To visit or not to visit...I don't know anymore.

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So my mom took a big step down the dementia road last Friday night. By morning I, her daughter, was now her good friend. After a walk she wanted to take a bus and the streetcar to go home...you get the picture. When I visited on Sunday it seemed like my presence there created more confusion for her. The CNA said she had a great morning. I visited a bit but she seemed depressed and when I went to go home she assumed she would be going with me since she was not in her home and I think I was familiar. We had a big problem with transitioning for me to go home and her to stay. I said goodbye and it seemed like she went back in with the CNA but then they came through the door again...my mom in the wheel chair saying she was going home with me. The CNA said she suddenly stood and nearly fell trying to get back to the door to go with me. She has the strength to do this new behavior of suddenly standing but can't maintain standing and will fall if someone isn't right there to hold her up.

I don't know what to do to make this easier for my mom. I would like to visit her but in a way that doesn't create more confusion for her. I usually just go along with where she is at...I'm fine with being her good friend and sometimes her daughter in her mind. She just started all these new behaviors of jumping up to go to an imaginary doctor's appointment or imaginary church (not on Sunday) or imaginary shopping trip appointment. All this jumping up is now making her back hurt worse, and I'm afraid we might have to add more pain med.

I don't know what to do.

22 Comments

This is how I handled my husband...I never used the word "home"...I would say I need to go buy groceries, put gas in the car, etc. and I will see you later. He would accept that story and so I could leave. You might try that and see if she accepts it. I felt it was important for me to visit him 5 days out of 7 to make sure he was getting everything he needed. Good luck.
I understand - My Mother fell and broke her hip and has been in the hospital for 2 weeks. This incident has taken a severe toll on her mental state. She will not be able to be discharged home unless we have 24 hour nursing care. So this means a personal care home - my Mother will be devastated as she is so sure she is coming home to her apartment that is attached to my home. I can see that visiting her in a personal care home will be difficult as she will want to come home with me each time I visit. I am going to try to strategy that was suggested by shorty4631.
God Bless you - we are doing the best we can.
Mewlan, if your mom suddenly took a nose dive in the dementia department, could it be a UTI? Maybe she should be seen by a doctor to see if there's something else going on. You didn't say, but has your mom been moved recently somewhere else? Is she living assisted or in a nursing home now?
I am facing this also. We moved mom into an assisted living/memory care home this past week. When I go see her, she tells me that things are terrible, that she is not sleeping, etc. When my brother sees her, she is in a good mood, wanting to walk around and can't wait for the next meal. The staff says that she is adjusting fine. My thoughts are that perhaps since I was her major caretaker that I need to step back and limit my visits to a couple a week until it seems that she is totally settled.
I worked for years as a nurse in a nursing home for the elderly. Visit. Someone needs to be keeping track of what they are doing for one. I have worked in several nursing homes... not one of them where I would trust to leave a loved one without FREQUENTLY checking in.

Another thing: The next time you go it might be perfectly fine. Mornings generally are better for visits. Dementia seems to get worse as the day goes on, with behaviors and such. Very likely she will be doing these things in the evenings/late afternoons if you are there or not.

It is VERY common to "step back in time" for dementia patients. My mom was 3 years old the other day! :) lol, same age as her great grandson. Most days he is the mature one of the 2 though! Most days my mom has no clue who I am and laughs like it is ridiculous if I say I am her daughter. She doesn't HAVE kids. (news to me!) I am her best friend, sister (she never even had a sister... always said that was her biggest wish in life though...) sister in law, names I have never heard before... But almost never me. The most common one: Mother. "Mother" "Mother!" I smile my tight smile and remind her that "Mother" is in heaven. That she also doesn't believe, so we re-direct the conversation else where.

Yes it is trying and hard. Worse for us than her.

Keep visiting her.
My mom inlaw has dementia and when she fell and broke her hip last year, it got worse. She was living on an independant side of a snior center and we had to have her moved to the assisted side. She hated it, telling me the food was bad, she was treated badly etc. My husband and I made a point to go every chance we got during the week to see what was going on...and everything was always fine. She had to sdjust to them checking on her day and night, assisting her in her needs (she has parkinson and diabetes also). She has adjusted ok finally and still demanded we come all the time. We take her to all her dr and dental appts, out to eat, shopp, etc (No family members want to deal with her since she is so demanding)..but we have now worked it down to seeing her once a week...but we make a whole day of it, shopping, out to eat....whatever she wants to do (upon reason that is). Sometimes she knws us, sometimes she doesn't...but she looks forward to us coming for she knows she is out for the whole day having fun......you have to remember you have a life also....so make sure you find some time for you.
Just some input...my 88 year old Aunt fell and broke her hip, after therapy for 6 weeks, they started medication and she began to see bears in her trees outside her home in Alabama...she was also talking out of her head...being that this was sudden I asked that her medication be adjusted, they did that and after a few days she was talking normally again...Just because a doctor says they need certain medications doesn't make it the gospel truth...my Dad was also prescribed alzhiemers medication because he started with short term memory loss...he was like a zombie until I told them to stop that medication completely...
I am a nurse and attended Alzheimer's workshops. Please contact your local group and they will assist you with all your concerns. I referred families of dementia patients and they were all very pleased. One detail they suggest is to keep your visits short and "DO" things instead of attempting to carry on a conversation, such as a manicure, reading, puzzles ect. As Darcy mentioned--- visit and keep your eyes and ears open to the facility and staff. Morning is best, but don't be routine as the facility will know your schedule.
Best of luck. All family caregivers are in my prayers nightly!!
Sweetie, I know how hard this is. I went through so much with my grandmother for years as I cared for her during the years she had Alzheimer's and Parkinsons. I had her live with me and used some help from nursing assistants but it was heartbreaking none the less. Yes, of course, continue to visit your mother. Even if she does not know who you are. Even though it hurts. Even if she cries when you leave. You are her child and always will be. She brought you into the world and cared for you when you needed her and it is your turn now. I bet you did the same when she left you with someone or at school the first time! It is not your fault if she has bad spells (they ALL do) nor if she accidentally falls. Your heart is in the right place and the right place for your body is visiting your mom. Somewhere inside, she loves you so much. No one can take that from her. She might not even remember but as I always told people when my grandmother was at her worst , I remembered her! I wish you the best and send hugs of comfort across the miles.
You are where no son or daughter wants to find themselves...You are right to not want to confuse. In my humble opinion and from experience, (my mom's AD is now in the severe stage and she lives with me) a caring visit is always helpful. That being said I am looking at care facilities for her now and my own experience of what you are living through now may change my view...I don't have any advice to offer but I do wish you and your mom the best...

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