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Coping with mum aged 90 with dementia

(9 Posts)
Anneishere Sat 01-May-21 09:42:37

I visit my mother every other day and spend some hours with her who is aged 90 this year & who has dementia. I also do her shopping getting the basics and mum has a carer who attends on mum in mornings and evenings staying with mum for approximately 30 mins each visit. Physically mum is good although suffers from some ostéoporoses. She is very demanding requiring much attention and praise. Mum has a very bad memory so you are continuously having to repeat yourself over and over and basically you have the same conversation on
every single visit. She thrives on family pictures and spends most of her time showing the family album and the numerous pictures on her walls. You also have to be careful not to stress mum or disagree with anything she says or does as she can become quite angry towards you. Mum has become very childlike and we have noticed she is at her best when in the company of small children - you can see her face light up. After each visit with mum I return home and I feel absolutely drained, tired and depressed and always the next day I do not have the energy to do anything. I believe emotionally / mentally it wears me down. I am 68 and am not 100% myself with heart disease now controlled by medication / stents and am diabetic and am overweight which does not help. I am desperately trying to lose weight but I do comfort eat crap. I love my mum although during my childhood we have had our ups and downs as most do. I have 2 sisters and 2 brothers - one of my sisters is an absolute diamond who has always had a better bond with mum but does live further away but does visit mum when she can and stays with her for 1 or 2 days and even she has said to me she feels drained by end of visit comparing mum to a toddler. We are lucky for now in that mum can physically look after herself and is very clean and hygienic. I honestly feel dread now when I know I must visit her knowing how much it drains and depresses me and this makes me feel so very guilty and simply a crappy daughter!

NotSpaghetti Sat 01-May-21 10:21:30

Please don't feel guilty. You are NOT crappy, just exhausted.

Lots of people here can understand that. I love my mother-in-law who has none of these problems but her slowness is really draining and my husband and I are generally exhausted after a visit. We generally visit 3 times a week. You are there all the time.

My mother-in-law is pretty great for 97 but just making a cup of tea takes half an hour it seems (never timed it but it feels like it! ) as she sets up a tray with milk jugs and cups and saucers and teaspoons, biscuits etc.
It's the waiting about that wears you out.

Do you remember walking with a toddler? Do you remember how weary you were after less than a mile? It's the pace I think that is the issue.
Psychologically and physically it's wearing. And on top of this your mother has dementia.

Be kind to yourself. We all do the best we can.

Alexa Sat 01-May-21 10:28:28

Anneishere, you seem to be coping well. You can do no more than you are doing. All you need is reassurance and and more rest and relaxation.

I suggest you imagine yourself as a gramophone repeating the same over and over again. You might eventually be able to think of something else while you are talking to, or looking at photos with, the old lady. You seem to meeting her needs very well.

NotSpaghetti Sat 01-May-21 10:31:59

Please tell me you don't visit while your sister is there!
Please take every opportunity for a day off!

Shelflife Sat 01-May-21 10:33:20

Not a crappy daughter !!!! I took care of my mother and it is not an easy task !! She developed dementia and life was not easy. Eventually a care home was found for her , but that is a very difficult thing to do. She died aged 92 and I miss her every day ! After her death I worked for many years as a volunteer with the Alzheimers Society. During this time I realized that my feelings during my caring years were very common . NEVER feel guilty , you must take care of yourself. If I may give a little advice - if / when you decide a care home is necessary choose carefully . The nicely presented ones are not necessarily the best , quality of care is the priority. A bit of dust is not important, also if your mum is in care don't be afraid to move her if you have any doubts at all about the quality of her care. Also please take notice of what she says , there is sometimes an element of truth in what she is saying, so don't put everything she says down to her dementia. You are doing an amazing job , however do not put yourself on the back burner - look after yourself , you are important too. Good luck to you and your mum . I recognize your feelings , do take as much support as is available. Seeking support is not easy during the pandemic but please do not ignore your health. I send you
' hugs' and good wishes . Be good to yourself !

Peasblossom Sat 01-May-21 10:42:45

I think you’re doing a great job🙂

It is like having a toddler again. One thing I found worked was to watch television together. My relative liked wildlife programmes and I bought a box set that we used to watch together. It was repetitive but not as stressful as keeping up a conversation. It reminded me of sitting with a cup of coffee while Playschool was on.

I hope that doesn’t sound as if I’m making light of the stress of the situation 💐

Katyj Sat 01-May-21 10:53:38

Oh Annie you certainly are not a crappy daughter you sound fantastic and actually much better than me. My mum is similar to yours mentally, but has heart and mobility problems too, I do her shopping, paperwork appointments etc but only visit twice a week for around an hour, then I ring everyday.
That’s as much as I can cope with without it impacting my mental health and well-being. It is very draining, I try to destress on the drive home by having a cd playing in the car very loudly !
I’m an only one, your lucky to have siblings would they do some of the visiting for you, so you could do less ?
Be kind to yourself, I’m 64 overweight as well. that’s one of the reasons I’ve cut my visits down so I have time to go for long walks. Your important too. Good luck.

Bashful Thu 20-May-21 21:09:07

I feel your pain. I initially looked after my Mum who had Alzheimers and my Dad who had Vascular Dementia. Eventually I had to give in through utter exhaustion because they refused any help except from me.
Things do go from bad to worse unfortunately and it’s probably time that you looked for a care home. If it’s difficult now then it becomes much worse than that as time goes on.
You have done everything you can but don’t die in the process. It’s not fair on you at your age and with your own health problems. A family decision after a discussion sounds like it’s definitely needed sooner rather than later. Good luck.

Sparkling Thu 20-May-21 22:42:19

I think you're all wonderful. It's so difficult and wearing much as you love them.