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    Old 12-11-2005, 06:48 AM   #1
    fourt9rkim
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    Dementia?

    Hi, new member here. I'm a 46 year old female, living with my 84 year old mother, and 73 year old father. Dad is fine...sans congestive heart failure, and diabetes. It's my mother that is my concern.

    She is growing increasingly combative verbally, is CONSTANTLY paranoid about one of us stealing from her (ranging from her facial creams - which this has gone on for several years; to stealing her money). She recently started having the notion that she recently came to our home with a 'big tray of money'; money that is actually my money that I pay for rent living here! This started back in early October. At that time, my older brother began moving to Washington State. We are in Central California. My mother also started seeing a cardiologist at that same time in early October. She has been having chest pains frequently for the past year, and has lived on nitroglycerin like it was candy. Yet she refused to physically go in to her doctor.

    Finally, her dr. sent her to the cardiologist in Oct., and he began her on Coreg, Lacex, and Diovan for heart failure. Very shortly after she began taking the pills, she started becoming more and more paranoid, and woke me up one night to come sit with her in the front room to 'wait for the mailman...he's bringing me a package.'

    She now truly believes that she has only been here for 2 or 3 weeks, and that she was living up in Washington State with her mother - who has been deceased since 1984. She thinks she came with the money I've paid her.

    She's becoming increasingly abusive verbally, and extremely distrusting. I will be calling her cardiologist this week to ask if dementia-like symptoms can be a side effect of her medication, or if this could truly be dementia or AD.

    She hides her nitro pills, because she believes that dad is trying to kill her. She looks at me now like I'm some sort of monster. I want my mother back!

    In looking back, I do believe that dementia has been creeping in for awhile now. She would ask me at least ten times in 5 minutes what day it is, and has become increasingly suspicious of us....to the point that I have cancelled at least 3 weeks' worth of vacation time this year, just because I didn't want to be around the house for a week....and I'm seriously thinking of cancelling some of my days over the Christmas/New Years holiday.

    She complains about never getting out of the house, yet declines when we ask her if she wants to go somewhere. Then complains about it more later!

    I'm getting to my own breaking point. Dad is definitely to his breaking point.... how many times can one person be called a ******* in one day and not let it affect them???

    Thanks for letting me rant.....this is taking such an emotional toll on my mental, and physical well-being.

     
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    Old 12-11-2005, 07:07 AM   #2
    janeslk
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    Re: Dementia?

    Your problems with your mother sound remarkably the same as those experienced by a friend of mine with her mother. My friend, who is a nurse, was verbally abused by her mother and accused of taking her money. Her mother called 911, threatening to kill herself with some old guns and the police ended up coming to the house to disarm her. When the mother was moved into a nursing home they were able to sort through all of her medications (she also had heart problems) and she was placed on an anti-depressant. My friend says her mother became more normal and even apologized for her previous behavior, including all the venomous recriminations that were hurled at my friend while she was moving her mother's things out of her house.

    Jane

     
    Old 12-11-2005, 07:14 AM   #3
    fourt9rkim
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    Re: Dementia?

    Thank goodness we don't have any weapons in the house! I just can't believe that this is the same mother who would hug me at any given moment, and was always concerned about my well-being. Now, all I hear is her yelling, and hurling insults at dad most of the time, and me when she feels that I'm taking his side, and not sympathetic to her side.

    I will be calling both her regular doctor, and cardiologist to discuss her recent symptoms to see if it's possibly medication induced. Thanks for the response, Jane.

     
    Old 12-11-2005, 08:30 AM   #4
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    Re: Dementia?

    Hi Jane,

    Welcome! So sorry you have this to deal with! Been there, seen it, cried buckets, and somehow survived.

    That sounds just like my widowed little mother, too. She was 83 when things started to slide and 85 when I moved her into an assisted living facility, and 88 when she died last year. She was at times combative and very child-like (a very grumpy child), especially when she was made to do something she didn't want to do. Mom was angry and sad at leaving her home, but it was for her safety and nutrition. I took away the car, too, for the safety of others. You can read more of her story in earlier posts here.

    Mom benefitted greatly from an antidepressant and a sleeping pill - with AD, I think it's unimportant if any addiction occurs, AD is terminal. I say, if some medication works and doesn't cause other harm, use it!! My mother had a DNR order (do not resustitate) and a living will, so my decisions on her behalf were made with those documents and her preferences in mind.

    Your mother needs to be assessed, some kind of help, and maybe to live in an AD unit. Once my mother forgot her anger, she enjoyed being free of responsibility for cooking, cleaning, and bills. It was as if she could relax after trying so hard to keep her brain functioning right - and losing that battle completely.

    Do not delay in alerting your mother's doctors about her behavior. You and your father cannot continue like this. The frequent berating and worry will take a huge toll on both your father and you. You need a break! Once the doctors have been notified, look into the assisted living facilities and nursing homes in your area that have AD patients. Many offer "respite care" and house the patient for up to a month (some less) just so the caregivers can have a sanity break.

    You can look up each medicine by name and side effects on-line today if you're curious and have the time.

    Make sure all legal ducks are in a row. Your mother's Durable Power of Attorney is probably just in your father's hands, but make sure you're listed too in case something happens to your father. Also make sure you have your father's DPOA in case he becomes debilitated and needs you to make decisions for him. A lawyer must handle DPOAs. An eldercare lawyer could be particularly helpful in making sure all is taken care of.

    Come back whenever you need to!

    Wishing you well - Barbara

     
    Old 12-11-2005, 08:48 AM   #5
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    Re: Dementia?

    Dear Jane,

    I too welcome you to this Board and wish you all the best. I too was a full time caregiver for my Mom who has AD also.

    She is now in a nursing home and everyone is happier. There comes a point where a person needs round the clock care to prevent accidents, wandering off, hurting themselves or others.

    Sadly, accusations and paranoia are only too normal for AD. My brother's MIL used to put her social security checks under various rugs in the house. Then she called up my sister in law to complain that the downstairs tenant had been in her house and stolen her check and cash. It wan't until years later when they moved her out, that lots of money and checks were discovered under the carpeting.

    She also cursed and swore at both her daughter and her son in law. While living with them, she often ordered him out out "her' house. It was a nightmare. Finally she forgot how to use the toilet, her preferred place for defecation was in the garage - whether or not the door was open. That's when a nursing home became necessary for everyone's sanity. Once she was picked up by the police in her nightgown. When asked where she was going, she said I am walking to my son's house in Florida. (from New York City!)

    My brother and SIL took care of her Mom for around 13 years. Then, one year after her death, they took over my Mom's care when I was unable to continue. She's in a NH home now and doing fine.

    In your Mom's case it seems that an Alzheimer Unit of a nursing home would be the best solution - but maybe tests will show that all the symptoms are being caused by some drug or other disease, and therefore treatable. I wish that for all of you!

    Love,

    Martha

    Last edited by Martha H; 12-11-2005 at 08:51 AM. Reason: sp

     
    Old 12-11-2005, 08:53 PM   #6
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    Re: Dementia?

    Hi fort9rKim,

    Welcome to our board. Come her and talk and ask questions and rant and tell your stories. We all do it. Sometimes some of us need more help than the others, and then it changes!!! This is a great place to let it all hang out. But no cursing!!! :>

    I think that you and your father should take turns, taking at least 1 day off from your mom and going somewhere for the day. It would help your minds and bodies, just to get away! But, be sure and do what the other ladies have said. Call both of your moms doctors, on Monday! If they will not talk to you, write them a letter and either mail it or take it to their office. They will read it or their nurse will. I did that and they both got back to me by phone!!!

    Your mom needs either medications for her abusiveness or to be in a living center. But by talking to the doctors, you can get them to check her out and make sure it is alzheimers or dementia. My dad was checked out by a neurologist. They ran a couple of head tests (MRI and ?) but the doctor was mainly able to tell he had alzheimers and parkinsons, just by examining him and talking and watching him. Plus his neuro doc gave him the AD test. Be sure and get your mom to a doctor as soon as you can. It will help her and for sure help your dad and you!

    Take care and try to get away for some short breaks, just for you.

    Love, Wannabe

     
    Old 12-12-2005, 04:42 AM   #7
    fourt9rkim
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    Re: Dementia?

    Thanks, Wannabe...it helps to know there is someplace to go for support from others going through similiar situations. I do work 5 days a week, so that has been my solace for the past few months. Mom is able to be left alone, as she doesn't wander off, or any of the other things that Alzheimers' patients do. The paranoia, and the anger level is our main concern, along with why she seems to think she just arrived at our house a couple of weeks ago...and we've lived in our house for 31 years!

    I will be calling her doctors today to try to at least get a message to them about her actions. Thanks for all of the wonderful advice from everyone!

     
    Old 12-20-2005, 02:58 PM   #8
    fourt9rkim
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    Re: Dementia?

    Until such point that we can get mom to go to her doctor (which I need to call to discuss her recent actions SOON), does anyone have good suggestions on how to best deal with her feelings that people are stealing from her, and 'abusing' her, and just her general 'hatred' toward us right now?

    She was doing great all of last week, and Saturday. No outbursts, no accusations, nothing. Then Sunday, while she and dad were at the dining room addressing Christmas cards (or dad was addressing a couple of cards...mom was mainly shuffling through the endless paper she seems to accumulate lately), and dad asked her if she wanted him to write out one of the credit card bills. She looked at him and said she couldn't handle two things at once, and she started verbally bashing him for trying to take over the bill paying. Dad said a couple of things to her, then headed outside. I had to listen to her moan and complain about how rotten dad is.

    Yesterday when I got home from work, I heard how terrible he was to her all day again. I asked dad about what happened later, and his story was quite different. I know he's getting to his nerves' end being with her 24/7. I work all day, so I only get it when she gets up in the morning, in the evening or on the weekends.

    This morning, she called me into their room, and she asked why her makeup case was on the floor behind the door. It's a pink makeup case where she 'hides' her cream. She takes it into the bathroom each night when she takes her shower. She usually puts it on top of another travel case behind her door, and then puts a stuffed bear on top. Instead, she must have just put it on the floor last night after her shower. But because it wasn't in its normal place, she automatically accuses me of stealing, or dad of stealing....like dad is really going to use her Estee Lauder cream. She then started crying, and 'talking to God' about punishing us for what we are doing. She said she doesn't mean anyone any harm, but she should have never 'come here', and she was asking God to take her now.

    What tips should I give to dad to help him handle her anger and outbursts in a calmer manner? He does have a sarcastic tongue, so that doesn't help matters, and I tell him so....then he gets mad at me for awhile, then realizes that I'm right in what I've said.

    One minute she tells me to stay out of their arguments, and the next minute she's making me out to be a horrible daughter because I DON'T get in the middle...at which point she will follow me all over the house to tell me how rotten and no-good dad is.

    Last edited by fourt9rkim; 12-20-2005 at 03:00 PM.

     
    Old 12-20-2005, 03:28 PM   #9
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    Re: Dementia?

    Dear Four;

    Oh this brings back memories. I had similar things with Mom. Since there were only the two of us, everythng that was missing was my fault. I was the culprit, and she complained loud and long to my sister over the phone about how impossible I was. I felt like sh**. Mom stopped appreciating being fed and clothed and accompanied and shopped for and having her washing done for her and having me cook and shop and clean - and began to accuse me of being there only to torment her.

    It got worse when we got a home health aide to stay with her for part of the day. She told my sister she felt like a prisoner in her own home.

    I had gone to live with her to take care of her and help her, but by the end there was little recollection of that, and my sister had joined the chorus of 'why can't you be nice to Mom?"

    What can you do until you see the doctor, and forever after that if it is Dementia (I HOPE not) is - don't take anything seriously that she says, don't take personally any accusations, if she telks badly abut your dad say something good about him, but don't contradict her. As a final effort I used to say 'there may be some truth to that" thinking, "or maybe not!"

    It was the hardest job I ever had, and I loved my mother and had been so happy to be able to live with her when I first got there ... it was so sad that our relationship deteriorated so badly. I was afraid she would tell her friends at the senior center some lie about me and have me arrested ('she stole my money', 'she yells at me', or even 'she hit me' - all of course untrue.) It became a nightmare.

    Oh gosh I am probably scaring you half to death .. but, on the other hand, you can share the burden with your father. Both of you have to educate yourselves about Alzheimer, what you can expect, and what you have to learn to deal with. The final step is often a nursing home just to get the person to a safe and calm place where no decision making is possible, whicn confuses them .

    God luck to you; you are in my prayers.

    Love,

    Martha

     
    Old 12-20-2005, 03:56 PM   #10
    fourt9rkim
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    Re: Dementia?

    No, Martha...you haven't scared me, because I'm living through the exact same thing....and she's said many times recently that she is going to send a letter to the police about how dad and I treat her...more dad than I. She thinks he's trying to hide her nitroglycerin pills, and thus would be a murderer. She's told me that if anything happens to her, I am to call the police immediately.

    If I do try to say nice things that dad has done for her....I'm 'siding with him', instead of protecting her. She thinks dad is running up the credit cards buying new clothes for himself, when in actuality he is now able to wear clothes that he's had for years, because he's lost weight from the stress of dealing with her daily!

    I think I'd rather her be of not so able body, instead of her mind going.

    Kim

     
    Old 12-20-2005, 10:11 PM   #11
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    Re: Dementia?

    Hi Kim,

    If you have not already, you and your dad need to either buy an alzheimers caregivers book or check a couple out from the library. This would really help you! Just do not let your mom see them.

    But, You Have To Talk To Her Doctors Now!!! For your moms sake, but especially for you and your dads sake!!!!! If you do not, yall are just going to go beserk! I know that I would. You need to get her an appointment ASAP!!! Trick her to get her there, if you have to. I am afraid for your dad especially, because he seems to be the most affected by her bad behaviour. Which of course, she probably cannot control.

    Call, Tomorrow and talk and then write a letter, so the docs can get it next week. And then get her set up to go to 1 or 2 doctors for the new year. I would guess first her family doctor, then he/she might refer her to a neurologist, who would then do the tests. Do not put it off any longer. I fear for all 3 of yall mental health.

    Take care and good luck. The other ladies know what it is like, my dad is not to that stage yet, but it sounds almost unbearable. She needs help, and perhaps medicines.

    Love, Wannabe

     
    Old 12-21-2005, 05:47 AM   #12
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    Re: Dementia?

    Thanks, Wannabe...I know that I need to do SOMETHING, and soon. The problem is....that she will REFUSE to go to a neurologist, simply because she doesn't want to have an MRI. She is claustrophobic, and even though I've told her that there are now 'open' MRI's, she just won't have it. Her orthopedist wanted to refer her to a neurologist a couple of years ago, because of terrible pain she was experiencing in her back, shoulders and hands, plus the fact that she often loses her balance. *Thank God she hasn't fallen yet*. But when she found out about the MRI, she never went.

    My older brother was on the phone with her last night when I got home from work, and she said he told her that she needed to see the doctor because she isn't remembering things like she once did. Maybe with it coming from him, who doesn't live with us, and will be moving out of the state for good on Thursday, it will tell her that it's not just us saying that she needs help. He's coming over for dinner tonight to say goodbye to us, so maybe it will come up in the conversation again.

    I printed out some things from this forum yesterday, and had dad read them. He said it sounded just like her. I plan on printing out more things that I think will be of help to give to him. I'm so glad I've found this place....I was beginning to think I was the only one going through this.

    This is by far the hardest road I've ever had to travel...it helps to know there are other travelers on the road with me.

    Last edited by fourt9rkim; 12-21-2005 at 05:48 AM.

     
    Old 12-21-2005, 06:00 AM   #13
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    Re: Dementia?

    That's how I felt when I found this Board. I had been feeling very much alone! Then I started to read posts from people far worse off than I was. That helped me a lot. Plus a lot of moral support and understanding, and the 'no guilt' concept.

    Too bad your brother is moving away. Whatever happens, he will need to contribute to Mom's further care, whether at home or in an institution.

    I wish you all the best!

    Love,

    Martha

     
    Old 12-21-2005, 08:09 AM   #14
    fourt9rkim
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    Re: Dementia?

    Thank you, Martha....it really helps to come here and get to know everyone and their similiar circumstances, and how to better handle it.

    I'm glad my brother FINALLY said something to her...he's been staying out of it, but offering support to dad and I. He has noticed changes in her each time he visits, so he knows that something is not right.

    And I'm afraid that she is going to refuse to take one of her pills today....Diovan for heart failure. She had a pretty bad bout of diarrhea this morning, and she believes that it is the Diovan that is causing it....just because she saw diarrhea as a side effect on the med info that I printed out for her. The last time she refused to take it for a day after diarreha, she was on the edge of the bed all night, yelling at dad, and calling him all kinds of names.

    I offered to call her cardio to tell them what happened, but she said that they will want her to come in, and she doesn't want to do that. This is one of the most stubborn, old-school women I've ever come across in my life. She believes that you don't 'bother' the doctor before your next appointment, which in this case is February 23! I hope she will refuse to take her med during dinner this afternoon, so my brother can see her doing it, and maybe he will say something.

     
    Old 12-21-2005, 08:19 PM   #15
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    Re: Dementia?

    I agree with everyone else on the board, your mom needs to get help. If your dad or brother cannot do it then you might need to step in. There are so many medications out there and I am sure one of them would probably be really beneifical to her. Maybe she will not have to have a MRI right away, let the doctors know how paranoid she is of having one. My husband ended up in the mental ward and that's when they evaluated him. Because he was out of control they put him on medications to settle him down and then did MRI. It worked, he went through the MRI and was very calm. Now that they have him on the right medications we have been able to handle him a lot easier. It was a big change and now he seems to agree with everything. So please get some help.
    Diane

     
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