My mom's dementia has progressed, so now the answers I gave my mom that used to comfort her, anger her. What can I do?

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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!

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Thank you all of you. The off the showertime worked well as the staff didn't come back each day till she said yes. They asked once and accept her refusal. The next week, she was ok with the shower.

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.
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Your mother's agitation might be progress of her dementia. It might be from pain. I'd focus on pain management now. What are they giving her for lichens scléreux? Is there anything else they can try? She deserves to be as pain-free as possible, even if that doesn't solve the aggression.

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. :-(
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I'm not sure what your fear of calming meds is based on. Dementia is a progressive, degenerative neurological disease. In essence, your mom's brain is broken.

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.
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I'd address the issue of whether she has pain that she cannot verbalize.

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.  
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My social worker gave this advice : don't insist on the hygiene as long as the agressivity period is there, since mom is able to wash herself more or less.According to the s.w., agressivity will pass. Mom today was very sweet and calm. Thank you again for your advices and hugs! God bless!
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And a very happy Valentine Day with all your loved ones.( here I sent e-cards to my friends and something special for my hubby. Mom will have hers tomorrow. It's her day, other time confused her). So be happy the best you can!
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yes big hugs. i am going through the same agitation with my mom. she is 78 years old. and got diagnosed with dementia. i don't know what to do. she is not eating and says weird things. But be strong Michou, bc you are not alone and sending you prayers to make you strong. you can be there for her and just say that this is all that you can do, just be there for her and take deep breaths. that's what i do.
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Thank you all of you. God bless you all. I'll give you an update tomorrow after my day ( 9 to 3 pm)with her.
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Hugs, Michou. This must be very distressing. By all means reassure your mother that you're doing your best to find the right place for her. Heaven knows it's true enough.

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.
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Even when I' m there these last days mom is agitated.
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