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Coping with my mum who has dementia

(11 Posts)
Anneishere Sat 19-Dec-20 09:36:13

My mum now aged 89 years has been diagnosed with mild dementia 2/3 years back. Her memory is not good but she still very hygienic and can look after herself good. She is good for taking her medication. As the carer has confirmed on more than one occasion mum is very good compared to her other patients who are not so independent. Apart from that mother is quite fit for her age compared to others of similar age or some even younger. She has had blood tests / other tests all of which have come back clear and as all the consultants have said over the years to her ‘she is very fit for her age’ . I honestly feel at times she wishes she wasn’t so fit and she is always complaining about how ill she feels - yet on camera you see her walking up and down stairs, dusting etc which is good. She does have a walking stick and also has osteoporosis which is handled with pain medication. She does thrive on attention from doctors and hospital staff. I would say my relationship with her has never been a special mother/daughter relationship. She lives alone but has good family support. She is very blessed in many ways. I live very close to her. She has a carer in twice a day just for a chat and making sure she takes medication. Mum is very independent in many ways but is very attention seeking. She has always been attention seeking and/ or a victim of sorts which has really worsen with dementia. She can be very childlike - at times you feel you are dealing with a toddler with attitude. She has become at times very angry & her focus at moment is on me. She has told me to f—k off a few times and to get out of her home. She has spoke bad about me to other members of family. These incidents have been on camera as we have put a camera in living room, kitchen, dining room, and we have a ring alarm at front door. Also, another incident which happened only yesterday I kept my sister on phone so she could hear everything so thank god I have back up as otherwise I could have been seen as a complete evil demon! I am not well myself having heart disease and diabetes. During this covid I have been able to visit her most days with shopping and for company. Some days are more tolerable than other days. But listening to her how she has degraded me the last couple of weeks I find hard to ignore or let it go - I am finding it now extremely difficult to even look at her straight in the face. I am due to go up there today to help her pack as my brother Jimmy having her over Christmas. I now feel sick at the thought of having to see her - what sort of mood will she be in - I Know it could be difficult helping her pack but then she could have a good day? I am finding her very difficult & I am not coping mentally or physically. As she said to me last night demanding I read notice dating back 2017 - and she said to me “who the f—k else have I got”. At moment I don’t like her at all!

Dorsetcupcake61 Sat 19-Dec-20 11:23:09

My heart went out to you reading this. All you can do is step back and take care of your own mental and physical wellbeing. Hopefully the break whilst she is away will help.
Family dynamics can be difficult at the best of times. Dementia affects people differently. Occasionally quite unpleasant individuals suddenly become sweetness and light. More often underlying unpleasantness comes even more to the fore as inhibitions lessen.
I worked very closely with someone with vascular dementia. It was a large loving family. The lady in question went from being sweetness and light to verbally viscous. Seeing her with different family members it soon became apparent there was one that she was particularly prickly with and there was always an underlying tension.
Dementia is a difficult condition for those that have ot and those that support them. If there are other family members who can play a bigger role maybe it's time for an honest discussion about how the situation is affecting you and your health. It's hard but it's unlikely your mothers attitude will change so it may be that all you can do is change how you react to/deal with it.

Alexa Sat 19-Dec-20 11:44:00

Anneishere, you have my sympathy. It must be hard looking after someone with dementia who is not your relation , let alone your mother!

"As she said to me last night demanding I read notice dating back 2017 - and she said to me “who the f—k else have I got”. "

Seems to me the old lady has spoken the truth. You are all she has got. You need constant reassurance to be able to support her so I agree you need to be frank with other family members.

I myself am 89 and need moral support. However I can get this from several sources including Gransnet which perhaps are not available to your mother.

silverlining48 Sat 19-Dec-20 11:54:05

I recognise this, my mum was similar so I know its hard, but as things progress, as they will, she will calm down. Its a cruel disease. Try to get more family help and dont take this personally.

Anneishere Sat 19-Dec-20 12:14:56

To Alexa: my goodness you sound really good for 89! Unfortunately my mum did not have a good education and came from a very poor background in Ireland. So, mum is not computer literate at all. It proves very difficult even now to hold any type of conversation apart from looking at the hundreds of family pictures surrounding her on her walls - she has 11 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren (with another on the way). Some members of the family do visit her on occasions so mum is very lucky compared with many older people who literally have no one. One of my sisters is also very good to her. Mum also has phone calls from members of family so it’s not the case that she has no one but me. Yes I live close so I do the bits of shopping for her and sit with her. So by her saying aggressively to me she has no one but me is simply not the case. It’s just the last couple of weeks she has become even more demanding and wanting attention 24/7. I am finding it all very draining.

kittylester Sat 19-Dec-20 12:21:05

Please talk to a dementia support worker at the Alzheimer's Society and ask their advice. Also the Alzheimer's Society have a forum on their website where you will find lots of advice. I'll look for the link. It used to be called Talking Point but I suspect it has changed it's name.

kittylester Sat 19-Dec-20 12:27:30

forum.alzheimers.org.uk/?_ga=2.146078774.325457391.1608380493-1504259739.1587133813

The link to Talking Point!!

2020convert Sat 19-Dec-20 12:29:46

My mum had vascular dementia and, at times, could be very nasty, especially to those she loved and loved her. It is so difficult to cope with the changing relationship as they regress from being a parent to being the one in need. Try to be positive; remember she will be frightened of what is happening to her; remember the good times and how she looked after you when you were little; try to ignore the hurtful and enjoy the lighter moments; you need to laugh about the silly, funny, little things. As your brother is caring for her over Christmas do make sure he is aware of how the illness is affecting her and your relationship. After her stay with him it will be time to discuss the future. Good Luck and have a peaceful Christmas.

sodapop Sat 19-Dec-20 12:47:11

Try to separate the illness from the person Annishere it is difficult I know when it's your Mum saying these things. Maybe you need to take a step back for a time to recharge your batteries.
I agree with kittylestet talk to someone from the Alzheimer's society or an Admiral nurse, they will be able to help you with coping strategies.

Witzend Sat 19-Dec-20 13:12:53

I have every sympathy @Anneishere - I’ve been through all this twice, with my mother and my FiL.

First, can I please advise you strongly to join the Talking Point forum on the Alzheimer’s Society website. The carers’ forum was a lifeline for me. There aren’t often any easy answers but at least you can offload to people who know exactly what it’s like - people who haven’t lived with it hardly ever do. (But they often think they do and like to give unsolicited and almost certainly useless ‘advice’.).

Being horrible to someone close to them is quite common among people with dementia. It’s all too easy to say, ‘Ignore it - it’s not them talking, it’s the dementia’ but it can be so hard not to feel very hurt by nasty comments or accusations of stealing, etc. My own usually incredibly robust brother was once reduced to tears by the vile things my mother had said to him - and he’d been the Golden Boy who could do no wrong.,

One thing I would advise - and it took me and dh quite a while to suss it out when we were very new to dementia, no internet help then! - is not to try to correct the person when they come out with something you absolutely know can’t be true. Just go along with it as far as humanly possible.

As an example, for quite a while my mother was convinced that her sister had ‘stolen’ their mother’s house. In the beginning I did try to reason with her and explain the facts, but she simply wouldn’t have it and would furiously accuse me of being ‘in league with’ her sister (my aunt.)

Eventually (it cropped up again and again, and she never could remember any previous conversation) I learned to say e.g., ‘Dear me, that’s terrible, I had no idea, I’ll get on to the police/a solicitor first thing tomorrow.’
That always kept her happy, or at least reasonably contented, for the moment.

Lastly, please do not allow yourself to be guilt-tripped into doing more than you feel well able to. Dementia is only ever going to get worse, and as anyone who’s lived with it will know, it can be incredibly stressful and exhausting to cope with. If social services are, or will be, involved, do make your boundaries crystal clear - it’s so much cheaper and easier for them to offload necessary care on to relatives.

All the best. 💐

Witzend Sat 19-Dec-20 13:17:23

I forgot to add, before your mother gets any worse, please look into setting up powers of attorney for both finance and health and welfare - assuming they’re not in place already. As long as your mother can still understand at the time what she’s agreeing to, it’s still possible.
It can save an awful lot of headaches later.