Hi all, I have read many posts and find comfort in them. I haven’t posted myself in quite some time. My mom has not been formally diagnosed, but we have noticed some cognitive decline. A little short term memory issues. Some trouble in making large meals with all the steps involved. But for the most part she is still able to take care of her daily needs. She is 73 years old and I should mention she had a car accident with a brain injury 16 years ago. I a previous post I mentioned The behaviours that were causing us the most concern were the paranoia/delusions/hallucinations. We have moved her 2 times in the last year. In the first condo there was a lot of noise coming from upstairs as there were two young children living there (a girl 4yrs and a boy 2yrs). However, my mom had it in her head that there was a 10 year old boy living there that they were hiding. She would become very agitated. She would retaliate by playing loud music and would confront the people. A few times the police were called as they felt threatened. She insisted on moving so my brother and I helped her find a new place. We knew that this wasn’t the right thing to do, but she is still in control of her own affairs as she functions fairly well with daily life. In the current condo she is convinced that people are smoking around her. She will bother the security people to come up to her condo to smell the smoke. She will knock on neighbours doors accusing them of smoking. There is no smoke. The police have been called on this instance too as she will again retaliate with loud music or put her tv on very loud. Fast forward a few months and I have been diagnosed with breast cancer. I have had surgery and I’m currently going through treatment. My mom has been living with me during this time. The above behaviours have since gone away. I was once told that being isolated can be the sole trigger for these types of behaviours. Does anyone have any insight into this? Is it common for these delusions/paranoia/hallucinations to subside? Is it that my mom is surrounded by my family and distracted. Maybe has a purpose as she’s helping me while I go through treatment? Is it just a matter of time before the behaviours occur again? I feel like I’m waiting for the next thing to happen. We live in Canada and we are trying to get her to see a geriatrician, but she doesn’t think there is anything wrong. I should add that her family dr (you would call a primary care physician, I believe) has tried to get her on an anti-psychotic several times, but she refuses. Anyway, I feel like we’re at a standstill right now. Just waiting for what’s going to happen next. Any insight would be much appreciated.
Sometimes, "stepping up", "stepping in", "moving mom in temporarily" amount to enabling a dysfunctional situation to continue.
Olfactory hallucinations are almost always an indication of tumor (that is psych grad school 101).
Something needs to change. Given your own current medical needs, I can understand why you are hesitant to shake things up.
But this situation cannot connot continue without mom getting better dx and treatment.
If she wants to continue living with you, you have to lay down some rules right away. Number 1 is with POA, you get to accompany her to all doctor appointments and sit in on them with her. If/when the doctor recommends medications to address the delusions/paranoia/hallucinations/depression, then she must agree to take said medications or else you can no longer keep her residing in your home. She has to make compromises and stop being so 'against' medical advice o/w you have to find other living accommodations for her ie: managed care. You have to get to the bottom of the diagnosis here and unless she allows you to accompany her to the doctor, that's not going to happen.
Wishing you the best of luck putting your foot down & helping your mother get a proper diagnosis for what's going on here! The chaos has got to stop and with your help setting down some rules, it likely will!!
like she does have some control. It’s not an easy road and everyone is different. Thanks for your advice.
A good fried is on Seroquel for depression. My husband takes it for sleep (he and his doctor tried everything else). It works.
Nancy, would your mom be amenable to speaking to her doctor about the use of this class of drugs for non-schizophrenia related issues? Or is her cognitive decline such that she is unable to appreciate the nuances?
But in refusing help NOW, in order to stave off progression or something truly awful (like her hurting herself or someone else while hallucinating), she is acting against her own best interests and needs to understand that her non-compliance comes at a cost.
That cost is your involvement.
I was very upfront with my mom that she couldn't make demands on our time and resources without flexibility on her part--which included moving to a facility where there were eyes on her situation 24/7 and help at her door if she needed it.
We simply refused to be on call 24/7.
Like you, we will have to, at some point, put our foot down, so to speak. At this time due to my own medical issues (currently in treatment for breast cancer) she is happy to be staying with us and her behaviour is stable for the most part.
thanks for your response
It's worth a shot and places the ball in the doctor's court.
Best of luck with your treatment going forward!
I'm sure it is also true that if you are living alone with nothing else to occupy you then yes you are going to get worked up about details you otherwise wouldn't even notice.
PS Best of luck with your treatment, wish you every success with it.
thank you for your well wishes
Once she got home, it stopped. Though, when she first got home, she did accuse me of smoking a 'funny cigarette' in my bedroom once when it was just a regular cigarette. So, the only thing I can think of is that the isolation caused it because they didn't give her any different meds while she was there.
1. Does anyone have medical POA that doesn't require her to be incapacitated? If so, just take her to doctor for evaluation without advance notice. If not, unless someone is a danger to themselves or others, they can legally make bad decisions.
2. Does the doctor think, and is prepared to act, that she is not legally competent? Then someone else will make decisions for her, even if she doesn't like it. I think this takes quite awhile.
3. Changes in surroundings does trigger changes in thinking, so it's possible that's what happened with the moves. However, now you have documentation (via police reports) in addition to your observations to take to a doctor. You can provide her usual doctor a copy. Hopefully this is someone who can advise you.
Dealing with mom and your treatments is going to be difficult if not impossible. I recently went through the BC myself. My mom passed, and I was very lucky my BC was very early and had not metastasized. No treatment after mastectomy was needed. And I decided to remain flat because of potential for numerous surgeries with reconstruction. Just was not going to go there. Just the stress alone, dealing with mom too, I cannot imagine.
it’s definitely been difficult to say the least! Trying to take things one day at a time.