Need some thoughts on how serious this is.

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I feel like I live in the land of Loony Toons. Everything seems upside down, but I don't know how serious it all is. My mother has been going more off the deep end the last 2-3 weeks. She seems normal enough except being more emotional. She cries at the drop of a hat and threw a tantrum this morning that shook the house. I can handle these things, though they aren't pleasant.

My mother's obsession with something being wrong with the floor has gotten worse. She thinks the house is on stilts and cracks between the floor boards are letting cold air in. Nothing is wrong with the floor, besides being old. She has had this obsession for over 2 years. I bought huge rugs to put down in the rooms she uses. They cover almost the entire floor and are quite thick and heavy.

A few minutes ago I went into her room and she has her whole floor covered with comforters and towels. The rug and bar floor were totally covered. I could barely walk on the floor without tripping. This is what worries me about the craziness. It is an accident waiting to happen.

We went through this before I bought the rugs. She would put towels down, I would pick them up, she would put them back down. I keep handling things like this is something normal, but my insides are saying that living has gotten to be frakking nutty. And actually I don't know what needs to be done -- ultimatums? NH? Living with it and hoping for the best? I thought about talking to my brothers, but they don't care. One would tell me that it isn't so bad, that old people do this, and the other would say do what I think best. I would much rather hear from people who have been through this type of thing about things to do.

46 Comments

I've not been thru this particular situation...and I, like you, would be worried about her fall risk with all that stuff on the floor.... what meds is she on? Is there anything that can help that anxiety..... tough choices for you ..... in and of it's self, it's not as serious as some things they do... but this would make me crazy..... and I guess there is no redirecting her.....
What has her Dr. said about this???? At some point this would be so crazy making I would , like you, feel I need to make some tough choices just to keep my sanity.....please let us know what happens, and hopefully others will come on and share similar experiences.....

My worst situation was Ruth always trying to leave.... could not even go to the bathroom that she wasn't out and down the road.... that was simple to fix... all door had double locks that I had the keys for.... but she would pace the floor for HOURS trying to get out.... and getting more upset by the minute.... felt like I was locked up in an asylum...WITH the crazy.....

No one would believe the things that go on in our homes would they.... just nuts.... do what you need to do to keep from loosing your mind....lots of hugs
jesse,
i think you should contact doc very soon. i see the "almost " stage of terminal agitation there, or the terminal restlessness that precedes it by only a day or two. i dont understand why hospice isnt already involved. certainly sounds like the final weeks of dementia to me. hospice could be a great comfort to you both because of all the infernal visits by nurse, soc worker, aides. those visits make the patient feel cared for and they enjoy being the focus of attention at this time. my mom liked the company and only napped lightly so she wouldnt miss a visit by them. when the dying process begins an air comfort bed is brought in and confort meds are on hand and ready. hospiss provides anything that becomes necessary to include an aide so you can sleep the last few nights. a broken bone is the destiny of too many elders in their final weeks as their mobility falters and their balace becomes affected. broken bones hurt like hell and are the end of the line for the elder anyway as once they become bedfast they will lose the muscles and will never be getting back up. your vigil must be pretty constant already as shes stumbling around and acting out around the clock. i spent about the last 3 months with mom needing this constant attention. id have to nap when she napped to keep my babysitting gig intact. its a trippy time and definately show time for the carer. i dont know what else to say except get hospice in there. this is what they do -- insure qol thru the final days and make sure the shutting down is pain free. ( knocked out colder'n an icelandic cod )
" floors " indeed. my mother said she couldnt sleep in her room with no ceiling or roof. it all probably doesnt exite you too much as this point because youve become conditioned to crazy already. thats a good thing. if she starts going off like a popcorn machine of phsycobabble and it doesnt soon pass, an injection of haldol was the ticket for us. didnt knock her out, just took some of the wind out of her sails and kept crazy at a dull roar. i remember hauling home 2 haldol injections so mom lasted 60 days after trippin balls set in.
Thank you, Ladee and Capn. I am not sure if she is ready for hospice or not. She is still in the moderate dementia category, with most of her memory intact. I do plan on calling them in when her time grows near if she is still at home. I believe very strongly in hospice.

Ladee, her doctor has been on maternity leave. She'll be back next week and we have an appointment. I need to talk to her about what is really going on with my mother. My mother is so meek and normal acting at the doctor's that they don't get a clear idea. Maybe her doctor will have an idea for a good medication for the obsession. She currently uses Ativan, but since she has been on benzos since she was in her 30s, it may be like water to her.

The things on the floor are a huge concern. My mother says she will not trip, but she is so unsteady on her feet already. She shuffles when she walks, barely lifting her feet 0.5" from the floor. Her walk is very similar to someone with Parkinson's, but more side to side. She holds her arms stiff at a strange angle to keep her balance. (She is severely stooped with spinal stenosis.)

While I am writing this, I am remembering my father's last fall. My mother had dropped a towel on the floor after her bath. He went to his room and tripped on it. Those towels can be very dangerous, but she doesn't understand. Maybe I should remind her about Dad falling on one of them. That might register. I also learned from her that a few years ago when he fell and broke his hip, it was because he tripped on a towel on the bathroom floor. I might have to start locking up the towels and blankets, and dealing with the tantrums.
Haldol or Seroquel -- I do wonder if they might work without making her fall. I don't know much about the latter drug.
Jessie..... My mother in law has increased confusion when she has a UTI. (urinary tract infection). Since she is moderate dementia, you may want to see if you can get a doc appt tomorrow. She could have some other infection brewing. The obsessions are hard to deal with......this is what she perceives and all the talking to her won't help. You may want to have the doc try something a little milder.... like zoloft or celexa. We had to put my MIL back on celexa(citalopram) for agitation and it seems to help. Gonna be a long night for you........hang in there!
Jessie -it is time for a revaluation of your mother and her needs? It does look like a high risk for fall situation. I have seen that you have been getting more and more concerned. I doubt ultimatums would work, but you never know. The time may have come when home is not a safe place for your mum. (((((hugs))))
Jessie~My mom was obsessed with her financial and medical files. She went through them daily, hiding them in different places, accusing me and sis of stealing them. Then mom started calling a couple of her lady friends accusing them of stealing the files too. I called the dr that day and took mom in to get her on an antidepressant for her agitation and anxiety. He prescribed Citalpram as norestforweary said. It worked. Mom is still on a low dose with no side effects, however, it can cause the urine to be orange. The dr. said it is not anything to worry about. My mom has been taking it since 12/31/12 with great results. Big hugs to you, this is a hard phase.
what your calling moderate i would call late stage. the floor covering is not moderate crazy. its delusional and sometimes hallucinogenic behavior and more indicative of late stageby my experience .
Jessie, what was the outcome of that crazy night?

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