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Re: Caring for a parent with dementia

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Message 41 of 46

I too am caring for a mother with dementia. She is 85 and has been living with us now for 2 years. I can totally relate to what you said about having dialogue with her when her short term memory is no longer functioning as well as it used to function.  I have learned how to reach my mother, and we now have very meaningful conversations that I never ever thought would have been possible before. However, this level of being didn't come about easily.  I had to learn new ways of relating to her which would be understandable and easy to answer.  And the key to what you said about your mother is in the last sentence when you said you loved her. She is so very blessed to have a loving member of her family who wants to connect and relate to her. 

 

   I came across some amazing resources that have changed the way my mother and I relate to one another and they have been in the form of books, videos, blogs and seminars.  So here they are: Naomi Feil, MSW, author of "Validation Breakthrough." Her books and workshops have been life changing.  She teaches people how to see things through the eyes of the person with dementia, how to validate their present experience with verbage that creates connections. She then offers way to redirect them.  Her techniques lead to harmony, lessened stress and peace in the home.  The next book is called, "Contented Dementia" by Oliver James out of the UK. My oh my, what they are doing for dementia in the UK is amazing, and Dr. James" work is a great example of what is working. The next book which is just fabulous is called, "Deeper Into the Soul," (beyond Dementia and Alzheimer's Toward Forgetfulness Care).  This book is my favorite, by far, because it is so hopeful and practical at the same time.  It was written by Nader Robert Shabahangi, Ph.D and Bogna Szymkiewicz, Ph.D 

 

  I have become so excited about these positive communication techniques covered in the books above and also by an O.T. by the name of Teepa Snow, that I use them everyday with my mother. Our frustrations, as children of parents with dementia are simply that we want to retain the deep connections, but don't know how to navigate into a place of equal understanding when there are cognitive deficits at play. Some great websites for communication are: www.vfvalidation.org,  www.caregiversgetfit.org and watching Naomi Feil, MSW and Teepa Snow, MS, O.T. on youtube.   Proper use of  these techniques can lessen stress on both the caregiver and care recipient, while offering opportunites of deep and loving connecting.

 

   I hope this helps you as much as it has helped me. I never tell anyone that I have all the answers, because I don't,  but I am GREAT at finding people who do.  We are all in this together.

Best wishes to you and your mother! 

 

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Re: Caring for a parent with dementia

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Message 42 of 46

Hi, My mom is 92 and has dementia. It is so scary for everyone! It seems as though her dementia is worse as it seems right now? week by week. I wouldn't believe it to happen so fast!. I am at odds of what to do? It seems as though it may be a waste of time getting a paid caregiver to come in to see her daily. She may need assisted living before to much longer. I was wondering from anyone out there about being paid to care for her myself? What do I have to do? We live in Michigan by the way. This is getting very difficult! I love her very much? She is unbelievably stubborn and set in her ways.

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Re: Caring for a parent with dementia

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Message 43 of 46

I really know what you mean about missing the spunk -- I miss that in my mom who has a lot of memory loss, too. Like yours, she also HATES being the way she is, which is so difficult to see and deal with, since she has the same hate over and over again and can't remember!

 

My mom loves to talk about the past, but she only has a small number of memories -- they are detailed and she loves them, but at the 1,000th time, I'm just not all that interested, though I do try to at least be polite and know that she likes to talk about it. She seems to appreciate that I listen quietly anyway.

 

Her memories also are "stuck," in that she doesn't like to hear any different viewpoints. Like the other day she says, "That was wierd when you went away to college and then came back the next day! Your father and I were just floored!" That just isn't true. I came back at Thanksgiving like everybody else... She just refused to believe me.

 

As you said, that's what's wierd. It feels so sad and lonely to be in contact with someone who can't really converse. At first, I just felt irritated; now I can feel more of the sadness and even emotional pain, which is much better. I just try to be as gentle with myself as I can.

 

It's so good to know that I'm not alone. Thank you.

Nancy

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Re: Caring for a parent with dementia

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Message 44 of 46

I take care of my mom also with dementia.She will be 81 in July it's been three years taking care of her. Her personality is timid from before which is ok, I just miss her spunk she use to have. It's hard to see her decline with her memory.

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Re: Caring for a parent with dementia

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Message 45 of 46

nmclane wrote:
My mother is 89yo and has Dementia. She knows who I am & the people she sees on a regular basis, but other then that she has pretty much lost her short term memory. She feels stupid, she knows her mind isn't working the way it used to and she hates that and so do I. I would love to have a conversation with my mom, but that is not possible, except on rare occasions. I help her pick out her clothes, make her meals, do her meds, make & take her to appointments. Why? Because she is my mom & I love her.

Just a thought, but have you tried talking to your mother about things she does remember? My mother had short term memory loss that progressed over the years and like you it was nearly impossible to have real conversations. Discussing currents events was hopeless,  but when I would ask her about things past (family, cooking, anything really), she did well. I think the long term memories remain even though the short term memory no longer functions, and it can make a person feel good to be able to talk about  things they still know about.

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Caring for a parent with dementia

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Message 46 of 46
My mother is 89yo and has Dementia. She knows who I am & the people she sees on a regular basis, but other then that she has pretty much lost her short term memory. She feels stupid, she knows her mind isn't working the way it used to and she hates that and so do I. I would love to have a conversation with my mom, but that is not possible, except on rare occasions. I help her pick out her clothes, make her meals, do her meds, make & take her to appointments. Why? Because she is my mom & I love her.
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