Mom has Alzheimer's and CHF w/atrial fib. She was diagnosed a couple months ago with AD and it seems to progress quickly with her but I now realize (hindsight) she was doing a good job of covering it up and I wasn't recognizing her horrendous moods as part of the process. Six years ago she was sundowning (hearing music that wasn't there and blaming her neighbor).

Yesterday she asked me if she's crazy, that she sees or thinks Dad (now deceased) is coming to her bedroom in the ALF at night and sleeping in the bureau. She asked me if it's possible. I didn't know what to say and told her I thought the medication was causing her to have dreams that seem real. She said she didn't think he could really be in there cause he's been in the ground for 25 years (actually 21 yrs.). She doesn't comprehend time though can read the digital clock. Mixes up day and night. Orders me around; demands things like a child. Insists I am dating a guy that works at the ALF. No matter how much I insist it is not true, she won't stop referring to him. It drives me nuts. I correct her and it doesn't matter.

Yesterday I caught her cutting out a section of the "Depends" that was wet, keeping the band around her waist, and pinning a new pad to the waist band. She has about 10 packages of 24 pull ups in her closet. No matter what I said, she wouldn't stop pinning this up.

I go there every day as they have made some mistakes, but maybe I am going too much. I'm afraid she won't go to the dining room for her meals if I don't get over there. The other day I found her on the floor. I thought the worst, but she had just fallen out of the chair. She is on hospice supportive care so they visit daily M-F in addition to the ALF that checks her every 2 hours and give her her medications. That's a huge help and that is because of her diagnosis of congestive heart failure.that Hospice is helping.

They just delivered a Lift Chair so she won't fall and mom is insisting It is my Christmas gift from her and now she doesn't have to buy me anything (haha). She wants me to take it home and argues about it.

I'm able to laugh a lot at some of these things, but when I get down, like today, it isn't so funny. I feel the laughter keeps me from losing it as I am the only family member helping her. Most others aren't talking to her. I'm disgusted with family for disappearing. My attitude about certain people is becoming negative.

Sometimes like today where I can't seem to evade reality with some laughter, the sadness of the disease just slaps me hard across the face. It is soooo sad. I realize Mom is actually gone and the reality it hits me hard. She was always very difficult anyway, but I knew she loved me. This person that she is doesn't seem to have any love or compassion and days like today are just so hard to take. My anger becomes displaced and I just feel mad at the world. I'm not a crier, but I'm crying a lot last night and today.

Last night I went to a grief counseling seminar and that's when it hit me that I am grieving the loss of my mother though physically she is still here. It is a daily grieving.

Thanks for letting me vent and if anybody can explain what stage mom seems to be in, I would appreciate your wisdom.

Also, what connection, if any, does congestive heart failure (and/or Atrial Fib) have with AD?

Thank you much.

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You are doing everything right here. You have hospice support, you are getting grief counseling, you've given your mother a very good answer for her current problem and you are reaching for support. Your understanding that humor goes a long way is insightful. Sometimes we have to laugh or we'll cry all of the time. But sometimes we have to cry. This is more than sad. It's a horror for us to watch our loved ones live in such a state. So, please let yourself feel your own pain, keep on with the counseling, and keep coming back to this site so that you will feel less alone. Most of us have been in your shoes, even though our situations have their own twists.
Take care of yourself,
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The AD stage is certainly in the middle stages, if that helps you to understand where your mother's degree of AD. But what it does say is that this kind of event (your mother being visited by her deceased husband) is not unusual. Many times people who do not have AD will be visited by a deceased relative. I would advise you to acknowledge that she sees your father and not to agrue with her about his presence and move on. I would not minimize this visit either, but realize that your mother might see other things that are not real also--hold her hand, stroke her hair and smile. Be in the moment and take that for what it is because someday she might not know who you are and those days can be very upsetting for you. So be there for her and give her all the positive love you can.
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I think you came up with a good answer about your dad -- she's having dreams that seem very real.

And yes, you are grieving. You have not had closure. No one is sending you sympathy cards. Most people are probably not aware of this aspect of your experience and aren't reaching out in support. You are mourning a very real loss. Cut yourself some slack. Crying? Sure. This doesn't mean you've become a "crier" -- but it seems a reasonable and appropriate response to the loss of a meaningful relationship.

The real Mom is still in there, but doesn't get a chance to shine through the dementia very often. Cherish any glimpses you get.

Try to minimize the conflicts you have with her. You'll both feel better. Is her method of wearing depends working, more or less? Let it be. Perhaps she'll lose interest in that on her own, or maybe she'll keep it up. Unless it is somehow hurtful, don't stress over it. If it does need to be changed, perhaps the staff should handle that, while you avoid conflict with her.

Unless you are married and it feels disloyal, what is the harm in going along with Mom's fantasy of you dating? You've discovered that correcting her does not change anything. Try joining her. "I don't know, Mom, do you think he is a little old for me?" "If I did go out with him, what do you think I should wear?" You don't have to "admit" you are dating him, but try to avoid arguing about it. That is no way to spend the time you have left with her. And after you've made a few nonconfrontational comments about the guy at the ALF, perhaps you can redirect her. "What was the best date you ever went on, Mom?"

I've never heard of a connection between CHF and any kind of dementia. Many elderly people have CHF. Many have dementia. Some have both. As far as I know, it is just coincidence if they happen together.

You hang in there! Keep looking for the things to laugh about. Avoid unnecessary and unproductive conflict. Cut yourself some slack as you mourn. Come and vent when you want to!
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