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Is it Dementia?

Last post 11-15-2012 7:38 AM by stmartinsue. 17 replies.
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  • 08-25-2008 6:14 PM

    Is it Dementia?

    I currently have my 83 yr old mother living with me and my family since April, she took a fall and just couldn't remain on her own anymore safely.  Anyway, she is or has become very antagonistic, she always was a little, but it just seems like it has intensified since we're living together.  She teases and taunts my 6 yr old daughter and it always making derogatory references to my husband  and to my daughter, makes sarcastic remarks to my daughter friends when the come over to play.  I never know when "Sybil" will appear, she can be very well beahved and yet go off on a rant just when we;re about to have company for dinner. I seems like each day I never know what she will say or do to "push my buttons"  I try not to feed the frenzy and try to ingonore her rants and raves about us that we're "evil" and we're "gold diggers".  We have tried to make everything as comfortable as possible for her to live with us, we can't do enough for her.  But I feel she's ruining my family life and my home is no longer a refuge for me.  She doesn't take her meds, hates to bathe, wont eat what we cook or make.  She's also incontinent, thats quite the problem at times.  Is it Alzheimers, Dementia, or Psychosis? I battle head games everyday.  Don't know how to handle this.  My sister lives in Ct, She thinks I should laugh her behavior off.  try living it!  Any advise anyone?  Encouragement would be really helpful as I find myself in tears everyday.

  • 08-30-2008 12:07 PM In reply to

    Re: Is it Dementia?

     This sounds all too familiar to me....this behavior is exactly what I am dealing with, with my 80 year old grandmother that has slight(?) dementia; but she is fixated on picking at my grandfather whom has moderate dementia. She acts up all day long and is fighting her old age. The head games have been endless and are the worst part of caregiving with her. I'm not sure where the games end and the dementia begins. Be strong and take control of the situation. She is acting like a child and needs to be scolded like one. Everybody is entitled to be respected and does not deserve to be mistreated. Call her on it and see how she reacts - it may be part of the dementia, but if her behavior changes upon calling her on it - you will know. This whole role reversal is not easy.You may consider having her Alzheimer's/Dementia evaluated/re-evaluated by a doctor as well and I strongly urge you to do this.You may have her checked for a Urinary Tract Infection as well - this will mess with their heads and cause mental damage and advance the dementia - it's more common among elderly incontinent women to have a UTI.

    I hope that you and your family are able to have your own "family time" together, if you don't I suggest that you read the "caregiver rights" and take them to heart. If you do not have other family members to help you out that live in the immediate area try to find community services that can come to your home and watch her or find an adult day care or a senior center to drop her off for a couple of hours. You need your time to yourself otherwise you aren't going to be worth a darn to her and your family as a caregiver. Find a Alzheimer's/Dementia support group in your area - they can help tremendously and are a wealth of information. You shouldn't be in tears everyday...please find outside assistance. I know how hard it is to laugh it off - is your sister willing to care for her for a couple of weeks? 

    The bathing thing is a huge problem with Dementia care. Unfortunately they have the right to refuse their meds, eating and bathing. I live in California and have learned that even if grandma and grandpa were in a Skilled Nursing Facility that they have the right to refuse these things and in some instances have more rights than you and I.

    Now, on a legal note: Your mother needs to have at very least a Durable Power of Attorney and an Advanced Medical Directive that names you as the Attorney of fact, which will give you the legal powers to make decisions for her. I am at the point that I have to execute my powers of attorney of fact for the saftey and well being of my grandparents. 

    Let me leave you with a chuckle...

    Last week I had to take all my grandparents credit cards away, because they were ordering things off of the television. As far as I know all they ordered were a set of Wolfgang Puck pots and pans when they have perfectly good pots and pans and they don't cook anymore. I'm waiting for the Alpaca crate to be delivered, as they did take down the phone number for Alpaca. 

    Two weeks ago Grandma went to the doctor to determine if she had an UTI (urinary tract infection) and she did, but when the doctor announced that she did Grandpa got mad and asked "Where on earth did you get a DUI?" "Where were you going?" "What were you thinking?"

    Take Care of Yourself!!!

     

     

  • 02-07-2009 8:05 AM In reply to

    Re: Is it Dementia?

    No matter what the diagnosis, subjecting a 6 year old to grandma's bad behavior can leave life long scars.  I grew up with my mother's behavioral problems but let my own children visit grandma.  My daughter and I paid a high price and we have spent a lifetime looking for answers.  Her behavior is now wearing down my sister who has her in assisted living.  There are some forms of dementia that are early onset and do not involve memory. Get as much help as you can, you and your daughter deserve a good life.

  • 05-27-2009 11:59 AM In reply to

    Re: Is it Dementia?

    I know where you are coming from. My 89 year old mother is living with me. She's been doing so for the past 20 years. She had so little income that there was just no other way. My brother and sister have their own things going on and for them it simply wasn't an option. My husband is a real gem but he recently retired and was diagnosed with Parkinson's 6 months ago. Since I have two more years to work, he is the one who has to spend the most time with her. She is starting to think that it is her house. She doesn't want to take a bath or shower and she is getting to the point of making smart alec retorts when we are only trying to help her. She is very negative about almost everything. Just sits around and watches us and watches the neighbors. Actually she doesn't seem to be as bad off as your Mom, but it is really getting on our nerves and we feel very caged in at times. I asked my sister, who lives far away but is retired, if she could come and spend a week with mom so that we could get away. She said she does not want to spend her vacation babysitting her mother. It is a good thing that she cannot read my mind!!  I would like to see either of our sisters laugh off their mother's behavior. They just don't get it. I hope you will seriously consider putting your Mom in a rest home. I am starting to look into that option. They have already lost their quality of life. Now it is time to consider the quality of life for the rest of the family. You have no reason to feel guilty about your feelings. Your obligation is to your own family. The one that you chose!!

  • 09-23-2009 8:41 PM In reply to

    Re: Is it Dementia?

    Your life sounds very much like mine.  My mother is 94.  She sold her home 5 years ago as did we and bought a house that was suitable for us all.  We ,my husband and I, have two girls,a 14 year old and a 12 year old.  She, my mother,has started making up awful stories about us.  Accusing the girls of tearing up her things.  She has even said my husband and I borrowed money from her that we refuse to pay back. I have cried for two days.  She is ruining my life.  I sound selfish but hope people reading this will understand that she is makming our lives miserable.  I have tried to get her to go to adult daycare but she refuses.  She and I have always had a wonderful relationship.   I am crushed and also think I could be crazy.  Dementia is a  terrible thing.  I never knew people were affected like this. I need help but don't seem to be able to find what I need.  Don't think it is out there.

  • 09-27-2009 7:24 PM In reply to

    Re: Is it Dementia?

    I don't really have any suggestions to offer.  I can only say that my mother is beginning this same journey that your mom is on and I'm just lost.  She's always been coniving (she taught Behavior Modification at Portland State for a million years), but now it seems that she's just being mean for no reason.  I'm pretty sure she hates me and never really misses an opportunity to berate me.  And you're right, your sister has absolutely no idea what it's like to live with someone who hates everything.  Everything you're saying about your mom fits mine as well.  Only we suffer from fecal incontinence.  She's 78 and while I don't think that's REALLY old, it is getting up there.  I just have so much trouble with her mind going and going so quick.  Every day we have instruction on how to work the TV and DVD player.  It's not that I'm complaining so much as needing to find someone who can help in some way.  She won't go to a home any time soon, that  much I know.  She actually thinks since she changed my diapers, that I am now obligated to change hers for as long as it takes.   I guess I just need to know if her behavior is a symptom of something or if she's really just a horrible and mean person.  

    Are there meetings like they have for AA?  Someplace safe where we can talk and not be thought of as monsters.  

     My only advice to you is to keep talking to me.  At least we can compare notes and maybe one of us has found a solution for something the other hasn't thought of.  As a friend I have in the neighborhood said to me, Of course she knows how to push your buttons.  She installed them.  

     My name is Sue and my girlfriend is 5th grade was named Candace.  But we called her Candy.  Love to you and keep your chin up.  We may even get through this.

  • 09-29-2009 5:07 PM In reply to

    Re: Is it Dementia?

    Sue,

    You had asked if there are safe meetings where people on similar journeys can talk.  The Alzheimer's Association has support groups that meet at various times and at various locations.  I'd check with them to see what's out there in your area. 

     

    I was working with a man a while back - I think I was his sole support - and I encouraged him to go to a meeting.  He complained that he didn't think he could learn anything new from anybody, and besides, his mother had a frontol lobe issue, not Alzheimer's.  My response was that he always seemed geniunely appreciative when I just sat and listened to him, how much better to have a group of folks living in similar circumstances?  He was hesitant at first, but he really got into it and much later her even commented to me that he thinks he might give as much as he gets out of the group.  That's what it's all about. 

     

    Check with the Alzheimer's Association...

    Sam

  • 03-23-2010 2:20 AM In reply to

    Re: Is it Dementia?

    Cognitive dementia is the loss of mental ability. The loss of the ability to think, remember and reason. To earn the label of dementia, the mental loss must get in the way of carrying out day-to-day activities. The reduced ability to fulfill day-to-day events must last for more than six months.
    Cognitive dementia is not a disease. It is a group of symptoms. These symptoms would go along with certain diseases or conditions. Signs of dementia might also include changes in mood, personality, and behavior.
    Cognitive dementia results when a number of factors affect parts of the brain. These factors can include infections, diseases, or aging. The parts of the brain involved with dementia with examples are:
    •    Learning. Trouble learning a new kitchen appliance.
    •    Memory. Trouble remembering where you lived the past few years.
    •    Decision-making. Not able to make what used to be simple decisions.
    •    Language. Pausing to find words in the middle of a sentence.
    Cognitive dementia can be confusing and scary. Dementia can cause you to lose your freedom and independence. It can cause you to become a burden to your children or other loved ones.

  • 04-06-2010 3:23 AM In reply to

    Re: Is it Dementia?

     Yes at this stage people suffer from some mental isues, they forgey what they have done, sometime they are aggressive or sometime they are very calm, they mummbles alot and talk with themselves only, but it does not mean tht they have dementia. It happens just because of the demoralization or may be lack of interaction with people near by them, so what I suggest you should hire a carer who can take care of her and help in bathing and other stuffs and this interaction also may increase self esteem and helps preventing this kind of behaviour. 

  • 06-08-2010 7:36 AM In reply to

    Re: Is it Dementia?

    Dementia (meaning "deprived of mind") is a serious loss of cognitive ability in a previously unimpaired person, beyond what might be expected from normal aging. It may be static, the result of a unique global brain injury, or progressive, resulting in long-term decline due to damage or disease in the body.

  • 05-23-2011 10:25 PM In reply to

    Re: Is it Dementia?

    My nearly 85 yr old mother is getting worse pretty fast. First noticed the confusion last nov. I took over her finances because she called me and said (crying) that she got her checks from the bank and they all have different numbers. I have been paying her bills for her since then. Lately she has been extremely forgetful. She calls me 7 times a day to ask the same questions.  Recently she started having hallucinations (the devil is talking to her through her tv. Her clock was possesed, her jeans were possesed, and the devil was on her balcony). Today she was afraid to go back to her apt because there was a man in there. There wasn't  Her friends at the apt building have told me that she shouldn't live on her own anymore, and today the apt manager told me about the "man" and said something needs to be done.  They won't evict her, but they aren't equipped to deal with all of this.  She lives in a seniors apt building. There is a great support system there, but they aren't medical advisors. The residents there are getting overwhelmed with her stories.

    Most of the caretaking is my responsibility. I have a sister who is 14 yrs younger than me and she works and has 3 teenage kids. My brother who is 5 yrs older than me wants nothing to do with her because he feels "hes already put in his time when she went through a divorce" 12 years ago.

    I said all of that really to ask a question.....are hallucinations part of dementia/alzheimers?

  • 05-24-2011 8:47 AM In reply to

    Re: Is it Dementia?

    Linda,

    Hallucinations can be had by those in the later stages of Alzheimer's.  Based on what you've described, it seems to me that your mother is likely in need of closer supervision.  That supervision and support could come in the form of a round-the-clock caregiver/companion (assuming these people are trained and experienced in caring for someone with Alzheimer's) or possibly an institutional setting. 

    Check out the information from the Alzheimer's Association here

    Sam

  • 08-13-2011 11:53 PM In reply to

    Re: Is it Dementia?

    WOW, i can't STAND it because my mom has so many stories that repeat in her head that are negative, mostly about me.  I don't live with my mother (that started this at 62, four years ago), but just within the past couple months has become exteremely upsetting.  She says, "the a-hole's here..." out loud, after she saw me...  and I try to laugh it off and just put it as things that are comical.  But then she says that i stole their money...  which i have no control over.  My father is still great, and has become a caring caregiver for her, and he controls their money.  She contstantily is going through her purse, looking at her bank statements, muttering that she has no money.  she has been doing these "demon stare" thing too, and breathing really hard.  She's talking about how she was born with grey hair (we have reserved to warning the kids friends and just kind of going with it...  because you can't fight with her.  she went through a phase where she would whip down her pants to check her underwear, to the point where my father now has a "clean underwear" and dirty underwear bins...  with like tons in each.  She even whipped her pants down on vacation in the hotel room in front of my 14 year old son and his friend.  We all kind of looked at each other and left her with my dad.  But she say that i say she's ugly (tells strangers this), that someone tried to pay her and take her home, my dad looked the other way in a store and she walked home during december in 2degree weather.  she will only say, over and over, that he left her there. 

    In the past i have written down information like, Joann is still alive, nobody got hurt, did i kill somebody?  but she gets VERY upset when anybody shows any type of affection.  I'm not allowed to hug her or kiss her, and if i try she holds herself like a stone and sighs after and goes away quick.  Every single darn time its time to leave a party, whatever, anybody saying goodbye gets her muttering under her breath about how dirty they are, and not to kiss, and dont touch her!  its friggen embarrassing.  we try distracting her.  and she was abused when she was little, so i can understand where it comes from, but it doesn't justify "us" having to feel uncomfortable. 

    Her gait has changed, she walks all slouched over, she sniffles, picks at her face, can't focus, looks drunk, has seen at least eight doctors, doesn't have a diagnosis.  She shook for awhile but thtat was fixed with medicine.  She mutters constantly, and she used to grunt.

     My dad has asked us to go on vacation with them. Its a camper park, 800/week that they paid for, and its tiny, we did it last year... but last year she didn't "hate" me.  my son and a friend are coming, which we have done for years...  so i politely asked my dad to maybe rent another camper.  they are not hurting for money, at all, not even a bit...  and i really feel that this is something important for their sanity and MY sanity.  I don't know how everyone else feels, but i just feel forgotten, which is HORRIBLE, but my son said today that we should deal with it instead of trying to accomodate it.  But its like she freaks.

  • 08-14-2011 4:16 PM In reply to

    Re: Is it Dementia?

    My mom actually had a UTI. Once that got cleared up she got so much better.....having said that, she still has memory problems, but the hallucinations seem to be gone.  I'm having her tested for UTI every Dr visit now.  When left untreated they can wreak havoc.  Who knows how long she had it!

  • 10-23-2011 9:58 AM In reply to

    Re: Is it Dementia?

    Thank you, Linda. This gives me hope. Candace, my heart goes out to you. My husband and I have provided care for my 83 year old mother for the last 4 years, following my father’s death. We have enjoyed her company and she has continued to enjoy her crafts and crochet. Last Sunday, everything changed. Although she has always had a history of accusations of people stealing from her and paranoia, this is the first time she has openly accused us, specifically my husband. At first it was both of us but now the focus is on him. She used to accuse my father of having affairs. She now believes that my husband is taking things from her and she said that he is having an affair.When I tried to “help” her look for the missing items and money, she hit me several times and said she knew that I wouldn’t believe her. This also is behavior that she had displayed in the past, but the first time she has ever hit me. Two days later when my husband tried to talk to her and tell her that he loved her and only wanted to help her, she slapped him twice. He told her that he wanted to help but that she couldn’t hit us, she asked us, with a smirk, “what are you going to do about it? Call the police?” She said that she would call the police and tell them that WE were hitting her!! When I asked, “you would lie about us?” she just smirked again and said “what are you going to do about it.”Our situation has deteriorated rapidly. She won’t take her medicine correctly and doesn’t want anyone giving it to her, because she doesn’t trust anyone. A day after the incident of her hitting my husband, I took oatmeal and milk to her. I was afraid of what would happen but thought she would accept it or throw it at me, but I had to try. She took it, I hugged her and told her that I loved her and wanted to be there for her. I had to carefully choose my words because I didn’t know what would trigger her to act out again.She seems to trust me again; or at least acts that way. The bad part is that she is not coming out of her room much. She stays in there and is digging in bags and boxes all day. I hear her in her closet half the day. I have been taking food to her because I’m afraid she won’t eat. Each meal she seems to eat a little more and her mood has improved. However, my husband spends most of his time upstairs or just trying to avoid her because his presence agitates her. She says that he is taking things from her and is having an affair. When I’ve found the missing items or money, she just says that he put it back to make her look crazy.She has a doctor appointment tomorrow. I am thankful that she had a regular visit scheduled otherwise she would not go as she denies that anything is wrong. The doctor has tried to prescribe medicine in the past for her moods but she will not take it.I desperately want this to be a UTI; that is my prayer.

    thank you for sharing your experience. We love having her with us, but I am not going to pretend that it's been easy. There have been as many hard times and there have been good times. We go from day to day, not really knowing what to expect, it makes it difficult to even have our grandchildren over to visit, so I cannot imagine what you deal with having your daughter exposed daily.

    I'll be thinking of you and am happy to share, it helps to have someone to talk to that understands.

    Donna

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