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Dementia and stress

(11 Posts)
Alonglongway Sun 14-Feb-16 17:34:20

Grateful for thoughts/experience on this

Mum has mild to moderate dementia and relies heavily on my dad. They've been 100% independent till now and doing very well.

He was taken seriously ill 2 weeks ago and we don't yet know when he'll be home.

Brother and I are stepping in to help and keep her company, liaise with hospital etc. She's missing him desperately, very stressed and increasingly confused about where he is, where home is

We are coping but it's hard today. I was wondering if we should be talking to her GP. Is it likely there's anything medical that would help?

CMOTDibbler Sun 14-Feb-16 17:40:16

Unfortunatly, theres no medication that can be given to help your mum. If your dad might be in hospital for some time, then it might be an idea to look at respite care for your mum so that theres someone around all the time, and you know she's safe while you are dealing with your dads illness as well.
I know thats a massively hard decision to make, but I know that when my dads in hospital mum finds it terribly distressing and though they have daily carers, after 3 days of not having someone constantly around reminding her to drink/eat/get dressed etc things start to get bad (so far he's been in lots for one or two nights, but not more) and she'd have to go to respite.

Doobydoo Sun 14-Feb-16 17:42:54

I think it would be worth exploring medication. Your mum is naturally feeling massive anxiety. Normality and consistency and company hugely important. I would visit GP as well .

whataboutbob Tue 16-Feb-16 18:58:26

Along, I somehow doubt they would prescribe medication for what is hopefully a short term stress. I asked about medication when my Dad was very agitated and was told there was nothing that could stop the agitation. However, my Dad was eventually prescribed anti depressants to help with his agitation and it may have helped a little. Sorry if that seems contradictory. Basically experience of caring for my Dad has shown me there's no magic bullet for dementia, but if there is ongoing agitation/ aggression anti depressants are often prescribed. If your mum could access respite that would be good, my dad never had it but he did ge tot the stage where he needed all day professional carers, and he is now in a care home (he's a widower).

Alonglongway Tue 16-Feb-16 19:26:19

Thanks for the responses. What sort of thing does respite mean in this context?

We got her to GP who found a mild urine infection and prescribed short course of antibiotics

Been chasing things up at the hospital today and they're saying could be another week before dad can be discharged - medically sorted but needs reablement.

daisydalrymple Tue 16-Feb-16 19:35:30

I'm sorry you're going through this, my dad has advanced Alzheimer's, and it's such a stressful heartbreaking disease to deal with.

Is your mum on anything for the dementia? Dad was on aricept for the first five.years, but swapped to memantine once it had progressed. He's been in a care home for a year now, and since then has had his medication swapped and changed a fair bit, he's very opposed to personal care from the carers- he's totally incapable of even washing his own hands, so he's had to have medication to reduce his agitation / anxiety.

It may be a good opportunity to meet with your gp and review the care your mum is receiving- whilst we were looking after dad at home, we had a social worker to liaise with and a carer who came in once a day at breakfast time. We juggled the rest of the day in shifts between me and my sister for the last year, as dad couldn't be left alone or would wander. So I know how terribly draining it can be.

I agree with the suggestions of at least looking into respite care, as it will at least start the ball rolling for you and give you that option for if an emergency ever arose, you would know you had a safe place for your mum at short notice.

I hope your dad is comfortable x

daisydalrymple Tue 16-Feb-16 19:38:43

Respite care would be a short stay in a care home appropriate to her needs and stage of dementia. You can even access just day care, which might be something to consider for when your dad comes home.

Have you discussed as a family what additional support you will consider as the dementia progresses? Have you thought of care homes yet?

CocktailQueen Tue 16-Feb-16 19:42:31

There is a medicine to slow the development of dementia - mil takes it - Aricept. Is your mum on that? Also, anxiety is common in people with dementia - mil takes antidepressants and anti-anxiety pills. Does her gp think she might benefit from these?

Also, agree you need to think about care homes and respite care - what if your dad can't cope When he gets home? Day care or carers coming in are also options.

Alonglongway Tue 16-Feb-16 20:09:22

She has an antidepressant

Piecing things together, i think she must already have been having these bouts of agitation and my dad didn't tell us. We could see the memory loss of course but they functioned very well as a team and I simply wasn't aware of these harder times. He told me in January he was worried she might need to go to a care home, and I couldn't reconcile it with what I was seeing.

It's s very fast transition - he was doing all their shopping on the Internet 3 weeks ago and now he's preparing to come out of hospital with neuro damage from a bleed on the brain. So she's in shock and we won't really know how he is till he gets home.

Yes I had long talk with the hospital OT today about options for home care.

daisydalrymple Tue 16-Feb-16 22:03:36

along that sounds positive that you've discussed options with the ot. Because dad was physically fit, we never really planned for the move to a home, he was jolly, knew everybody in the village, we kept a very close eye on things and managed ok. Crisis hit when dad had a fall on a walk, couldn't tell anyone what had happened and from that point on wasn't safe alone.

It took us ten months until we found a home we were happy with that had space for dad. Our first choice had 17 people on a waiting list, then rejected dad after a respite stay, during which he was too disruptive as kept trying to escape. He was then reassessed as needing emi nursing rather than residential due to his needing extra attention. So we had to look round a whole new set of homes and sadly wait for a vacancy. During that time, me and my sis looked after dad in shifts- I was pregnant then had dc3, and my sis set up office at dads and worked from home for months, thankfully her work were incredibly supportive.

My advice to you would be look at the homes sooner rather than later, so you have a shortlist in mind, then when the time comes you're hopefully partially decided and can narrow down based on your mums need at that time. I'm so sorry if I sound negative above, I just wish we had been given this advice with dad. (Or perhaps we were, but were so wrapped up in his day to day care, we felt we'd face it when we needed to). I don't really remember it's all a blur!

We did find OT really supportive and on the case. They actually came out and assessed dads mobility and suitability for staying at home. Is your mum under the care of a memory clinic? Also the Alzheimer's society were great at sign posting to resources, financial advice such as sorting power of attorney, receiving attendance allowance, not having to pay council tax etc. does your mum have an actual diagnosis? If not specifically Alzheimer's, I've seen others on here recommend age concern and another age charity too.

daisydalrymple Tue 16-Feb-16 22:05:41

Forgive the epic post. You may know everything I've written already. We found it hard and frustrating at times trying to get help, so I try and share whatever I can now in the hope it will help somebody. Best wishes to you all.

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