Follow
Share

With me, it's the TV. My mom is so sick and weak with kidney disease that TV is pretty much her only source of entertainment. That wouldn't be quite so bad if she still understood how to work the remote, but dementia has erased that ability. If she isn't able to watch TV, she usually just goes back to bed...then ends up in a state of delirium from depression and too much sleep. So now I am the one in charge of her entire world of entertainment.


Before I started staying with mom, I was used to a different life, where I mostly listened to music or enjoyed silence. I'm not really a TV person. When I did watch stuff, I'd be that person who binged a season of whatever on my days off, or watched movies with friends, and then didn't watch anything for days at a time. Now I have to babysit the TV every day, every time my mom is out of bed.


If there's a timer system on mom's TV or service provider that lets you schedule channel changes, I haven't found it yet. Plus there are a billion channels but not a lot of stuff mom can watch. I'm really grateful for streaming services. Being able to work the On Demand is my new superpower. I upped mom's bandwidth to unlimited just to accommodate her watching. I now keep a notebook with a list of what's on which channel, and how long it is, so that I can plan how long I can be away from the remote. I've even taught mom about binge-watching (for selfish reasons - so I can put on Netflix and know it will go straight to the next episode without me). I'm thinking about getting a wireless HDMI setup so I can try running stuff from my laptop (preferably in another room!).


What about you? Is there something you now have to be in charge of that you never expected would be part of your daily life when you took this on?

This discussion has been closed for comment. Start a New Discussion.
Yep Mom has just 1 chin hair But it's a whopper! And 1 upper lip hair. Forgot that one!
(1)
Report

I have chin hair(s) and I'm only 49! Thank you, menopause.

I wonder if I will grow a beard when I'm old and have nobody to monitor the hairs for me?
(3)
Report

Your mom only has ONE chin hair?
Yesterday I gave mom her weekly shave and spent a little extra time on the nose hairs (a forest is growing there), I'd like to tame the eyebrows but that would be cruel! I also cleaned her eyelids and put in some eye drops (shh, don't tell), cleaned her teeth, lotioned her face and arms and readjusted the headrest on her wheelchair (it takes tools, how do they keep knocking it cockeyed?).
(4)
Report

Well now I have to go check my mom's 1 chin hair and nose hair too before Christmas company arrives lol!
(2)
Report

Here's one I never expected: picking out my mother's Christmas card and present to my brother!

He's getting gift cards. Too bad if it's lazy. I know he'd prefer them anyway. :-P
(3)
Report

Lassie: That was a real "doozy!" But you aced the test! Praises going out to you! 
(2)
Report

Speaking of 'dressing up' parents, the last time I took my mother out to the thanksgiving buffet was 4 years ago, well, I arrived at her house at noon. She was in her nightgown, so I said, 'we have 2 hours, you should start getting ready.' I laid out all her clothes and went out and shovelled the snow off her driveway, it took me almost an hour (I am 66 and out of shape). Went back in, she was still sitting there watching tv! OMG. It took her an hour and a half to change and get ready, and I had to search and search for her boots and try to get them on her feet. We got there 2 hours late, there was still a little food left, and we were about the only ones in the restaurant besides the hired help, waiting to clean up and go home. And on the ride back, she had an 'accident' - luckily I had thought to put a plastic tablecloth down on her car seat and she was wearing a Depends....I really missed those restaurant outings ever afterwards, but she didn't really know what day it was, much less what holiday it was.
(4)
Report

I never dreamed that I would have to give Mother shots by her belly button for several days before her hip replacement or that I'd have to insert suppositories everyday.
(3)
Report

Daughterof1930: God bless you and HE will 100 times over. Thank you for that kindness to your father.
(4)
Report

I want to thank everyone that posted here - I really needed the chuckles. I have had to find the tv remote (he sits on it) and the sweet look on his face when he says, "you're going to say I did it, aren't you?!"

I tell him no, I just hide things under you when you're sleeping because I'm mean that way, hahahah.

The day I can no longer find something to laugh about, that's the day I will start crying.
(6)
Report

My most recent unique and unexpected thing, and my dad doesn’t have dementia, was dressing him for a wedding. He’s physically so frail that putting on a suit, something he very rarely does anymore (and something he used to do quickly and with no thought) is a huge challenge, if not impossibility. He couldn’t do all the small buttons on a dress shirt, especially the one at the neck, couldn’t manage a tie, couldn’t get the suit coat on, couldn’t put on the thin dress socks, etc and I ended up doing all of it. I’ve helped many times in various parts of him gettting ready but this was the first time he was just totally overwhelmed and simply sat and had me do it all. It was another sad chapter in what we call “new dad/old dad”
(5)
Report

I have to say that while I had to live with my mother out of state that I learned a new dance routine...called the "I have to GO really bad when I arise EVERY morning, but first I must wipe up poop on the toilet seat." Let me tell you that I almost decided to start wearing the diaper.
(6)
Report

I didn't realize that I would have to shave my father's ears. 
(6)
Report

Cleaning out the electric shaver. The aids at his nursing home don't know to do this, and when I have seen them do it, they flip open the top and tap a few times in the sink. No, you gotta brush out the gunk around the blades too.

Also: Closet organizer (or Dad ends up wearing the same 2 shirts over and over and over again), music curator, pedicurist, manicurist, ear cleaner, and nose hair trimmer.
(4)
Report

I did all kinds of things for my late mother --
#1 washing her entire body
#2 I had an 18 page list of things I did for her
#3 Helping her make fudge when she cried about it
#4 290 more things
(5)
Report

Ah, yes, Mediator to Hallucinations. My mother tends to get hallucinations with insomnia or when coming off antibiotics. The time the bed was rolling downhill, I stuffed a couple of incontinence pads under the wheels of the bed, took a picture, then showed her the picture and told her the bed could no longer move. I once trapped lots of little animals that were running up and down the curtains around the nursing home bed by rolling up the curtains ... but unfortunately they kept getting out. But it was rather fun, the time the bunch of jolly people came into the room and held a party ... I just had to assure my mother that there was plenty of ice cream for everybody, when I got some for her and me.

I also never expected to become the Puzzle Lady. I got a couple 12-piece jigsaw puzzles for my mother plus a couple slightly harder ones, trying to get her to be social with other people while doing the puzzles. I discovered that helping the other MC residents with the jigsaw puzzles was something I liked to do, and sometimes I succeeded in getting my mother to interact with another resident. So I kept buying puzzles and now have several dozen of them. And now I'm the facility's unofficial Puzzle Lady.
(7)
Report

Dorianne - even CTV can be depressing - stay away from the american style news as it is too much of 'how can we out gross the other network' - I stopped watching years ago when a major Canadian event happened but never made it on air - she will always be disconnected as she won't be able to recognize the places

Joke - why does god make so many american 'operation events' happen in out of way places? - answer .. someone has to teach them geography!!
(4)
Report

LOL - what happened to the dentures??? Wrapped up in a tissue and stuck in a teapot on the stove, of course - where else?? .... Where is the purse with the wallet in it (god knows why the wallet was still in it!) - why, in a bag down in the basement where the shoddy old Christmas stuff is kept, of course - where else?? ... Where, oh where, is the receiver for the phone now? ... why, stuck down in between the couch cushions, of course - where else?? .... I will never forget my mom's main (paid) caregiver went up to see her once we got her in the nursing home, and she called me to tell me about it, and said 'Oh, your mother needs some new bras!' I burst out laughing, she was in a wheelchair with dementia, didn't even know where she was, and she needed new BRAS? LOL....poor mom, she did her best to stay independent. She actually bought a book on 'Easy Home Repair Situations' - for a 70 year old house. God bless. We all did our best for her, until there was no more money, no one to do things any more....I will never eat Jello or bananas or fruit cocktail again.  Until *I'm* in a Home and they put it in front of me - whee!
(5)
Report

Talking in his sleep. After he was sent home to die Christmas 2015, he now talks in his sleep. I catch snippets of his earlier life, lol.

Not funny at 3am - but funny at 3pm.

to Wittm1 - now that is unique!  And I thought it was bad when we played, "where the heck is the hearing aid today?"
(5)
Report

I had not anticipated her breadth of acceptable foods dwindling. She ate frog legs, escargot - all kinds of food. But in her illness as time passed more and more things were struck off the acceptable list. We got down to about five items she would eat, and it would upset her if I ate something different. She passed nine months ago and I still have not been able to bring myself to eat a baked sweet potato or a grilled cheese sandwich.

The other surprise was the obsessive hiding of Oreos. I just found another one last week. They are stashed in the most unexpected places, one here, one there. I could be finding them for years to come.
(11)
Report

I enjoyed this discussion. And can relate to the chin hairs, manicures, bra shopping, being a bathroom attendant, maid, therapist, activity director, etc. There's not much left that I haven't done for my mom. All of it unexpected when I began the caregiving journey after my dad's death.
But I appreciated the reminder to keep things on the lighter side so here's a couple of stranger things.
My mom is now in a Memory Care facility and every day before I leave I make sure to "report" that mom has done her daily BM so it can be charted. For some reason she waits to go until I'm there. It cracks me up how the staff is so appreciative of hearing the news. And I shake my head in wonderment that this is what my life has become.
Second, believe it or not experience was the time I had to kill the imaginary bugs crawling on the wall when mom was hallucinating. I was grabbing tissues and smashing invisible bugs right and left. Even stomped one on the floor for good effect. It was a bit surreal but from reading I'd done I decided it was better to just go along with it and it calmed things down right away.
As always, especially with leftover turkey in the fridge, I'm thankful for the wonderful people on this site who make the weirdest and hardest things manageable because of their advice and support and good humor.
(11)
Report

At age 77 I have never had to take my car for an oil change, rotate tires and that sort of thing. I also have to do heavy work like "try" to get a screen door, or sliding closet door back on the runners and I just can't do it by myself. I've always been quite independent - never asked for help until I realized I couldn't do something myself. I've even tried to work on the lawn mower by reading the manual to find out why it wouldn't start, but ended up having to call small engine repair. I am now so TIRED of trying to do it all myself that I have got to do something about it and I don't know what!!  My husband has never been one to call repairmen either since he was quite capable himself UNTIL NOW.  I definitely need a handy man, but am concerned about getting one who knows what they are doing.  Guess I'd better start asking for recommendations.
(4)
Report

Well, all I can say is for starters I'm 25 (please don't say anything I've heard it enough) I've been looking after my grandma for 4 years after my granddad died (who had Alzheimer's) and she's definitely getting worse. Not sure what I'd say is weird other than the fact that because of dementia my gm went from being selfish n everything's about her (I've been told she's always been like this) to a selfish person who has a servant to do whatever she wants (namely me) asking if I can refill her water when I get up (even if I'm just sitting with no intention of getting up or if I do get up and head away from the kitchen) can I get her a snack, can I, can I, can I. Which I know I wasn't ready for, but my granddad was the opposite. He was always sweet and the only difference with him was he lost his memory. As of now my grandma is still able to be home however because of the stress she's put on me the last 5, 6 years I stopped going over (she lives across the street) but i don't know her future and am afraid my job isn't done (I do live with my parents, but my mom's in denial and puts all blame on any attitudes I have towards my grandma or whatever I'm like around her on me despite I think you could possibly describe how my gm treated me as verbal abuse) I've finally just got to i say nothing around my gm and my mom still gets mad because I don't say anything, like she got mad because I didn't say hi back to her... (I'm supposed to say hello to my grandma??????)
(3)
Report

After all the dealings with hospitals and NH's for rehab, I had my Mom bedridden in my home for 8 months on hospice.She passed away 2 years ago peacefully.
I would get up at 3 or 4am just to have some "me time" on the computer or reading. Then I would begin the day by emptying her catheter bag, cleaning bowel movement, giving insulin shots, and stage 4 wound treatment that nurses taught me to do for the wound she developed in the first NH rehab. Then I would prepare her breakfast tray and wait for the aide to come give Mom a bath, wait for the nurse to come, then the lunch tray, empty catheter bag, nap, and dinner tray, and get Mom ready to sleep for the night. All the while watching for UTI's and delirium and learning everything I could about any medical conditions encountered. I never in my wildest dreams before pictured myself doing these types of things, but I am deeply grateful for all the training I received and developed an even deeper respect for people in the care and medical professions. Despite the rough decline, I am now glad my Mom found peace and that I was able to get her to her final destination. Sometimes we do things we never thought we could do when actually faced with the situation.
(10)
Report

Dorianne and Erinm60, I agree about the TV news stations causing a strange mood. My Mom, age 84, also binge watches (12 years now) MSNBC, CSPAN, and police type shows. She has her own senior equipped apartment on the ground floor of my home. She keeps the TV so loud I can hear it clearly on the 2nd floor. She even sleeps in front of the TV. If I turn it off while she's sleeping, she soon awakes and turns it back on...louder. At my request, she had her hearing checked - no significant loss of hearing. Its kinda scary how she mirrors the attitudes of the talking heads on the news channels. She remembers and angrily/excitedly relays all the political drama, yet can't remember if she ate breakfast. My husband's father, age 90, has the 24/7 FOX News habit. Glad I'm a gardener and can get away from the noise....
(6)
Report

@Erinm60 - I am the remote babysitter, lol. Thank goodness mom is more an MSNBC person rather than a Fox person!!!! Though since I took over the remote, I am trying to discourage her from watching too much news, because I think the American news (we are Canadian) was contributing to her depression.

@Windyridge - duct tape and WD40 are often all I ever need, ha ha! Hey if your mom is busty, you might consider going to a plus size store for some things, like Lane Bryant in the US. The staff in those stores are usually used to working with women of all ages and body types, and if they don't sell it, they will know where to find it (especially when it comes to bras). You can even order online, and usually you can just return it to your local brick and mortar store if it doesn't fit. I've started ordering some specialty things for mom online too - like hip protector pants - because it's much cheaper than going through the local medi-supply place.  (Edit:  sometimes it's faster too, because the medi-supply place often has to order stuff in.)
(6)
Report

The handyman’s secret weapon!
(5)
Report

I adore duct tape! There’s nothing that can’t be fixed with enough duct tape.
(5)
Report

Dorianne, thanks for you comment. I have since done lots of shopping for mom and done caregiving chores that  few sons have but I’m the last kid left so whatcha gonna do.

But I’ve bout given up on trying to buy her clothes. She’s a large busted lady, things have moved now, and nothing suits her. She has some old, old blouses and slacks and that’s all she’ll wear. I’m contemplating patching her old stuff with duct tape at this point.
(12)
Report

The Tv on 24 hours a day. Same station. Fox. When she goes to bed, she has the light on, the door opened, and Fox. When I come up later in the evening to my room, her dog who is down the hall starts growling. Another bizarre thing, is she now stands up and watches me sweep the floor, take garbage out , just about everything I do she watches. And who ever said being the remote control baby sitter was so right. My mother would probably have a nervous breakdown if she couldn’t get Fox on. Sometimes the cable goes out, Then I wish I had a few meds of my own.
(7)
Report

This discussion has been closed for comment. Start a New Discussion.
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter