed next to her and available at all hours (and probably dead within a week ). I understand what it's like to be their only "comfort zone," but try to remember that you're also her best audience--she knows all the right buttons to push and she's going to "perform" for you. I'm not saying she's being intentionally devious; she's just going to work you

We're not allowed to post links here, but try Googling for an article called "Understanding the Dementia Experience" by Jennifer Ghent-Fuller. I found it very helpful when I was trying to understand my Mom's behavior.

Best of luck and hang in there,
Kren

 
Old 05-07-2012, 11:00 PM   #14
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Re: Lots of Questions

Kern gave you some good advice Elaine.

Unlike Debbie, my Mom would ask to go shopping and once we had her out of the facility she was overwhelmed by the experience, would become agitated and then begin to cry. I would turn around and take her back to the facility. Within a short time she was ready to go again. She had old memories of what she thought it would be like but in her cognitively impaired state she was unable to contend with the confusion of the outside world.

I did keep answers short and to the point. Where did she live before... Toronto. Why did she move... to be closer to you. Why is she there... to be closer to you. When can you go shopping... next weekend. Why can't she go home with you... she can next weekend. You don't have to put any extended explanation to any of those questions. Her mind can not comprehend complicated explanations. If you have to give the same answer 1000 times it's ok. Just keep it basic and simple.

Ask the care managers at the facility what Mom does when you are not there. She may be participating more than you think but forgetting what she has been doing. If she is spending a lot of time in her room you can ask the staff to take her to various activities. She may not remember it when she sees you but she might enjoy it while she is at the activity.

As for being attached to you, sure she is. You are her stability in this crazy journey she is on. But you also want her involved in her daily life beyond you. It is good that you are only there three days a week. It is enough to keep your connection but it also gives her time to be involved in the daily life of the facility. Again, don't take her word for what she does when you are not there... ask the staff. You might be pleasantly surprised

Love, deb

 
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Old 05-09-2012, 01:54 PM   #15
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Re: Lots of Questions

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Kern gave you some good advice Elaine.

Unlike Debbie, my Mom would ask to go shopping and once we had her out of the facility she was overwhelmed by the experience, would become agitated and then begin to cry. I would turn around and take her back to the facility. Within a short time she was ready to go again. She had old memories of what she thought it would be like but in her cognitively impaired state she was unable to contend with the confusion of the outside world.

I did keep answers short and to the point. Where did she live before... Toronto. Why did she move... to be closer to you. Why is she there... to be closer to you. When can you go shopping... next weekend. Why can't she go home with you... she can next weekend. You don't have to put any extended explanation to any of those questions. Her mind can not comprehend complicated explanations. If you have to give the same answer 1000 times it's ok. Just keep it basic and simple.

Ask the care managers at the facility what Mom does when you are not there. She may be participating more than you think but forgetting what she has been doing. If she is spending a lot of time in her room you can ask the staff to take her to various activities. She may not remember it when she sees you but she might enjoy it while she is at the activity.

As for being attached to you, sure she is. You are her stability in this crazy journey she is on. But you also want her involved in her daily life beyond you. It is good that you are only there three days a week. It is enough to keep your connection but it also gives her time to be involved in the daily life of the facility. Again, don't take her word for what she does when you are not there... ask the staff. You might be pleasantly surprised

Love, deb
Deb,

Thank you so much for posting with regards to my questions about my mom. You are truly an angel to me. Whenever I post something you always come to my rescue. I don't know you personally but I wish I did. The staff members do ask my mom if she would like to go to the activities. A good example of this is yesterday I went to the facility and she had gone on a day trip to Heritage Park with her fellow companions. Like you said, she'll tell me she doesn't do anything and yet she went on this excursion and I have seen her a few times at a couple of the activities in her building. I was pleasantly surprised yesterday that she was out enjoying herself without me. If I want to save the last 2 paragraphs and have it on my desktop to remind me of what you said, how do I do this? I hope you are having a beautiful day and you are doing well too!!!! Thank you so much again for being there for me. It means more to me than you can imagine. May God Bless you each and every day.



Love Elaine xoxo

 
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