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My mother, age 89, has heart disease/CHF and dementia. I am a part-time caregiver. She lives in her own home and has someone in four hours per day to help. I do the shopping, cooking, and meet other needs. This is the question: Yesterday I called her on the phone to check in and she told me that she has blue eyes. Well, they have always been brown. She said my brother told her they are blue. I kept insisted that her eyes are brown (I know this is wrong). Anyway, in as much as she has had eye problems and eye surgery, or maybe because I am wondering if I am losing it here, I did a really crazy thing. I asked her to put her caregiver on the line and I asked the caregiver "what color are her eyes". The answer was, of course, brown. Now, I knew this all along, so whatever made me even have to check my own reality. Am I losing touch with reality here or what? It scares me that I would be even doubting, no matter how small that doubt, the reality of the situation. I recognize that this is an odd question, but it is bothering me that I even asked the question. The bigger question is this: can you lose your mind caring for a person who is ill with dementia, listening to things that cannot be true all the time? Now, of course, I am really embarrassed to even be posting this as it sounds crazy to me. The truth is I have been majorly stressed in a number of areas in my life and I have come to doubt my perception of things at times due to so many losses in a short period of time. Thank you.

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Jacquie like Jeanne said, just go along with their reality unless it is a safety issue. Safety you will need someone to help right away. Does she have time alone in her home when a caregiver is not there? It sounds like it may be time for a move for mom. It is a very difficult decision to make but unless there is 24/7 care for her at home, she should move to keep herself safe.

I understand about wanting the CHF to take her before the dementia does. There are many of us that feel that way. Dementia is a dreadful disease that will eventually, over the course of many year in many cases, that strips them of all their memories which is what makes them who they once were.
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I don't know how you all do it, being the primary caregiver for years....and just now you worry about your sanity? I've been primary caregiver of my Mom who has dementia for two months, and two days ago I thought for sure my own dementia was kicking in! I didn't even last a month before I asked my doctor for some anxiety medicine because the Valium I have for flying wasn't touching my anxiety or panic! One measly month!
Anyway, I have been prepping my Mom's room at the Memory Care place just five minutes up the road (she doesn't know yet) and I asked a staff member to please unlock the bedroom door. Five minutes later I was heading out to the car for a load, and a person (youngish) was at the coded door with me....and I've been lectured by the admin to NEVER let anyone else out the door. So I made her put her own code in. Turns out, she was the staff member sitting right next to the one who unlocked my Mom's bedroom door. I know she was thinking to herself that I must have dementia too, because that's what I was thinking!!! I was so flustered by the event that afterwards I forgot which doors needed codes and which ones didn't, ended up muttering to myself and feeling quite foolish.
FYI: my grandfather had Parkinson's, my Mom has dementia (brain scans were inconclusive 6 years ago so doc suspected alcohol abuse caused it) and now my uncle (moms brother) has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. So I'm thinking there could be a high probability that it's genetic/hereditary. I keep telling my kids to take notes, and to put me in a home...None of this putting their lives on hold and taking care of me crap. Btw, I'm 45 and my mom is 76.
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JeanneGibbs:
Thank you for your response. I will call the alzheimers foundation and try to speak with a social worker, if they have one. I need support for this. I appreciate your taking the time to respond to me. It is helpful. I guess this whole situation is just heartbreaking.
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Jaquie, having a parent with dementia is a very stressful thing. If you have other stressful issues going on in your life also, I think you should seek some counseling. Not because you are losing your mind -- I doubt that is happening! -- but because you deserve some help to be able to function at your best.

You know that your mother has dementia. You have to take that into consideration when you are talking to her. "Disjointed" conversations are to be expected. Don't try to sort things out and make literal sense of them. And don't argue about her "facts" unless she must be told something to keep her safe.

"Blue eyes, Mom? Well, I've always liked blue eyes." End of conversation! You say you know that. It is hard to put it into practice always, isn't it? Just work on it and do the best you can. The more you can accept your mother's preposterous claims, the less stress for both of you.

When I visited my mother in the nursing home recently she asked if I knew when they were getting back. "I don't think I do, but who do you mean?" She said, "Dad and the men he went fishing with." Now I could have reminded her that Dad died almost twenty years ago. I just said, "Well I hope they bring a lot of fish when they do get back!" and went on with what we had planned for the day. It is tempting sometimes to "correct" her about other things she has confused, but that would just be stressful for both of us.

When my husband told me I couldn't go into our bedroom until the crime scene investigators removed the body from our bed I told him he was doing a good job of guarding the door and I'd come back later.

My husband had dementia for 10 years before he died, my mother has had it maybe 5 years now. It took me a while to get into the habit of just accepting their version of reality. I don't think that comes naturally! But with practice it does keep things calmer.
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Freq Flyer; Thank you for responding. Ii was thinking no one was going to touch this question because it sounds so "off". I am sorry your Mom passed and that your Dad now has it. Yes, my Mom refused help for many, many years and we don't even know how long the new carer will last. Like if my mother gets angry and tells her off? As you say, conversations are so disjointed. Right. Can you describe it a bit? In my case, it's like my mother is "all over the place" ... jumping from one subject to another and I get totally confused. There are things from the past mixed in with the present or it sounds like something just happened as she tells it .. but then I realize it is something that happened a year or more ago? I fear getting this also. And I fear for her living the disease to the end. She has very serious heart disease that keeps her homebound and I actually wish it would take her before the dementia gets too bad. I say this because I love her. I don't want her to die, but I don't want her to suffer. She is nothing like the mom I knew and that, too is so hard.
If anyone is reading and can post about how to handle these odd things they say or the disjointed talks being totally confusing to me, I appreciate it.
Thanks for responding.
Freqflyer: I know all about that worry. Been doing it for almost ten years. Then she finally agreed .. for now .. to have someone in and that is a great relief.
I think I may have PTSD about all of this and another loss as I do have flashbacks and dreams and major anxiety. Thanks again.
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Jaquie, you are not alone on this. My Dad is in the early phase of dementia and I am having trouble trying to deal with this. I know I shouldn't keep correcting him but I just can't help it, my OCD jumps in... so I need to try to back off, and just agree with Dad.

If Dad telephones me later in the evening, and his conversations are disjointed, then I find myself wide awake the whole night. My mind starts to race with worry.

It is so sad seeing someone who was very bright heading down this road. And it scares me, too. In the past couple of months I have had a couple of melt-downs due to stress [dealing with parents in their 90's who refused outside help for 6 years]. It wears very thin, and I had very little support on this journey. Mom has since passed.

There are times I am thinking I am getting dementia... but my doctor said it is all stress related. I have information overload so it is hard to remember things.
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