My bloody mother!!!! <again>(89 Posts)
She is driving me nuts and i just don't know what to do to help.
She has the long running, what can only be described as obsession that her sister (who lives in australia) has damaged her property. I have posted about it lots im sure. Anyway, the latest thing is her cooker - her BRAND NEW
30 years old cooker, that is irreplacable apparently . Firstly she said that she had put chewing gum on the halogen hob and had basically spent entire nights (im not joking) scouring it off, thus destroying the hob - but this is only because her sister had covered it in acid never mind all the shit my mother has put on it to CLEAN it. It has now expanded to the inside of the BRAND NEW cooker that the woman has painted with acid - to what ends? maybe she was trying to poison her?? All this will have been done about 7 years ago, when she stole my mums photos (actually, she did do this and this is how it all started), pegs, duvet covers - if not stolen, swapped for lesser quality items for the charity shop, damaged her bedroom suit, which my mother has subsequently destroyed by scrubbing with bleach, rubbing with chisels etc because it had a few fade marks on it - its a fecking antique!
It has been a nightmare and gone on for years - most of the time I try to humour her as disagreeing with her just results in her a) not talking to me (now don't get me wrong, this would be a blessing) and i have to worry about her physical health and im an only child. b) causing scenes at my house etc and quite frankly my own mental health isn't up to it.
Her latest thing is that she is going to get the money together to go to australia and hope that the very sight of her standing there will cause her sister to have a heart attack and if that doesn't work, she will jump on her head I know it just sounds like a weird sort of comedy doesn't it, but she is deadly serious.
That is where my question is - she is 76 and in bad health (her sister is 85). Would that prevent her from flying? She reckons she will go one day, come back the next. I don't believe for one minute she would be allowed into australia on that basis, but what i AM worried that a flight company would still take her money.
No point in going to doctor, my mum wont have any of it, and wouldnt take ADs if she was dying.
LEM that's great!! Be careful not to 'play it down' though just because she has been a bit better of late. She needs help, make sure they are left in no doubt about how bad she is
Update i have FINALLY been able to secure an appointment with our doctor, although only a phone consultation.
She has been quite good over the past few weeks, i have managed to get her to come out with me and DD etc and she has been quite chipper, although still going on about the cooker - it has now been "poisoned" with acid and all the screws removed - my mum has dismantled it now and is insisting she will put it back together I tried to ask her when she would have done this, and she just said that her sister had a key (but she still meant it was when he was here 8 years ago now)
Im not entirely sure what the doctor will make of it or what i want them to do tbh.
I am a student nurse and I agree that it sounds very much like dementia to me. You say that you don't think it is but dementia can present so differently in so many different people. For example, I've just finished a community placement and one patient we had that we were visiting you would just never know as she appeared to have capacity and was lucid all the time. We just visited to promt her meds every day.
Yet on the other end of the spectum, i've cared for a patient who wasn't bed bound (and was able to walk) but in hospital refused to walk or get out of bed. When we tried to care for her at all, like clean her up when she was incontinent, she would be voilent with staff and shout and scream. But she didn't have capacity so we had to do it in her own best interests.
Capacity with demetia can fluctuate and as I mentioned some people are so lucid you would just never know. Your mother really needs to go to the GP and get a dementia screen.
If it is dementia, the obsession with the cooker and her sister sound to me like she is 'locked' into a time in the past when her and her sister where not getting on and so she can't see the reason in the situation whereas you can. You know the cooker is fine but she can't and nothing you can do will be able to convice her of that. You have to enter their world and see it from their viewpoint or you will continue to have those clashes.
With regards to the cataract operation, it may be deemed in her best interest to have it done. I've seen it being done on 2 dementia patients in my day surgery placement and they had it under general anaestetic whereas they are normally done under local. So that may be an option but of course you need to get her there first.
One other thing, tread very carefully with regards to finances and witholding of passports at this stage. It's all a legal minefield. If she is diagnosed you will need to gain a power of attourney and whether she needs to sign that depends on her capacity. But don't try and withhold money as that is deprivation of liberty and could be deemed as you trying to benefit financially.
Sorry, I haven't read all the replies (my eyes are very sore this morning, I need to get off the computer!!).
Apart from all of the medical help that you need, why not go to any travel agents within walking distance, take a photo of her with you for each of the places and tell them she is suffering from mental health problems and there is a chance she might come in to book a trip to Australia, but that she is certainly not up to going there Tell them that you would appreciate them going along with her plans but not actually booking anything - but to call you. Tell them if it comes to it you can get a letter from her Dr confirming this, but clearly you don't want to until happens. It's worth a go.
Also, see if you can find her passport, if you do, take it to your house.
I'm concerned that your DP thinks you should just leave it.
Please can you watch this two you tube clips! I don't know how to do link but you won't regret! We sometimes need reminder !!!
I know it's not easy , we all have rough time sometimes with DM or DF but PLEASE watch this! I can't do links sorry!!!
Different types of dementia take very different forms. My father had Lewy Body, as a consequence of Parkinson's disease, and that has paranoia and delusions as the main part of the picture. Dad had no memory issues when he died for instance. His memory was fine. Often people imagine dementia to be mainly an issue of gradual memory loss but that isn't true of all types.
feesh you are right about the visa, however my worry is that this wouldn't necessarily stop her from purchasing the tickets - to be fair, its more the obsessive inclination to do so rather than the actual carrying out of the threats as there are plenty of things that would probably prevent it from happening.
Fortunately she has been ok the past few days.
I have an elderly relative with a history of depression. She had a period of psychosis about 15 years ago and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. With the benefit of hindsight, this is what she has had for most of her adult life. Her treatment has revolutionised her life and she has been able to think clearly since then.
Regardless of passport and ticketing issues, wouldn't she need to apply for a visa in advance to get into Australia? This isn't very likely to happen is it?
Can you find her passport and take it? No passport - no flight...
My Mum has been paranoid for the best part of 20 years. She turned against her sister about 12 years ago as she didn't believe she had cancer and it was a ploy to get her to accept a low offer on a house they jointly owned at that time.
Somewhere along the line it turned into Dementia and I am now the focus of her paranoia, thinks I am evil , plotting against me and told the SW she doesn't me involved in her care. She's in a flat in a carehome pending a case conference to see if she stays there or goes home to try live in care as she claims she wants (some if the time) and which my Brother says we must do as it is her wishes. He hasn't seen her for over 4 years though and doesn't fully understand the concept of not having Capacity.
She blames me for being in the CH which I kind of am I guess but the paranoia towards me has been gearing up for a bit eg. Thinking I am ripping her off financially as a list of money she owed me with only a few items (expensive ones like a washing machine ) was for more than a long one. The council tax exemption went to her address by accident which said she is exempt due to Severe Mental Impairment, she thought I had told them. Last visit she thought I had poisoned the cake I took in which really upset my 14 year old DD. She's told me not to go in again until she's at home again.
For ages she seemed very lucid and presented well so we have ended up with her losing capacity less than 4 months after diagnosis but in reality she has been ill for years. DH and I worked for my Brother who after she ended up in Ch has fired me and cut DH's hour (though decided to pay us for now ) and told the SW i am trying to 'protect my inheritance' It has been a nightmare but I know everything I have done has been in her Best Interests as she was becoming a danger to herself and live in care is likely to break down quickly due to her previous history with Carers.
I know it's hard and must be even worse if you've already had one very I'll parent but getting her seen by her GP to get to the bottom of what is going on is definitely the way forward.
pointy, thanks so much for that reference, its really interesting. I am going to print it out and show it to her doctor. She has had several addisonian crises in the past and she will be totally delerious, etc, I can usually tell when she is going to have this and fortunately she now knows how to recognise the symptoms and double up on her meds so recently in terms of these she has been better. This i don't think is what is happening now, however it does make sense for the more chronic disturbances to be taking place and I honestly think this is the root of it. Like i say, its been going on for years - worse now, i think because she has so much time on her hands etc . She is of course under an endocrinologist (who i have to say is the most arrogant shit i have ever met and never bloody adresses my questions) and is due to see him again in November, the problem is that last time she saw him she wouldn't let me go with her, also i was working anyway, hopefully she will allow me to go with her next time. She certainly does go totally fruit loop when she has one of these - one time she told the ambulance driver she wanted to have sex with him.
I am certainly not excusing her behaviour, but she does have a complex medical condition which i am sure goes some way to explaining a lot of it and having lived with it all my life i suppose you are right, its easy for it to seem normal. I know that it isn't, i am willing to bet money that this is a complication of her addison's syndrome and hopefully they can help her with some further medication.
I will wait until her GP comes back from holiday though as her medical history is clearly important here so its best i think to talk with someone aware of the history. Although she is pretty open about it being in the realms of the specialist really.
OP, just because she has always been 'difficult' like this, doesn't mean she doesn't also now have a MH problem,be it age-related or not. It could also be that she has always had MH issues that have managed to make her look 'odd' within the realms of unpleasant but acceptable eccentricity, and of course that everyone who knows her has just accepted that 'this is just how she is', which is turning a blind eye to her problems. And dementia, like all MH conditions, is unique to each individual,and, until it is severe, doesn't mean that the person will be consistently troubled.
If she genuinely believes that someone who lives on another continent is messing with her cooker, or placing stones on her drive, etc., then she is clearly mentally ill, regardless of how and why. I know you don't want to face up to her having serious problems because of your exoerience with your father's dementia, but you are really doing your mother, and all of you, a real disservice to try to excuse this away. It is really alarming and scary to read what she believes, and perhaps because you've lived with her being a difficult woman all or most of your life, you might not fully comprehend how bad it sounds.
LEM you should read this article concerning Addisons disease and comorbidity with psychiatric conditions. I think a lot of it applies to your mum and you should get professional help for her.
We had a good day today, i called her and asked her to come out with me and DD and she came! miracle - no mention of ovengate either (phew). The reason for her improvement of mood is because someone had asked her to do something for them i think. I don't kid myself that this will be an improvement, just a good day.
You say you will feel bad by asking the dr for an assessment but how much worse will you feel if it is something that can be treated. Dementia affects different people in different ways. It is cruel not to get help for your Mum. If it was an illness you could see like shingles or heart attack; or a broken are you would get help. This is no different.
Well done, LEM. Hope you feel a bit better yourself in due course - all this can't be helping.
cozie - the receptionist wouldn't make the appointment as its two weeks away and can only pre-book two weeks in advance But yes, i do have to see a doctor for more meds myself before then. I will wait until our own doctor comes back to discuss it. Obviously if there is a drastic change in the meantime i will see another doctor.
I hope you made an appointment nonetheless? (For after the two weeks, to discuss your mother.) You have to make one for yourself sooner, don't you?
Phoned for an appointment - her doctor is away for two weeks hmmmphh, a doctor, having a holiday?? How very dare she!! My DP thinks i shouldn't do it anyway, thinks it will cause all sorts of trouble but its not the point, shes not well and it can't continue. Saying that i have to say i was half relieved when the doctor wasn't there as i feel like a shit
If you call her on it it will make no difference. A delusional idea is by definition not amenable to reason. She will just get cross. OTOH it's not ideal to actually agree with it as then you reinforce it and she can say ,'well LEM thinks so too.' The best idea is to try to distract away from the whole topic. Make some non-committal response and then try to change the subject.
That is your way in LEM! try telling her you have thought about it and you do think she should get a letter from her gp after all. And here, let me make that appt for you mum .
After a briefing from you (and you can ask for yor name to be kept out of it) the gp can try to persuade her to get some bloods done under the guise of it being a health check, or monitoring her medical condition.
LEM, I just wanted to say that my mother (in her 80s now) went through a period of similar delusional thinking. It turned out to be related to medications she was on (for her RA) and when those were changed, she went back to (her) 'normal' - slightly forgetful but essentially lucid - self. So might be something medical but 'reversible'.
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