View Full Version : Losing own 'home'

Martha H
02-05-2005, 11:01 AM
Hello again.

Oh boy, I got mysef into a pot of trouble today. Mom's landlord came with a new 2 year lease for her to sign. Normally he comes in JUNE when it runs out. I mentioned that and he said, 'they' said it has to be signed 150 days in advance. 'They' would be the NYC agency that freezes he rent of low income tenants who meet the requirements: 25 years in the apartment, income under a certain amount, 75 years old or older etc.

I then felt I had to tell him that Mom probably won't need to renew the lease because she is moving to my brothers' house in June.

OK, he made a few friendly comments, took the lease and went. He is happy of course because he will get far more from a new tenant, rents have exploded around here.

We were just leaving for the cafe on the corner for lunch. On the way Mom was very silent and very upset. "I wish you had let ME do the talking. Why is everyone deciding what I do with MY future?" Oh oh.

In the rectaurant I explained again how she has encouraged me to move to IN to be nearer to my daughter and grandkids, how she was not really able to manage alone, how B and A had a very happily asked her to live with them and how she had agreed ... but it seems the idea was entirely new to her. Finally I said surely it is far better than going into a nursing home. This she had to accept. But she was silent, weepy and angry the rest of the meal and walk home (the long way for exercise) ... I feel so sorry for her but we can't let HER decide what she will do in the future, her decision making ability is too poor. She might well have signed the lease if I had been out. Not that the landlord would have held her to it, since he can get more from a new person, but still ....

Now I am replaying this tape in my mind and wondering what I SHOULD have said or done. I have no phone number for him, only a PO Box number. The building superintendant contacts him if there are any problems. So I couldn't have explained it to him behind her back...but perhaps could have put him off saying we are in a hurry. I don't know ... I feel I am doing the wrong things again ...

How do people handle the necessity sometimes of bringing their loved one to a nursing home? How can an AD patient be convinced of anything?



02-05-2005, 11:33 AM
Dear Martha, I think you handled the situation very well. Your mom knows she is going to B even if she loses track of that info from time to time.
I have found for me, and my husband, that if I can keep the explanation brief and change the subject to something else that I know he likes to talk about he will forget about it. For him, it's talking about the " old days " or the American Legion. He was very active in it at one time.
Every situation we all have is different and what work for one may not for another.
Keep the faith. From what I have read about you I really admire you.
Thanks for being on this board. You have helped me a lot.

02-05-2005, 11:49 AM
Hi Martha,

You did just the right things. The important thing was accomplished: the landlord has been informed that the lease will not be renewed. Your mother will forget today's conversations and upset.

The frustrating thing you keep facing is that it doesn't matter if your mother is convinced today, she will forget. It's always going to be an increasingly frequent new world for her. Yesterday's discussions and plans are simply lost. She thinks it is April and showing her the February calendar page or newspaper date mean nothing. She's becoming disconnected from her surroundings and as this increases, she will forget family, her world will become smaller, and she will not care or notice or be bothered by it. So very sad, but true.

Remember it's like dealing with a small child, for whom time, dates, and future plans are meaningless. Once you're used to it, this will be easy for you since you deal with small children at work. For a while, my Mom enjoyed stickers on calendar dates to remind her of things, but that went by the wayside.

It's not easy - and that's the understatement of the century.

Schrea, schrea, friend, Barbara :)

Martha H
02-06-2005, 02:36 AM
Dear Barbara, and all of you,

It is actually a very positive thing (in this situation) that Mom forgets whose 'fault' it was, whom to blame, etc. She has already fogotten the lost money (which never showed up; an old friend thinks I ought to be going through the garbage bags every day), forgot that she used to take her own pills, forgot that she thought she was going to Atlantic City, mixes up things that happened many years ago with this week, forgot that A's mother passed away. A new thing: she starts talking to me as if we have just had a talk about something but I don't know where she is: ex."I told her not to go there." I say 'who are we talking about' and then "X of course, I just told you, she said ...'

Actually she was silent and maybe even dozing off until the 'continuation' of the not begun conversation. This is a bit disconcerting. She also thinks she was at the 2nd marriage of a certain nephew and the new bride refused to talk to her."She sat there at our table and turned her back on us and didn't say a word." Actually none of us went to that wedding, it was too far (SC) and too expensive and we all felt sympathy with the first, dumped, wife ...Mom has a whole scenario of that wedding which never took place. I am finally smart enough not to say, oh, but we weren't there. I say really, what a shame.

Yet she KNOWS about this 2nd marriage, which was 2 years ago, and got the nephew's name right, but not that of the new bride.

Have a good Sunday .. or Monday if you are already there.



02-06-2005, 07:20 AM
Hi Marhta,

Way to go! You're getting the hang of this maze of coping with an Alzheimer's or dementia patient. You just never know what's going to be said next. Just as you're resigned to always hearing inaccuracy, they say something correct, in context, and appropriate just to throw you for a loop!!!

Think I've mentioned that my mom went through a time of never having a good word to say (just the opposite of her usual self). I finally told her she wasn't being very nice and that she should stop saying ugly things (Southern expression here - people can act ugly or talk ugly). She looked so surprised and, like a child who has been caught, promised to talk nice. She actually did better.

Martha, if your school closes for repairs or permanently, will you be likely to move sooner? That would be happy/sad (for the school). Amazing to contemplate. It's good you are so ready in all the practical ways of preparing.

Enjoy your Sunday! Blessings - Barbara :)

Martha H
02-06-2005, 08:46 AM
Hi Barbara, I am worried about Sally too. Hope all is well but I fear something dramatic may have happened. However, it could also be computer related or a power failure, or other causes.

If the school closes I could leave earlier, but that depends on my brother and sister in law. They would have to be willing to take Mom in earlier. At one point when I was getting really frustrated he said they would so so. Mom may or may not like it. It's too soon to decide anything, but the move in the second half of June at the latest is definite.

Lets say a prayer for Sally.



02-08-2005, 10:19 PM
Hi Martha,

How goes it with you? Hope everything is falling into place for your mother and for you.

Take good care of yourself! (((hugs))) Barbara :)

Martha H
02-09-2005, 01:04 AM
Hello again, We have had a couple of peaceful days. Mom seems to have forgotten that she has to move. Since she is confused about the date, she also has no clear idea that she is going to Ohio in a month. I'm trying to keep everything on a light note. No direct questions such as "what did you have for lunch today at the Center" but, "have you heard any good jokes lately?" I finally learned not to challenge anything she says. One day she wore only a summerweight jacket, and her aide could only persuade her to put on a warm sweater underneath. Mom has a strong stubborn streak .maybe that helped her get through life as fit as she is. I check this Board regularly for new messages, and feel disappointed when there aren't any!
I see it as a life line where I get quick help when another crazy situation comes up!

02-09-2005, 01:21 AM
I've learned that too.. I don't ask my grandmother anymore what she had. I just ask her if she ate.. most of the time she can say yes or no.. though most of the time it's yes even if she didn't :) I have to say.. my patience is dwindling lately with her and it drives me crazy :(

Martha H
02-09-2005, 03:01 AM
It drives me crazy too. I keep telling myself she can't help it. Especially when I get home after teaching all day and am in need of a cup of coffee and a little silence, and I get non stop complaints about all the other people at the Senior Center, about Candy, her aide, about the cold food and the pushy people and the weather and the late bus ... I have not learned how to 'tune it out." In my case I am going to get some relief soon, when Mom goes to Ohio for 3 weeks on March 10th (IF it happens) and then 'forever' , except an occasional Momsitting week or two when B and SIL want to go on vacation ... that helps. In my mind I am decorating my apartment and looking for a good used car .. not listening and trying to rationalize with Mom . I just say , oh that's too bad. I know I can't believe most of what she tells me.

You are a good person to be caring for your Grandma.


02-09-2005, 03:11 AM
BUt that's it.. I feel bad she can't live with me. She's in a nursing home.. needs more help than we can give her. I'm their in all my free time though. I think my record was 6 hours :) I work the midnight-8am shift where I am, and still try to get up at 3pm 3 days a week to see her, then go on the weekends. She calls my house 6 times a day. I walked in the house at 8:30am the other day, only to have the phone ring right away. And she doesn't remember she calls, so she calls throughout the day. She calls when she's sick, cuz she refuses to call her aides. Me and my mom are their ALL the time, and when we can't go get told we 'don't want her anymore'.. ugh.

Martha H
02-09-2005, 03:23 AM
Oh sorry I thought she lived with you. Obviously THAT is impossible and it is a great sacrifice for you to go and visit her so often. She is way better off. If only we either had more money or my siblings were willing to place Mom in a really nice AD facility. We could all breathe a sigh of relief. I guess my brother knows what he is in for, having had his wife's mother with them for a long time before she became totally impossible - she used the garage floor as a bathroom, for just one small example - and had to be locked in all day and night so she would not start "walking to my son's house" which is a long walk from Queens ..it's in Florida! The police found her one night in her nightgown walking along a busy street, 'going to Florida' when everyone thought she was asleep in bed. (I am scared this could happen with my Mom, one reason why I sleep so little and so poorly.)

What a blessing it would be to all humanity if AD could be cured or prevented.

One of my uncles also had it and died at 88 - a 'child' playing with teddy bears, happy. He had been a CPA.


02-09-2005, 03:43 AM
WOW.. sounds like that mother was a handful.. that's horrible :( Your sibling's aren't willing to place her in an AD facility? At least you'll have some relief when she goes to your brother's.. And with your mom, I believe you can get her like an alarm for when she wanders. That's what I see some of the patients at the nursing home have.. they're hooked up to an alrm on their ankle that goes off when they wander..

Martha H
02-09-2005, 03:50 AM
Thanks .. I will ask about that. Meanwhile she is going to Ohio in 4 weeks (by plane, as 'an adult with secial needs" ) for a visit to my sister. I am wondering what she will say ; she last saw Mom in July and found her 'the same as 5 years ago.' How much of that was denial or wishful thinking I do not know. But, this time, she will be forced to see reality.

My sister said, when I complained that Mom care was getting me down, that I should move out and leave Mom home alone, with an Aide coming in for 6 hours. The aide was supposed to do all her washing, shopping and cooking and give her her pills and bathe her and talk to her AND take her to the senior center or the pool ..and then leave Mom alone from 3 PM until 9 the next morning. That is how deluded my sister is about Mom's condition.. She has told me "It isn't MOM, it is YOU!"


02-09-2005, 05:23 AM
Hi Martha,

Your words remind me of something a friend told me when I was bemoaning all I had to deal with concerning Mom becuase I'm an only child. She said that there was more for me to do, but I'd someday be grateful I caould make decisions and have nobody's opinion to consider!! She was right.

I suggest you send your sister a short list of supplies she'll need during your mother's visit and important clues for getting along - lock the doors so she cannot wander away, hide the cookies or she will eat them all, don't believe everything she says...whatever. It's also likely that your mother will be worse while at your sister's because she will be in an unfamiliar location. Be prepared for alarmed phone calls from your sister.

Cheers for learning to take what your mother says with a grain of salt. As far as peace and quiet for a cup of coffee when you get home from work, you might put on music your mother loves and take your coffee into the bathroom!!

Be good to yourself.

Have a good day, friend! ((hugs)) Barbara :)

Martha H
02-09-2005, 01:45 PM
Hi everyone. Good day at school, celebrating Chinese New Year. Mom is hand washing clothes right now. What a mess. I only have to rewash them all anyhow, she does not get them even half clean. REALLY dirty stuff remains unwashed in her bedrom waiting for me to get hold of them. She hangs it all dripping wet over the bathtub.

Well, I think the rubbing and scrubbing and warm water are probably therapeutic. I never stop her. I have to clean up the bathroom later. I have to get the clothes into the 'real' wash when they are dry...

Happy year of the rooster!



02-09-2005, 02:42 PM
My girlfriends Dad, who is in a lock down facility and wanders had an identity bracelet that said his name and where he belonged but also set off the door alarms.

Cunning little blighter knew the code to stop the alarms didn't he .... so at immediate activation, he would stop it, and keep on walking .........then he blurted out how clever he was ........

so they installed gates with kiddy locks on them ......

Little blighter watched and watched and watched .... and then blurted out he knew how to fix the gates and showed them ...

So ..... at a point of frustration .. the nursing home said "Hey Wally .. keep an eye on the doors and make sure nobody get's out will you" ..... and now that's his job .. watching the door...... he stays put *most* of the time (but they do come running when the alarm 'blips' and stops)

MIL eats everything at the moment .... her 'best behaviour' is slipping and BIL and SIL are seeing some strange things.

Love it when I'm right .. LOL