I have the most gorgeous Mum, sweet and happy. Been through bladder cancer and ovarian cancer -got morphine with that & resulted in/brought on alzheimers. That was 5 years ago and she has got progressively worse. Main problems are bathing & now going to bed. I stay once a week to give Dad a break, so he can sleep. Mum tends to get up, go to the toilet and turn the light off (we leave a battery lamp in there going) but if we wake & notice we will get up & turn on the toilet light otherwise she finds it hard to know where to go. When I am there I sleep on the couch and she often wanders in there & I can get her back to bed. I also am there to shower her in the morning, which she generally loves (cos it is me) as Dad is no longer able to do this, so at least one shower a week and dry shampoo for her hair in between. It is sometimes a struggle to get her to wash her hands but we have 'wet ones'. She is not the cleanest person in the world (far from when she was like us) but she is ok. Worst is I have just lost my job and now looking for a 4 day week so I can shower Mum. Otherwise means I give up half my weekend, which I know I shouldnt worry bout, but it is nice to have a bit of a life. Anyhow, I digresss.....lately, when its bed time (and she has been napping through the day, which is fairly new) she doesnt want to go. Or she will get up to go to bed but, when Dad is trying to get her into her nightie and get her teeth out, she gets so angry. He eventually does ok, though her teeth may remain in - otherwise he almost gets his fingers bitten off. It is funny. but it isnt cos my mum is the most loving, caring person who wouldnt hurt a soul. In fact, if she saw 'herself' she would not be impressed at how someone could be so nasty to someone who loved them. However the 'new' mum (understand it is not her - liken it to an alcoholic) gets annoyed because cannot understand words anymore and doesnt understand why she is made to pull off her nice warm cosy clothes, I guess. Gets upset, finally gets to bed and on the night I am there is in bed with face screwed up and eyes closed. I pop in and tell her how much I love her and how beautiful she is and she 'comes back' and looks at me with love. It is great. Through the day she laughs and looks at Dad with such love and devotion it is almost sickening, lol, like love struck teenagers. He dotes on her and their love is a joy to behold. However, she wants to bite his finger off when it is bed time cos she doesnt understand her teeth having to be cleaned and she is having trouble getting undressed. Any clues on getting her to bed easily (the house is cosy & warm) and getting her teeth out?
The following user gives a hug of support to pammi167:
Rather than sticking your fingers in her mouth to pull out her teeth (that would scare you as well) why not try guiding her hand up to her mouth and encouraging her to take out her own teeth. By using her hand rather than yours she might understand what is being done. Even if you use her fingers rather than hers, she still has her hand there so will come closer to understanding. Do a search on Teepa Snow and look at her hand shake and hand guide method. My best is that she just doesn't understand why you are doing this to her. Yep, you would be upset if something stuck their hand in your mouth and started rattling your teeth. If that doesn't work, try taking them out earlier in the day, perhaps after supper. Night time is the worst time because they are tired and in the midst of sundowning. Anything you can do earlier in the day is for the bestl
Taking off clothes is much the same. We would react violently if somebody came in and tried to take off our clothes for no apparent reason. Work on a piece at a time using the hand guide method. The more she participates the better. Be sure to put a PJ top or gown on when the shirt comes off and then do the bottoms. It's better if she is never completely naked.
As for bedtime, napping during the day may be the problem. If you can keep her engaged during the day, giver her some exercise, and keep her awake, she will be more likely to sleep at night. I use Melatonin with my Mom with great success. She gets is about 15 minutes before she goes to bed and she is much more likely to go to sleep and stay asleep. If she does get up, then take her back to bed. Repeated until she stays. Keeping a light on in the bathroom is a good idea. I use night lights that automatically come on in the dark because they don't have on off switches It is typical for an Alzheimer's patient to confuse nights and day at some point during the illness. Hopefully with exercise and activities during the day... and melatonin at bedtime... she will sleep better.
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Deb - thank you SO much for your reply, I really appreciate it. Dad was able to get Mum's teeth out earlier in the evening last night so one less problem for him, thanks to you!!!! Just something we hadn't thought of, though it makes so much sense
Dad kept Mum awake yesterday but then she started dozing early in the evening, so she is better with a bit of a nap in the afternoon/early evening, then she can enjoy her shows (they watch Andre Rieu most nights - I got about 18 dvd's on ebay for them - music is definitely the go).
Dad takes her for a walk most days to keep her active and, as another activity for her, I have bought her 'paint with water' books. These are brilliant - I used to have them as a kid. Just dip a paintbrush in water and brush it on and colours appear. Some books are already coloured - they aren't the better ones - the ones she loves start grey and then change - you could google them if you think they could be of interest to your Mum. She also loves balloons and we will often spend some time hitting one back & forth. As the illness progresses, we are constantly trying out new things. At least she is still laughing for a lot of the day.
During the last month her talking has decreased, but at least she still hums various songs so I am quite happy to ring and hear her humming to me, with the odd words and a few laughs.
Hope your Mom is as well as can be - will check out Melatonin and mention it to Dad.
Thanks again and take care - this is a great site I have stumbled across!!
Pammi... take the suggestions and make them fit your situation. Each loved one is different. Something that works for my Mom might not work for somebody else. It is just nice to have a board full of brains at work looking for ideas.
Music is amazing. Singing lyrics actually comes from a different part of the brain than speaking. I have witnessed many who have lost their ability to speak, sing lyrics with ease. When there is little connection to the outside world, I have seen feet or fingers tapping to the beat of the music. The secret is finding the right music that triggers the music responses. It is usually the music that they enjoyed earlier in life. You just have to experiment with different types. Sounds like you have found your Mom's special music. Mom's birthday present this week will be a visit from the music therapist!
My Mom is slipping away before my eyes. She lost her ability to speak three years ago (during a time of recurrent UTIs and hysteria) so I do understand your pleasure at hearing her hum, or just say a couple of words.... even a smile. After a trip to the Geriatric Psych unit she reached chemical contentment and we have a good few years of her wandering constantly but happy. The first of June she was hit with another UTI. It literally knocked her off her feet and she has not walked since. The UTI is cleared up but it started the downward spiral we are on now. She is eating less, sleeping more, non ambulatory, and more disconnected. But I still get those occasional smiles that make it all worth while Thank you for asking.
Oh and the paint with water is a brilliant idea. I am going to pick up some of those before I go back to the facility. Even if Mom doesn't enjoy the activity I know a few there that would love it. Thank you thank you!