The starting point of her anger is her own hygiene! She refuses to change her dirty clothes and if the helper succeed in changing her ( mom is in a care home in an appartment) she changes back in her dirty clothes. Now she refuses to be washed once a week, because she thinks it is every day. Last week she hit the helper and almost hit me.The comforting answers I used to give her and the reasonable ones ( last resort) doesn't work anymore. Everything anger her: the food ( delicious but she loose taste), people, the care. She wants to leave and I' m the big bad daughter. She's 86 and was diagnosed at 84 with moderate to advanced dementia. Her health is mostly good.What is the best move the best words to help her? I' m at lost!
Now, they will check if she has uti ( the doctor come once a month). He's pretty sure she hasn't.
Mom used to wash herself by hand and put the same clothes again for the weekmwhen she was younger and more sane so she tried to keepmher old ways but with the memory problems weeks turn to months.. with the respite, she is now more open to talk about her clothes and accept suggestions. Phew! What a relief... for the time being.
I'd go with the social worker's advice and let them back off on the full bath/shower routine for a while. Obviously if the aggression lasts months this could be a problem. But skipping a week or two isn't going to give the dear lady leprosy! Maybe a little gentle help with her sponge bath would be useful. (The hygiene for the lichens scléreux must continue however. Perhaps if Mom sees this as a medical procedure to help with pain she would be more accepting of it.)
As you sadly know, there is no cure for dementia. But many of the symptoms and behaviors can be treated and if not stopped at least lessened. Certainly you don't what your mother to turn into a zombie, but calming medicines can be used without causing that. It may take some experimenting to get the best medicine and dosage, but be assured it can be done.
There are a couple of videos on youtube that you might find useful. My husband loved bathing so I didn't need help with him, but I wish I had seen these videos before I tried to help my mother bathe!
One is by Teepa Snow (she is great!) called Bathing a patient with dementia/Alzheimer's. The entire video is not available on youtube, but even the first part is educational.
UCLA has a video called Caregiver Training Part III: Refusal to Bathe
The VA has a nice training video for caregivers in their facilities, but I can't find it again. :-(
Our first clue with our mom was that she was way more anxious than she'd ever been in the past (and she was plenty anxious before) and that everything agitated her and was an emergency. Mom had to leave her home and go to an Independent Living facility due to her anxiety and agitation (which was mostly due to her cognitive decline, although we didn't know about that until later).
So, anxiety and agitation are the symptoms, the enemy, the thing to treat.
Talk to a geriatric psychiatrist about what your mom's medication needs are right now.
Also, staff who are trained to work with dementia patients deal with those who don't like baths all the time and they do a great job. Those who are not equipped seem to have the most difficulty.
I'm not sure that a Social worker saying that they just won't bathe her would cut it with me. So, is mom really capable of attending to her own hygiene needs? This is for a woman who refuses to change into clean underwear? I don't follow.
I'd explore her agitation and see if medication is needed. There are stages of dementia, but, there is no guarantee that her agitation will pass. I'd just do more research on dementia. Unless this social worker is specifically qualified to provide this opinion, I'd do my own independent research.
Also, I have discovered that the Memory Care unit where my LO resides plays music when the residents are getting their baths. It helps them relax.
If your mother is still agitated and upset in spite of anything you can say, all you can do is be there for her. BUT take advice from the nursing staff; and if it turns out that she is calmer when you *aren't* there, consider whether it might be better to cut back on how often you visit, or to make your visits shorter, or perhaps to change the time and see if that makes any difference. You can always telephone for updates instead, so you won't be neglecting her. Look after yourself, too.
Mom fought me over her dirty underwear it was hard to sneak clean ones after i got her to take off the dirty ones- quick switch hiding them. But if you are only there once a week- Personally I would ask about anti-anxiety meds for her, a very small amount.
I just wanted you helping me with what to say to mom. Is it all right to lie to her, to say that I will look for another place?
I would think that a home of the type she lives in would soon get fed up with an argumentative, smelly, violent resident, it's not as though there are dozens of aides to share the load. What advice are they giving you?
I' ll wait and see. One day at a time! She doesn't have a uti but another condition " lichens scléreux" for wich she refuses the nurses to take care pretenting she could do it herself. More or less true.
What sort of care home is your mother's apartment in? If they claim to offer specialist dementia care, this is the time for them to step up and use that expertise - after all, that's what your mother is paying for. If not, and she's getting beyond them too, then it might be time to look for a more highly specialised memory care unit or facility for her.
I'm very sorry not to be able to suggest any magic formula you could use. Sadly, anger and disorientation could be part of the progression of her disease - nothing anyone can say will put things right in her brain. I'm so sorry for what you're both having to go through.