My mom has moderate Dementia and could no longer stay in her home along so my husband and I are in the process of getting her stuff here to our house. She has been here approx. 2 months.
It is quite of an adjustment. Her and my husband share a bathroom. They both have a drawer with their names labeled on them. She rumages thru his stuff, uses his towel etc. We've tried to hide anything which she could get ahold of that would hurt her.
I thought bringing her over here would help her by her not being alone all the time but she seems to be getting worse just in the time she's been here.
I know there's no instant answers. I am just looking for an outlet where I can vent and share about the Dementia Drama.
Thanks for any input!
The following 2 users give hugs of support to: 2rose17 alexa1 (08-30-2012), ninamarc (08-15-2012)
Usually the person with dementia needs her own space. Since she is confused, the labels won't work. A confused person simply does not understand the boundary. So your husband's stuff needs to be shared with you, not Mom. There is the space issue if everyone lives together. But Mom needs a personal caregiver. If she doesn't, she needs to have her own space so she is not confused by other stuff.
Sorry I am not sure why you don't share with your husband's stuff in the bathroom. For sure, it is bad idea to share for Mom. Usually in a NH when they share the room, it is the caregivers who know what to do in the bathroom - the caregiver needs to help the residents to know what is their stuff to use.
Give her sometime to adjust as well. Maybe another month. The thing is, please don't confuse her with your husband's stuff.
She will one day have trouble knowing her own family members.
2rose, welcome to the world of dementia The fact that she seems worse at your house than hers has an easy answer. In her place she was familiar with where things were in her long term memory. That was what she depended on to do that things she could do. At your place it is all new, strange, and different. Her short term memory loss prevents her from "remembering" where things are and what she should be doing. You can tell her until you are blue in the face and she will probably not remember. That is the nature of the disease. She has also lost the idea of ownership. It's a towel and she needs one so she uses it. There is a drawer of interesting shiny things so she investigates it. She is not intentionally being invasive... she just doesn't comprehend or remember that items have ownership.
No there are no easy answers and you always have to be flexible and aware of changes. This is a great place for venting and sharing. Hope to hear from you often and know you are always welcome here
It is great that you have Mom with you so you guys can help her. Do remember that dementia is still here to stay. She will be confused. It is not you. Do try to put away your own stuff so she would not touch the stuff. Accept that her disease is about confusion and no boundary. Later on she may wonder who your husband is. It is the way her brain works now. It is a bit like a young child with the body and knowledge as an adult. Maybe you can exchange with hubby and share your stuff with Mom instead.
It is not because of the move. It is the disease. So you would need to figure out her need and confusion and then deal with it.
sorry you are going through this. this is a wonderful place to vent. is a nursing home in consideration? this disease only gets worse. we had to put my mom in a locked down facility in the nursing home. it was so hard and we knew we did not have a choice. keep venting hugs to you
Thank you guys for all your helpful hints. I am new to this, dealing with my mom on a daily basis and your comments surely will help.
I am getting blue in the face, repeating, over and over the same thing, thinking she will learn who's towel is who's and where the Costo step stool goes back to after she does her Sit and Be Fit exercises. What I get from the comments is she won't learn and I must be flexible. A tall order. HA But somehow, I have to learn patience and understand the disease. Hopefully through this site, I can do that.
At this point, a nursing home isn't needed. When we bought this house in 2008, we bought it with her in mind to be in one of the bedrooms eventually. With my step dad dying, it's just come sooner than we expected. She does have Long Term Care Insurance and on down the road when it's absolutely necessary, I will use that.
Sharlynn, you will figure out what she is capable of doiong and what you just have to look past. She repeats herself because she doesn't remember what you just told her. Yes it can be annoying. There was a time when I didn't want to answer that same question for the 200th time. In perspective, now I wish my Mom would just say anything I could understand. I got a little tickled a few days ago. I was out with a friend and his mother who has Alzheimer's. She ask "Now, where are we?" about 50 times during lunch. I could insert the answer to the question in the middle of a statement and not break the conversation. I have become so accustom to answering these repetitious statements that it doesn't phase me now. It's such a small thing to do for someone that has NO idea where they are. When you realize they are asking the question because they need to understand where they are and what is going on... not to annoy... it makes it a bit easier.
She is not going to "learn". Beyond that it is very difficult for her to follow instructions. When you say "Put up the stool!" she first has to figure out what the stool is. Then she has to decide what you want her to do with it. Then she has to decide where you want it to go. Afterwards she has to figure out how to get it there. On and on this cognitive process goes. We see it as a simple request but to them it is a monumental thought process that they are not capable of accomplishing. Before they get through the thought process they have forgotten the request and wonder why they are walking across the kitchen. I have found it helpful to try to put myself in Mom's mind set. What if I didn't understand what people were asking of me, didn't know where I was, didn't have a clue how I got there, and didn't know what to do next... how would I feel?
Keeping Mom at home is a challenge but not impossible. I would encourage you to get back up help. Find somebody that can stay with her one day a week, a few evenings, or a weekend now and then. You might want to check in adult day care a few days a week. This will keep her engaged with others and give you time to do something besides be with her. Just don't try to do it all, all the time, by yourself. Everybody needs a break once in a while When the time comes don't hesitate to use that LTD insurance. Kudos to your Mom for making that available. You will know when the time is right for you
Until then hang with us. We are all on this path together!
I believe long-term care insurance also covers IN-HOME care; definitely take advantage of that, if you can, to prevent burnout on your part. You will learn, in time, that most of the annoying behaviors are the result of disease and not intentional; it's just a matter of remember that ourselves! Care at home is no longer the cultural norm, sadly (IMO), but it's certainly doable and not the impossibility some would have us think. Hang in there!
Thank you, Nina, Deb, Gabriel and all4mom for your experience, strength and hope. I was hoping to meet some people who'd been there, and done that. Deb, I am so sorry your mom no longer speaks. My grandmother was that way after her stroke. I will try and remember that, the next time I start to yell at my mom.
And yes, all4mom, I knew her having LTC insurance would help emensely at some point and have made sure it gets paid for every year.
Nina, the reason my husband and mom are having difficulty over the bathroom is that they share one. My husband and I sleep in separate rooms due to his working nights. He has put his things away but she continues to rummage through both drawers. When she first came, if she saw a vitamin bowl with pills (vitamins & other) she'd take them, no matter who's they were. We had to put up all the medicines, vitamins etc. and we don't leave our bowls out anymore. I give her her pills/vitamins am and pm in her bowl. The reason I got her over here in the first place was I was afraid she was going to OD by taking her pills so often b/c she forgot if she took them or when. The AM/PM pill box became useless.
And Gabriel, I disagree that she can't learn at this point. She's never had a frig with a water dispenser on the outside door b4 and since being here, she's "learned" how to get water from it. It wasn't ez, but she's got it
It is good that you can hide the vitamin bowl. Yes you are right in a way. Mom can be "trained" for routine. Only routine. If it is something that keeps changing, she would not be able to keep up. Also later on when she gets sicker, she will forget about it. For now, I am glad she can do some stuff that you told her to do. e.g., in moderate stage, we can train the elders to go to the bathroom and etc., but in severe stage, they cannot. It depends on some elders. In the moderate stage, some may say they don't like to wet the pants and go to the bathroom. If you can help her to go with the routine now, it will help you a lot. However sometimes you cannot train them, e.g., they will never know which sweater is hers or his... It is just easier to share the stuff with the same sex.
The elders will need help for daily life such as washing, dressing and etc. Not just taking pills. Some stuff is best done by the caregivers. You can also guide her to do things. Don't expect her to be independent. That kind of learning is not like the normal learning in our regular life.
"Learning" is a function of memory. Yes, in the early mid stages, with repetition, you can condition her to use a new technology. But that "new learning" is not going to remain for long since the new memories go first. She will forget the new water in the door technology and eventually forget how to turn on the water faucet. She will not know where the glasses are. It is stage dependent. With time, she will forget more than you can teach her through routine.
Know that yelling at Mom is only going to make life more difficult for you both because it confuses her more. It does nothing to make the situation better. I know it is difficult to understand that she can not remember, can not think through a problem, and can not empathize or know personal boundaries. It is a matter of setting her up for success in her world rather than expecting her to function cognitively in our world. Putting up the medications is a good thing. Expecting demented behavior from those with dementia will make life better for both of you
ahh.... If you will put baby latches on your husband's drawer in the bathroom your Mom probably will not be able to open the drawers but your husband will That might solve the problem of your Mom going through his things.
The Following User Says Thank You to Gabriel For This Useful Post: 2rose17 (08-24-2012)
Thanks about the baby latches. But he's pretty stripped the drawer of anything that might hurt her. Now if he could get her to not pull the door too after she's used the bathroom in the middle of the night. He gets up a lot to pee at night and runs into it -BANG!!!
Another thing she does is she won't put that days worn clothes in the dirty basket. She hangs them back up then I have to sniff each thing (Eeeewwwww, getting so sick of this) to see if it's dirty or clean. I was having trouble about her body odor when she first came here. Of course she didn't always remember to put on deodorant. WELL I bought her some Michum roll on. That stuff works for days YAY
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.