Know someone over 50 who is making a difference? Nominate them for the AARP Purpose Prize.

Reply
Treasured Social Butterfly
0
Kudos
4726
Views

Re: Communicating with a dementia patient

4,726 Views
Message 21 of 31
@JaneCares wrote:

i wondered what that quote button was for!


This website doesn't have intuitive features, or where you could move your cursor over something, and get a brief explanation. I think they began posting "help" somewhere, but since it wasn't in alphabetical or any other logical order, it would be crazy to waste time hunting for something specific!


Registered on Online Community since 2007!
Report Inappropriate Content
0
Kudos
4726
Views
Regular Social Butterfly
1
Kudos
7748
Views

Re: Communicating with a dementia patient

7,748 Views
Message 22 of 31

i wondered what that quote button was for!

Report Inappropriate Content
1
Kudos
7748
Views
Regular Social Butterfly
0
Kudos
7747
Views

Re: Communicating with a dementia patient

7,747 Views
Message 23 of 31

@tp11043557 wrote:

... Thank you all for all of your suggestions thus far... I look forward to reading the book.   My dad has been diagnosed and regularly sees a geriatric pyschiatrist through the UPMC (they live in Pittsburgh area).  That's the one thing my sister and I seemed to do correctly.  UPMC has a Senior Care Practice, which has primary care doctors, pyschiatrists, social workers etc.  I think my dad is getting good care and I think they are staying on top of his medications, but he still has the paranoia.  He has an appointment in two weeks, so I was certainly pass this information along to my mother.  She is having a hard time with everything and is somewhat (not being disrespectful) stubborn about speaking with a professional psychiatrist about all of this. We keep encouraging to have someone other than family and friends to talk to.  She is also stubborn about support groups.  I have told her about this online community because for me the knowledge is so powerful.  I truly believe we can all learn from each other.  Just one other thing to share, my folks live in PA and my sister and I live in VA.  It's truly a double-edged sword, but we are trying to get my folks to relocate here and stay with us.  Pros and cons of each side, but my sister and I  have to work and getting back to PA is difficult.  Thanks again for your support and suggestions.  I truly, truly appreciate it.

________________________

Thank you for letting us know more, tp. It helps us to learn. Pittsburgh is such a great place, a beautiful city. Glad he's getting such good multidisciplinary care. I wonder what medications he's on. In any case. your mother needs some support and coaching from the sound of it. She's in a tough place but she's also not reaching out for help. One does not DO that, one does not complain, or air dirty laundry. With coaching and support she might listen over time. "Mom, it sounds terrible, and it must hurt and also make you mad. Have you mentioned to the doctor/psychiatrist/social worker how mean he can be to you? It is not an inevitable part of his disease. And you don't have to just take it from him."

 

There are behavioral ways to reduce this behavior. I wish i knew more about it but basically what i understand is, reward the good behavior. if he says thank you, or notices something positive, give him a treat. Seriously. He loves M&Ms? He gets a handful every time he's nice. Reward the good behavior and he might produce some more of it. Worth a try. Sounds like he's a puppy in need of training, in a way. She can train him to be nicer. 

 

Relocating is a trick. I'm helping a niece relocate her uncle from Florida up to Maryland. Doctors have to be located. Possessions downsized. A suitable place located. Not quick. However, it can be done and it certainly reduces your stress and your sister's.  I can make some suggestions on steps to take, if you want to hear them.

 

Your mother deserves better. I hope she can begin to ask for it.

 

Jane

 

 

Report Inappropriate Content
0
Kudos
7747
Views
Treasured Social Butterfly
0
Kudos
7697
Views

Re: Communicating with a dementia patient

7,697 Views
Message 24 of 31
@tp11043557 wrote:

I thought I was replying to specific posts, but I think this goes to everyone.  ..

 

I was certainly pass this information along to my mother.  She is having a hard time with everything and is somewhat (not being disrespectful) stubborn about speaking with a professional psychiatrist about all of this. .. She is also stubborn about support groups.  I have told her about this online community because for me the knowledge is so powerful.  I truly believe we can all learn from each other.  Just one other thing to share, my folks live in PA and my sister and I live in VA.  It's truly a double-edged sword, but we are trying to get my folks to relocate here and stay with us.  Pros and cons of each side, but my sister and I  have to work and getting back to PA is difficult.  Thanks again for your support and suggestions.  I truly, truly appreciate it


Although you click "reply" on a specific post, what shows up doesn't display any connection to it, unless you use the "Quote" (red button on upper right by entry pane) feature. If you click "Quote", it will enter the entire post to which you're responding .. and then you can edit out whatever you don't need .. so you/everyone sees the connection. Then type your response BELOW that.

 

In a way, parents can be very controlling, in their own "helpless" way, by expecting their adult children to do/be everything for them, instead of shifting some of that need for support to professionals & support groups. Been there, done that!

 

Having nothing to do with dementia, my Mom would get very severe nose bleeds, and would call me at work, expecting me to rush out or go straight there from work, to take her to the hospital. It took me 75 minutes to get there from work, so after it happened twice within a couple of weeks, I told her to either call a friend or the volunteer ambulance squad .. which could get her there in 15 minutes!


Registered on Online Community since 2007!
Report Inappropriate Content
0
Kudos
7697
Views
Info Seeker
0
Kudos
7698
Views

Re: Communicating with a dementia patient

7,698 Views
Message 25 of 31

I thought I was replying to specific posts, but I think this goes to everyone.  Thank you all for all of your suggestions thus far... I look forward to reading the book.   My dad has been diagnosed and regularly sees a geriatric pyschiatrist through the UPMC (they live in Pittsburgh area).  That's the one thing my sister and I seemed to do correctly.  UPMC has a Senior Care Practice, which has primary care doctors, pyschiatrists, social workers etc.  I think my dad is getting good care and I think they are staying on top of his medications, but he still has the paranoia.  He has an appointment in two weeks, so I was certainly pass this information along to my mother.  She is having a hard time with everything and is somewhat (not being disrespectful) stubborn about speaking with a professional psychiatrist about all of this. We keep encouraging to have someone other than family and friends to talk to.  She is also stubborn about support groups.  I have told her about this online community because for me the knowledge is so powerful.  I truly believe we can all learn from each other.  Just one other thing to share, my folks live in PA and my sister and I live in VA.  It's truly a double-edged sword, but we are trying to get my folks to relocate here and stay with us.  Pros and cons of each side, but my sister and I  have to work and getting back to PA is difficult.  Thanks again for your support and suggestions.  I truly, truly appreciate it

Report Inappropriate Content
0
Kudos
7698
Views
Info Seeker
0
Kudos
7932
Views

Re: Communicating with a dementia patient

7,932 Views
Message 26 of 31

Thank you for your reply.  I really appreciate it.

Report Inappropriate Content
0
Kudos
7932
Views
Regular Social Butterfly
1
Kudos
9241
Views

Re: Communicating with a dementia patient

9,241 Views
Message 27 of 31

Hi there, tp.

 

Oh paranoia. that is the hardest, i think, of all the symptoms of dementia, the absolute hardest. It is delusional thinking and its very hard to fight delusion with rationality.

 

I hope this doesn't sound flip or glib; i mean it with all seriousness. Please have your mother take him to see a psychiatrist. The USA needs more geriatric psychiatrists than we will ever have, and there might not be one in your area (or your parents' area) but even Joe Schmo MD shrink can be helpful. Here's why. There are anti psychotic medications that can help him. Like haloperidol, which worked one one of my clients who was so paranoid that she had the police come to her home dozen of times for thefts which never occurred. She'd misplace things; she'd assume she'd been robbed, and she'd call the police. Finally the police reported her to adult protective services and she was assigned a guardian who hired me. Hoo boy it took a while to establish rapport. I would talk to her through her door. (I'm a geriatric care manager. www.caremanager.org.) To make a long story short, we went to see a psychiatrist who told her he would give her something 'to reduce stress'.  (This is a lot like ASTRAEA's story). And a few weeks later, she admitted that the voices in her head (she'd finally admitted to hearing them) were 'less intense.'  I almost danced a happy dance.

 

Your mother does not need to take what is essentially verbal abuse. Yes he is sick, he wouldn't be saying this if he didn't have dementia. But she's working hard to care for him and this kind of attack is terrible for her to endure. I say, assess for medication. By anyone if you can't find a psychiatrist: his neurologist or his GP might help. Sooner rather than later.

 

Also relieve her isolation and burden, whether or not his paranoia lightens up. Type her zip code into www.eldercare.gov and call the intake social worker. Make her your new BFF. Find out what's available. Help your mother out.

 

And please keep sharing your story, and hers and his. We learn from each other.

 

Jane

Report Inappropriate Content
1
Kudos
9241
Views
Gold Conversationalist
2
Kudos
9234
Views

Re: Communicating with a dementia patient

9,234 Views
Message 28 of 31

I agree with the book the 36 hour day, one of the best I've read and easy to understand. 

 

When someone with dementia gets an idea in their head, it often is nearly impossible to reason or get them to change their minds. Accusing someone of taking something is very common. They *know* they didn't misplace it so it *has* to be someone else. I like how it was explained here:

 

Breakdown: "That new caregiver you hired, she stole my purse"

Response: "I hear that your purse is missing, I'm so sorry that that happened. Could I look around one more time? I'd hate to find out it just got put somewhere to keep it safe..."

Explanation: If your loved one has dementia they might be prone to falsely accusing people (including their caregiver) of things like stealing, and abuse. This behavior is not only hurtful, but potentially incriminating.

 

In these situations, it's important to remember that your loved one is only saying these things because their brain is telling them that they are true. Your loved one's mind is trying to fill in the information gaps caused by their dementia. This can result in something called, confabulation, also known as "honest lying."

 

Confabulation can be so powerful that, according to Snow, people with dementia have passed lie detector tests while lying because they truly believe their story to be true.

 

Your mother may say that the home care worker you hired stole her purse because: 1.) Your mother currently can't find her purse, because she hid it in a "safe place," and now she cannot remember where she put it, and 2.) Your mother saw the care worker pick up her own purse and leave the house with it. In this instance, your mother's mind is making up a story using separate, but related pieces of information to help make sense of the fact that she can't find her purse.

 

In this scenario, you won't be able to convince your mother that she is wrong, so Snow says to avoid confronting her about it.

 

Instead, it's important to validate your mother's feelings and display empathy by saying that you're sorry her purse is missing. Asking your mother's permission to look for the purse will hopefully allow you to find it. Once you recover the purse you should just apologize again. You should also avoid saying the equivalent of, "I told you so," as it may make your mother defensive and less likely to trust you in the future.

 

Snow points out the unfortunate reality that elders will be more prone to accusing the people that are most involved in their care (caregivers, other family members) because those are the people that they see most often. This can be extremely hurtful, but she says that it's important to try and let it go and view these accusations as brain failures, rather than personal attacks.

 

http://www.agingcare.com/Articles/communicating-with-dementia-patients-150914.htm

Report Inappropriate Content
2
Kudos
9234
Views
Valued Social Butterfly
2
Kudos
9221
Views

Re: Communicating with a dementia patient

9,221 Views
Message 29 of 31

I did an internship at a nursing home several years back and actually did quite well with several dementia patients. Of course when it's your loved one and you live with them...quite a different situation. Your poor Mom must feel like she's landed on another planet sometimes.

 

One thing I would suggest is looking into any kind of respite care available. If she could just look forward to a couple hours a week where your Dad is safely under someone elses care and she can have time to regroup. Also perhaps seeing if there might be support groups in her area. Sharing online is helpful certainly but having a group of other caregivers to talk to in person hugs and human touch and other people who know what she's going through would be a big help. Dementia is so very hard to deal with.

 

I'm a writer and avid reader so I have an easy time stretching my imagination. When I dealt with patients I let them be in whatever reality they were in. Several had conspiracy issues and safety concerns. It was about reassuring them repeatedly that whatever they were feeling could be resolved. Even if it was a long story of Mr. Rabbit Ears wiping out their whole family and now he was coming after them. Well you know the police are out there and there are really strong locks on the doors, if you hold my hand we're safe. Wherever they are let them be there. It's tempting to say "Oh don't be ridiculous Dad", but that doesn't work. Wishing you the best.

 

Report Inappropriate Content
2
Kudos
9221
Views
Treasured Social Butterfly
2
Kudos
9149
Views

Re: Communicating with a dementia patient

9,149 Views
Message 30 of 31

Sounds like you're on the right track, with guidance for your Mother .. it isn't easy! A book I found to be helpful years back, was "The 36 Hour Day: a Family Guide .." . It's available at most large bookstores, and online. Apparently it's also available on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HlF_mOrcd1Y

 

Has your father seen the doctor & been diagnosed? If your Mom and/or you & your sister are close to his doctor, you could speak to the doctor ahead of time, so he's able to ask the right questions .. without your Dad realizing he's "being evaluated", or the words "Dementia" or "Alzheimer's" actually being said. You may all have noticed that Dad is better certain times of the day, and worse at other times .. so you can save important discussions with him for when he's in better shape to communicate & more cooperative.

 

My Aunt who lived with me was 92, when she began occasionally seeing & saying things that didn't make sense. She thought she heard noise in the basement, but didn't want to go downstairs, and "upset the people living there" .. I had a single family house & there was no one in the basement. She had large mirrored closet doors, and if I were in her bedroom behind her & being reflected, she'd say she saw someone "beyond the closet in another room".

 

The worst part was her starting to get up in the middle of the night, insisting that it was morning, and starting to get washed in the bathroom. Even when I'd open the curtains to show her it was pitch black outside, she'd say it was a plot to keep her from getting up! She was normally a very gentile & soft-spoken woman, but would get very irate when I'd insist she had to go back to bed (at 2 am). Yet the next morning, when she was "back to normal", she'd remember what had happened & be upset that she'd been uncooperative!

 

She would have blown a gasket, at the suggestion of dementia, but I talked to the doctor about her symptoms;  especially the getting up in the middle of the night. So when she saw the doctor, she freely admitted that she was having trouble sleeping, and was happy to start taking Aricept (for Alzheimer's) because the doctor told her it would help her sleep .. and it did!

 

Good luck!


Registered on Online Community since 2007!
Report Inappropriate Content
2
Kudos
9149
Views