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Hi all, I need support so will lay out all the embarrassing details and I'll have a thick skin to read your responses. Don't expect sympathy cuz I've had lots of help for past 3 years but it's still exhausting. My Mom with psychosis of PD was at AL for 22 months (no memory care attached). Her difficult medication needs (9 times/day) couldn't be met so we provided our own caregivers with me there several hours a day. As her dementia and psychosis increased, we were with her 24/7. She was increasingly inappropriate to be at this AL so I moved her back to her vacant home on 9/14/16 with 24/7 care that included 2 of us with her during waking hours. After moving home my gorgeous brilliant Mom started eating rocks, gravel, leaves, bark and/or seashells on a daily basis with the occasional flower or other non food item thrown in. Mostly rocks and seashells. She has collected these things her whole life and there is an unlimited supply inside and out. 4 weeks ago she started falling, a lot. UTI was ruled out. Sometimes 6 falls a day or more. Last Saturday am she took 3 horrific falls and was eating beach glass. Then there was an incident where she had a BM into her 2 hands as I was trying to help her on the toilet and feces went everywhere. I had a breakdown (not mad at her but 3 years of frustration caught up with me) and knew I had reached my limit and took her to the ER for help with placement. She was transferred (I drove her as it was "voluntary" due to her lack of understanding) to a Senior Mental Health unit. She's been there over a week and will be discharged Friday. I can't do this anymore and have found a dementia care center where the residents are well cared for, their family members seem happy, and they promise they can meet her medication needs. The problem is my 24 yo son and 27 yo daughter. They have been 2 of her devoted caregivers and want to prove themselves to me by taking more responsibility for her care at her home. Every bone in my body and every ounce of sense I have tells me this is a bad idea and setting them up for failure. What a burden for 20-somethings. My husband has even joined their cause and I feel so guilty. But I can hold onto myself and do what I think is best for everyone concerned and what my Mom would have wanted before she got ill. But baring my soul for other opinions and a reality check from our community. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

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DLSinVA, I have goosebumps reading your answer because many details are similar to our situation. The family has always been wonderful but it's just more than we can manage anymore. I am truly trying to do the best thing and hope that we see an improved situation for everyone like you have.
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Wow I don't know where to begin. I will start by saying stand strong in your decision to put your mom in 24/7 care. My mom was diagnosed almost 3 years ago and she lived 800 miles away. It has been a up hill battle. Without going into to much detail she was being cared for by my "Awesome" stepdad who is 13 years older than her. He tried for the last couple of years to care for her in the home. My sister and I knew it was a train wreck and we had to sit back and wait for it. Very hard and a very sad situation. This past August I moved my mom from FL to VA into a nursing home. She has had to leave her home, her husband and what feels like her life. By the way she barely remembers the last two years which she had no quality of life and did not get out of bed for days on end. She is doing much better and is getting the 24 care and medication regiment she need. Stand strong! I know your family is now stepping up and being helpful but a little to late.
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Excellent advice Jsanders. I truly am fighting for my own survival. I had assured my husband over the past 3 years that I would know when it was the time to place my Mom in a higher level of care. Now is the time. It's the first emotionally healthy thing I've done in a long time. We were set to transfer in a few hours but the Dr has decided not to release her today. More medication adjustments are needed to address nighttime wakefulness.
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I would strongly recommend a family meeting at the Geri psych unit. Let the team treating her try to work with you all about what is best. As a clinical social worker, I would have already had a meeting with the family re: your mom's long term care needs. It sounds as though they are not hearing your needs and your are too exhausted to fight for yourself and your mom right now. Let them know that you are at risk for being hospitalized yourself if you don't get the help for your mom. Nothing is permanent. Life is fragile and you need help managing your kids and husband's expectations of you. Or get your own doctor or mental health provider to hold a family meeting! Best of luck to you.
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Look at it this way: even if she is in a nursing home, there is nothing stopping you or your kids from taking on her care. No matter how good the place they won't have enough staff to give her one to one care. As well, by coming in every day you show the staff that you are on top of things and will not put up with any lackidasical work.
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Trust yourself. Walking out of the facility for the first time and leaving your Mom behind will be on of the hardest things you will ever have to do. We that have had to do it understand. If you will be the person of contact you will still have plenty to deal with just not hands on. Your mind and body will have time to recharge between calls. If your Mom is a "faller" expect several calls at first until the staff gets a handle on the best way to manage your Mom.
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You are so right Lizzywho16!
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Dmasty, you are in a tough situation. I think you know in your heart what you need to do. I know your kids mean well but if they plan to help as much as they will be needed and possibly for an extended length of time I don't think it is a good idea. If they have outside jobs there will be no time for a social life. If they start not doing their part it will cause hard feelings and you will again be stretched beyond your limits. As your Mom's situation progresses it in my opinion is not something young adults who aren't trained really can handle. I guess from personal experience I am afraid you will be left with the brunt of this because no one else will be able to stick it out with you. Do what you think is right for your Mom, yourself and your kids. Place her in a safe environment. Each individual can visit as they see fit. Best of Luck to You.
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Dmasty
Hope the evaluation goes well tomorrow and then encourage your kids to be part of mom's life after the move - there are some family members who visit their loved ones daily at my mom's facility and others who rarely visit - I personally try to be there 3- to 4 times a week and have a private aide with her everyday

I have seen several residents eat non- food items - paper - plants - styrofoam - trash etc.
I suspect your neuro didn't blink because he/she understands the brain isn't working properly and even those whose dementia is not as advanced will pick up food or drink that belongs to another resident

As another poster said, your mom's journey may continue for some time and it may be difficult at times to be part of it but try to rest when you can and be present with her - touch is very comforting
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Pica is sometimes believed to be related to iron and/or zinc deficiencies. Also, pica is sometimes related to OCD. It can be helped by anti anxiety meds if OCD is present. Have your mothers dr check for mineral deficiencies.
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Have you tried gum - not a dainty stick of Wigleys but a chunk of something like Bubble Yum?
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Such beautiful, thoughtful, helpful responses. I forgot to mention that we always had several small bowls of crunchy snacks out like pretzels, nuts, wonton strips, apple chunks but it didn't help.
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Absolutely do not take her back in. Bless your 2 devoted children. Here would be my approach with children:

"We've given mom a lot of help to help her remain independent but Drs tell us mom needs more skilled care than our family can provide.
Gram mum would want you to live your life without burdening yourself with such demanding care. Gram mum scare needs are only going to escalate.
It's best for us to let skilled caregivers do their job and day to day caregiving duties with gram mum. Now we can be the loving children and grandchildren we want to be and spend quality time with gram mum without being worn out and frustrated.
I hope you can appreciate the hard decisions your dad and I have to make to ensure gram mum is safe and healthy.
Gram mum would want us to do this if she were in her right mind. She would never wish to put us thru this care burden. It's up to us to honor that wish.
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When my cousin first entered Secure Memory Care, which her doctor ordered due to her wandering, they explained that the residents personal care items like toothpaste, lotion, soaps, etc., were kept in a secure area and only taken out by staff when the resident was using it under direct supervision. Some residents do not realize that these items should not be ingested, so for safety reasons they are not allowed in the resident's rooms or bathrooms. They also don't have planters that soil in them or anything that could be harmful if ingested by a resident. That gives me peace of mind, since, a person with dementia can do things that you would not thing was likely.
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Dmasty that's a beautiful photograph of Your Mom. She's a very elegant and Stately Lady. Reading Your Post only reminds Me how much I dread growing old.
Your Question is difficult to answer, since if You do not bring Your Mom home, Your Son and Daughter will feel cheated out of Caring for Their Grandmother, and You will suffer from FEELING GUILTY....I'm going for give Your Mom a chance and bring Her Home....Your Kids will simply adore You for doing so.....so also will Your Mom, and make it known if this isn't working out, You will have NO choice but put Your Mom into Full Time Care. Entrust Your Daughter & Son, also the Carers to Care for Your Mom, and take a step back Yourself Dmasty because You have done a very long shift Caring for Your dear Mom.
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Dmasty; my heart aches for you and your family. Stand by your decision. You are doing what is best for your mom AND for your whole family. It is actually kind of rare here that there is such a clear and obvious answer to the question "should my mom be in a care center?". She CLEARLY is not being kept from harm in a home environment, not matter the level of supervision provided. This is simply not the kind of care that can be provided by lay caregivers in a home environment.
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Tell your family, that it is best to have quality FUN Time with Grandma...TAke some of the burden off you, and spend loving time with MOM...You can still take her for walks, or wheel chair, etc. You and kids don't need guilt if Mom falls again and does more harm to herself.. SPEND TIME Talking with her about the good times you have shared and are sharing. SMILE, Rocks and seashells may have a nutrient that her body may be craving....Calcium, iodine (kelp)..potassium or salt...or is it due to the fact that she likes collecting these? I too have a rock and shell collection.. :) Have fun with Mom.This journey may be a bit longer than your family even knows.
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Huge hugs to you. I think 18-30 is perhaps the time in our lives when we are most certain that we know what is right for the world. Your kids are just showing their love for your mother, which is wonderful; may they continue to show it by visiting her frequently and contributing to her care team in the unit.

Do not turn back! You are taking the *only* rational, balanced decision. Hugs to your mother too, and may she settle happily into this good, safe environment.
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Thank you all for the wisdom of your responses. I gave the care center a deposit today and they will evaluate her Wednesday. I told her Neurologist about the items she was eating daily and he didn't even bat an eye. This was 6 weeks ago. Her iron levels have been within normal limits. My limited research said this was a rare condition in psychotic individuals and very hard to treat. You can't imagine how many times I have read your responses over and over.
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Do what you know is best for your mother. You are her advocate.

Is the good place you have found close enough so that your family can visit often?They can interact with her there, where she is safe and looked after. They can play a very helpful role in her quality of life, without taking on the responsibility for day-to-day care.
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Has she ever been examined and tested if necessary for pica? It refers to eating hard substances and the need to chew. Other than the flowers and leaves, the rocks, gravel, bark, and seashells could fit into this category.

Iron deficiency anemia and malnutrition can cause this, according to what I've read. And, incidentally, I crave crunchy food objects (celery, cucumbers) and have battled anemia off and on for years.)

Did some more quick research to see if I could determine what kind of doctor could be consulted for this; it seems that there could be a mental component and psychiatrists, psychologists could be involved, but a medical doctor would probably have to do the diagnosis.

It's interesting that she's been in a psych unit. You might ask the doctors there if pica was considered and if they did any blood work to determine if she was anemic.

I think an endocrinologist might be an appropriate doctor to evaluate if you think pica is a possibility.

It's the first thing I thought of when I read your comment about her eating habits.

Beyond that, I really wish I could offer some other suggestions, but I do think that the situation is beyond your control. You might consider a short trial period so that your family can feel as though they've given it their best shot, but set a deadline so that other arrangements can be made if necessary.

I really hope for a good solution for all of you; your post was so sad.
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They don't even know how much they don't know about what it entails. I'd put her needs first and do what you know is right. They need to support you in this. She will progress in her condition and require more and more care. They obviously do not comprehend the severity of the situation. If the dementia unit will accept her, I'd be very grateful. It sounds like the level of care that she needs is substantial.
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dmasty, Tell them all NO, you are done, you are finished, you can't do this anymore. They won't last two weeks with this. It's all on you while they are at work. NOT FAIR and not physically possible. They have no idea what they are asking of you.
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I really needed these validating responses this morning and you have all grasped the sad situation. I often feel like I'm losing my mind. Yes, my kids love their Grammum so much and are heartbroken that it has come to this quite suddenly. They are even talking with 2 of her other caregivers (feels like conspiring but maybe I'm just overly tired). They all love my Mom and are fighting for their jobs.
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She needs a secure , i.e. locked environment. She will live longer and safer in the dementia unit. Be your mom's best advocate here.
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I'm so sorry this is happening to your mom but if she had round the clock care and has been falling and eating non food items then surely it has not been a safe environment

A dementia care center may not be able to keep her from falling as this happens regularly at my mom's facility but it will lift a burden from you so that you can continue to be her care overseer

God bless and let us know how the transition goes
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Tell them (your family) that you know someone who has known parkinsons patients to rally even though it is a progressive disease. When and if this occurs, you will reconsider other options. For now, they can visit often.
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Try to understand your family's deepest emotions, and realize that is what is speaking, the emotions. They are unwittingly placing the guilt on you as an added burden, imo. Don't receive the guilt into your heart, but also don't try to fix them.
You must be the one with more common sense for now. Not heartless, but the one who decides.
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You most likely cannot fix your mother's eating non-food items at home. She needs a more controlled and sterile environment to keep her safe at this stage of her illness.

Suggest you stand your ground, with love.
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