Hitting a wall.


I think I just need to vent, but lately I'm hitting a wall.

My mom has dementia, and she's getting worse, fast.

Tomorrow I have to drive her to the doctor to check on an old bedsore that is taking forever to heal. Then next week I take her to see her doctor, which is long overdue.

She's been in the hospital a couple times the last year, and panics about the slightest thing. One was the hospital bill, which was $1200 after insurance (she cancels her supplemental all the time -- has done it four or five times in the last decade, saying it's too pricey). Now she thinks the $1200 is huge, but she can afford it, and frankly it's reasonable after she spent a week in the hospital!

But it's her confusion that really brings me down. She seems like a confused, lost child much of the time. She gets bent out of shape about things that are meaningless, gets strangely boastful (my neighbor said I have the most beautiful apartment in the world!) or paranoid (the visiting nurse is spying on me!)

We're getting a social worker in to look over some options. My mom thinks it's for help for her medical bills, and I think that will be discussed, but the real issue is my mom needs to go to assisted living and will not consider it, though she did really well when she spent three weeks in one in November.

Now, at the time when I'm needed most for this (and there is no other family to handle it, but thankfully my husband is supportive), I find I barely have any strength. I'm angry going to work, or want to cry, or I want to just give up. My home is a mess -- I'm way behind on decluttering and cleaning -- I'm depressed, gaining weight, getting no exercise, eating poorly, frustrated, irrationally angry about things that don't merit it, sad about things that normally wouldn't bother me, and just tired.

I'm glad for the home nurses, which was started up after my mom spend a few weeks recovering from a fall, but now she thinks she doesn't need them anymore and guess who gets to bear the brunt? All I want to do is throw her into a home and toss out the key, or I want nothing to do with this anymore. She fights me left and right, makes accusations, says weird things like her cigarettes keep her alive or she threatens suicide if she doesn't get her way.

You can't have a conversation with her at all. She never was the greatest listener, but now it's all about how everyone is jealous or spying on her or stealing from her, or she picks up on one word and goes with it, however she wants. She honestly would be fine talking to a mannequin's head, I swear!

This shouldn't have to be a constant burden, should it? I'm sorry this is so long, but I need to vent. Can I draw a line in the sand and say, you have to go into a home. You can't take care of yourself anymore, and I can't have you live with us. (Due to the smoking, that we have stairs, that she would try to micromanage everything in our house and everything we do ...)

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Give it a shot, Heidi! Talk to them about the ins and outs of financials.

Thank you, everybody. A lot of good advice here. I'm going to contact the nursing home/AL she was in about options. She did okay there for therapy and the staff seemed pretty nice and attentive, very patient with the patients in decline, too. I'm going to see what we can do about getting her in there.

Get her to AL and don't visit for two weeks. This gives both of you time to settle in to a new routine. Going there every day tells you feel guilty and she will play you like a big fish on the hook. Ask about the adjustment period and how to cope.

My heart goes out to you Heidi; this sounds so very hard. My mom has vascular dementia from a stroke, so different, but there are a couple of things I can suggest.

We had mom's mail routed to my brother. If you live together, I would get a PO box at Mailboxes or a similar place. Mom couldn't understand bills any more, and ANYTHING in the mail freaked her out. We eventually figured out that the anxiety was related to her cognitive decline and a couple of really wonderful Geriatric Psychiatrists helped get her on antidepressant meds which smoothed out her mood; she's currently on two, along with a very small dose of Klonopin for situational anxiety. (Mom is in a NH now).

You need to get your mom to AL for a couple of reasons; for your own sanity, because if you chose the right place, one that specializes in dementia patients, she'll be cared for by experts and because she'll be distracted by the activites and the other people.

Take her on some tours; she'll be surprised at what she sees.

In your shoes, I sat down with my mom and said "Mom, we can't do this anymore (the constant crises were killing us, quite literally). You have to be somewhere where we know that you're safe and that there's always someone around to care for you in an emergency." Bless you; hope you work this out, for everyone's sake.

Hi Heidi, I lost my Dad to ALZ in 2007, my Mom to dementia in 2012, and now my in-laws are in decline. While not in the eye of the storm like you are, I remember. It is a marathon that just gets steeper! When my Dad was first diagnosed with ALZ, I read a book titled, "Caring for Your Aging Parents." The author came back over and over to this point: Be honest with yourself about just how much you can spend (in the way of bringing your parents into your home; finances; solitude; freedom). You will hit the wall of your limitations eventually anyway, and the sooner you accommodate your "human-ness", the sooner you can forge a sustainable lifestyle for the whole family. If your life is circling the drain, you will not be there for her, your kids, your husband, your job....and she won't even know it. I know my Mom hated me when I took her keys. Had she continued to drive, she could have killed a child - and promptly totally forgot about it! You are finite. One acquaintance of mine had her mother living with her. When things got too rough, she'd call her brother and say, "I can't be nice to her today! " and he knew he had to relieve her. Be gentle on yourself. Don't try to live up to a bar far too high. How can you treat yourself this very day? God Bless you!

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