Grandmom with dementia gets obsessed about different things. Is there any advice I can give her?

Follow
Share

My parents are taking care of my grandmom who has dementia at home since two years ago (before that she used to live alone but it has become impossible). When I visit, I noticed that she always gets obssesed with looking for her nightgown in order to go to sleep, sometimes even at 2 pm or earlier. If my parents do give it to her, she goes to bed no matter what time and does not sleep at night, impeding the sleep of my parents and they have to work, so they try to establish routines and schedules for going to sleep. However, once she gets obsessed with getting the nightgown, she might keep asking for it for hours until night time and it obviously stresses her out and my parents as well. Distracting doesn't seem to work as she then projects her anxiety to another topic, such as for example preparing the bed for me, even though I don't plan on staying. Whatever explanation or reply is given it seems to trigger another anxiety, and it's a vicious circle and I can see my parents losing their temper which I feel causes even more anxiety in my grandmom.
They feel that they need to take care of her at home, but her behaviors drive them crazy (and I'm not suprised), so the environment is not always positive.
Are there any advises I could give them on dealing with anxieties and obsessions?

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
5

Answers

Show:
Thank you for all the replies. It has been very helpful. I have looked for "36-hour book" and it's not translated to Lithuanian (my parents are Lithuanian and live in Lithuania), but my dad speaks quite good English so I'll talk to him and see if he'd be ready to read the book.
At the moment only my mom works, so my dad is the person who is taking care of my grandmother while my mom is at work. He's the most peaceful person I've ever known but I noticed yesterday that he hit my grandom on the fingers when she tried to reach for something for a hundredth time, which came as a real shock to me.
I am planning to talk to my mom about the meds as well, as her position is that my grandmom is better off without meds (she does take some, but not all what was prescribed, I believe), as the depression and anxiety are symptoms that meds can take care of at least partially, reducing the suffering both for my grandmom and my parents.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

coralmae- my mom is in a memory care unit and is doing really well. They cater to her every need, keep the apartments amazingly clean, provide balanced meals and keep her safe. I too was reluctant at first, but I know she's safe and well cared for.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

I agree with Grammyteacher. It's so hard to be a care giver because you really don't know what to expect on a daily basis. My mom is obsessed with underwear, cat food and being late. She calls me at least 50 times a day and says the same thing: "I'm sorry I'm late, the cat needs Fancy Feast and I need Fruit of the Loom underwear." She has at least 30 pair of underwear (all Fruit of the Loom) and I have limited her access to the car food because if she had 4 cans of cat food, she'd feed the cat all of the cans at the same time. Her newest obsession is bread. She will fix toast and peanut butter and then throw it away. Yesterday, she went through a full loaf of bread!
The 36 Hour Day book has become my lifeline. I am now in the process of placing my mom in a memory care unit and much as I hate it, I have to do it because she lives alone. Your parents may want to consider that, even though it's a very hard decision. I wish you and yours the best.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

My mom with dementia used to cycle through obsessive things. It could go on for weeks- toothbrushes, toilet paper, underwear, doctor's appointments, going the the bathroom, medications, etc. Some people cycle more than others with dementia. My mom had her medications evaluated and is quite a bit better, however there are still some cycles.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

I suggest watching videos or reading information on demensia by Teepa Snow and Naomi Feil. Also the book The 36 Hour Day is good. The person with demensia has increasingly damaged brain as it is degenerative. They cannot change, we have to be the ones willing to change in how we deal with them. It is tough. For me to seems like when I finally get good at dealing with one issue or behavior, things progress and I have to deal with something new ;-)

It is tough to be a 24/7 caregiver. Do your parents have caregivers come in while they work? When my mom progressed, I was lucky enough to be able to work mostly from home. My husband and grown daughters help when I have meetings that require my attendance in person. It is so nice that you are being supportive of your parents and grandmom!
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Related
Questions