You figure out ways around the problems. I rarely depended on Mom or Dad to put the dirty clothes anywhere other than in the closet. I just remembered what they wore and would snitch them back out of the closet, putting them in the laundry myself. I also snitched them out of the bathroom after they changed. As for the bathroom door... if there is a way to prevent her from closing the door it might help. A wedge in the open door hinges might work well. Many times when they try to close a door and it won't close they will just leave it open. I was also ever present when Mom and Dad were attending to their daily routine. Many times I had to help Dad put his razor back together and plug it in but once it was working he could shave. I would remind Mom of her deodorant or make a game of what needed to be done. Yep, I also used the Michum and it's wonderful for lasting a long time
Dad's bath time was always a trick. He would get up in the morning and go to the bathroom. Once he pulled down his short to sit on the toilet I would talk him out of them. Once they were gone the T-shirt was next. Love it when there was a slight stain I could show him. Once undressed the water magically came on. Hummm no clothes, water running, guess he might as well get in the shower It worked every time. If he got up before I got in there and put on the clothes.... no way was a shower going to happen!! You find little ways to make it happen without argument.
I do admire you bringing your Mom into your house to care for her and you are doing good things... Keep going
I had to get out of here today. I went to the house that I am in the process of moving Mom out of. When I take her with me, she helps pack but is just putting stuff in boxes and very little of the stuff is going to make it here- I just don't have room. It's all old crap. I get more done when she isn't with me over there. I did put one box together of some of her things and brought. She is in the living room right now looking at her Elvis book
Earlier (7pm) we were watching Animal Planet "Cat From Hell" and all of a sudden she jumps up and was starting to close all the blinds. I have those wide, wooden, white blinds all through the house. I have told her over and over (I know, I'm wasting my time) that when I want the blinds closed, I will do it. I am claustraphobic and don't like feeling closed up especially when it is still sunny outside. I am sorry to say that I yelled at her that I wasn't ready for the blinds to be shut and I would do it! Deb, I know you say this confuses them but she wasn't at all confused. She knew she'd better sit her butt back down and leave the freakin' blinds be! And she tried to play it off saying she was just looking outside but I know better. Does anybody have this problem? To me it's like rolling up the sidewalks at 6pm in a one horse town :\
You can only expect demented behavior from one that is demented. She has no idea what you think is important or what you want to keep. She only knows what her mind is telling her in the moment. These are her things and I am sure each holds a long term memory in her head. If she is putting things in a box and not taking them out then she's doing well. I did not take Mom back to her house to clear out her stuff. She was incapable of grasping the reality of what was going on. When we moved her out, she moved around ineffectively picking exactly what she didn't need for the move. She latched on to things that were unimportant and was ready to throw out family treasures. That is just the way the demented brain works.
When you yelled at your Mom about the blinds of course she responded by stopping what she was doing.... and then came up with some explanation. I don't think she truly understood that you had told her in the past not to close the blinds. She was responding to somebody yelling at her in the moment. She will probably do it again tomorrow night. If you yell at her again you will probably get the same response from her. There is a difference between knowing when somebody is upset and knowing WHY somebody is upset. The ability to determine emotions and respond is located in the basal brain stem which is the last affected by dementia. Mom, who can not speak, walk, understand instruction, or eat by herself still knows when I am angry. I can see it on her face. It's a fear response. Your Mom still has the ability to come up with explanation.... my Mom just cries! I don't even have to be angry with her. I have to be careful when I get into a heated discussion with somebody else in her presence! You got what you wanted which was her leaving the blinds alone... but her mind is left with confusion. She probably sat down meekly after giving an explanation. If so you are lucky because many will respond with anger. The docile or anger response is based on their nature, their level of angst, and their mood in the moment.
Yes, I had that same problem with my Dad. He would close the windows, shut the blinds, lock the doors, and make sure the house was secure for the night... OVER and OVER and OVER!!! This could start as early as 6 pm... and continued until he was finally asleep. Sundowning is the condition of heightened confusion at the end of the day. Research has not found an explanation as to why this happens but it does happen. This is a time of heightened anxiety as well because of the extra confusion. Closing up the house gives a sense of security. I just allowed Dad to do what he needed to do in order to find a sense of security. Of all the battles I have had with Mom and Dad over the last 15 years (Dad's Vascular Dementia from 1998 to 2010 and Mom's Alzheimer's from 2004 to present)... this was not one I wanted to wage
What you need most is somebody that will give you a break from Mom. Please consider an in home care giver or sending Mom to an adult day care for a few days a week. This will give you time to for yourself and give you time away from Mom to recover. This is not an easy job and it will only get worse.... so please get some help
Yes, Deb, she sat down meekly & resumed watching tv. She is not a violent person so that would be very out of character for her to lash back at me. I am the high strung one, more like my dad. Who died at 49 of Alcohol disease. I didn't have to deal with any of this with him, thank God. I don't see how in the world you do it. You must have nerves of steel (or a lifetime prescription for Valium)
I know that it is only going to get worse. I looked around on the net for adult daycare lastnight. The only ones I could find were some in the less attractive sides of town. I will keep searching.
My Mom was and is a spitfire. Before Alzheimer's she knew where to channel her determination and fire. Now she usually channels it in my direction. Today I had to laugh. While sitting in her wheel chair she managed to get her feet high enough to prop them on the edge of the table. She always sat that way. Of course the staff was having a fit because of her feet on the table. I was laughing and trying to get a picture for my sisters and nieces. I finally pulled her feet back down the the foot rest and moved her back from the table. She threw a profanity at me and then called me the B word. I couldn't help it... I cracked up!! No, I don't have a prescription for Valium or nerves of steel. What I do have is a well developed sense of humor and I have learned to take things in stride. The world is not going to blow up if Mom puts her feet on the table. 100 years from now nobody will even remember it! I have not always been this way. It took years of practice while learning all I could about this disease and the way they think... but it has served me well. It's all about the mind set. I am a true believe in... it is not what happens but how you react that makes all the different in your mental status
I am glad you are looking for adult day care. Call your local Alzheimer's Association or the national hot line and they will be able to help you locate one if there is one available. Hopefully you will find one that will work for your Mom and give you some time.
You are doing a great job and do not let anyone say anything different... The care of your mom is going to be a long road with many ups and downs, pick your battles, if it really does not matter then do not worry about it, my sister had on two different socks, her hub was saying something to her and I just told him who cares about socks in the big scheme of things...pick your battles very carefully and swept the rest under the rug. Never argue with mom as in her mind she is right no matter what, if she say the sky is pink the by all means congratulate her in seeing the beauty of that color in the sky, this is all about learning to bend and take the path of least resistance, if your hub bangs into the bathroom door then he should learn to watch out for it, make sure mom has a small assortment of cloths or she will put the same ones one over and over as the selection for her will be to stressful and so she will put the same things on all the time..my mom loved sweat pants and tops, easy to wear and easy to dress themselves, you may find that mom will start to have trouble with buttons, no problem go to the nearest thrift store and pick up those wonderfully sweat shirts that have flowered designs and such, your local thrift store cand be a great friend, when things get soiled and stained through them out, if they were bought at the thrift store them it is only a few dollars, like I said don,t sweat the small stuff, keep all your energy for the big battles that my come your way..As for the nightly closing of the blinds, this is probably something she did at home and will continue doing, I would encourage momto do it and ask if she would leave one open so you can see out side, mom needs to feel like she is helping in some small way, sweeping the floor or folding cloths, anything to make her feel useful, please do not yell at mom, she really is trying her best, before you get fired up next time come here and yell with us, we can take it, we understand that you need to vent so anything goes here..
Thank you so much for being a loving daughter and taking care of your mom, remember to laugh it will make things a lot easier, laughter is good for the soul...
Deb I am glad I met you. You most definatly can teach me how to deal with this bs.
Although we had a good Sunday evening lastnight with Mom. Took her to get a good bacon cheeseburger at Becks and then stopped and got a quart of Butter Pecan ice cream from Baskin Robbins. SHE DIDN'T BLOW HER NOSE AT THE TABLE!!! She has bad sinus' and is constantly wiping her nose. I give her something for it every morning. I think being away from all the Oak tree's at the other place is helping We live in a fairly new neighborhood and the tree situation consists of 2 small Live Oaks in each yard.
Just replaced Moms glasses recently. They were so scratched up! But I figured out why- she was wiping them with paper towels, her shirt or the shotty kleenex she always has in her hand! Well put all the paper towels/kleenex away and if she wants to blow her nose, she must use toilet paper and I try to get her to throw the piece away once using it. So far, I've not caught her using anything but the special rags for glasses. Her glasses were $600 due to having to be Verilux lens, if you know about them.
I am not sure we ever went out to eat that Dad didn't blow his nose at least twice. He was old school with the handkerchief in his pocket... YUCK! I had to remember that those with dementia are in the moment and set in their older ways. If the nose runs then it has to be handled NOW... and with that yucky handkerchief that was later stored in his pocket! They lose the social graces and ability to empathize with others (a result of the damage done to the brain by this disease). It could have been an annoying habit but... after Dad died every one of the grandchildren wanted one of HIS handkerchiefs. It was just a part of who he was. With Mom it was allergy related and yep allergy medication did help her. We just let Dad be
Appliances are a whole different story. Glasses, hearing aids, dentures, canes, walkers, and the like can make you crazy if you let them. If Mom is keeping up with her glasses then you are on the plus side. I spent many hours looking for Dad's glasses. Once I even tried to get a second pair but optometrist do not like to make glasses from old prescriptions. Getting Dad to the eye doctor and him cooperating with an exam was bordering on impossible. It took some more looking but the glasses were found and fixed, scratches and all. Mom actually had surgery around to correct her vision and she was always looking for her non existent glasses. Drug store readers at the lowest value worked for her. As for taking care of their glasses... they couldn't take care of themselves so how could I expect them to take care of their glasses?
Hearing aids were my biggest problem. They had three between them. Dad had his long before dementia and didn't want to start his day without both of his. Mom got her's later and didn't want anything to do with it. I frequently found Mom and Dad with the wrong hearing aids in their ear. Dad said Mom's worked better!! They never remembered to change the batteries so they were more akin to ear plugs then hearing aids. Dad's oldest one had to be replaced because he would put it in his mouth when it didn't work and suck on it! You can buy several pair of glasses for a new hearing aid. Then Mom started taking hers out and stepping on them. As long as you have all the pieces and that little wire is in tact they can be repaired.... times four! I finally found a great audiologist that would come to the facility. I was successful in keeping at least one hearing aid working for Dad at all times (even if it meant him wearing Mom's for a while). I gave up on Mom and let her be as she wanted to be... without! Her auditory processing left early so she was not properly processing what she was hearing anyway. It was almost easier when she didn't hear all those sounds that she didn't understand and confused her. Mom's hearing aid has been in the med cart in it's nice soft case for the last 3 years Hearing aids run around $2,000 and a refurb repair is $250. So with that initial investment of $6,000 there was a follow up cost of $3,000 for broken hearing aids! But there is little you can do to make it different....
You just do the best you can with what they give you to work with. Getting angry and upset doesn't help anything. In so many ways it only makes the situation worse because Mom and Dad don't understand. Somewhere along the way I realized that all that other stuff is truly not important. It is about Mom and Dad, their contentment, and finding a balance that allowed me to enjoy the time I had left with them. I threw out a lot of preconceived notions about how things should be and learned to live in the moment while going with the flow they created.
If I've heard it once, I've heard it a million times "pick you battles with your Mom". And such a true statement it is. When I got her over here, I thought I'd let her see how things run over here and that'd be that. Yeah, right. I bite my tongue, look the other way and flat just don't say anything about so much, it is crazy. I am a very blunt person, also a very clean housekeeper. I still haven't been able to keep quiet when I see my Mom standing on the kitchen floor, eating a granola and the crumbs are just bouncing off my newly mopped floor. Some things I am not budging on -plain and simple. I am her only surviving child so there is no one else. I will not put her in a place until it is necessary. I wouldn't want that done to me.
My Mom is in there right now folding clothes....she loves to fold clothes!! YAY
Could I ask you how you put the picture on your profile? Looking around but I don't see how to do it ;0)
I am glad your Mom is better and can fold her clothes! Well, she would not know that she needs to be clean and keep it tidy. It is another thing - the person with dementia does not know that she needs to be clean and would not know she needs to clean herself. Lots of elders with dementia end up not washing their hands a lot. In-home caregivers or NH caregivers can only wipe their hands so many times... Just make sure in the end of the day, wash her hands thoroughly. She may not like to take showers as she may be afraid of water temp.
Well it is hard to bite your tongue or keep the temper when the patient gets you mad and tests your patience. Deb's humor is good but sometimes it hurts you... Either way, you just have to keep it quiet without blaming her because she would not understand. Blaming or being loud can make her feel upset. It takes practice, I guess. That is why sometimes some family members cannot deal with it and ask someone else to do it. It depends on your mental health. If you have some issues, she would get to you by saying hurtful things. Also lower your expectation because she is not at the same level. She may not understand you mopped the floor.
Last edited by moderator2; 08-28-2012 at 11:29 AM.
Obviously I do not know how to put an avatar thumbnail picture here!! Since they like the post impersonal I didn't bother.
Many think as you did. I will bring them here, show them how it is, and they will comply. It doesn't happen that way. We think of this disease as "memory loss" and it is so much more than that. This disease causes brain damage that affects every level of cognition. Memory loss is only one of a long list of abilities that is impaired.... and actually the one that for me is the easiest to deal with. It is the personality changes, the lack of social skills, the poor judgement, and inability to process information that is more problematic.
If nothing else this disease will teach you patience. For me it has shown me what is truly important in my life. A clean floor is nice but the contentment and well being of those I love is MUCH more important. I have learned a different way of prioritizing my life. I can be blunt.. as those here know... but I can also successfully throw out a string of fiblets that give Mom and Dad contentment or still my tongue when I know it will only cause confusion. As much as I like to be in control, this is one situation that the only way to be in control is to be out of control. I let them lead and I follow along guiding the best I can. If it is not a matter of health and safety... it's not worth the distress to me or Mom. I would be the one leaving the crumbs to sit down and spend time with Mom. She still loves when the focus in on her
If Mom loves folding... let her fold. I have been known to walk into another room and unfold everything so Mom could do it again!! Find little jobs that will make her feel useful. She may not do them right but if you smile and say thank you, it will make her day. They still want to be a useful contributing member of the house but just don't know how. We all need to be needed and to be respected. Their needs are the same as ours. We just have to be creative to find ways to give them what they need. Find ways around what bugs you.
My mom is an over washer of her hands if nothing else. I guess I am lucky in that way. She has always liked her baths, used bubbles and soaked....I always said when she quit liking taking baths, then we were in trouble! Well before I decided "it was time", I'd go over to take her groceries and do her pillbox. OMG, sometkimes she'd stink like a dead horse, yuk..If we were going somewhere, many times, I'd make her go take a bath first. Well over here I make her take a bath atleast every other night. I was washing her hair in the kitchen sink and putting a few rollers in it then blowing it dry and . Then a few nights after coming out of her bath she would have gotten her hair wet and when I'd ask why she'd say 'I washed it!' and that was only a day or two after I'd fixed her hair. So now I say enough of that and just let her do it herself in the tub.
When my grandmother was alive and I'd drive all the way across town to go see her and she stunk to high heaven. I'd try and get her to let me give her a bath. She'd have no part of it. I don't know if she was scared of water, or getting in/out of the tub or what.
Deb, what in the world are a string of fiblets?? lol I can imagine but you tell me.
I had some towels for Mom to fold and she jumped right in on them first thing. She does towels nearly perfect but those hubs clothes lastnight needed some help. Although we didn't let her know....I will try and find stuff for her to do while that is still an option. I know she needs to feel needed. Thank ya'll for all the advice.
My late FIL used to tell us to wash hands ASAP after we came back to the house. He was a doctor so he was very serious about it. But in 2007 when his Alzheimer's got worse, he asked why he needed to wash his hands and from then on, he no longer knew why he needed to wash.
Deb's Mom can take a shower too. I guess everyone is different. That is good that your Mom likes water.
The string of fiblets are the things you say just to create contentment. They may not have a connection to your reality but they have everything to do with her reality. Somebody stole my ring. We know that she hid it last night but if you say that she is going to flip out a real southern hissy fit on you telling you that YOU are the crazy one because she didn't do that. Instead you assure here that you are going to take care of the problem, find the hooligan that got her ring, and have him return it before he goes to jail. She's validated and happy that you are stepping up. Then you sneak into her room and find the ring. Telling her is wrong will not serve either of you well. Her reality is just as strong as yours is. She will argue you down. I call it joining her on Planet Alzheimer's instead of expecting her to join you here. She can't come home so we have no choice but to join them where they are.
The shower always seems to be a point of contention. I was lucky that Mom never had a shower reluctance but we did have to "help" her into the shower frequently. Once in she was fine. Now in the late stages she still smiles during her showers... but she is a rarity.
FIrst you have the memory issue. She took a shower.... already had one. I her mind her ability to create a time line is diminished. She remembers taking a shower.... it might have been 2 weeks ago... but she did take a shower. So why does she need to take another one. Then there is the shower itself. "Take a shower!" It sounds so simple. But when you break it down it is a daunting task. Getting out of their clothes, finding all the items they need, figure out how to turn on the water, that scary water shooting out of the sky that they might not understand, trying to figure out what bottle of what to use when, not to mention getting rid of all those strange bubbles that keep showing up. Then they have to figure out how to get dry and back to trying to figure out how to get those clothes back on. It is so much easier just to say they had a shower already! Then you have the visual of the white tub bottom that doesn't look like a floor, the water that they don't know how deep it is or where it comes from or goes. Will they go down the drain with the water. Not to mention it is COLD... and they don't like cold. Then the modesty that can be an issue especially if you have to help them. They don't like naked any more than cold. Shall I go on !? When you put yourself in their mind set... it's a scary task. So they just declare that they have done it already and go on with their day
In it all if you can validate her emotions, give her a sense of well being, and help her feel useful..... you have done a good days work