Mother Diagnosed with Dementia

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by rockyjs, Nov 11, 2005.

  1. rockyjs

    rockyjs Member

    My 83-yr-old mother was recently diagnosed with dementia, probably Alzheimer's. She lives in Missouri and I live in Colorado so it makes it tought to work with the doctor and social worker.

    She's fine during the day and can carry on a normal conversation (although she loses everything!) but at night she gets delusional and keeps thinking someone is breaking into her house and stealing everything. She's called the police several times and of course nothing is out of the ordinary. A few nights ago she even broke out the window in her bedroom and started screaming for help.

    Her doctor wants us to hire an attorney and get guardianship - he'll supply any necessary letters. I hate doing this so much...my mother is extremely independent and lies to us about her condition so that we won't take her out of her home or require that someone live with her. She's still driving and has had several accidents, but has managed to keep her license since they were on private property.

    She's unable to handle her finances properly now (the utility company told the doctor they just got an envelope with no check) and she spends what little money she has very unwisely. She's hoarding things and her house is full of junk as well as trash like uncapped used insulin needles. She told a friend that her doctor doesn't know how much insulin she needs so she just uses the amount she thinks she should.

    I'd appreciate any advice from those of you who have faced a similar situation. I know my mother will hate me for taking any legal action, but she refused to talk to us about options when there was still time, and now it's too late to do anything but do things against her will. We will have to move her out here away from her friends but she won't go into a nursing home in her area (probably doesn't want them to see her deteriorate).

    She will need to be in a lock-down unit soon and I'm a bit concerned that she will try to commit suicide before giving in to going to a nursing home. Poor thing...I love her and feel sorry for her. I just wish she wasn't so stubborn!

    Jan
  2. Juloo

    Juloo Member

    My mother did not live long enough to go through this (she died of cancer 7 years ago), but I remember my mom and uncles going through it with my grandmother.

    Even so, the single worst day of my life was putting my mother in a nursing home when her care was more than I could handle.

    The best thing I can offer -- consider the way parents raise their children. If a child comes down with a life-threatening illness, a good parent makes sure the child gets the proper care...even if the child 'knows' s/he doesn't want it, or that some of the aspects are unpleasant. As a parent, you are aware that the child is not capable of making the correct decision to care for him/herself.

    Now it comes full circle. Your mother is at the point where she is not making good decisions on her behalf. What makes it hard is that 'sometimes' she IS lucid.

    What I know from several women who have placed their parents with Alzheimer's...when you visit, you will be persona non grata. You will undoubtedly be blamed for everything wrong, and the high price of gasoline besides. But there are times, as care-givers will tell you, that your mother settles in, settles down, and is not a danger to herself.

    There are so many more resources, including books, than there were 30 years ago. Please, PLEASE recognize the stress this situation has on yourself and get all the support (mental, physical, financial, legal) that you can find.

    Finally, a caveat. A friend was taking care of her elderly father in her home. Slowly, he began to mentally and physically deteriorate. He refused to eat, blaming her of poisoning his food (and much worse). It came to the point where she was barely able to get out of the house to shop for groceries, but after a grocery trip, she returned home to find the police in her house. Her father had called them, complaining of abuse.

    Fortunately for her, she had all the paperwork to show that he was being seen for his health situation regularly, and had witnesses to her care. One of the officers told her that in other circumstances, people had unfortunately been charged with elder abuse. She managed to work with the county's health services and had him placed the next week.
  3. suzetal

    suzetal New Member

    Ill start here.My mom and Dad both were ill and could not drive or take care of anything on there own.

    I took care of them for seven years.

    Dad had a major heart attack and had to have 5 bypasses. My Mom was a diabetic and was legally blind and an amputee.

    Then my dad got cancer.Then started having congestive heart failure.He was in and out of the hospital about every other month.

    My mom than got colon cancer.She went in the hospital for surgery.When Dad found out that there was nothing they could do for her.He went into congestive heart failure.

    He wound up in the same hospital as Mom and in the room a floor above her.And the room was right over Moms.

    He died the night after he found out about Mom.He gave up and let go I think.

    I had to go down and tell Mom.She took it OK.But I worked 50 hrs a week and could not be with her full time.

    We talked and it broke my heart but I had to sell her home and place her in a nursing home.

    We were told by her doctors that she would not make it through the year and the best thing was a nursing home.

    I found one not far from my home in the country so she would be near me.I went every night after work.She would not allow them to bath her only me.It was hard for her and me.


    I feel no guilt.I did what was best for her.My DH and I also bought her a puppy.We named him George after Mom .Her name was Georgette.

    We brought him every evening to visit her.She would save scraps from her dinner for him.It was so cute.

    Mom passed away six months to the day after Dad.I miss them both so much.

    I'm crying as I right this cause I know what your going through.

    Boy this is the first time I have told this to anyone on this board .

    What your going through has touched my heart.

    I do not believe she will commit suicide.As long as you make her happy.Will she be going to a nursing home?If so try to pick one that has rooms with bright sunlight and rooms that look homey.

    I don't know what else to say.

    You will be in my thoughts.Its a big decision.You are doing what you have to do to protect her.

    I can tell you love her very much.

    Sue
  4. rockyjs

    rockyjs Member

    I appreciate hearing your stories and suggestions. I read that 35% of people over 85 have dementia so I know lots of us are dealing with this. It's just so hard to watch your parents suffer mentally and physically.

    I'm going to start visiting nursing homes in the area. I'm hoping she can get a room without a roommate and have some of her own things. Then if it gets bad enough to require the lock-down unit she can be in the same nursing home, just a different wing.

    She's already getting very paranoid and suspicious of her family and friends, so I know it's going to be difficult. My daughter said just to remember that the person I knew and loved is going away and not to take it personally.

    There's no way I can care for her at home because of my own physical problems, but hopefully I can visit several times a week. She still makes friends easily and is very social - she loved to play the piano and entertain people. I know she's not eating right or taking her medications properly, so hopefully she'll improve once all that it stabilized and she'll be able to enjoy the environment.

    We have some interesing Alzheimer's units in the area that decorate with styles from the 40s and 50s and play music from that era. She's still quite lucid most of the time, but perhaps in the future that will be helpful to keep in mind.

    We went through all this years ago when my dad had dementia from Parkinson's. It was very important to her to maintain his dignity even when he was combative and did crazy things (she finally put him in a nursing home when he shot a hole through his recliner saying some men were in his chair and they were trying to pump gas into the house to kill him). He had apparently hidden a couple of his guns and it scared her to death.

    I'm trying to keep in mind that this could be me in thirty years and handle this the way I want my children to treat me if it happens.

    Jan
  5. lovethesun

    lovethesun New Member

    I will say some prayers so that you may find the strength and peace of mind to deal with this.Linda
  6. Alyndra

    Alyndra New Member

    She was diagnosed with psychotic dementia. While she was still in a decent state of mind, she would refuse to talk about nursing homes, medications and living wills etc.

    My grandmother was appointed as her medical executor, and had to make the same tough decisions.

    The decision was made for her to go into a home, where she's in a lock down ward. She HATED us for putting her there.

    After a couple weeks though, she didn't even realize she was in a home - and her mind was convinced that she had lived there her entire life.

    Daily, she accuses an imaginary little boy of stealing her christmas tree.

    In all honesty though - looking back my grandmother doesn't know why she bothered to worry about her hating the family for putting her in the home - she doesn't even remember we did.

    It's what was best for her, and for anyone with dementia. It's also best for everyone else, too. Unfortunately dementia can be a very violent disease.

    Best wishes

    ~Amanda
  7. victoria

    victoria New Member

    we have just had my inlaws come live with us, FIL is 95 and MIL is 88... we pretty much have to have one of us here all the time, or hire someone if we want to go anywhere more than an hour or so.

    My FIL gets confused easily but is 95% cognizant...

    But my MIL is the one that is losing touch with reality, they don't have a dx altho a brain MRI showed dead areas. She is good at covering up her deficits most of the time, unless you really try to hold a conversation with her or explain anything halfway complicated;

    As long as her husband is alive, I think she'll be in touch with reality... and after 4 months of being with us she finally does seem to remember who we are 99% of the time...

    but it is interesting, some things have been permanently lost, she can never remember what soap is for instance; she can also combine about 75 years into one sentence making it all sound sorta like it all happened at one time.

    She is also getting a bit paranoid... talks about "people" coming in to use the bathroom... thinks people are looking thru their window (we live in the middle of 30 acres!)... we had to disable locks because she keeps locking the doors... and puts lots of things in odd places, I'm forever looking for something that she - or we - need.

    We are hoping to get our house sold soon so we can move to Mexico to keep her at home as long as possible as it will be more economical to hire someone to watch her there. It is hard, is all I can say!

    All the best,
    Victoria