My experience caring for abusive mother with dementia.

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Mum suddenly become paranoid - I was not allowed outside if any of the neighbours were outside. I was not allowed to go outside if it was raining.
The thee days a week I volunteered - upon arriving home from work - I asked mum what she had done that day - but she could not remember. However, mum strictly forbad me to tell anyone - even my brothers and sisters in law as she did not want to be put into a nursing home - and did not want any outside help - she wanted me to be her sole carer - argument being - me being on the disability support pension, I had plenty of time with nothing to do. Mum was actually glad I was disabled, on the pension - so that I would have "all the time in the world to be her sole carer".
Mum always said that no matter how bad she got, I was not allowed to have her put in a nursing home - I had to look after her - if she because completely incapacitated, I had to, on top of doing all the shopping, do all the meal preparation and feed her - and shove an icecream container under her bottom so that she could poop in bed - and turn her over in bed to wash and re-position her - in spite of fact she was three stone heavier than me and I had a history of a major laminectomy and was under specialists' orders to perform no heavy duties or lifting.
Mum regularly hallucinated that we had regular visitors stay with us - even though we never did.
After dad died, mum never again showered - she merely put a tiny bit of water in the hand basin - with vinegar - and used that to wipe all over herself with a dirty old holey rag. She then used another old holey rag to dry herself. She then used a tiny plastic jug to bail the water out of the wash basin into a plastic bowel. She then took the plastic bowel into the bedroom, sat on the edge of the bed and used that water with the old holey rags to wash and dry her feet. As mum became stiffer, I had to do it for her. Because of my own disabilities, I was never able to do it properly and mum always yelled in pain. It makes me sad to this day to think none of the neighbours came to see what was going on - or to call the police. If only they did call the police - I would have got the help I needed - mum admitted to hospital and then a nursing home.
Nearly every day, mum turned the gas on of the stove - and had no memory of doing so.
No matter how much food was in the fridge, mum, in her mind, was nearly out of food and I had to go buy more to get us through the holiday season - never mind the fact Xmas was well and truly behind us.
Mum wrote out Xmas cards to my brothers and sisters in law and got me to post them - but then had no memory of doing so. Ever day for the next several weeks, mum asked me over and over and over again for several hours - have I posted those Xmas cards? I'd keep saying yes, you have written them and I have posted them, but still mum kept asking.
When mum reached her worst, she spent nine hours in one day asking the same question over and over and over again - it was regarding an upcoming medical appointment - very simple procedure - but mum just could not understand or remember. The next two days were the same.
Finally, at long last when mum was admitted to the Repat, long before the ACAT assessment was conducted, the doctors found mum's dementia to be so bad, they said she should have been in high care five years previous.
When I went to visit mum in the Repat, mum VERY NEARLY succeeded in getting me to take her home - she said she was all cleared to go home. I VERY NEARLY did fall for it and did VERY NEARLY, albeit it very reluctantly, get mum into a taxi and home - BUT, something prompted me to grab hold of one of the doctors and ask - is it true mum has been cleared to return home. The doctor said mum was not going home - much to my relief.
I am still scared to think that had I fallen for it and taken mum home, mum would have been out of the system, and, I would, to this day, be forced to care, alone, for mum - in spite of being unable to care properly for myself without assistance.

2 Comments

bast, I don't know how you stood it as long as you did. Are you getting better now that she is in the care of someone else? Whatever you do, don't bring her home again. She is too much for one person to care for. You did as good a job as you possibly could, but it is time for someone else to take over.

I have a hard time understanding how a parent can take a child's life like this. Bad things that happen to us are not done by God so we can serve our parent better. When my marriage fell apart, my mother said something similar to me -- that it was because God had wanted me to come home to care for my parents. Of course, that was a nutty idea from a self-absorbed person.
I don't know how I stuck it out all those years other than I had no choice as the then family doctor refused to help and all the aged care groups in south Australia refused to help, stating that I had no rights at all. Looking back, I wish I misbehaved in public - just enough to get myself in trouble with the police - then the criminal justice system here would have done something.

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