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I feel like I live in the land of Loony Toons. Everything seems upside down, but I don't know how serious it all is. My mother has been going more off the deep end the last 2-3 weeks. She seems normal enough except being more emotional. She cries at the drop of a hat and threw a tantrum this morning that shook the house. I can handle these things, though they aren't pleasant.

My mother's obsession with something being wrong with the floor has gotten worse. She thinks the house is on stilts and cracks between the floor boards are letting cold air in. Nothing is wrong with the floor, besides being old. She has had this obsession for over 2 years. I bought huge rugs to put down in the rooms she uses. They cover almost the entire floor and are quite thick and heavy.

A few minutes ago I went into her room and she has her whole floor covered with comforters and towels. The rug and bar floor were totally covered. I could barely walk on the floor without tripping. This is what worries me about the craziness. It is an accident waiting to happen.

We went through this before I bought the rugs. She would put towels down, I would pick them up, she would put them back down. I keep handling things like this is something normal, but my insides are saying that living has gotten to be frakking nutty. And actually I don't know what needs to be done -- ultimatums? NH? Living with it and hoping for the best? I thought about talking to my brothers, but they don't care. One would tell me that it isn't so bad, that old people do this, and the other would say do what I think best. I would much rather hear from people who have been through this type of thing about things to do.

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My mom doesn't have dementia, but I've learned not to tell her we're going somewhere ahead of time or I'll get a litany of reasons why she doesn't want to go and isn't up to it. Now I just go over and say, "We're going" and get her dressed and we go. MUCH easier on both of us!
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We too do not mention appointments to my MIL. She too obsesses. It does wonders!
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Something that helps me at times is to step outside the situation and look at it like a sit-com. It makes it all not seem so serious and depressing. If we need to live it, may as well try to make it more live-able.
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To you all who are dealing with what appears to be end stage dementia and narcissism, my best wishes. Something that I found works for us, is never telling Mom about anything beforehand. Not visits, not weddings, not nothing! When it happens, it's a nice surprise. We started doing this to save OUR sanity because she'd obsess over everything for months on end; last summer, before my son got married and she had declared that she wasn't going to the wedding, her doctor said to me "please don't try to talk her into it now; she'll drive us ALL crazy all summer long!" he was right. Mom had a stroke (I'm convinced it's because of the 90th birthday party we gave, where the very few guests brought small gifts. She obsessed over the thank you notes and stroked out). On a more sobering note, in September, when she was already in memory care, she broke her hip. they did a scan of her skull/brain to make sure there was no concussion; the picture was sobering. There's more space than brain at this point, so we "get" why her reasoning isn't there anymore. Something to keep in mind.
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JB it never occurred to me until a mutual friend said some time ago "Well, your mother's never been happy with anything" and she was so right. Looking back as far as I can remember, nothing was ever big enough, good enough or grand enough and she was never happy in her life. Never mind keeping up with the Jones's, she had to have more and be better than the Jones's. It never occurred to her that a big fancy house can be mortgaged to the hilt, an expensive car leased and that those she so admired were likely in debt up to their eyeballs.

When you find your inner child have her look back over how your mother has been all her life. Some folks just are never happy and nothing can make them happy. {{{huggs}}}
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I can understand that, Ashlynne. Whether they are ill or not, being jerked around is no fun. I do wonder at myself and the need to make her happy, knowing that it is not possible. It must be that stupid inner child again. I'm going to have to locate that inner child and tell her to knock it off before she drives the adult me crazy. :)
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JB I can't and will not deal with the looney tunes any more for the sake of my own health.
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JB I know what you mean about eyes. My mother has a blank look a lot of the time and a little evil manic smile when she's cooking up some manipulative lie or story. I've tried to figure out what stage of dementia she's at but I can't find anything definitive. She's totally irrational, demanding, accusatory and delusional. I don't visit too much now as it was affecting my health.

When the hospital returned her to the NH after another stroke a few months ago they deemed her "palliative". She can't sit up or stand alone and will never walk again. She weighs less than my big labrador. I can't get a prognosis from anyone and the nurses/doctors just say we have to take things one day at a time.

I backed away almost 2 weeks ago after having a TIA due to the years of stress. Since then, apart from basic chores, I've been resting and sleeping a lot and I'm starting to feel better. Almost 2 p.m. and once the dishes are done I'm going back to bed with my dogs and taking a nap.
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Her doctor told her no towels and blankets on the floor. It worked for a day, but today they were back on the floor, so I took them up. She has decided her new bed is all wrong and she can't sleep on it. Then there was another crazy-making incident. I had put down a secure floor covering in the hall -- the rubber pieces that fit together like a puzzle. She decided she couldn't walk on it, so I took them up and put them in the rabbit room. This morning she said I needed to put them back in the hall, because it made it easier to walk. I told her they were no longer available, which is true because I'm not going to move them again.

I had decided yesterday to do things to make her life happier until she died. I realize, of course, that it was wishful thinking. There's really no way to make her happy. She is already stressing over my brother's visit in April. She is pressing me on cooking a huge feast and inviting everyone. Today I'm hiding out in my room, trying to put a little order to the chaotic hoard that is accumulating. Clutter drives me crazy. I wish I could get a little bulldozer and go through the house, pushing everything out the doors. That would feel good. My mother is a hoarder. I was able to get everything manageable, but it is still too cluttered to clean. It drives me crazy, because I am just the opposite.
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Hope things work out. Hugs!!!
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Jessie, you are sensing a downward turn in your mother, and who would know better than you. I do hope the Celexa will help her mood and general functioning and also make care giving a little easer for you. (((((((hugs)))))
Let us know about the bed and if she accepts it.

Jeanne, your insights from your experience with Coy are very helpful.
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Jessie, glad she started on the celexa..... it is a great medicine. I don't think antipsychotics should be used unless used as a last resort. Good job!
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Jeanne, when I woke up this morning, I was thinking of how the life has begun to fade rapidly from my mother's eyes. Her body has slowed down to near-stop. One hope I've had for my mother was that her mind held out as long as her body. I realize that she may be nearing the end of her life faster now, and it is not just depression and anxiety. I don't know what the next few months will bring. Maybe I will try to put together some things to make the end of her life richer. My out-of-state brother is visiting in April, so it's a good time to plan.

We have an appointment with my mother's doctor in a month. Maybe the Celexa will pick her up some. If not, I may talk about bringing in hospice. My mother still likes to get out some, but maybe we can just go out to eat, instead of going to the doctor. My mother was opposed to hospice for my father until the last day of his life. Hospice to her meant letting go. I don't know how she will feel about it for herself. I hope that she will welcome it.
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Hugs to you, Jessie. I hope the new medication is very successful.

You say, "She is still in the moderate dementia category, with most of her memory intact," and therefore don't think she is ready for hospice. That may be perfectly true. But Coy had most of his memory intact right to the day he died. And though the autopsy revealed a very severe case of LBD, his dementia was in mostly in the moderate category to the end. Your mother may not be even close to needing hospice, but don't look to just her memory and dementia symptoms to determine that. See how the new drug works. Since you do intend to use hospice services, it is better to have an evaluation too early than to late. Just keep it in mind.
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We went to her doctor today. I discussed the problem with floor and towels. The doctor prescribed Celexa. She started it this evening. I hope that it agrees with her and we'll see some improvement with time.

Her new bed arrives tomorrow. She has been wanting it off and on for a while. She is in her anti-bed frame of mind today, resenting the fact that I ordered it for her when she didn't want it. I wish she had started on the Celexa a while back. I fear that she will make herself dead-set against the bed and it will become a source of her woes. She started on it tonight, saying because the bed we couldn't do house repairs that needed doing so badly. I just smiled and said, "Don't worry. Be happy." I was talking more to myself, I believe.
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We call yogurt "pudding" and dad eats it right up!
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My mother had moderate delusions, prior to going to the NH. She insisted that the china cabinet was off balance and all of her valuables were going to break. She is 100% better in the NH and I find that it is kinder to her, to not have her confused and scared. At 94, she is pretty normal, now.
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LOL....Jessie..... my mother in law forgot she did not like cranberry juice and yoghurt!! I just put it in front of her and she eats it or drinks it.... then she says That was good!
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Thanks, Jessie. I love this site and learning from all here as well as offering my experiences to every one else. We all just need to remember to take what we can use and either throw the rest away or save it for another day. I do wish family, particularly siblings got it the way you folks do!
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Thanks, norest. She won't drink cranberry juice, because she is diabetic. I tried the cranberry pills with her one time until she started refusing to take them. She doesn't like yogurt. If you ask her, she will tell you that she likes all food. But in actuality there are only a few things she will eat. "Not fit to eat" is one of her favorite expressions when it comes to different things I fix. I only cook one meal a day right now, so I try to make it as nutritious as I can while keeping in mind that she's a country girl. She loves her fried chicken and pork chops. Wouldn't you know I like grilled chicken and don't like pork chops? We are so different.

gladimhere, what you went through with your mother makes me realize that mine is mild. I don't know how you handled it. That would have driven me off the edge. I have to admit that if my mother ever becomes too bad that I will have to have help from a NH. I'm not tough enough, so I know I would crack. People who can handle it are remarkable to me.
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Jessie,
Oh BTW, bactrim can cause diarrhea.... so give her some yoghurt to replace the good bacteria in her system.
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Jessie.... glad to hear it was a UTI. It is totally flabbergasting what a UTI will do to an elderly's mind! So glad antipsychotics were not started for a UTI! When she starts acting like that again, you will know what the problem is. As far as prevention, cranberry juice (we give to my mother in law 3 times a day) kills the bacteria that causes her UTI's. Hope you can find a gerontologist for her..... have you checked with a local nursing home to see who they recoomend as good?
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Jessie-
You asked about Seroquel, and I will tell you that for us it is a miracle drug. Mom started it two years ago at 12.5 mg a day, at about 4:00 pm.At that tim mom was obsessing about doors and window being locked and would check them again every few minutes. The locked door obsession has been replaced with worry about her children, now all in their 50's, or she hasn't talked to her parents in a long time, or she doesn't remember that she married the man that is here 7.5 years ago. Mom is now taking 75 mg daily, still at about 4 and the obsessing stops once the medication has been in her system for 45 minutes to an hour. Bedtime for her is usually about 6:30 and it also helps her get a better night's sleep. On occasion she still goes completely wacky, then I also give her a small dose of xanax, but that only happens once a month if that.

I would definitely talk to the doc about it, but keep in mind, it may not work for her. As those brains get more and more scrambled it is hard to know how they will react to a new medication.
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blannie, I've been looking at videos on gait. My mother doesn't have the typical NPH gait. I've looked at videos of other gait problems, but nothing matches it. I will definitely recognize the NPH shuffle if I see it. It is unmistakable when it is advanced.
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JB if you google "NPH + 60 Minutes" you'll see a very good piece on NPH. I had seen the piece a few years ago and had a neighbor who came back one spring from AZ and looked like he'd aged 10 years over one winter. And he had the shuffling gait. I immediately thought NPH, but how do you go up to someone and say, "Hey, I think you have a weird condition that a lot of doctors don't know about." I didn't find out until about 9 months later that he DOES have NPH. He had the shunt put in and made a great recovery, but then about a year later, he started going downhill again in a rapid way. They couldn't figure out what was going on and he went into the nursing home for a while. He's eventually gotten better and has come back home with his wife. I also have a former co-worker who's dad has it. So it is out there. Good luck with figuring out if your mom has it...I know the shunts can help, but there are downsides to that kind of surgery, as Socalgal mentioned.
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SoCalGal, I have been reading on NPH. I am going to ask her doctor if it is a possibility. If she does have it, I don't know what we would do at her age. She has the three main symptoms -- gait, some trouble with incontinence, and dementia. I linked her troubled gait to her spinal stenosis, poor eyesight, and balance problems. No one has looked to see if it might be anything else, though. It would be good to know what is going on with her brain. I have the same concerns about surgery at her age.
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Blannie, my mom declined the shunt at the time due to the procedure itself, risks of infection, possibility of shunt blockage and the fact that it wouldn't necessarily reverse her effects, just slow them down. She was still cognitive at that stage and wanted no surgeries at her age of 86. Still question whether it would have hurt or helped, it seemed like a gamble at the time.
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blannie, she took up two big towels yesterday. I was pleased. She put one down last night. So right now we are one towel to the good side... unless she has put more down since. The comforter is still on the floor.
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SoCalGal, did they put in a shunt for your mom?
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My mother has had the similar shuffling steps since last summer when she was officially diagnosed with normal pressure hydrocephalus just based on her walking movements. She has since mentally and physically deteriorated rapidly and broke her ankle a month ago and will probably never walk again, but thankfully no surgeries were needed, just casting for a month. Unbelievable how quick things can change for the worst.
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