I need help with my mom when I travel

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I'm new to this website. I hope you can help me and my brother with a new problem we have with our mother. Mom just turned 92 and last week we learned that she has Alzheimer's. I had suspected it.
I work full time as a video producer. My job involves some traveling--not nearly as much travel as in the past. Now my trips are about two days long. Sometimes there are conferences when I'm gone for one week but most trips are 2-3 days long. When I travel my brother, who is 5 years old than me, moves in and watches over mom. Lately, mom gets very upset when I travel and has been very difficult for my brother to handle. I try to prepare her for my trips weeks in advance and I post information all over the house because I know she won't remember the conversations we have about my upcoming trips. Still once I leave home and call her to see how she's doing she will ask me where am I and yell at me for leaving home without telling her where I am. She gets very angry at my brother for not jumping on a plane right now and bringing me back home. Talking to her on the phone and reassuring her that I'm safe doesn't help she is still afraid something bad might happen to me and still claims I never told her about my trips. She has always been very protective of me, I am the youngest in the family. Now she always has to know where I am at all times. I don't mind telling her where I am but she never remembers what I tell her and she gets mad at me anyway. It's very frustrating for me and its very difficult for my brother because she gets extremly mad at him and totally out of control. He said at one time he was afraid she might get violent. Most times my mom is a very sweet, mild woman who is kind to everyone. This new Jeckle-Hyde personality thing is really freaky and we don't know how to deal with it. Please help.

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Thanks so much for your suggestions. I did have mom write down my travel schedule but it didn't help. She still got very upset when I was gone. Fortunately, my last trip was very short, I was gone for just one night. When I called her, she was very clear headed and remembered where I was and why I was there.

The nanny cam sounds like a good idea. My brother does tell mom I'll be back soon but her response has been he should get in the car right now and bring me back.

I am very fortunate to have a brother that is caring. I feel sorry for him though, mom gives him a hard time when I travel. Unfortunately, we have no other relatives in our area.

I really appreciate all of the suggestions and support from everyone here. It's comforting to know I am not the only one with this problem.

Jean
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When someone has dementia you have to stay in their world. Have your brother say that you will be back soon and that he wanted to spend some time with his mother alone. Change is the hardest thing for them and sometimes you just have to redirect and keep reassuring them that their loved one will be back soon, do you want to play some cards? Thank God that you have your brother!! Also contact the Alzheimers association and ask for some tips on how to handle separation anxiety. I am also thinking the phone calls while you are away might make her worse and add to the confusion.
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Jean I will be looking in on your comment board every once and a while. You are a lot stronger than you know. Trust me you will make it. I wish my brother would at least pick up the damb phone and call his mother. Sorry for my bad word, but he makes me so mad. She worries about him all the time. We lost my other brother to a drug overdose when I was 16. She worries about him doing the same. I find that my heart has harded against him and see him as a very selfish person. My other brother, would give you the shirt off his back. It is not good to say, but I think the wrong one was taken.

Any how, here is my favorite joke that I have ever come accross...

A lady is walking through mud and rain with a laundry basket on her head and she looks up and says, " God I know you won't put any more on me than you think I can handle, but I sure do wish you did not think so highly of me."!

Love,
Susan
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It's good to hear the family works together during this tough time. The best to you all. Take care of yourself,
Carol
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You are so right. Even when I travel I think about my mom and I call her often. I am emotionally attached.

My brother is five years older than me. He lives with his family in another city that's about 45 minutes away from us but his job is in the same city we live in. I trust my brother completely with mom. He is reliable, caring and patient and he does an excellent job taking care of her. We are so lucky to have him. He is willing to jump in and take care of mom anytime I need to go out of town. I am glad that I make less business trips now than I did a few years ago.

I will look into the cameras.

Jean
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Susan's statement that "Even when you are away your heart and mind are with her" is so true. That's one of the reasons it's so hard for caregivers to relax. When we are with the care receiver, we know what's going on. We may be hurried, exhausted and worried about our job and/or children, but we know what's going on with the elder.

When we are away, we reverse the situation. It's extremely hard to just let go and know that someone else is in charge and you will be notified if there is an emergency. It's vital for caregivers to get some real breaks, but it's hard for the caregiver to let go completely. I don't know that we ever do.

I hope you can hire some help for your brother, if he needs it, and then let it go. You are doing everything you can.

These cameras and other technology can be very helpful, if they aren't too intrusive and if the care receiver isn't afraid of the intrusion (some find it comforting), however the brother may find it disconcerting. Each family has to find their preference with the new technolgy. It doesn't replace human caregiving, but it can augment it.
Carol
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I am some what new to Alzheimers. I am just begining to think my mother has dementia. I am not even sure how to have her tested yet.

Do you think if you were able to take one of those camcorders that she and you could at least see each other while you are away over the computer, or do you think that would confuss her more?

You and your brother will be in my prayers. If you need to not call for a night, you may need to do that. Remember, your brother gets his break. Even when you are away your heart and mind are with her. You have to take some time for you or your brother will be the only one taking care of her. I have a great deal of respect for you and your brother!

In Christian Love,
Susan M. Myers
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This, unfortunately, is dementia at work. On one hand, in her mind, you are still her little girl and she wants to know where you are and what your are doing. She needs to "protect" you. One the other hand, you are the caregiver she is used to. You are the one who does things in a specific way. People with dementia generally don't handle change well.

I had certan routines for my parents, and I was so caught up in guilt and other complex feelings that I woundn't take a day away, even though I knew they were well cared for by others, and even had visitors (my sister). But still, they wanted me to do what I did for them each day - the way I did it. So they were never happy when I did finally learn I had to take a day or two away. I slowly learned to detach from their unhappiness and do what I had to do for my own sanity (this didn't happen until years into caregiving).

Since Alzheimer's is the dementia your mother has, the acting out physically and even violently, can be part of that. She's afraid when you are gone, as her routine is changed, even though you do everything possible to keep things even. You can't do more, nor can your brother change himself into you. But it's likely fear that causes the acting out.

You'll have to work on yourself to detach and let go of the guilt. You are doing nothing wrong. Either is your brother. You may need to hire in-home help to give your brother support. If you have a short-term stay facility in your area that you trust and that has trained staff in Alzheimer's care, that is an option, but not all areas have this. Additional in-home help for your brother may be the only answer.

The time is likely to come when your mother needs nursing home care. You can't work full time and take care of someone in the later stages of Alzheimer's at the same time. You will need it for your health, and she will need it for her safety, as she will need 24/7 care (you may be able to hire this and keep her home. It depends on your circumstances).

This is a move that she will resist and she will get worse for awhile. But many people adjust and enjoy being with peers and taking part in the activities provided. Be aware that any changes will likely bring a downside, before you see improvement. That is even the case with in-home care to help your brother.
Carol
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You and your brother might want to set up a nanny-cam with a recorder - or if you have the resources some of them have remote access via the internet. It will let you both take a look at what is happening and see what patterns triggers, or other factors you can both address. There are so many excellent suggestions, perhaps using a tool like this would help you both decide what techniques to use / when or give you other ideas.
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I just wanted to suggest one other thing in addition to all of the great advice posted so far. A tool that might help you
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