MIL has recently taken a downturn. When her son went to take his turn and spend the day with her, she constantly is putting her shoes and and getting her purse saying this isn't her home. When he said 'Mom, you can't go' she said I'm not your mom. Then later she said that he needed to leave before her husband came home.
Also, despite a healthy appetite and saying she's hungry, she doesn't eat when you get her food. Her ability to get out of bed has decreased and sometimes she doesn't make it to the bathroom. She has diahrhea alot which I would attribute to bad food and medicines. The family which has a caregiver come M-Saturday is now looking for them to get another one to come on Sunday. This probably won't turn out well if she gets argumentative. She is getting too difficult to handle with getting her to the bathroom. I'm not sure about how well she does on Hygiene and bathing. They even have a strap in the bed and I'm not sure what that is for (I was told when she gets too upset they use that). If her coctails were right, I wouldn't see the need for this.
I've been trying to figure out what stage this is. 6e? She seems alot worse pretty quickly. I wonder if she thinks the son that hangs at her house is her husband.
The caregiver said that she would be able to take care of her until she passes and that she's had several AZ patients that she has cared for. If that was the case, why would she have moved all her furniture knowing what chaos that would create?
Anyways, I just wanted to unload the latest info in this crazy disease. I'm just the outsider in this but am trying to stay on top what people have experienced and what input I can provide to the family that won't deal with it.
Is your MIL in a nursing home? I don't remember what they did to your MIL so I need to ask you this.
It makes a difference: if she is in a NH for memory impaired or memory unit, the staff knows how to deal with it when it comes to bathroom or toileting. It is a basic thing for them to do. Where my FIL is, they do a fairly good job to maintain it although once or twice he smells when we visited. My FIL is able to allow them to do the toileting given a low dose of sedative.
I don't think they should strap her like that. The NH where my FIL is sometimes lowers the mattress or bed so the person would not fall too hard. Maybe a low dose of sedative is better than restricting MIL here and there.
For sure she would not know her son and she would want to leave. The son should try to pamper her instead of telling her the truth which does not help since she does not understand.
It would take a few weeks or 3 months for her to get used to this place.
Sounds like it is in the family's house since you mentioned the furniture?
In a NH, the staff makes sure the residents eat together so they will remember to eat. They even feed them by hand later on.
MIL needs to have professional caregivers. If the caregivers are for private home, they would use their own way to deal with it which is not as same as the memory unit. When my FIL was at home before 2010, the home care group did lots of creative stuff to take care of him but it was not well-done eventually because his house was too old. Lots of things broke down.
Actually, not that these private caregivers are not professional (some are new and inexperienced) but the private home is limited at some point that they can only do so much. e.g., no activities and no peers and no cafeteria... The nurse is not in the house. If she stays at a private home, she would be hospitalized many times and she would hate it. My FIL was always being hospitalized at least once a year and he hated hospital. Now in this NH, he can stay where he is given the nursing care.
A private home is an open environment and it is not controlled like memory unit and the patients is bound to be confused.
However certainly DIL like us should not mind the business too much if they feel they can deal with it. If she gets too dirty and the caregiver cannot wash her properly, it may be time for a NH.
MIL is still at home. She's 89 and relatively healthy. She is totally blind in one eye due to glaucoma and has alot of eye pressure. She can't go out in the sun because it is too bright.
I thought at this point that she needed to be in a locked unit since she needs more care and is starting to wander but the family said that they don't want to take away her home and that they'll hire another person to do the Sundays that they were doing. The caregiver of course has said that she can handle it but of course she would say that because she's got a job. I think she obviously can't handle it since she was dumb enough to rearrange her whole bedroom which set her in a spiral. We'll see what happens when they get that extra person. MIL has already chased away caregivers before. She's had this for at least 8 years or more. This is such a long road. Thanks for your input
When you think something is wrong it probably is!! You have pointed out several things that did catch my attention. The "strap" on the bed for one. That is not good. Restraining someone with dementia only creates agitation and the stress involved will make them deteriorate quickly. Stress is NOT a friend of dementia. In solving a night wandering problem in this way you only make everything else worse. We always talk about not arguing with a dementia and not saying no... restraints are a non verbal argument and saying no in a huge way. I would be investigating why it is there and how it is used.
The rearranging of the furniture, like you said, is a huge clue. Routine is necessary for dementia. Simply changing a picture on a wall will throw them off. Rearranging all the furniture may be why she doesn't think she is in her home. Changing a bed spread is bad enough. I remember a night when Dad insisted that Mom was in somebody else bed. He was FURIOUS! She was cheating and he caught her!! Humm... the comforter that belonged on their bed was missing. He didn't recognize the bed at all!! The bed was blue and not white. Later I realized that when he threw off the blue spread onto the floor in anger and the white sheet was exposed... he calmed down and went to bed. The little things DO make a huge difference with them.
How many hours does this lady work? Is she a 6 day live in? Is Mom at home with the one brother at night? Is there somebody there all the time?
Not recognizing people she should know is common as the disease progresses. It may come and go for a while and eventually become an all the time thing. Dad thought sister 3 was my aunt. Mom has talked to me about Deb as if I was not there. She has mistaken staff as her grand daughters but not recognized her grand daughters when they came to visit. We have to remember that our loved ones may be in a different time when they look at us. Mom may not recognize me as a slightly gray older lady but remember me as a toddler that she is putting in time out. Dad may look at my sister (who does look like my aunt) and think he is looking at his sister long ago. If there are changes in the house she may not recognize it as home, or she may be looking for the home of her childhood. You never really know. What you do know is that it is real to her and you just have to go with it.
Wandering is a huge problem. They may have never wandered before but that doesn't mean it won't happen. Dad had degenerative back disease and arthritic knees. He was not a walker.... but he managed to wander off a few times. When they get a thought in their mind and a determination in their step it is amazing what they can do.
If you think something is wrong then get nosy. Be more present and see if you can figure out just what is going on. Dig round of evidence that there is bad food there or things put in odd places. Mark the shampoo bottle levels and see if they get used at all. Count the towels and come back tomorrow. It is better to know than not to guess Vigilance and an open mind to the possibilities will pay off.
Her caregiver is a 6 day live in. The one son seems to be there almost as much as the caregiver but can't be there when he works. He didn't want to be there when the caregiver was there because he's become a recluse. He won't even stay if another sibling comes over. After a while, he felt fine with her and just stayed which is difficult. I think he needs the caregiver just as much. He's the one son that won't let her go into a home but he doesn't have POA but he apparently has the rest of the family not wanting to upset him. Again, it's not about him but what is right for their mother. I can't say that his care has been beneficial. He just takes her to some appts but doesn't even bother to find out what the dr says. He feeds her junk food and perpetuates their unhealthy relationship.
If they are really thinking about getting someone on Sundays, that I've asked them to have the other caregiver there M-F and then have the other one on Sunday. I'd like to get a break from the other caregiver who is too involved. They've even got her helping with bills and I flipped at that!!! Shame on the family for not taking care of business. And why would the caregiver move all the furniture? This week was the first I heard of the strap and have been digging for more answers. If the second caregiver won't work out, the family is hesitant to put her in a unit because of their brother. What family drama.
Deb, I agree and I will be trying to get more info. Thanks for your insight.
We had one live-in young caregiver before for one year for my FIL. It didn't work out too well later. First of all, he wanted to marry this young black immature girl. Second, she is not that experienced and she actually used his house for her own gain. Also, it is not enough to have just one person 24 hours. It is too tiring.
Later we had 2 caregivers per day to take turns, and when he got sicker, we ended up with 4 caregivers taking turns! It is tiring to handle a dementia person and that is why she strapped MIL! What we did is we had caregiver there overnight and slept nearby near the bedroom so she/he could wake up to see my FIL wandering and stop my FIL.
You either have to change the way caregivers are doing the work - get a home care co. for professional work and pay more, or move MIL to a memory unit.
It is not about the son who is loner. It does not matter because he does not understand dementia. Lots of people don't bother to understand. The right thing to do is put MIL in a place where the professionals know how to deal with it.
Last edited by ninamarc; 06-05-2012 at 12:23 PM.
The Following User Says Thank You to ninamarc For This Useful Post: mitsy (06-05-2012)
So the care giver is dependent for salary and a place to live She may be a wonderful lady but no way would I have her paying bills. That is way too much temptation!! Her handling the situation... and handling it right... are two different things. Just be vigilant in keeping up with what is truly going on. I do hoe you find somebody to work the weekends. That would give you another set of eyes in the situation!
As for the son that is there... you are right that it is not about him. He sounds like he could make life difficult for everybody but you can't let the fear of his antics interfere with what is right for Mom. Him not wanting Mom in a care facility is ALL ABOUT HIM! He doesn't want to lose his place to be. The family has to recognize this fact and not let his wishes influence what is needed for Mom.
I made the comment this morning that I could easily deal with Mom and her dementia if there was not all the other drama surrounding it!!!