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How do I cope with mother with dementia?

(7 Posts)
Arkengarthdale Mon 15-Jun-15 16:43:51

My mum has Alzheimer's and is becoming increasingly agitated and anxious. She moved to be closer to family late last year but now insists she wants/needs to return to her familiar surroundings. We are trying to get her into sheltered accommodation but she phones and phones and phones family and friends all the time. 159 phone calls in 12 days at last reckoning. I can't cope with this amount of phone calls (have serious health probs of my own) but am unable to reassure/comfort her. I'll tell her where we are up to with a possible move but a minute later she's back on the phone asking the same question again. This happens every day for about four or five hours and I'm at the end of my tether. Any advice on how to handle this please? Thanks in advance smile

holeinmyheart Mon 15-Jun-15 20:04:25

There is very little you can do until she is settled. You have no choice but to put the answer phone on to preserve your sanity.
You need to keep well so that you can help her. The whole thing will stress you out and give you depression unless you actively take measures to stop yourself.
I know as I have been in the same boat with my DF and again at the moment with my MIL. The first time round we were very emotionally involved and nearly had a nervous breakdown. This time we have coped much better by detaching ourselves and realising our limitations and stop trying to do the ' impossible'
Hugs, as it is damn hard.

Arkengarthdale Mon 15-Jun-15 20:21:58

Thank you so much for your response. Isn't it hard? Poor lady, I hate to see her so distressed

holeinmyheart Tue 16-Jun-15 22:44:50

I hate to see my MIL so distressed as well, but by trying to respond to her every whim ie ' take me home' which we then did and got ' take me home'
When we then said ' you are home' we got ' don't be ridiculous'
She then refused to eat or drink or co- operate with the Carers or have soiled clothing changed. We had to return her to Hospital when she became unresponsive. She is now in a home and we are wracked with guilt.
We had to give up trying to please her because she is just not in her right mind and the person we knew has gone.
We feel very compassionate towards her but even if we gave up our own lives entirely to look after her it wouldn't make her happy or content because the condition she has is making her anxious and restless. Her time clock is all over the place and we can't stay up half the night. We have to survive as well, with some sort of life.
It is worse for my husband as it is his Mother. He is absolutely shredded with guilt, but it not as bad as last time with his Father. We learnt the hard way.
It is very very hard.

Arkengarthdale Wed 17-Jun-15 13:52:24

Thanks so much holeinmyheart. That's just how I feel - wracked with guilt that I can't mollify, reassure or comfort her. She's physically well but her short-term memory is so poor, she doesn't remember speaking to me for 40 minutes just 3 minutes ago. She is insisting on a house move and gets so anxious, but my fear is that the pattern will just repeat itself if we do get her into accommodation where she insists she wants to be. Ho hum.

Best wishes to you and your husband coping with it.

holeinmyheart Thu 18-Jun-15 20:55:11

Honestly you can't please her. We have bent over backwards to try and do what my MIL wants. It is utterly hopeless. Once we got a new bed ( well more than one) because she said she couldn't sleep in the present one, she didn't like it.
We got new hearing aids for her for thousands of pounds and she didn't like them.
We now have a brand new purpose built electric chair that she sat in once and didn't like.
She is not 'her' she is someone else. We have had to accept that it is the Dementia and all that we can do is our best.
I know my husband has bent over backwards with knobs on, to such an extent that he has become exhausted.
She is in a home now and someone visits every day. My husband dreads it as he is not sure of the reception.
Cruel as it is it would be it would be better if she died. She says that she doesn't want to live ( she has been saying this for some time) anyway, as her quality of life is NIl.
My husband's anxiety will only be alleviated when she passes away.
Without modern medicine she would have passed away sooner as she has a myriad of medical problems. It is terrible to see her like this.
My advice to anyone going through this is keep your own life going and realise that you cannot do the impossible.

auntpetunia Thu 18-Jun-15 21:04:44

This was me 5 years ago, it's hell. You both have my deepest sympathies. I kept sane by letting the ansaphone pick up all the time. She often didn't realise it was an ansaphone and ramble for ages. She went missing one bank holiday and was found at 10.30 PM waiting for a bus that had stopped at 8.

After a fall at home the hospital told us she couldn't live alone, despite carers going in she was dehydrated and undernourished, she found getting upstairs difficult so was limiting her drinks, forgetting to eat the meas left for her. She'd see the empty breakfast dishes and decide they were lunch plates and not look in the fridge for food. She has now been in a lovely care home for 5 years she's well fed and has lots of company and enjoys the life she has.

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