I'm so sorry to hear this. If your mom won't go to the doctor, maybe you can call her doctor and ask if she can arrange home health care for a short time. I had my moms doctor send a nurse 1-2X week to check on her, she comes and checks her vitals, discusses concerns and reports back to the doctor. This is covered by medicare if your mom is considered to be "house-bound". Best of luck to you.
J, your Mom is crying out for help. You are aware of her Alzheimer's which alters her ability to use good judgement and make good decisions, yet you are allowing her to determine her medical care? You are aware of her depression and hear her cries. Yet you let your father and sister let it be about what they want and not about what Mom needs? You are here so I am sure you are doubting the path your family is taking... GOOD FOR YOU!
Depression is one of the side effects of Alzheimer's!! A large percentage of Alzheimer's patients are depressed at some point during the early/mid stages of the disease. Antidepressants do help. I was like your Father and sister in the beginning of my Mom's journey through Alzheimer's. Then I learned better. Mom finally went into a manic episode of depression, aggression, and combativeness which landed her in a Geriatric Behavioral Med Unit (Geriatric Psych Unit!). The kind psychiatrist explained to me that pain is pain, physical or emotional. If she had a pain in her stomach I would do something about. If she has emotional pain and I willing to just sit by and watch her pain? There is such a stigma in this country relative to mental illness and it bleeds over into Alzheimer's. Alzheimer's is not a mental illness but a brain disease. Yet the symptoms can be the same and the treatments are the same. In the end my Mom was on medication for bipolar, depression, and seizures. She went from manic to content. I left her on the medication for 4 years, until her death, and she remained content except the days she did not have her medication so I know they worked.
Rose is right, if you can not get Mom to the doctor then ask for in home care. Let the doctor know what is going on. There are now doctor that make house calls... find one. But somehow you do need to get Mom treated for this depression before she acts on her threats.... in the form of aggression towards herself or others. This is not something she is just going to get over.
In order to get Mom to the doctor, please do not discuss with her or ask her if she approves. She may or may not be processing what you are asking her. She may have old fears of doctors. She may understand enough to know that she is sick and fearful of what she will be told. Make the appointment, tell her you are going out, and end up at the doctor's office. Prewarn the office that she is uncooperative but she has to be seen because of depression. Hopefully her doctor is equipped to treat her emotional distress. Or, you may want to make an appointment with a geriatric behavioral management specialist or geriatric psychiatrist.
Some of these steps are difficult but it is a necessity. Your Mom is in emotional pain. It's not about Father or Sister... it's ALL ABOUT MOM and what she NEEDS. I have been there and seen the positive results when good emotional management is provided. It can make the difference of being able to keep Mom at home or placing her. Emotional distress will escalate....
Know I will keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers... and if you have any more question or want to vent further.... please keep posting
Last edited by Administrator; 07-30-2013 at 08:41 PM.
Deb, thanks for all your input. I feel as you do, but my stepfather is in control of her care. (I have health problems and am going to Alzheimer's dr next week for testing myself.) My dad listens to my sister about medication. They feel that there have been problems in our family with prescription and drug use.
I have suffered from depression and know its no joke. I have never found medication that would work for me enough for me to deal with the side effects. But at 85, I think my mother deserves an attempt. But I know my mother will not take the medicine if my father disapproves.
My mother has always done things her way, and is especially like that now. To get her to get dressed is a big chore. She will just say she doesn't feel like going out. Her Alzheimer's dr us hard to get an appt with, so getting my mother dressed on any given days is a toss up. I live an hour and a half away. I am always available to drive down, but getting everyone's cooperation at the same time has been overwhelming for me.
If I could get some information to give my father in regards to antidepressants, it might help.
Last edited by Administrator; 07-30-2013 at 08:42 PM.
I get all you are saying J. Depression is real whether it be in conjunction with dementia or not. Medication is not perfect but sometimes it is the only ammunition we have against the dark days. Yes, your Mom deserves to be content if that is possible but as you say, it is not your choice. It is up to her husband to see that she gets proper treatment.
I will say, if it gets too bad, report Mom's situation to the Adult Care Services in your area. They will have to investigate. Problem is Mom just might be ok while they are there and then melt down after they leave. But it is always an option to get outside involvement.
Mom may have always done things her way but dementia of any kind puts a new level of resistance to what Mom does not understand. Getting dressed is actually a complicated process that starts with getting naked. If you didn't know why those people were taking off your clothes, would you cooperate? There are tricks to doing this that will make it easier because being forceful only meets with more resistance. Telling her to get dressed is useless because she has no clue where to start or what to put on. Yes, she will tell you anything not to have to tackle what to her is a complicated request that she does not understand. It is just easier for her to say NO!
Do a web search on "Alzheimer's Depression" and there is lots of information to be read. You can also call the Alzheimer's Association hot line. They have information they can send you. If you are listed on Mom's HIPPA at her Alzheimer's Doctor, you can call and talk to them as well to give them a heads up on the problems.
Keep trying to talk to Sister and Stepfather. Educate them to what you already know Maybe they will change their mind... especially as Mom's anxiety escalates.