Same old, same old.

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I just came from a visit to the NH. Now that she is eating better, she is talking more and getting feisty and argumentative again. Mom was on the "I want to go home" merry-go-round. I know she can't help it, but when this goes on and on like an Abbott and Costello skit "Who's on first", it completely wears me out. With her dementia (and hearing loss) I have to write everything on the white board. It does no good because she still can't remember and keeps on and on. "I was going to go home tomorrow, but I think I'll go home today with you". "Why am I still here?" (me- You have a leg infection that they need to treat so you have to get stronger. Her - There is nothing wrong with me. I want to go back to my house (my ans - (5x) you sold your house 10 years ago". Where is my furniture" (me - storage) Then I have to pay storage fees. (me- Its in my basement) Then I should pay you. I'm still paying rent on my house. me- You sold your house. Then where do I live? I want my own place. (me- you need to get stronger then we can talk about going home.)
Nothing works, can't change the subject - she goes right back to it. Whatever I say, she has a counter answer.
Finally I wait until she starts to nod off so I can sneak out. Otherwise the nurse tells me she raises a fuss the rest of the day because I left her.
I guess there is no way to get around it - they have dementia, they can't reason, they obsess, they miss their independence. I feel so sorry for her. I wish there was a way to spare us both these endless conversations that go nowhere.


Are there activities she enjoys? Can you leave her at an activity and get her involved? Is her doctor aware of her increased agitation, which is a symptom and a change in mental status?
AmyGrace, I can understand what you are going through. It is like a record stuck in the same groove. My Mom would keep asking to go home, but we knew it wasn't back to the home that she and my Dad shared, it was her childhood home from the things she was saying. I would always answer "maybe tomorrow" and leave it at that. My Mom would accept that answer until I visited the next day. Then it was an instant replay of the day before.

Now I am dealing with that with my Dad, but on a much smaller scale. Dad is once again in the instant replay mode regarding the reason my Mom had passed. He just doesn't want to accept that there was nothing anyone could do. I need to remember he is going through the "what ifs" which is normal. "If only we had a different doctor to see Mom, she would be here today".... [sigh]. I don't think he will ever accept my answer.

Oh, if only we could go into their minds to see how they are processing things.
I wish we could get her involved in something, but she has never exhibited interest in any activities, even when young. She has such a short attention span that she doesn't read, watch a movie and never had a hobby or interest or participated in the years at IL. I don't know how her mind works, she has normal intelligence but little social awareness. My grandson has Aspergers and my sister and I realize now she is on the spectrum as well, she has many of those traits but mildly. With dementia its worse I guess. Because she isn't interested in what is going on around her or people she has nothing else to think about except worrying about something directly attached to her, like her bowels, furniture, car, makeup.
Funny you mentioned the Abbot and Costello thing. My mom does the same thing - either she doesn't want to deal with a subject/answer, like your mom on why she can't go home - or she does it for fun. Seriously, she loves to get my brother all spun up with what I've come to call "Personalized Who's on First". After he leaves she has a good laugh - she doesn't understand why I don't think it's funny. Grrrrrr!
AmyGrace, it sounds like you're doing what you can already. There's no fixing things when they reach a certain stage of the disease. About the only thing I've found that works when my mother gets stuck in a groove is to try to distract her or leave the room. I'm fortunate that I can still do that. I know with advanced Alz, it would be far more difficult.

The only way I've found to deal with the frustration and anger is to wait until I get alone to release the bottled up emotions in a way she can't hear. She's two rooms away, so screaming curse words wouldn't be good. I just whisper them with force.

I don't recall when I was growing up anyone going through what we face now. Everyone just had a grandmother and one day there was a funeral. Now it seems like a huge percentage of the elders have dementia. What in the world happened? I don't think that age alone explains this epidemic.
Jessie I'm inclined to think a lot of illness is caused by eating years of processed, GMO and sprayed fresh (transported thousands of miles in winter) food. Never thought about it but once I moved to the country I was horrified at how much the crops were sprayed to death. Growing and preserving my own now and I'll be keeping chickens so I know what we're eating. My dogs like chicken too lol
I agree with you Ashlynne. We are eating so many chemicals, so much plastic in our foods, soy that wasn't intended to be in every single product, artificial stuff, etc. I'm convinced that is causing the huge Aspergers rise (1 in 88 children) It isn't what the kids eat - its the exposure to all the plastics and chemicals in food and air in their parents.
We seniors are the first generation to deal with taking care of even older seniors. If only they could come up with care that doesn't completely bankrupt us. Truth is, when you are a senior you simply can't care for someone 90-100 years old, lift them and be 24/7 for them. I wish the government would realize that - but hey - this govt would just as soon seen those seniors disappear - until those politicians reach that age themselves - lol!
While I didn't come up with this theory, I do think there's something to it. My hairdresser cuts hair for a woman who is the head of the "think tank" on Alzimers at the state teaching hospital. She said they believe one of the most important things a man can do to avoid this disease is to not retire. That there is a correlation between continuing to work for pay and not getting the disease. Not good news for folks hoping to follow the sun in a r.v. But think about the timing of the advent of social security and mandatory retirement ages. Think about the new and growing American Dream - retire sad early as possible. While it's true that the SS retirement age keeps getting pushed back it's also true that the number of Americans retiring early is growing by leaps and bounds. Think about your own grandparents- those of you over 55 - how long did your grandfathers work. Did your grandparents have dementia? I know in my case both grandfathers pretty much worked until their deaths. My paternal grandmother lived to 97 - sharp as a tack. Makes me wonder.
Here is one thing that definitely accounts for many cases of dementia:

Polio Vaccine.

Yup. People who used to die very young don't so much anymore, because of the elimination of many common and not-so-common childhood illnesses. When did you last hear of someone dying of whooping cough?

In realistic novels set in colonial and frontier times, families lose children, and often the mother. Step-families and half-siblings were as common then as they are in this age of divorce and remarriage. But I digress ...

People are living MUCH longer now. Of course we are seeing more cases of disease of old age!

There may be other factors, too. But definitely we can blame a lot of it on vaccines and antibiotics. We keep people alive longer.
Jeanne, that is so true. Advances in modern medicine give us the hope of living longer, of being active later in life which is good. (Until one reaches an age where the brain is gone but the body lives on.)
Unfortunately, in hindsight, society should have made more effort to come up with a system of affordable care for older people but it didn't. Plenty of care if you have money - otherwise not. Years ago infirm seniors were 70'
-80'and children in their 40's & 50"s could provide short term care. Now the infirm are often 90-100 and children in their 60's & 70's. I am so sorry for those widows and widowers living in poverty in the shadows who have no one to look out for them and no money to buy medicine.
Its similar to the 60's when millions of women began to enter the workforce and put their children in daycare. Only those with a big enough income could afford childcare (or had family to help) and many who wanted to work stayed home because the care cost more than they earned. That is still going on. No matter how much they raise minimum wage, it isn't enough to cover childcare any more than it is enough to cover in home care for a parent.
Its the way it is and there doesn't seem to be any solutions on the horizon.

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

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