I've wrote in before about my Mom. Back again! There is so much help here and good info. I called my Moms doc yesterday, to see if my Mom could start on an antidepressant we've talked about it before. The Doctor said yes she will be put on Lexapro. Mom has been weepy, mad and mean to one of my sisters.My Mom was never mean. My sister moved in with my Mom because my sister left her husband and we knew my Mom was going to need someone sooner or later. Mom was mean to my sister before she move in. Now that my sister is there my sister says my mom is a lot worst then we thought. I knew she was getting worst but I'm sure it's a lot different to live with her. I feel so bad for my sister, she leaves her husband thinking she's be so much happier only to have my Mom on her about everything 24/7.
I take my Mom out and try to go there also. My Mom is still driving. She does fine driving but I know that could change real fast. Mom did get lost going somewhere she's been to 100 times. I keep telling my Family that we need to take her car away. It's like they are all waiting for me to do it. I'm always the one who has to be the boss with everything and I'm sick to death of it. My brothers will say "we need to do this, we need to do that" I say ok who's going to call about this or that? Then I end up doing it. They don't even bring things up. Like driving, What the hell are they thinking? My sister's do help a lot. Now the sister living with her has to help with a lot more then anyone and has to put up with Mom being mean, moving out of her house, working full time and then some and a sick daughter. It's just a mess. This is so hard. We still have not told Mom about the Alzheimer's but I'm sure she knows. I just can't tell her, I feel so bad for her. So, how do you take her car away? When I'm not using the word Alzheimer's? Thanks Liz
It's a rough situation. In any multiple sibling situation, invariably there will be ones who end up taking on the lion's share of the work. I have no answers because I am not in that situation, but it seems better and more open communication, especially about the situation, expectations, and sharing workload key.
Now we are on the subject of open communication, why haven't you told your mother about her Alz? I am assuming that she has been diagnosed. It seems that your mother needs the dignity to come to terms with her own situation, especially in the earlier stages when she can still think in that way. Perhaps her meanness has to do with her feeling of helplessness, and she doesn't understand why she is not doing so well. All she sees are you kids running around trying to "help" her and limit her freedom, but nobody is telling her why.
Telling Mom she has AD (Alzheimer's Disease) does not really solve the problems. You can try given early stage. But she will either deny it or get upset by it. I agree it may be her right to know at early stage, but don't expect she will co-operate at all after she knows that she has AD.
My FIL was tested and diagnosed with AD in late 2006. You know what he told my husband? He said he would know if he has AD as a former doctor in his home country (he thinks he is a doctor.) That means, he defied the report and said he would know! He denied it and still does not admit it now. He knows there is something wrong with his brain and memory but he never admits that he has this fatal disease AD.
Of course, some people seemed to know and were able to alert the public about their own AD, but not many people are like that. Most people are in denial.
Even if Mom knows she has AD and accepts it, she will forget about it later on. This won't help her caregiving down the road.
So the best thing is to comfort her and set up things that will help taking care of her.
Last edited by Administrator; 05-19-2012 at 07:57 AM.
baseball, you are back with a whole list of question....
Driving is something you have to deal with. Yes, Mom can get in the car, turn it on, and work the mechanics of driving. She's probably been doing that for 40 or 50 years. It's seated in her long term memory. What she can not do is react to situations in the moment. If she wants to turn right she may or may not check for oncoming traffic. She may or may not see that stop light. She probably will not be able to react quickly enough to avoid hitting that child that runs out into the street. Once something out of the usual occurs she will not know what to do. She may hit something and just drive off. The possibilities are endless and can be catastrophic. I understand not wanting to be the heavy so here are two solutions. Talk to her doctor, explain that she has gotten lost on familiar trips and that she should not be driving. Let him be the one that tells her she can no longer drive. In most states he can notify the driver's license bureau and they will recall the license. Then he is the heavy. Or, call the Alzheimer's Association and find your local driving test center that can test for not only physical ability to drive but also cognitive ability to drive. If she passes she can keep driving, but if she fails there goes her license. Then you are not the heavy. But this has to be dealt with ASAP.
Telling Mom of her diagnosis may or may not be a good idea. It depends on the person with the disease and where they are in the disease. I did not discuss the diagnosis with Mom because this disease was her worst nightmare. She was in denial and any mention of her having it would being out the worst because of her impaired ability to deal with emotional overload. She was in the mid stages when she was diagnosed as well and the later in the disease the more unlikely they will comprehend and retain any conversation. You have to ask yourself... How is Mom going to deal with the information, is she going to benefit from having the information, is it going to upset her in the moment and not be remembered, will it give her a reason for her confusion and be a benefit? Only you can answer those questions.
Siblings deal with this disease differently. As Luau said some will jump on board and some will stay on the shore. Some will talk a good game and do nothing while one or two carry the load. Some will do nothing but complain. Other will just stay far far away. Which ever way a sibling falls there is not much you can do about it. It is their choice and the only choice you have is to go forward in what needs to be done. Please don't let their decisions become another negative for you to deal with. You have enough You can share information with them about the disease and Mom but that's all you can do. They will have to find their own way.
As for Mom being mean... yes we do see what this disease does to a person as mean. They lose their social filters and their ability to make good judgement. They react in the moment without consideration of other's feelings. They do become self centered. It is all about them and what they feel in the moment. If they forget, unlike us, there is now shadowy memory to bring forward. Their forgetting is as if it never happened. This is their reality and it is as real to them as our is to us. So if we argue with them we are making it all worse. They have no idea how to express emotions so they attack. Mom may be yelling at you but what she's really saying is that she is scared, confused, and frustrated because she has no idea what is going on in her world. She may strike out at you when she is really saying, I'm hungry or in pain. She may be angry at something that happened on TV and take it out on you You did right to ask for the antidepressant. If her meanness turns to aggression, combativeness, or extreme anxiety you may want to ask for medication to control that as well.
Yes, your sister has bitten off a huge job trying to take care of Mom. I might suggest that you and the other siblings take a day or weekend or week with Mom to give sister a break occasionally. Set up Meals on Wheels so she doesn't have to cook in the middle of the day. If Mom is keeping her up all night a care giver a few nights a week to watch Mom so sister can get some sleep might help. If you need to be the heavy to get things done so the sister will not have to do it then do that for her. Better you that can leave than sister who has to stay there. The focus is on Mom to take care of her but the focus also needs to be on the sister that is with her.
You need a family meeting with everybody present so you can all get on the same page. There needs to be an honest discussion about what is, what needs to be done, and who is capable of doing it. Not just it needs to be done and nothing gets done. It is better if everybody can work together
Thanks for the correction about the wisdom of telling Mom about her condition! Being a newbie, I just assumed that informing is the correct way to go. I guess dementia is something for which many of the same rules no longer applies. Thanks again for the correction. Another thing I am learning from you guys!
Luau, I have found that many of the rules we follow every day have to be tossed. I honestly believe that is one of the hardest things about this disease.
Honesty can be one of those. Because of the inability to process information and react rational it is kinder and better for them to just let them know what they need to know or what is best for them to know. We have always been taught that honesty is the best policy but in this disease... not so We have to look very closely at the patient, how they will react, what they will remember, and how the information is going to benefit or harm them. Conditional honest
I try not to tell someone to do one way or the other because it depends on the patient. My great aunt was told early in the disease. She comprehended and found a way to deal with the impact. She was so cute when she told you, if you want uncle to know that you better write it in this book. She embraced her disease.... but that was her nature. You truly don't see that kind of reaction often. Then there was Mom who knew the disease too well and hated it. When she realized something was amiss she hide all she could from us and her doctor. She became depressed, angry, scared, but in total denial. By the time of her diagnosis there was no way she could handle that information. She was told once and the hysteria was pitiful. Thankfully her loss of short term memory took that memory away. But her anxiety didn't go away until a trip through the Behavioral Med Unit. I know those are two extremes but it is the range or responses you get. So it's better to proceed with caution, knowing your loved one.
Sometimes I wish I didn't know all I know My first contact with this disease was in the 70's with my grandmother who lived with us on weekends and sometimes during the week. In the 80's I was near my great aunt (the one that accepted the disease so readily). I worked in a care facility with dementia patients for years. Then Dad was diagnosed with Vascular Dementia in 1998 and Mom with Alzheimer's in 2006. And in the midst of Mom and Dad my FIL broke his neck and ended up in a halo brace. That was followed by stroke related dementia and then my MIL, though not diagnosed, also had some form of dementia her last few years of life. Sometimes I just ask... who is next
But with that I am off. Mom has a UTI and I am sure she is giving the care staff a fit.
I also like to add that the sibling issue is about teamwork. It is not about judgment. Don't judge if some sibling does not do this or that. Frankly every sibling has different relationship with Mom. So every sibling has her/his own way of dealing with Mom.
Just lay it out about what needs to be done for dementia or AD. Set up a system: who is POA? Who shops for Mom? Who gives Mom medicine? When to take a break and take turns? Usually the POA and the caregiver have to be very co-operative, otherwise it may be better for the POA and caregiver be the same person so there is no conflict or questions about the bills and the caregiving method.
Thank you so much everyone! Mom can't drive right now because her car is not working. I can't tell her she has Alzheimer's because she was an only child and had to take care of her Mom who had it. Mom also had an Aunt with it who passed away before I was born. There was a different Aunt who had it and lived with us when I was in High School. That Aunt ended up getting out of the house around 3 or 4 in the morning, she fall into the river our house was on and drowned. The sister that just moved in with Mom and my brother found our Aunt. So, that is why. My Mom would always say any time she forgot something "oh, I hope I don't have Alzheimer's" It is her worst nightmare.
We all think she would go down hill very fast. Somebody told me not to tell her and at first I thought How can I do that. Now seeing her so sad sometimes I'm okay with not saying anything.
I total understand what one of you said about being honest. Sometimes I think Mom does have a right to know. On the other I can't tell her.
When I said Mom is on my sister 24/7, I guess I mean when my sister is home. My Mom doesn't wake her up at night. (yet)
When I talked to the Doctor about my Mom driving, She said we would have to be the ones who take the car away. So the doctors not going to do it.
All of you bring up very good points. It makes me feel so much better knowing I can have questions answered by people who are in the same boat as I am. Or you have been in my shoes.
My sister is going away for the weekend, I'm very glad about that.
Thanks again everyone. I'll keep in mind some of the things you guys have written, like I can't change how others act. Liz
If Mom's car is broken, leave it that way. If necessary have it towed off and leave it somewhere else just telling her it is being fixed. Please do not bring it back or fix it for her. Just leave it the way it is. She does NOT need to be on the road driving. As for the doctor, shame on him! He has a responsibility to take away the driving privileges of anybody that is mentally or physically unsafe. I wonder if he understand, if Mom should have a fatal accident, that he could be liable because he knows of her mental disabilities and does nothing? Not to mention that knowing of her dementia then family could be liable as well. You can call the Alzheimer's Association for the local driving test facility and have her tested.... Or you can call your state Motor Vehicle Department, inform them that she has dementia and needs her driver's license withdrawn. Whatever you do, please do not give her back her car!!
I so understand what you are saying about your Mom's fear of this disease. It is exactly the reason that I could not tell Mom. Those with an extreme fear of this disease do not do well when told they have it. Please do not feel badly because you can not be honest with her. It is what we are taught to do but it is not what Mom needs. You have to think of her and her emotional well being. Know you are doing what you know is best for your Mom.
My Mom is home alone when my sister's at work. I went there yesterday to do some work for my sister and my Mom. Mom seems okay by herself for a few hours. I have to talk to my sister to see what she meant by Moms much worst then we thought. If my sister thought my Mom shouldn't be alone at all she would make sure someone was with her. Today I'll be taking her to the Doctor and some stores.
I was looking at the stages of Alzheimer's, I think my Mom is about stage 4. I'd have to read them again.
Yes, you do need to find out what sister means by Mom is worse than you think. If she is stage four or above then you may need to start considering full time supervision. A test you can give her to determine her abilities is.... When you are at her house with her, set off the smoke detector, and see what she does. Does she know to get out of the house and call 911? Sounds simple enough and that she should know to leave the house but poor judgement and other cognitive declines will effect what they do. There was actually a real small fire at Mom and Dad's and neither one of them knew to get out of the house or call 911. Even after a neighbor got them out, they went back in. If Mom responds appropriately to the "fire drill" without prompting then she is ok... if not other arrangements need to be made.
My MIL used to be by herself but she started getting delusions and called the police on several occasions. They felt she had been abandoned and threatened to report her to elder services (which should have happened) but the family was able to keep them at bay by hiring full time care. If they didn't, elder care services would have placed her in a home of it would have been taken out of the family's hands. It's always better if you can make the best decisions for your parent's care than someone who will take the finance options away from you. Many times AZ patients are so unpredictable. They may be fine when you're with them, but when you're not.... Like Deb said, you need to find out from your sister more details.
Make sure your Mom is not alone even in the day when sister goes to wrok. Usually if she has neighbors who are at home can observe what is going on. Hopefully she does not forget her keys and etc. Sometimes if she goes to the neighbor, the people will start thinking she should not be alone and may call social service. We had one scare and the neighbor told my husband to come over right away or she would call social service.
The thing is it is hard for family because the elder refuses helps and the neighbors didn't understand dementia. If we go along with the elder's demented situation and don't do anything, other people may think it is our job and that we fail to help the elder alone.
So it is tricky. Make sure you get someone to watch her all the time. One time my FIL's doctor found that my FIL was upset by the guy who came to fix the door. (He refused the repair but it was done anyway.) The doctor suggested 24 hours home care. But he had full-time home care at that time.
Gradually some people may come over and find out what is wrong and tell family that they need to do something.
Don't wait too long.
Thanks again , I can't see getting full time help for my Mom yet. I understand what you guys are all saying but I can't even see telling my Mom that someone's going to be at her house when my sister isn't. I did talk to my sister about what she meant by Mom's much worst. She said with repeating herself and being obsessed with some things, like going to the store, getting food for dinner. Lately when mom needs something she wants it right away. Her car is staying broke for now. My Mom is also being so mean to that one sister, I know I said that already. I also know it may not get better. My sister is having a very hard time with it, as I would also have a hard time. Most of the time I feel so sorry for my Mom. Other times I get so mad at her for being so mean. I don't show Mom I'm so mad. If I'm on the phone I just say I have to go. Just like when she goes on and on about not having her car. I think she's making such a big deal about her car because she knows that the day is coming where she not going to be driving. When I took her to the Doctor she said " How am I going to drive with this thing on my foot" I said "you're not" she started to cry and said "well then I'm not wearing this, I'll take the pain over not driving" She has to wear the foot brace all day I told her this 12 times. She has ask me 3 times now when does she have to wear it and then today I asked her if she had it on she said " No, I don't know when I have to wear it" I don't know why I didn't write it down. I'll have to tomorrow. Thanks again everyone and I will try the fire alarm trick. I told my sister about doing that and she said it's gone off since she been there and Mom has checked on the food. The smoke alarm is in a bad spot. I'll check it when they aren't cooking. Thanks liz
There is a lot of contradictory information in that post baseball. Does Mom not need the additional supervision or do you just not want to tell her that it is necessary? Then you go on to describe a situation where your Mom is not capable of taking care of her needs alone. She need to wear the brace. It is new so you are seeing how she reacts to new situations. It's not the old routine that is the problem but the new and different. The confusion over the brace is a clue that Mom is probably closer to needing 24/7 supervision than you want to believe. The hostility towards your sister is another clue to her inabilities as is your comment that she wants what she wants NOW. OH, and the car should remain broken forever.. not just for now. The smoke alarm went off and Mom checked on the food? Was it burning food? Who was cooking? Was she able to resolve the problem without your sister's help?
I know it is difficult to make major changes, especially when Mom is unable to cooperate but it is so very necessary. You can't just let her run a muck. Just don't wait too late Be realistic about Mom's abilities and do what needs to be done. Know that memory loss is just one part of dementia. Poor judgement, behavioral changes, irrational mood swings, and so much more is a huge part of dementia. If Mom makes it difficult and gets very agitated there is medication that will help.