Wow, Deb, I must say that you are brilliant in your experience.
Alot of nights my mom will from taking her bath, go to her room and close the door to dress for bed, I assume. Then she will come out of there fully dressed either in the same thing she went in there in or a clean set of clothes- which I would prefer. When I inquire, she will either say oh darn it, I thought this is what I was supposed to wear or this is comfortable, I want to sleep in this! Whatever, I just let her.
We live on the corner and her room faces that street. When she first came, I'd catch her changing clothes with the blinds up and big light on! Of course I had to scold her about it. I don't particularly want a letter from HOA regarding a naked lady getting dressed with blinds open! We do have solar screens on the house and they are dark. Without the light on, you cannot see in and blinds up gives enough light. Well she kept doing it, so I disabled the ceiling fan light so it won't come on. The only light she has is a little bedside lamp. I've checked her lately while she is dressing to see if she's still doing it but haven't caught her at it. I am thinking she may have caught on ??
No scolding please... Also, as the person with dementia gets sicker, sundowning is part of the signs. She needs lights. If it is very dark after sunset or even at night before she sleeps, she would be upset about the darkness and get agitated.
You cannot assume she will live independently in her room and do what she "is supposed to do". She needs guidance and help. You need to check with her after her shower. You even have to be inside the bathroom to guide her in her shower.
You see, gradually you will need to help her step by step. Don't be surprised if she doesn't do it right. It is part of dementia.
It would help if you read some books about dementia.
Been there seen all of that. Yep I let Mom and Dad sleep in whatever they wanted to because it was definitely not worth the argument when they had on the wrong clothes. Mom would come out with shorts on in the winter and Dad would throw on a coat to go outside in the summer. Their concept of what is appropriate is just not there. That also explains the dressing with the blinds open. At home there was a stained glass window in the bathroom, and curtains behind the head board facing the front of the house. But those big triple windows in the back were a problem. So I put up a privacy fence on the other side of the patio and planted confederate jasmine on it. It was amazingly beautiful and blocked the view of the window. But wait, when they moved into the facility their double window faced the courtyard and I have seen Mom topless more than once At least there was nobody that would remember it close by except for me!! As you have probably realized, telling her doesn't do much to change behavior. Mom honestly doesn't see what we see. Just because you haven't caught her doesn't mean she is not doing it!! I may be time for you to be a little more present. I would close the blinds before I let Mom change. I would even pick out clothes and lay them on the bed. It was easier for her to pick up what I had laid out than th decide what to put on. Decision making is absolutely a chore and bad judgement prevails. I found it easier to be proactive in making the decisions for them in a sneaky way than trying to change the outcome of bad judgement.
Not sure it is brilliant but I have a LOT more experience than I would like to admit!! Might as well use it to make the journey easier for others....
Nina, I have read a lot about dementia. I have been reading every since I had her put on medicine, which was about 2004 ? My step dad wasn't going to do anything about it, he didn't know what to do so I took over as far as getting her to a Dr. She's been on Aricept the whole time and Namenda too the last 5 yrs or so. Not much else you can give them. The only other thing I even heard about is that Excel patch and it says that can cause strokes. Do you know of anything else?
I pulled out a big puzzle today. A Christmas one with cats. I was trying to get her to pick out he border pieces and put them to the side so we could start on them. I went back 3 or 4 times and she kept mixing them back in with the other pieces. Finally I helped her separate most of them she got a few together....she can work a small puzzle pretty fast but when it's 500 pieces or more, she says OH BOY.....when I pore it out
Surprisingly, she can pick out her own outfits each day although some days she comes out wearing the same thing 2 days in a row. Her winter clothes aren't over here so I don't have that problem (yet). A bunch of times when I'd go to the other house, it would be 90 degree's outside and she'd be wearing a long sleeved shirt and pants, oh and furry house slippers! I'd say Mom, it's hot as fire outside and she'd say that she wasn't cold. One time recently, I went and when I went in, I noticed her hair was all wet and it was very hot in there. She had jacked with the thermstat and had it on 93!! I knew the time was near. I taped up the thermo. so she wouldn't mess with it and of course she did.....
You guys are helping me a whole lot in trying to ease into this. I know it's not going to be easy and she is going to get worse. I appreciate all your advice, tips and stories! Keep 'em coming Thanks!
Aricept and Exelon are basically the same medication. They work in the same way. I have been unable to find any information on Exelon induced strokes and had not heard of that side effect before. I do know the greatest risk factor for stroke is age. There are some a-typical psychotic medications that are used in elderly dementia patients that do have a very slightly increased risk of cardiovascular events. Mom is actually on one of those for her manic anxiety. But when I weighed the benefits against the slight risk... I took the benefit of a smiling Mom... for the last 3.5 years You need to determine the risk potential and measure that against the benefits. But you can't take Exelon and Aricept together so it's not an issue at all.
Spacial reasoning is one of the cognitive abilities that is damaged. This is the mind's ability to visualize and manipulate object.... they take that information and transfer it into real objects. An Engineer visualizes a bridge, draws it, and then builds it. When we pick up a puzzle piece we can see how it fits even if it is upside down. We can associate the colors and shape to turn it in the right direction. As dementia progresses this ability disappears. Mom was the puzzle queen. The more pieces the better. Less than a year after diagnosis she was unable to put together even a moderate puzzle. We would work on it while she moved the pieces around and when it was done declared that she had done it. The few pieces she attempted to place were not where they should be. We put the puzzles away... even the smaller ones. In Mom's locked unit, even the large floor puzzles with only 6 pieces are nothing more than a frustration for most of the residents. Stick with the smaller puzzles if she can still do those because that "Oh, boy!" was more than likely frustration!
As long as everything in her closet is appropriate then she is good to go.... as long as she can get clothes on effectively. Mom has been known to put on two shirts or three pairs of pants before. Oh, and the biggest laugh I ever had was when she put her chemise on Dad instead of his undershirt. Considering she was 5' 100 pounds and he was 6'2 170 pounds... it was hysterical! Neither understood my fits and giggles... even when I had to cut the chemise off of Dad because I couldn't get it back over his head.
I taped thermostats as well and that did NO good. I even put a plastic cage with a lock, screwed into the wall, over the one in the facility room and Dad ripped it off the wall. I finally hung a decorative hat over it. Out of sight, out of mind. That actually worked.
It is good that you are reading all that you can. The more you know the better you will be able to handle what dementia throws along your path. It's a crazy ride for sure
I also read a lot of books on AD since 2004. When my late MIL died, my late FIL immediately needed our help. The first 2 years he was sort of on his own although he was already confused here and there about the bills and laws... It was in late 2006 when he began to need personal help step by step. In 2007 he needed guidance to take a shower and wash hands... He just declined suddenly and needed personal help. I think your Mom may be getting there later on. My late FIL even drove in early 2006 and then he stopped it when the test said he had AD. (This was kind of funny because he chose to test his memory for driving via the behavior center and yet he denied the verdict in the end. He always knew he had something wrong with his brain.)
My late FIL had had aricept/namenda/exelon for 2 years or so in 2007. However, the side effect confusion was too much. Aricept made him stop eating so he only had aricept for 3 months. He asked for exelon himself (as a former MD and PhD who stuided brain, he knew about that kind of stuff.) Frankly as we have discussed in this site, such drugs have not brought anything useful. He continued to be confused and being perceptive is useless. (The drugs would make him perceptive.)
It is the antipsychotic drugs that you need to worry about stroke. My late FIL had these drugs in the severe stage (last year) only.
Yes the temp. is the issue. It was funny. His old house had this old round temp. adjusment dial at the entry of the living room downstairs. It was round and very easy to be touched and moved. That one controls the whole house for heat. Well later on he walked by and held on to it as something to hold on to, and moved the dial to make it hotter!! We didn't realize until I found out that he moved it by walking there. He thought it was something to hold on to (like a deco or part of the wall.) He needed a cane at that time in 2008. He also didn't understand he had A/C upstairs anymore. In 2007, he no longer knew anything about temp. or about what kind of coat he needed to wear. He had no clues how hot or how cold it was outside.
Good luck to you and hope Mom will stay for a long time. Reading books helps the ideas but it does not really help when it comes to the personal application. It is not a case by case instructions.
My mom had one of those dial thermostats at first. She'd turn it all the way one way (down) and she'd be cold. Then go back to it and dial all the way the other way (up) then of course she was hot. After doing this all day, the electric bill was astonomical. So hub and I put in a digital that she doesn't understand I promised me she wouldn't touch. Another yeah, right.
Well the little cat got onto the table lastnight and got to the puzzle even though I had it covered with a blanket and water bottles to hold it down. Decided to just chunk it as he ate and chewed on many pieces. I think Mom is relieved and is putting it in the box as we speak. I'll go to walmart and try and find some smaller ones and do a little bit better at covering. Or slide it off onto an open box tonight before we go to bed.
Taking yalls advice and trying to find her things to do.....she vacuumed her room earlier. I asked and she said she could do it, so I let her.
I think I'll take her to get her nails done.
Talking about driving......my mom quit driving on her own in about 2002. We had to pry the keys out of my grandmothers hands.....after she drove her garbage down to the dumpster, hit the dumspter then came back and pulled under her carport and smooth ran over her big cage full of doves! We knew it was time for her not to drive. My Mom actually bought grandma's car from her and gave to my daughter. My grandma never liked my daughter anymore after that. She would always say thats the lil' girl who took my car. And we would tell her over and over that we paid her for the car!
Telling them something doesn't work when their reality is different from what you are saying They grab hold only partial information and the mind twist it into a reality as only a demented brain can. Paranoia is prominent and blame is forthcoming. When they don't remember that they did something... then somebody else had to have done it. The car is gone, grand daughter has it, she stole it! Makes sense to Mom Money become an arbitrary idea that they don't understand. It will slip through their fingers and they have no idea how... oh yeah somebody stole it. You didn't pay for for that car because I don't have anything you gave me for it... nothing tangible that I can touch and see. I found it so much easier to validate the feelings (Oh that so sad Mom, I know it upsets you), give her hope by assuring her I will do something about it (I will see what I can do TOMORROW), and distract her (How about some ice cream!?). When I let her know that I hear her, understand, and give her hope in the moment it is much better than arguing with her. We all know tomorrow never comes. I did this with Dad for 4 years relative to his van... that flipping van! When he died, I slipped the van keys in his pocket! I would not send him off to the next life without them or we would hear heaven rattle!
You are going well. The Vacuum is a good option. Dad did a great job! Mom would fold everything in sight. Dad fed the Koi, 10 times a day, and I would go behind him and screen out the excess food. I made them both busy boxes. These boxes contained items from their past. Picture were part of these boxes, especially pictures when they were younger and of their families. There were military items and work related items in Dad's box. There were items in Mom's box that related to her work and home life. They spent much time with those boxes which were even evolving as time went on. Figure out what Mom enjoyed before and scale it back to what she can do now. Mom LOVED to cook but quickly forgot how but even to this day she enjoys stirring that bowl. Dad always mowed the grass and also enjoyed supervising me as I did it. Just find simple ways to include her... and create moments of joy is this crazy disease.....
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Well I got more done at the house yesterday (without mom). Brought her Winter clothes over here after I culled out half of them. Alot were my grandmothers, who died in about 2002. Mom was happy to get her clothes even though she didn't remember most of them. Now I'll see if she starts putting some of them on. It's still Summer even though the kids went back to school last week.
I got her tv in her room going also. I figured out the timer and lastnight she was able to watch tv in bed then it cut off automatically. Cool! She vacuumed some more, the computer room this time. She got hot and went and layed down after doing it. I went and said are you ok and she said yes, but was hot, so I turned down the a/c.
I also reinstated the light on the fan in her room. I "made a deal" with her. We'll see if it takes! I said to her you don't want people seeing you undress, do you? Of course, she said no. I explained (again) about how you can see straight in her room with that big light on and she needs to be sure the blind is shut before changing clothes. So I will be checking on her to see if she remembers. She opens that blind for the little cat (notice profile pic!) named Brownie b/c he loves to lay in it and look outside.
My bet is... you will find the light on and the blinds open sooner rather than later It is just the way the demented mind works. It does not multitask like we do. Changing clothes is difficult enough without worrying about what is going on around her. It's not intentional... she just doesn't have that in her thought process at the time. If you explain it to her she might get it or just say yes because she is not sure exactly what you want. Even if she gets it, it goes away most of the time.
Glad she has ways to help out around the house. I am sure that will help her self esteem. She may not remember doing it later but it will leave her with a contentment and peace that will last.
Mom had every piece of clothes she had bought in 40 years.... and with a best friend in the retail clothing business that was way too much. Every time I moved those clothes I cut them in half. At this point Mom has 10 outfits consisting of simple elastic waist cotton pull on pants and matching short sleeve shirts for warm weather and long sleeve for cooler weather. I put away the shirts that are not in season. She has 2 light weight jackets for the colder days, a coat, and 10 night gowns. That way I can wash once a week. It has been this way for about 3 years now. Simple is always better!
I do hope she is still able to dress appropriate to the weather but again... I'm betting on a sweater in the warm weather. Guess I have just been around way too long hehe... I expect demented behavior and act accordingly. Which reminds me.... have to go work on Mom's laundry so I can take it back in the morning.
A very wise woman recently told me "only expect demented behavior from a demented mind" and it rang so true last night!!!
Mom went to get her bath without me telling her and she decided she would wash her hair, which was fine by me.
Later on, I walked past her room and she had the white wet towel that she used draped around the new HD TV that I just brought from the other house. Needless to say, I blew a small gasket :| I just couldn't believe what I was seeing when I noticed it there. OMG.
Tonight we were cooking steaks outside and I let her water my watermellon garden with the hose. She likes watering stuff but drowns my potted plants. Half of the dirt is out on the concrete! Then when she followed me in (I had a plate of grilled shrimp) she fell coming in the glass door. We have it set to slam shut rather quickly so a cat won't slip out. She wasn't hurt and I will watch for that next time she goes out in the back...
Yep, it all sounds about right to me. She needed somewhere to put the towel... and that big black box was right there. I get it! You just walked through the door so why can't she? She concentrates on putting water on the plants and pays no attention to the dirt. You did right by giving her something to water she can't drown or wash out the dirt. Good job of modifying what she enjoys to fit her abilities. If you have the urge to say be careful.... don't let her do it!
Now work on expecting the demented behavior and give up the yelling at her. Even if they have a tendency to not comprehend all that comes their way and forget some of what they do comprehend... there is still what I call the "negative imprint" that can linger. They may not remember what you said, how you said it, when you said it... but they will remember how it made them feel.
You are extremely lucky that your Mom is so sweet and docile. I could only wish for the same Count your blessings and let the other stuff go. Look at the contentment in your Mom's face and know you are blessed. TV's can be replaced but that look is a one of a kind!
Yes, I will count my blessings that my Mom is so sweet and docile. It would be WWII around here each day if not. She is so sweet and docile that she wants to hug everybody. This can get embarrassing....she hugs the manacurist, the eye glass lady, salespeople in stores, the dentist and she hugged the manager of the Mexican restaurant we went to the other afternoon! She'd only seen him once before. I looked back and he was all red :| I just thought OMG.
WOW! My Mom would be the one cursing because something minor and probably imaginary was wrong. Hugs are not an OMG moment but an OHS (Oh how sweet) moment Many times it is not what happens... but what we think about it that makes the different. There are no enough hugs in this world
Rose, you know, when my FIL was still sort of on his own in 2004-2007, he watered his plants. The first 2 years he was doing well. Later the plant on the table died. The other plant that was hanging on the wall, he watered the vine, not the pot! He made it all wet all over thinking the stem/branch needed to be watered a lot. A lot. Not just spray over the branches. He told me the plant will die if he does not do that. He blamed me for not doing that part. (Just water the pot is enough but he wanted to wet the whole vine...) The home care nurse put away the vine in a way that he would not do it again because he was drowning that area and the caregiver needed to dry it a lot.
Later on he no longer cared. So the plants didn't really last because the caregivers didn't have time to water them well. Anyway, your Mom now waters it too much. Same idea. Enjoy it while she can still do some stuff on her own.