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I've been doing nothing but crying, I just can't stand to watch my Mom go down hill.
She looks so pityful, she was talking to me, about me, like I wasn't there.
I'm crying as I write this-I'm afraid of getting depressed, but I just can't shake this mood--
I'm afraid to go anywhere, in case the NH calls, so I either sit at home or I'm at the NH.

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My father-in-law did the 'sundowner' thing when he was in the hospital. He hallucinated and had to be restrained. I guess it's quite common with old people, in his case he was suffering from a UTI at the time which didn't help any. But even after the UTI cleared up, he still did the sundowning thing every night.
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Nance I'm glad you spoke to the doctor. Do you feel better?
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I had a long talk with doctor and nurses today.
I was told Mom has sundowners, it was explained to me and helps to know the reason she seems so bitter each time I see her.
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Nance: I know what you are feeling. Everyone says, "take care of yourself." But how do you do that, be a full-time caregiver, AND take care of your own responsibilities?? Caregiving, at any time in life, is the most isolating thing that one will ever experience. So, it is imperative to get yourself out into the world whenever you can.

Here are a few more concrete suggestions that worked for me:
1) I joined a women's social group in my town. They offer a variety of activities (that are not expensive) each month. You can just pick the activity that is of interest to you. I have met some really fascinating women of all ages and backgrounds. I feel so much better after spending time with them.
2) I took a painting class. Anything creative will do the trick. It takes your mind off things and allows you to express yourself. I also took an online writing seminar. If you have a certain skill, community education programs (not community colleges) are always looking for teachers...you do not have to have a college degree to do this.
3) I volunteer (if it is short term). Helping others always seems to lift my burden.
4) Lately, I have been reconnecting with longtime friends and family members through email and phone calls. Laughter is good for the soul.
5) As others have suggested, if you have a religious affiliation, perhaps a nice long talk with a clergy member will lift the spirit.
6) I just adopted a little dog who needed a home. He is a wonderful addition to my family and my Mom adores him. I take him on nice long walks and it clears my head. It has also helped me get to know my neighbors...he just walks right up and introduces himself :o)

I hope some of these ideas work for you. You are mourning the mother you once knew, some of us mourn the mother we never had. You are feeling depressed, abandoned, and lonely right now...so it seems nearly impossible to take yourself outside of that world. But trust me, if you make just one change, life will feel a whole lot brighter.

Good luck...check back...
Lilli
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Hey Nance you are speaking words from my heart. It is saddening and I too feel I've lost the mom I knew. I even listen to her old messages on my recorder when she was so happy and pleasant and spoke in such a high pitched voice that when people call, they'd say "may I speak to your mom". I've found myself not going over as often as I did and I wonder if that's normal myself because it's so depressing to see her.

But then I start reminissing, (forgive my spelling) and I start talking to her about things that she remembers and then I start to make her laugh and I feel better.

Think about those times when she was whole and dream of speaking to her, and going to the casinos.

It's OK if you cry, crying is good and healthy and afterwards you'll feel like a new person and ready to do it all over.

I don't know if I'm saying the right thing to you, I'm just speaking from my heart. This too shall pass.
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Nance,
I truly think I would/WILL be doing the same thing. My Mom, 84, is in early dementia stages. We also have been best friends. I love her dearly, and I want always to be there for her, till the end. Even though "the end" can be so painful, for you to still be there for your Mom is a blessing to you both. You say she does mostly always know it's YOU there. Even if she forgets immediately afterwards, she knows at the moment that you are there for her. Even though she seems like a stranger, there is still some part of her that is remaining, and seeing you just for a short time is possibly giving her short periods of happiness, joy, or comfort.
I remember watching Maria Shriver, who is an Alzheimer's advocate, on a talk show speaking of how she went to see her father every morning, and everytime she went into his room she would say, "Good morning, Dad. I'm your daughter, Maria." She said he would always respond, "You ARE?" And this would happen every day, but she continues to go without fail.
You adored the person that your Mother WAS, but don't love the person that she IS now, because illness has changed her. Just keep thinking of what she was that you adored, and what she's going through now is out of her control. You are a loving, caring, good daughter to continue to go see her and be with her while she finishes her life in this sad way. You do not have a mental problem. Being kind and loving till the end is, in my opinion, most admirable. Even though it causes you pain, you are strong enough to endure it for what small comfort it may be giving your Mom. THAT is something great. When your Mother is gone, you will know that you loved her and supported her as much as you possibly could. You will have no regrets.
Take care, Nance. I think you're doing what is in your heart.
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Nance, your mom and you were 'best friends'. I think that it was wonderful that you had that kind of relationship. You should be so grateful for what you did have, it was a gift. You are in mourning even though she's still alive. Give yourself a break with the crying thing. My gosh, the mom you loved and went to the casino with is basically gone, so go ahead and cry if you want to. But when you're done, you need to reach out again to those who you have lost contact with. A good place to start might be church. If you had a place of worship, go back. If you didn't, then find one. We go to a little community church that is full of older people. My husband and his mother both like the more traditional music, so we go to the early service. I tell you, there isn't hardly a non-gray head at that particular service, but my mother-in-law likes that. She has made a few friends there, even though she can't see their faces very well, she recognizes their voices. And she has NEVER had friends other than family. So if she, who has macular degeneration and dementia can make new friends, then I KNOW you can. Reach out, and go ahead and cry.
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Just more talk.
In reality, most of us have lost our loved one's, my Mom forgets that I was there minutes after I leave.
It's her body but a stranger has moved into it, I know that it will stay that way and even get worse.
I truely dread going to visit the person that invaded her body, so just why is it that we keep doing just that.
Each time I leave there-I wonder why I did that to myself, I could have just called to check on her.
Even on the days that she seems to know me, she doesn't remember that I was there. Most of the time she knows who I am.
She tells me that I should go home and fix dinner for my hubby, he's beed dead for years.
I'll be honest and say that I don't love the person that she is now,however I adored the person that she was.
So I spend time with the person that she is now, longing for my Mom, my best friend..so who really has the mental problem ??
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Mom will be 94 in march, weighs about 100 lbs. and she has been getting out of her wheelchair and sitting on the floor, saying she is weak and dying, call nan to come get me !!
She also decided to not eat very well and taking her pills is something else-they crush them and put them in applesause.
We were always best friends and I had a hard time with her ending up in a NH but I'm 70 and could no longer care for her.
The NH is very nice.
The past 20 years were spent with her and I lost connection with other people, so no friends.
I know that I need to get out and do something, just don't know where to go or what to do.
Our favorite thing to do was go to the casino, we both enjoyed that years ago, but going alone doesn't sound like too much fun.
Oh well, just needed to talk, I guess.
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There are days when I can handle my Mom's decline and there are others when I cannot believe that she was once that vibrant person who everyone thought of as "the life of the party."
The only thing that has helped me, even if it is temporary, is to do some small thing - anything - that is not related to caregiving. I call a friend and we laugh our faces off or I go to a movie, or do something creative. Do you have a religious affiliation? Talking to a pastor will help give you a sense of the big picture and why we are on this earth.
You cannot possibly be available at all times. Your mother is at a place where she is safe and there are emergency staff members.
If you do not get some "me time" soon your mental and physical health will suffer.
Everyone here knows that feeling, so, at the very least, please know that you are not alone.
Lilli
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Hi Nance,
Maybe what you could do to ease your mind and anxiety about your Mom is to schedule times that you CAN be at the NH, and go there regularly (I don't know how close you are to the NH, but if you can go there two or three times a day and be with your Mom for an hour or more?) Then, when you have to leave, you'll just have to put things into the hands of those who are there to help her, and say a prayer for God to watch over her when you're not able to be there, and TRUST it will happen. You can't be there continuously, and even though it is hard to give up the care and watching-over to someone else, you must do it for your own piece of mind. AND, could you get a cell phone, and take it with you at all times when you're not at home, so the NH could contact you if they would need you to go there right away. That would help to give you piece of mind as well. It sounds as though your Mom is in a fragile state, and I can relate to how terrible it must be to see her like this. But other than having her move into your home...which doesn't sound like an option....you must do the best you can under the circumstances, and know deep within, that YOUR BEST is all you can do. And remember, God loves your Mom as much as you do, so there is always that love for her whenever you can't be there!
Be brave, and trust you're doing all you can do. Prayers to you.
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