Follow
Share

We have been together from the start. Now that she is declining in age her personality started to change. She is always angry or stressed. She isn't happy anymore. The simplest thing sets her off and she becomes either really angry or sad.


It feels like there is no reasoning with her. I can't share my issues or concerns with her because it doesn't register and she forgets it.


Her memory is declining rapidly and it makes her both angry and sad. It's really tough for both of us but I feel ill prepared to give the amount of patience and cautious care she requires.


It's like walking on egg shells.


Anyone have some advice?

If she has not already been diagnosed with some kind of dementia, I would recommend starting with a good, very detailed physical, complete with blood work, urine test/culture, etc. Bringing in (or providing beforehand) a list of changes you have observed can be helpful too. There are many medical issues that can result in dementia-like symptoms and many are treatable.

If she has already been dxed with some kind of dementia, I would not force her to go to counseling. IF she likes the practitioner and it calms her, fine, but otherwise counseling isn't going to help her condition. I would still consult with her regular doctor - there are some medications that might help tone down her behavior, if it gets bad.

If this is some kind of dementia, definitely read up on all that you can. Knowledge is so helpful when dealing with this condition. There are many symptoms, but everyone progresses at their own rate and don't always follow the typical breakout shown for the stages of dementia. At least if you know what to expect, and possible ways to deal with the behaviors, it will help you.

It is hard. It is frustrating. It is thankless. If you can learn more and be better "armed" to deal with what dementia throws at you, it can be less difficult and less frustrating. Understand first and foremost that if she has dementia, whatever she says and does is the dementia talking, not your mom.

Make time for yourself, even if it is just to be alone. Learn how to redirect/refocus mom (not always possible, but at least try!) Suggest a snack or cup of tea, a walk outside, or whatever she likes that might get her off the rampage. Learn how to count to 10 or walk away to recompose yourself if you feel the frustration building up - a bathroom run is always a good excuse! Don't try to argue, correct or convince her that whatever she is saying is wrong - it will only lead to anger and frustration for you both! Agree whenever possible. If something she wants to do is a safety issue, you will have to try to refocus her onto something else. The repetition does grate your nerves - like a toddler asking why 200 times! Unless you can somehow change her focus onto something else, you just have to half "listen" and give as minimal a reply as you can. Okay, that's nice, maybe later, we'll see... Typical mom-type answers to that toddler WHY WHY WHY!! My brother would go into detail responding to mom, only to have to repeat it over and over. I would be as brief as possible, sometimes no response, as it doesn't generally stick! If you can move her along to another topic, something more pleasant, or turn her statements/questions around and ask her, it might give her something else to talk about!

Seek out whatever help you can find that is available (probably not a lot at the moment.) Read about dementia - even Wikipedia has a good write up, but Alz.org, this site, many reputable sites where you can learn about the disorders and suggestions for how to deal/cope with behaviors. As with any searching on the internet, beware of charlatans who will pimp out cures - if she has some form of dementia, there is no cure!

If all else fails, you've found this site! We understand, many of us have been down the same or very similar road, and often you can get good advice for how to handle things.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to disgustedtoo
Report
trinikrystle Apr 19, 2020
Thanks. That was a lot of good advice. I am just really overwhelmed and feeling out of my depth.

Mum is awesome. Its just the repetition and the emotional bits. It's just a lot. Seems my memory started taking a toll as well. I've also started forgetting things. Leaving doors open, entering a room and forgetting what I went for. My counsellor says it's stress but it's frightening.
(1)
Report
Perhaps you should see an elder law attorney. Your mother will probably require facility living.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Llamalover47
Report
trinikrystle Apr 19, 2020
She has been adamant against this. If worse comes I'll have someone move in with us.
(1)
Report
See 1 more reply
Hi Trini. Preserving your own quality-of-life is crucial. Enlist the aid and support of anyone you possibly can, so that you can get out of the house for a walk, gardening, etc. Exercise - running, yoga, etc. - has been very helpful for me whenever I hit a wall and start feeling trapped and resentful. If you have hobbies, keep them up! Or start a new one. Even small accomplishments can help you get off the mental treadmill of caring for someone with dementia. Good luck!
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Melfall
Report
trinikrystle Apr 19, 2020
Yes....this is something I would like to do. Started back reading. When this pandemic passes I plan to earn to ride a bike.
(0)
Report
It is going to get much worse.

See an eldercare attorney if she is not already on Medicaid and anticipate nursing home placement in the foreseeable future.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to cetude
Report

Trini, these conditions and diseases can be mortifying. It’s not a bad thing that you identified your mental/ psychological capacity. Some people aren’t cut out for it, actually MANY. It takes patience and tolerance, education and it’s a thankless job often 24/7 365 days a year. She can get so much worse and all the while not be aware of it and it’s not intentional on her behalf. Coming into this forum and asking advice is a start of receiving a wealth of knowledge and references. I realized early on I cannot handle it, it’s self defeating for me to try. That is a reality and I cannot be ashamed of it, so if you can’t then you can’t. As things progress the dynamics of your relationship may become toxic so if her care is your biggest concern but you cannot handle the task, you’re one step ahead of a lot of people who tried and failed. Start finding help now because it takes a village of Drs, nurses, dieticians, therapists, behavioral specialists etc at the nursing homes and they are trained for it, you are not. She deserves the best care and if you cannot provide that, get help and start getting things in place for her to get that. Please do not feel guilty, there could be 20 plus more years left so start now dear one. It’s ok to accept you can’t do it but it’s not ok that she go uncared for... and you are already making sure that doesn’t happen. Bless you.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to PowerOf3
Report

There are a lot of good suggestions you have received.

I'd also keep in mind that while it's frustrating to have to live with someone who is going through this, it's not really them who are causing the discord, but, their illness that is causing them to be that way. If she does have dementia, it's due to brain damage of some sort. So, whenever, my LO would be cross, unreasonable, demanding, delusional, etc., I'd try to agree with her and jump on her side. It would catch her off guard and sometimes stop her in her tracks. Like, if she said that I spilled grease on her counter tops, which I did not do, I'd say, so sorry. I'm so clumsy. I'll clean it up now and promise to do better. I love your lovely counter tops and would not intentionally damage them. She would accept things like that for a little while, whereas if I denied it was grease and say it was spot of water, she'd argue and become enraged. So, I learned to agree, redirect and praise her as often as I could, to keep her in a good mood. It's very hard though. Also, once this stage fades, other issues may emerge, like incontinence, sleep disorders, refusal to accept bathing, refusal to take medications, etc. So, as they progress, it usually gets more difficult, not less. I'd explore long range options for her care.

You might also check out Teepa Snow videos on dementia on you tube. She has some helpful tips.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Sunnygirl1
Report
Zdarov Apr 1, 2020
❤️
(0)
Report
I think you need to contact your local Agency on Aging. The can do an assessment - I guess they are still doing that amidst COVID. That's what happened with my dad. We had someone come and do an assessment and then we were able to decide on services and a plan forward. It might be harder to have in-home help these days, but once the COVID dies down, hopefully you can get help. We relied on it. Wishing you all the best. You are so young. Try to keep things as normal as possible in your own life.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to blessedtep
Report

I am so sorry that both of you are dealing with this situation. Have you looked at the Alzheimer's Association website? There is a lot of information on the issues you are facing. You could also contact them. After this pandemic passes, support groups will be available to you as well. Another good resource is a book called "The 36 Hour Day." You can order it online through various sellers. Take care. My heart goes out to both of you.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Peanuts56
Report

Please take your mom to the doctor. Before you go, write down all the symptoms you are noticing, please be specific about date and time... so the doctor will have a better idea of the problem. Your mom could have Alzheimer's disease, depression, lack of circulation to an area of her brain.... Her usual medications and older liver/kidney function could be causing problems too. All this to say, her doctor can help diagnose the problem and help you starting on a path to management.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Taarna
Report

trini, glad you posted. Keep reaching out. I am not in your exact situation, but am alone in mine too. Use all your virtual resources - reach out to friends by email, text, FaceTime, etc., and to professionals by modes that many of them are trying to offer now (‘telemedicine.’)
Please do look for a municipal ‘agency on aging’ that may be near you like someone suggested.
On the B12 thing, I’d just get a high quality B complex supplement in the meantime, no risk there and it’s good for so many of us for so many reasons.
And yes, I’d try dragging her to the meetings again. :)
Bless you, best wishes. 💐
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Zdarov
Report

Please don't start her on B12 until her B12 level is checked. If her B12 is normal, then adding B12 will not be helpful and could possibly interfere with getting a clearer cognitive diagnosis.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to caroli1
Report

trinikrystle, just to clarify, has you mom been diagnosed with dementia/ALZ by a doctor? Or was given a cognitive exam by a doctor? If she hasn't been actually diagnosed, please make sure this happens first. Check for UTI, B-12 deficiency (and don't give B-12 unless she is tested and is actually low). There are other illnesses that can cause the symptoms she is experiencing so just make sure of her diagnosis before you begin to "treat" it. Wishing you answers, progress and peace in your heart as you work to help her.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Geaton777
Report
trinikrystle Apr 19, 2020
No she has not been officially diagnosed. When this passes I'll carry her to see a doctor to figure out what is going on and what is needed to help us through this.
(0)
Report
You are so young, and doing something very difficult.
Check your mom's vitamin B12 levels, my mom have had some improvements.
Of course it's not a miracle cure, but it's worth trying.
Sending you a huge hug and lots of empathy.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to Arwen31
Report
trinikrystle Mar 29, 2020
Anything is worth a try. I will get some
(1)
Report
See 1 more reply
Or a good neurologist.

This is the disease. It will not get better and Mom is young.
This forum has helped me deal with my Moms Dementia but maybe u can find a support group in ur area. Call your County Office of Aging. My Church has a group. Read. The more you understand and learn to cope with this new "norm" the better. Realize though, that this may be more than u can handle alone. Don't quit a job. You need that credit towards SS and your future. Know when Mom needs more thanvu can give. There is Medicaid if she can't afford care.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to JoAnn29
Report
trinikrystle Mar 29, 2020
That's gonna be costly. I will look into it though and see how feasible it is. I am trying but its so hard. She'll ask the same thing 10 times and if I loose my temper she either looses hers as well or gets sad.

I am not equipped at this time in my life to do it and its just me.
(2)
Report
You needs to get her sadness and anger treated.

Reasoning with someone with dementia is something that will drive you right up the wall and into burnout.

Get her to a geriatric psychiatrist and have her evaluated for meds. It will save your sanity and hers.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to BarbBrooklyn
Report
trinikrystle Mar 29, 2020
I never thought about this. I took her to a counselling session once. By took I mean drag. She is from the era that considers it a waste of time. She finally started opening up at the end of the session. This might work well for her but I'll need to drag her to get there.

We are in the Caribbean on a small island not sure if i'll get someone that specializes but I would try to find the next best thing.

Thanks
(1)
Report
Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter