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Is this Dementia

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Old 02-09-2009, 10:44 AM   #1
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trying2staycalm HB User
Is this Dementia


My Mother is the primary caregiver of my Grandmother who is 88 years old. She is able to walk and talk and feed herself. And she has full use of all her limbs and all bodily functions and she's not on any medications, except for occational antibiotics. (Thank God!) SHE'S ALSO STONG AS AN OX!!

However, her mind is off.....sometimes. You can tell her 5 times NOT to do something and she'll do it anyway....we can be talking directly to her looking her right in the eyeballs and she will act like we don't even exist, but let one of us get on the phone and she's ALL in the conversation
Most of the time, she acts confused and I do believe that she is, but then she'll turn right around and do or say some things that display she has more sense than all of us put together and thats so frustrating!

She can just be sweet as honey sometimes and very mean-spirited and un-cooperative the rest of the time

She has DISGUSTING habits such as eating her feces in the middle of the night while she's in bed (hence the need for antibiotics) and digging thru the bathroom trash. For this reason, we have to keep a watchful eye on her while she's in the bathroom. My mother cleans her up everyday, sometimes multiple times during the day and my grandmother fights her tooth and nail EVERYTIME but my mother REFUSES to let her stay dirty and develop an odor. Anybody else might throw their hands up.

I've lived with them for a year now and before I moved back home, my mother used to tell me some of the things that my Grandmother does but it was so hard to believe! But now I actually witness most of it and it really takes a toll on my mother some days.

My mother has decided to keep my grandmother home and care for her for as long as she's able to. Putting her in a facility for other people to take care of her would be detrimental because as I stated above, she's a real peice of work and doctors/nurses are quick to use sedating drugs or even use restraints on un-cooperative patients.

My mother is the only one of her siblings that's willing to take on this mega responsibility. She's pretty much put her own life on hold to take care of my grandmother. I do what I can, but the one thing I haven't done is clean her up which I honestly don't think I have the patience for.

Has anyone of you here decided to care for your parent(s) at home and you're experiencing something similar to what I've described? If so, are you willing to share if there's something that's made things a little easier to deal with??

Thanks so much in advance!!
"And This Too Shall Pass."

Last edited by trying2staycalm; 02-09-2009 at 10:45 AM.

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Old 02-09-2009, 11:22 AM   #2
Martha H
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Re: Is this Dementia

Yikes. Yes, this will pass, as everything else does eventually. But for now your Grandmother needs more than home care. Yes, it is probably dementia, or, if not, some other mental abberation --- because eating fecal matter is not normal in anybody's book.

A person who does that (only at night when no one is around, in bed? Is she getting the feces out of her Depends? Or how? ) needs around the clock care and supervision, likely in a good caring nursing hme. They have ways to prevent this behavior.. There are ways to keep a person in Depends from getting them off (many do that and then go on to wet the bed) ... and certainly they will find a way to have her sleep through the night to avoid this happening ...

I compliment your mother for having put up with her this long, but let's give her a much needed break before she gets ill. I was my Mom's main caregiver for 5 years and lived with her, luckily she did not have THIS problem, but many others --- like leaving feces in a pile on the bathroom rug.... (who knows, maybe she also ate some - but no, she never had a bacterial infection.)

iI you make an appoinemnt for Grandma with the person present who has her medical Power of Attorney, and you give the doctor an explicit list of the things she does, he or she will make sure to do a couple of Dementia tests and give you advice. Just talking to the person often proves nothing, because they have an uncanny way of acting normal as long as they are in the doctor's office.

Not only would yur Mom be relieved if Grandma was in a nursing home, but Grandma would be better off herself, because all of the infections cannot be doing any good, nor is constantly being on antibiotics.

I strongly urge getting an evaluation from someone who specializes in the elderly, example a geriatric physician or a geriatric neurologist. Good luck!



PS it is untrue that NHs use restraints, and drug people. Maybe a mild sleeping pill, but no ties to beds or zombie making sedatives. They have more up to date methods now.

Last edited by Martha H; 02-09-2009 at 11:24 AM. Reason: PS

Old 02-09-2009, 01:34 PM   #3
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Re: Is this Dementia

Hey Martha, Thanks for replying

Well....although my mother is the primary caregiver and the one who puts up with the good, the bad and the ugly, my uncle is the one who handles the financials concerning my grandmother....her insurance information and things of that nature. Now I don't know if he has been appointed POA. My mother is the one that takes her to doctors appointments though.

It gets frustrating for my mother because she says that instead of listening to her concerns, the doctors are always so quick to assume its alzheimers/dementia and they want to prescribe her all these medications that she believes will have adverse reactions on my grandmother.

Honestly Martha, it probably is alzheimers or dementia but I believe my mother does not want to accept this.

(prime example of the stubborness....right now, my mother is asking my grandmother to get up so she can take her to the bathroom and she WOULD NOT BUDGE!! she literally pushed my mother halfway across the room when she tried to help her up. but once we left the room, she jumped up out of the chair. I know most of it is because she's been so used to doing what she wants to do and now that she really can't, she doesn't want someone telling her what to do.)

As far as the disgusting habit....she's a digger...(gag!!)...I think my mother witnessed this once while my grandmother was in the bathroom.

A professional evaluation/intervention is DESPARATELY NEEDED but it's got to be someone who will do at least a 24-48 hour evaluation so that person can witness EVERYTHING with their own eyes/ears and will also listen to my mother's concerns about the effects of the medications because if she's still here at home, my mother is the one who will have to deal with the consequences of these effects.
"And This Too Shall Pass."

Old 02-09-2009, 01:44 PM   #4
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Re: Is this Dementia

hi trying, sounds like dementia. i feel so bad for your mom, though. your grandmother needs skilled care at this point. talk with your mom and tell her everything you feel and that you are worrying about her. maybe that will help.

Old 02-09-2009, 02:06 PM   #5
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Re: Is this Dementia

Hi Debbie

Yeah, me too. I will talk to her because I think she is noticing the toll it's taking on her.
I will do a search in my area for agencies who do in-home evaluations or something.

Thanks again Ladies!!!
"And This Too Shall Pass."

Old 02-09-2009, 03:58 PM   #6
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Re: Is this Dementia

you need to get your mother respite care for her mother such as Bayaya Nursing or whatever it is in your area. Either the siblings take a weekend and come stay and visit and care or your mother get a home visit nurse, or someone like that

When someone is involved day to day, they refuse to see and accept the decline. My sister excused every decline and failure away.

my mother didn't do what your grandmother does but its clear that your grandmother needs to be put in a nursing home.

As my mother's doctor told me -- don't be surprised if your sister goes first, its not odd that caregivers die before their patient. I had a tough fight on my hands but when the Bayaya nursing assessment person came in to set up a respite visit each week, within 1 hour of being in the house, she said to me "its obvious your mother needs to be in a nursing home facility and not be here with your sister". My sister came into the room and I told her that the assessment nurse had something to say to her. Then the nurse said it.

I could see that the bulb went off where each time I said it, it fell on deaf ears. With me, my sister would say I'm the one doing it and when I say its enough, then it'll be enough but I'm not there yet. And whent the nurse said it, my sister said "yes, I agree with you, but I have a problem with doing that". and the nurse said, that's okay, when you're ready, you'll know.

Well, I don't even think it was too weeks later that my sister threw her hands up and admitted that she was ready but she wanted to wait until February. It turns out that God intervene and helped sister with the tough decision because mother started falling all over the place and need to go to the hospital for stitches. She's never been home since.

Please get the siblings to help your mother or to help convince your mother that she deserves to live her life, your grandmother already lived her life.

Thank you.

Old 02-09-2009, 07:53 PM   #7
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Re: Is this Dementia

I agree whole-heartedly and I believe my mother is realizing this more and more everyday. I am going to look up some information tonight and write it down and give it to her to make the calls.

I appreciate you reply
"And This Too Shall Pass."

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