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Info Seeker
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎02-10-2011

Re: Difficult Mother with Dementia

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Message 1 of 4 (268 Views)

Hi Rustawana,

Difficult situation but very very "normal" in the world of caring for parent with dementia. Every behavior you descirbed is typical. My mom has been slowly going down the path for 15+ years. Finally in 2009 we got her out of her home but it took nerves of steel. We told her we wanted her to spend the weekend at a retirement community just to see what it is like. When she got there, the new environment was so confusing to her that she forgot the plan. The faciltiy was very accustomed to receiving new residents with dementia and totally handled her.

Once she was there, the visiting physician was able to try different meds for delusions, stress, etc. She reacts very differently than most people to meds, so it took some time. She is on very low doses. As the dementia progresses, they often become less combative, paranoid, and anxious. 

Someone mentioned getting a definative diagnosis of type if dementia. Good luck, there is no definative on Alzheimers until autopsy.

I can't imagine the worry from 800 miles away. Best would be a memory care home near you.

Oh, also, we have a camera in mom's room - VERY CRITICAL.

 

 

 

 

 

Frequent Social Butterfly
Posts: 159
Registered: ‎05-04-2011

Re: Difficult Mother with Dementia

Message 2 of 4 (287 Views)

rustawana wrote:

Hi, My Mom has dementia and lives alone in her home. She is occiasonally very delusional and combative and doesn't trust me. She belives I am stealing her money etc. and that people are coming into her house and moving things, even changing out the pipes behind the washer.  I am her only child and I live 800 miles away.  She refuses to come live with us. But I am fearful of her and what she isn't telling me.  She lives close to our family and they keep an eye on her for the most part, but feels that we are just out to get her. (we are not).  I don't know where to turn at this point. I want her to be taken care and feel that its going to be a fight to get her to go to an assisted living facility.  Any advice?

 

 


Amy's advice is always stellar, I've found. I have one more thought. I used to work as a geriatric care manager, and paranoia in dementia, regardless of the type, is very hard to combat. I did have a client who kept calling the police because she thought someone was breaking in and stealing, but the police would find no evidence. Finally the police department referred her to adult protective services and a court appointed attorney was assigned, and my agency was hired. my first visits with her were through her front door, me sitting on the porch, her firmly fortified behind her door and 3 locks. Took a long time but eventually she trust me. I always made her look through my bag to make sure i hadn't taken anything so she couldn't accuse me later. Although she'd forget. And i made her laugh. (I can be a very silly person.) She had a daughter, only one child, and she didn't trust her either, but over months, with meetings between me and the client, her daughter and her attorney (a really nice woman), we got her to agree to let her daughter be her guardian instead of the lawyer. 

 

I managed to get her to a psychiatrist (a doctor to help her deal with her 'stress' )and this doctor agreed to put her on a medicine (for stress), and it was haloperidol, which is a very old, tried and true anti psychotic. And she confessed to the doctor a couple of weeks later, that she felt less 'stress'.  

 

I'm pretty sure if she is still alive that she is still paranoid, and constant reassurance is her daughter's burden, but she stopped calling the police, and she made friends with a sweet aide from Suriname, and her folks were immigrants from Panama, and it worked out pretty well.

 

If you can go with her to see her doctor and let the doctor know that she's paranoid, there may be some medications that can help. 

If you have the funds, you could also hire a professional, and find one by going to caremanager.org.

 

Very tough business. Keep writing us if you wish. We'll all been through something similar....

 

good luck

jane

Super Social Butterfly
Posts: 685
Registered: ‎01-23-2008

Re: Difficult Mother with Dementia

Message 3 of 4 (337 Views)

@rustawana I'm so sorry to hear of your family's challenges. Dementia can be so hard to deal with. Does your mother have a firm diagnosis and spedific type of dementia? Is it Alzhiemer's? That's the first step - to get that evaluation and get her on any appropriate medications which can help minimize some of the symptoms you are sharing. With dementia, people maintain their intuitive thought (or experiential thought) processes but rational thought is slowly diminished. That sets up some of the behavior you described - she's scared because she can't think rationally through things and doesn't feel safe. It makes people "paranoid" about what is or might be happening around them. So your goal is to make her feel safe and secure. Trying to convince her she is wrong can be fruitless. Validating her fears and confusion, comforting, doing things to help her feel more secure and protect her from situations she perceives as scary can be more helpful and make managing her care easier. 

 

Another thing is that anxiety often comes with dementia (think how emotionally upsetting it would be to not be able to understand what's happening) so anxiety treatments - natural and medicinal - might be of help. 

 

Your concern about getting her to move to a more protected environment is one of those challenges that people face often - and there is no one answer. Every situation is slightly different. A few thoughts though - who does she trust? Is there any family member, member of her faith community, lawyer, doctor etc she sees as authority and whom she will listen to? That person should be involved and talking with her about it. Also minimizing change is crucial - the stress and trauma of change can make symptoms worse at least temporarily. So orchestrating a move so that her furniture is there and it takes a minimal amount of time can be a big help. 

 

I'd suggest you 1) contact her local area agency on aging and ask about resources and facilities in her area (go to www.eldercare.gov to find it) and 2) contact the Alzheimer's Association www.alz.org and the Alzheimer's Foundation www.alzfdn.org for more info and resources and connections to local support groups (in your area - so you can go) so you and your family can understand what's happening. Also be sure to check out the AARP Caregiving Resource Center at www.aarp.org/caregiving.

 

This article I wrote about the various levels of care might be helpful to you as well!  

 

I hope this helps - please feel free to contact me directly if I can be of more help! My dad has Alzheimer's and lives with me and I've worked in this field for 35 years and I'm happy to help!

 

Take care,

Amy Goyer, AARP Family & Caregiving Expert

Info Seeker
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎02-24-2013

Difficult Mother with Dementia

Message 4 of 4 (438 Views)

Hi, My Mom has dementia and lives alone in her home. She is occiasonally very delusional and combative and doesn't trust me. She belives I am stealing her money etc. and that people are coming into her house and moving things, even changing out the pipes behind the washer.  I am her only child and I live 800 miles away.  She refuses to come live with us. But I am fearful of her and what she isn't telling me.  She lives close to our family and they keep an eye on her for the most part, but feels that we are just out to get her. (we are not).  I don't know where to turn at this point. I want her to be taken care and feel that its going to be a fight to get her to go to an assisted living facility.  Any advice?