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My mother has dementia and has been placed in an assisted living home. All she talks about is going home, She's always packing and becomes very agitated and sometimes physical. What can we do to make this less stressful for her and us?

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Thanks Cattails!
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Matuse, first, don't take it personally. That is difficult, I'm sure, but if you understand the nature of the disease a bit that might help. In Alzheimer's and perhaps in some other types of dementia, there is a progression backward in time. Mother is no longer living in the present. If you pay close attention you may even be able to figure out where she is in time. I'd guess she isn't as far back as when your father was living. If she is living in the period when she was a widow dating then it makes sense that she would mention her boyfriend and not your father. I'd also take a wild guess that your granddaughter reminds her of someone else and she is reacting to that memory, not to the actual person who is trying to help her. Another possibility is that, given the period of time she is living in in her mind, she knows she is not old enough to have a great ganddaughter so this person must be lying and therefore up to no good. You might try just asking her how old she is, and that answer might give some clues to her behavior.

I know that this is not practical advice about how to get her to accept help, but just understanding that this is not personal and it is not about you might help your stress levels a bit. And poor Granddaughter definitely needs to hear this message. Her greatgranny's animosity is NOT ABOUT HER.

It would be awesome if Mother could express some gratitude about all you are doing for her, but that isn't going to happen. When she says "It's MY home!" try "Yes, and it is so nice of you to have us here for a while. I've always appreciated your generosity. Since we are here we want to contribute to the upkeep."

You might be able to use knowledge of where she's at in her mind to think up reasons she might have accepted help at that point in her life.

Not all kinds of dementia develop in the same way. If you know what specific type she has, try to learn all you can about what to expect. That will at least help you understand that this is not your fault, and not your mother's fault.

Bless you for all you do to take loving care of her.
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Matuse: Try posting your question on a new thread. I think you will get a far greater response. Scroll up to Caregiver Forum, click and the pull down menu will give you the option of asking a question. You can cut and paste your above post and include it in the details. Hope I'm not to confusing. Cattails
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My mother is 85 and suffering from dementia. I'm the only daughter and my brother lives 1400 miles away so it falls to me and my husband and our grand daughter to talke care of her. She is extremly mean to our grand daughter and talks at her under her breath calling her names, etc. She also talks about a boyfriend she had a few years after my dad died and cries over him but seldom mentions our father. This is upsetting to me. She also constantly reminds us that this is her house even though we pay all the bills, buy all the food, maintain the house and yard, do the cooking, cleaning, and the laundry. We take her to the doctor and beauty shop, etc. We recently got a home health care giver to come four hours a day, twice a week to give us a break and she threw a fit and refused to let her come anymore. One of us was always in the house with them so we know she wasn't mistreated. I sometimes feel guilty and think that I'm a horrible person for saying and thinking these things. I'm venting here but would like some advice about how other people deal with difficult situations like this.
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bet4842...... what did your mom do as a profession? What was her hobbies? I ask this question because when my mom gets antzie to go home and if i try to make her sit down or tell her she is at home....she gets upset. So i usually say "Mom your at home, look here are your beads." She loves to make beads, sewed all her life, and loved crafts. So i get her beads (on a string like mardi gras beads), jewelry box for them, some cloth pieces, and a quilt. The quilt she usually sees it as half finished and will spend hours picking it up(good exercise), turning it to find out where she left off. The beads she does usually break them...but with the mardi gras beads the beads don't fall off, so no chance of eating them (atleast not one at a time...lol) Just put something in her room that she used to go growing up...and it will usually pacify her for awhile. Usually between 4 and 7 is hard here, it is sundowners that works on my mom. After 7 it gets better. But i have to be ready for about 2 hours of getting up and walking walking walking.....and i have to know the right time to give nite meds. I usually give icecream and cookies at that time. Keeps her occupied until the meds start to work. Hope all works out for you. keep in touch.
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I am sorry for the double post..... oops???!!!!
Bet4842 what cricketinafp has passed on great info , anything that is comforting and familiar will help. It might help you to understand that someone with dementia gets very confused with change. So when anything is different it is mind boggleing to them. It takes a while to get familiar to the surroundings. When Mom lived with me in my home for a bit we'd go back to her house and she forgot her house was her house, when she stayed at my sisters she would yell at my nephews get out of my house. Now she's in NH. My Mom was moved down the hall a while ago, after 1 year in her original room, the room was identical but everything else was opposite, the desk was to the left not the right etc. she was confused for weeks. Than anyone that came to visit she'd say Oh you came to bring me home? she remembered her clothes/things being moved. Now if she were to go to anywhere else but the NH she'd probably short circut. Ask her about the things she remembers about home, what she says may help you.
cricketinafp ......is that a real puppy?? So cute!!! I wanna hug n squeeze him or her and get puppy kisses!!!!
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Bet4842, I haven't had to go through what you're going through but from reading the comments here on this forum I have a few suggestions. One would be to make her room at the AL more like her home, perhaps put up some family pictures, decorate with some of her things that she's loved. Also, go visit her as often as you can and actually do some of the activities with her. I'm sure others are better qualified to answer you better than I am but those are good suggestions.
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kellyb You sound like a wonderful careing daughter a selfish child wouldn't be doing what you've been doing at all. She probably feels the need to control your life because even though she has dementia she is still your Mother and that's the natural role for her. She may not realize or even understand how you are feeling if you tell her or will most likely forget you had the conversation. It may help you both, for the time being, to try to enjoy her company as her daughter. What I mean by this is until you figure out a new plan, you are "it" so make the best of it. Ask her questions....what did your father do for work? How did your mother make her sauce? What is your favorite music, song, dance, book? These questions will strike up a youthful Mom and distract her from your butt LOL. Play music, movies she recalls. I learned all this by watching Mom and the others at her new Home the NH. She is only 74 very lively and smart beyond what I ever knew. She has cognative impairment dementia. She has no clue what she had for lunch, what day it is or who the current president is but I just found out theother day while observing. The entertainment person at the home asked about all the capitals of countries she new them all. I learned that I may remember lunch, but payed no attention in school. I think we as caregivers confuse memory loss with IQ!!! What we need to keep in mind is that, stress contributes to confusion. For example my Mom asked me where the soap was every day. I expected her to remember than, I got livid with her because I was losing my patients. She got an attitude because I had one. Than one day I realized that, liquid hand soap was not in her memory as soap, but bar soap is. Imagine her wanting to wash her hands and me getting angry because she was simply wanting to do something she had been doing for 73 years. I believe I tried so hard to be a good daughter, I forgot the simple solutions. Well I wanted to be "wonderdaughter" and the last thing I wanted to do was place my Mom in a NH. Honestly this is the best place for her. She is My Mother and I her daughter again. She is well cared for and happy. I heard a young woman that is in the NH ,for physical rehab only and mentally fine, say that she loves being there she's having fun and she going to be sad to go home. Hearing that made me feel much better about Mom's new home.
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kellyb You sound like a wonderful careing daughter a selfish child wouldn't be doing what you've been doing at all. She probably feels the need to control your life because even though she has dementia she is still your Mother and that's the natural role for her. She may not realize or even understand how you are feeling if you tell her or will most likely forget you had the conversation. It may help you both, for the time being, to try to enjoy her company as her daughter. What I mean by this is until you figure out a new plan, you are "it" so make the best of it. Ask her questions....what did your father do for work? How did your mother make her sauce? What is your favorite music, song, dance, book? These questions will strike up a youthful Mom and distract her from your butt LOL. Play music, movies she recalls. I learned all this by watching Mom and the others at her new Home the NH. She is only 74 very lively and smart beyond what I ever knew. She has cognative impairment dementia. She has no clue what she had for lunch, what day it is or who the current president is but I just found out theother day while observing. The entertainment person at the home asked about all the capitals of countries she new them all. I learned that I may remember lunch, but payed no attention in school. I think we as caregivers confuse memory loss with IQ!!! What we need to keep in mind is that, stress contributes to confusion. For example my Mom asked me where the soap was every day. I expected her to remember than, I got livid with her because I was losing my patients. She got an attitude because I had one. Than one day I realized that, liquid hand soap was not in her memory as soap, but bar soap is. Imagine her wanting to wash her hands and me getting angry because she was simply wanting to do something she had been doing for 73 years. I believe I tried so hard to be a good daughter, I forgot the simple solutions. Well I wanted to be "wonderdaughter" and the last thing I wanted to do was place my Mom in a NH. Honestly this is the best place for her. She is My Mother and I her daughter again. She is well cared for and happy. I heard a young woman that is in the NH ,for physical rehab only and mentally fine, say that she loves being there she's having fun and she going to be sad to go home. Hearing that made me feel much better about Mom's new home.
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First Kelly, no, you are not selfish for wanting a life of your own.

Mom can no longer live on her own. Does that mean she is living with you? What kind of help do you have -- cleaning service? parttime caregiver services? Visiting nurse? Or are you trying to do this single-handed?

Would Mom be OK in Assited Living? Or does she need full Skilled Nursing Facility services? What does her doctor say about this?

Dementia is always heartbreating. I think early-onset is especially sad. Can you imagine being so dependent at only 60? Poor mother. And poor Daughter. Clearly some different arrangements must be made.

What kind of dementia does Mom have?
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I'm also in the same situation. My mom has dementia and constantly wants to control my life. She got to live her life, and raise her kids, and now I feel so utterly stuck taking care of her. I know that sounds mean, but I honestly take good care of her, and make sure her every want and need is met. Should I feel selfish for wanting to place her in nursing home? She is only sixty, but she can no longer live on her own, and has honestly got so use to me doing everything that I honestly can see why she wouldn't want any changes. She has it literally made. Besides being sick. I love my mom, but this disease of hers has destroyed my life. I want to care for her, and still be able to have a life on my own.Please someone tell me what the best thing I can do so everyone will be happy for a change? Kellyb
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I can only share my experience with my Mom and hopefully you can get something out of this. When she first needed 24/7 care she stayed at my home. Due to her obssessive shopping and hoarding her home needed and overhaul, to say the least. Fortunatally I was able to give her, her own space, I turned my living room in to a comfy place for her. The urge to get up and go was still there, so the matter of her getting out was a huge issue. Whenever she got out she said she was going home and never forgot her address, yet I lived about 45 min traveling time away and she would tell the police I am walking home. So during the first few months whenever we went back to her house, to try to accomplish things, she recognized the house her things and wanted to stay. As time went by and the appearance of the house changed and she wasn't comfortable being in her house she didn't recognize it with the changes, infact she was afraid I would leave her there [I translated that emoition as she knew she needed help]. Yet when we were at my house she knew where her room was and got comfy but still felt the need to go home. She was on a mission it seemed, with many dangerous attempts, might I add. As time went on no matter where she was she thought it was her house and she would tell me to get out of her house when she was at my house and do the same at my sisters when she stayed there. She told my 3 nephews to get out of her house when they were in their own house. Now she is a resident in a nursing home, I took some pictures from her own bed room and hung them in her current room. When she is not in her room at the nursing home she says I want to go home.I figured out home to her now is her room. As soon as she enters that room she kicks me out, she says this is my place you don't belong here. So with that long story I came to the conclusion, she is home when she feels she is in control of herself and her things. Even though in my reality she is not in control of herself she needs to believe she is. Her independance, even if it is mostly mentally is her bliss. I respect her wishes and I leave even if the rejection hurts. Try to listen with an open mind and heart, reality no longer exist. Do whatever it takes to make her feel like she is home, talk to her about happy times the memories that will make her smile get her to daydream about whatever comforted her in her past, such as holidays, music she likes, food she cooked, her siblings growing up etc. anything so the new reality is not the topic.
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