I visit Mom 1-2 times a week (live 20 minutes away) and call her twice a day. I am very nice to her and try to comply with the guidelines of dealing with a person with dementia. It has become increasingly difficult because she doesn't want to hang up the phone unless I say I will come over to visit (which I cannot, that's why I'm calling.) I am her only living relative and POA. It crushes me to tell her I can't see her and wonder should I lie and tell her Ill be over or just not phone at all? I feel like I'm calling to ultimately turn her down or disappoint her. Comments?
Theraputic lying is about telling our LO what they want to hear not what we want to say - try saying that 'I will be later as there is a cake in the oven right now' or similar - she will take it as she wishes & will hang up happy which should be your whole goal in the long run
Been there, seen and done that!! It isn't pretty, is it?
And while Mom may not know - you will know for the rest of your life if you call or not, if you visit or not.
You can't really disappoint someone who doesn't always remember what you said you would do. Might be hard to see her like this, but the alternative can create huge regrets. And, you never know, there could be at least one more visit where she has more clarity.
As for those who say don't lie to get her off the phone - true lies are said to HURT people. Therapeutic fibs are NOT done to hurt people, but rather to avoid hurting them. What is the harm in saying something like 'Okay, I have to go, I have an appt (or some excuse), so I will see you later!' Keep it bland and non-committal (soon, later, shortly, tomorrow, as we know it never comes!)
Personally I do not like lies. However, when my mother asks about her mother or for me to take her there, am I supposed to tell her over and over and over again that her mother is long dead???? That WOULD hurt her, whereas the "fibs" or as some call them, the "lies", help to divert the topic and avoids the hurt that would happen if I told her the "truth." In her mind, aka HER truth, her mother (and father) are still alive! Why should I tell her the "real" truth, so that she would be hurt or devastated???
I talked to her yesterday as I head through the grapevine that she had fallen pretty badly. She hemmed and hawed and flustered her way through some story she made up about how/why she'd fallen. She finally was so mixed up, I just gave up and hung up on her. She tries to shift any conversations about her health, etc into talking about other people, and frankly, I don't CARE what her friends are up to.
So in the end, I don't KNOW how or WHY she fell. I emailed my brother and he called her to go do a check up on her and she told HIM she had a nasty cold and not to come up. That was a flat out lie, as she was perfectly fine when I talked to her a couple hours earlier. She can't keep a lie going......well, not a lie, exactly, a refurbishing of actual events.
(She lives in an apt with YB's family, so she is never really alone).
She said she was looking to have her knee replacement re-done. That was the reason she falls. It just 'gives out' on her. Well, that's why she has a walker and grab bars all over the house. She is never more than 2' away from something to steady her. She's 90. That's not going to happen.
I think she is becoming much, much more slip sliding into dementia, but she can still do enough things independently that she'd probably 'pass' any kind of test. I don't know if one would even really help.
I cut back calls and visits to bare minimum, she's so confused, even if you do make the effort to go see/call her, she likely doesn't remember who called or who came by.
So sad, really.
Don't worry, call your mother as often as you are happy with, and end the call when you need to. Your mother does hang on to the call and won't be consoled except with your promise to visit, but do not fear that she then sits there sobbing and holding the phone. Once you're off the line, I can almost guarantee, you will also be out of her thoughts.
Could you get a bit creative with the promise to visit? I mean, you ARE going to visit, you're not lying - just being vague about when exactly. "I'll see you next time, it's not long :)" is one way to put it. And perhaps you could mark your regular visiting days on a nice cheerful calendar, and refer her to that too.
My mom just had a mild stroke with short term memory loss which is improving. I fully believe in end of life discussions with family while they are still "with it" so there is no confusion as to what "they" want. My mom told us, with no promoting "if I get Alzheimer's and don't remember you you don't have to come and visit me all the time. Just come to see thst I sm being properly taken care of".
How thoughtful of her as it will ease our burden and wondering if it ever gets to that point.
I strongly urge all those struggling with aging parents now to have these conversations with your own kids right now. Let's lessen the burden on the next generation with open communication and clarification.
Best of luck
Then 5 minutes after the call, all is forgotten anyway. I would visit when you can. I used to start out the visit by saying, “Hi Mom, I’m your daughter, Sue.” She’d say, “Oh, you ARE? I didn’t know I had a daughter.” Then I’d start (each time) with how old I was and a brief rundown of my life. Sometimes she’d be so amazed. She was always glad to see me because she recognized my face as familiar.
Don’t feel guilty by not calling. Instead think that she won’t be confused by not wondering who she was talking to. You are NOT ignoring her. She won’t miss the calls.
You’re a GOOD daughter by your caring. Calling doesn’t make you any better.
He could use visits and calls as justification to not be part of his new home. He did better with less contact.
I know it is hard when they forget your name, but it is her broken brain not her heart towards you. Maybe when you first arrive say hi mom it's (your name) your daughter. Then let it go.
It's okay to visit when you can and then let her live her life the rest of the time. Humans are amazing beings, we can adapt to anything.
I think so so much about caregiving parents triggers the guilt thing. Emotionally I feel guilty and sad for not talking to dad. Rationally though, I know there’s not much to be gained other than him being confused about who I am till it’s all forgotten in the next minute.
However, when I visit, she cries when I say goodbye. I have changed that now to "I will see you again as soon as I can" or "I will see you soon," knowing that "soon" is a relative word. I don't feel as bad stating it that way and she is okay with that. The bottom line is that she won't remember anyway if I called 5 minutes ago or last week or even at all.
We both feel good about the call for the moment, no strings attached.