The New Normal. Getting used to mom's delusions.

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We can have some strange conversations in this house. I am starting to see them as a normal part of life.

Tonight my mother came in my room and asked if we still had insurance on the house. I told her yes. She seemed relieved and said, "So if lightning strikes the heater, then they will pay to replace it." I guaranteed her they would, but wondered why she was thinking about this.

She was about to leave, but turned to ask if they would help with all the cracks in the floor, that some of them were big enough to fit a dime through. She pointed at all the cracks in the floor. Of course, there are no cracks in the floor, but to her there are. We had the floor reinforced and lifted a few months ago, and since then she has imagined that there are spaces between all the boards. She doesn't understand how the floors are put together. I tried to explain, but it didn't help. She doesn't remember.

I just considered it might help to carpet the house. But that would be expensive and she would probably blame the new carpet for symptoms she experiences. Anytime workmen come into the house, she feels they do something to cause her to be ill. I need to do something, though, because she puts blankets and towels on the floor of her bedroom to cover all the cracks. I pick things up. She puts them back down. She thinks she is covering all the cracks in the floor, but all I see are trip hazards.

I may do best to get some large area rugs to cover all the cracks. That way I could install them and tape them in place, and there would be no workmen doing things that make her ill. And maybe she wouldn't be allergic to the rugs. And maybe she wouldn't think the cracks were still letting things in.

The strangest thing is that I am starting to see all of this as normal -- solving problems that don't even exist. I guess I am getting dotty myself.

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Yes, Joshua/Sam, spouse caretakers do have to adjust to a new normal, also. Since this site is for "Connecting people caring for elderly parents," naturally those of us caring for spouses are in the small minority. Hey, my husband was an elderly parent -- he just wasn't MY parent. :) Anyway, I have found many aspects of what is discussed on this site to be very applicable whether you are taking care of a parent, a grandparent, an aunt, or a spouse. At the same time, there are definitely differences, depending on the relationship.

It sounds like you are doing a great job with your wife. She is lucky to have Joshua as well as Sam to look after her!

Some events, like having the neighbors over, can really take a lot out of our loved ones. But I feel they are also important, and add pleasure and meaning to our loved one's lives. We need a good crystal ball to figure out where to draw the lines, and when the costs outweigh the benefits. My husband golfed with a league for persons with handicaps. It took a lot out of him and he was pretty much out of it the rest of the day and sometimes the next day. But he absolutely lived for his golf and bowling and I tried very hard to make that possible for him, no matter what. In the 9+ years I took care of him I think I got pretty good at reading the crystal ball, but I never achieved perfection.

Hugs to you, and to your wife, and to all those people who haven't gone home yet!
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A year ago or so mom's neurologist started asking "Are you having vivid dreams? Seeing things (animals and people) that aren't there?" It was like the first thing out of her mouth. Now, I know why. Mom's advanced PD and the meds she takes make her very confused esp. in the middle of the night. She'll ask where I was? What house is this? How did we get home. The real clincher is when she rings the bell (she is pretty much an invalid and cannot get up on her own out of bed and walk to the bathroom) and then she tells me she didnt' want to wake anyone up. She'll think there is company in the house when there isn't and she doesn't want to 'disturb' them. It's sad. She also can't figure out numbers (and that would now include the phone and TV remote in addition to the checkbook). Yet, she hates it that I've had to 'take over" as she says. Like I wanted this to and didn't want her to be healthy and ME to be working full time earning money instead of becoming penniless taking care of her.
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Gosh, aren't there any spouses out there that encounter all the things that are discussed? Yes, normal here is having to answer same question many times, but I try to be patient with my wife, but it is frustrating at times. Things go along pretty normal for a few days, then if something unusual happens, such as a friend dropping by for a visit, or us going to one of our daughters house for a visit, it gets her more confused. She might get up in middle of night and ask me where has everyone gone, or is this our daughters house. We had several couples over a few months ago for an annual neighborhood get together, that really set her back. She would get up in the wee hours, wondering where everyone went. And the next night after this get together she got up early wondering if she and I were the only ones up, she thought everyone stayed the night. And the next night she had the same questions, asked me where Sam was. I'm Sam. I don't know why I said it, but I told her he was around here somewhere. She then asked me who I was. I blurted out Joshua. She sat across the table from "Joshua" and told him her usual stories of all her relatives, where she lived as a young girl, all the things she tells any stranger or acquantance that she can get cornered for any length of time. She is 83, I am 86, and in excellent health for an old man. She has been on Aricept for almost five years now, and our Dr. said I could try Namenda in addition to the Aricept, but let it be my decision. She has been on Namenda for a couple months now, and is getting worse by the day. I have just started taking her off the Namenda, reducing the dosage by 1/4 each week. The Dr recommended this.
Just needed to vent some, and from a spouse's view.
Give a hug, and need a hug.
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wuvsicecream, my mother doesn't think the kids take anything, they are just there and they are good kids, but she doesn't know what to do about them. She is convinced, however, that I take her stuff all the time. No, correction, I STEAL her stuff. She also says no one writes to her because they think she is dead because I threw out all her addresses. I am so glad I am not alone in this.
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My mother had vascular dementia. One day, my sister and I were visiting. She started talking about the beautiful baby in the room with us. Then she turned to my single sister and told her how proud she was that she would adopt this baby as her own. She said some people might say things about how it wasn't right, but she thought it was wonderful. My sister never missed a beat. She said, 'thanks, mom. With the support of my family, I can do anything." It was actually pretty funny. I have no idea how my sister was able to react so quickly, but it ended the whole discussion.
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msdaizy, you are going through it, gf. Sometimes I wonder how we keep from thinking their thoughts are fact. Sometimes I find myself worrying about the cracks in the floor and the house falling down. Then I have to stop to remind myself that it isn't real.

I wonder how many of these things are from perceiving information wrong and how much may be from dreams. The other night I had a dream about a woman with high heeled shoes that had heels with a sharp point. The next morning I was thinking about this woman like she was real. I wondered how she walked without falling over. Then I remembered it was only a dream. Had I not realized that, there would still be this woman out there with shoes nearly impossible to walk on.

I've also wondered if people with dementia tend to see children or spirits because of the human abilities to pull faces out of their surroundings. For example, we see faces in the clouds or made by shadows in the tree. We may be adapted to see faces because of the danger they can pose to us if they were real. Shadows can become people in the night. Those closets are particularly scary.
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My mom woke up one night after about a month of being here with me. She was frantic...she said she has to help the little girl with the scared face. Poor thing...she was stumbling all over the house calling out for her at about 3am, "I'm here...I'll help you...Are you in there?" It was really weird and strange to me, but I finally got her calmed down enough to get her back into her bed. She also wakes up and says..."those little boys are peeking at me from the closet. Do you see them" And the baby...She's always worried about the baby..with no clothes. I just play along with her...calm her down when she's worked up. I don't argue with her like I did before. It's not worth the effort. Its just the way it is.
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My mom says she sees spirits. They look like real people and most are kids. I was shocked when she said this. I asked her how long this has been going on. She said for years. I asked her how come she never told anyone. She said she was afraid we'd think she was nuts. She never complained that anyone ever stole anything. The peopel/kids she saw were happy but looking for misplaced people in their lives. I really belive she sees spirits.
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KateAnne My Mother see's kids too!!! She only talks about the kids because they take her things.
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I am so glad I came across this discussion. A couple of years ago my mother started with the odd comments and questions and I was totally unprepared for that as she, too, has always been very logical and capable. Tonight she had a bunch of kids sleeping in her room and that was causing her great concern. Do their parents know where to find them? I woke them all up but should I let them sleep? I used to try reasoning and logic but finally learned that with dementia, there is no reasoning and logic, it just is what it is. I told her let the kids sleep, I already talked with their parents and everything is ok. A while later she came in and said there were no kids now. I have learned not to ask where did the kids go, I just answered OK. My siblings would be stunned to see her now....
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