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The other day I caught Grandma using Bengay on her lips. She doesn't tell us when is feeling bad or when she needs something like chap stick. I told her that Bengay doesn't go on the lips and she yelled at me and said to put her in a home.She uses the Bengay for her knees. It's getting really frustrating. She started crying and said that she doesn't know why she yelled at me. I gave her a hug and said it's the disease and I hold nothing againest her. So how do I get her to tell me when she isn't feeling good or if she needs some chap stick?

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You really do have to press, and consider they may have trouble telling you what exactly it is that may be wrong. Keep asking and let them snow you maybe or ask is it like_____? Good Luck this is a hard one with the elderly...
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Sounds like she may be in early to middle stages of Alzheimers. You seem to be doing well with her. Unfortunately they many times don't or can't tell us something is bothering them. Check their eyes, skin, and any other outward signs for abnormalities, redness, and rashes. Bathing her or help dressing her helps on the visual inspection. Mood swings or out of the ordinary flare ups could give you reason to think something physically is wrong, however those types of swings come with the territory so be careful on those. It is extremely difficult because they don't tell you. It's almost like reverting back to babies who can't tell you what the problem is. Regular Doctor visits and blood tests also shed light on imbalances or possibilities. Hope it helps. Good Luck and God Bless your efforts.
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My mother once did the the laundry with motor oil. After that, I had a dead bolt lock installed on the door leading to the basement, so she wouldn't go down. Her mother once tried to wax her car with shoe polish. When my mother go bad, she wouldn't tell me if she hurt anyplace. She had a doll, and I would ask her where the baby was unhappy. Mom would point to the doll's nose if she needed to blow her nose. When she had a nasal feeding tube inserted, she would point to the doll's nose and after she had the G-tube installed, the first day or two, she would point to the doll's stomach. Also, I made up a communication board for her. I wrote statements like "I'm thirsty", "I have to go to the bathroom", etc. She would point to the statement. When she had wet, the one time she pulled her NH curtain around her and I asked what was she doing, and she said "You'll find out". As her disease progressed, there was no telling me anything or showing on the doll. Once I had an elderly friend with dementia. I would ask her where she hurt, but she never even pointed. But I could tell from the grimace on her face, that she was in pain. I gave her one of my mother's dolls, and she never reacted to it at all, possibly because she may never had had a doll as a child, and never had children. I currently have an aunt who does not have dementia. She won't always tell me when she is not feeling well or if she is nervous or anything. But if her lips quiver, I know she is nervous or not feeling well, and I ask her. Each person is different.
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The only thing I can see in your question that stands out as a "Trigger" is that you told her "Bengay doesn't go on your lips". According to training I received recently, this triggers the "OH you're so smart, aren't you???" reaction in Dementia. Maybe, instead, you might say "Oh, are your lips bothering you?" and let her tell you, then, how she feels. You could then, without insulting her dignity, say "I found that coconut oil makes my lips feel really great. Do you want to try it?" Never mention that what she tried was wrong.
The other comments about "ask ask ask" are right on the money. Daily I put my arm around my little charges and say "On a scale of one to five, Bob, how are you today?" If it's a "3", I can ask what is making him feel uncomfortable. It works... not saying it will work for everyone. Sometimes he just wants to be coddled a little, and encouraged. His wife is such a trouper, she would NEVER tell me anything hurts. I have to probe very gently for her to speak up. I'll rub her shoulders and ask it they're telling her the weather forecast today. :-)

Ruth
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Imagine what it must be like to get older and to know that there is something you want or need and not being able to remember the steps that once where second nature.......I'm not looking forward to that day! To lose independence and forget what we once did with ease has got to be tough. When my mom got dementia she would want to do the same things that you guys talked about. At first it was really frustrating for the both of us. I tried a lot of different things but what finally worked for us is when I started to anticipate her needs and then jump in. Knowing that it's getting cold outside I would say, "Boy it's cold outside- I'm putting on some chapstick- want some? Since you know that she uses BenGay for her arthritis offer to put it on for her. When Mom used to do her hair it was a mess- I'd offer to do her hair because I was taking "beauty class" and I needed to practice and since she was the best at doing her own hair she could talk me through it... If your living with another person overtime you learn their routine so jumping in and offering before they do it themselves can sometimes help. I've learned over time that no matter what my mom did- unless she was at risk of physically harming herself I just let it go. It wasn't worth correcting her because she forgot what she did as soon as she did it. It's also good to put away anything that's not being used at the moment because that can cause confusion. Hope this helps.
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Another thing to remember also is that the elderly don't "feel" like they used to. Their sense of hot and cold are different, they don't feel pain like they used to and they really are unable to give you symptoms. It is not easy to find out what you need to know. As for using Bengay on the the lips....well they tend to do that because they know they used to use something and it just so happens that Bengay was the closest at hand. My mil has been caught using pink lipstick as blush. When she puts her hair up in hot rollers....:) she globs on a small scoop of Brylcreem on each piece of hair then rolls it up. Then she sprays it all down with hairspray. Now mind you, she runs out of rollers, so the whole back of her head is flat and she puts long strings of toilet paper under the side ones to keep her ears from burning. I agree with Judy.....there are a lot of items that should be put out of her reach. Just make sure Grandma has the basics.
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Just Ask Constantly if you have to. ( I put a hand held bell in my grandmothers room incase she needed me or didn't feel well and needed to talk) And keep the drugs and medications that are not hers out of reach, including the dish soap, laundry soap, and all bath soaps, tooth paste, EYE DROPS, knives, scissors, unplug the microwave and find out where your Breaker Switch is to the Stove/Oven, I would turn down the hot water tank too, and just act like you would if your 12 month old child were on 3 foot legs. Remember, the phone does become an issue if they do not know how to use it. Good luck.
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All you can do is ask, & ask again, over and over. Some folks were private before the disease and wouldn't divulge much then, so now it's worse. Just keep asking.....Do you need anything?.....How do you feel today?.....You may not get all the information, but you may get some. As hard as we try we can't be all in all. We just do the best we can.
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