How do I handle a dementia Mom who's crying about things I can't change nor does she understand or remember?

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My mother is 90% perpetually unhappy. Has dementia, isn't mobile other than a wheel chair, but not strong enough to get around w/o assistance.

I work from home most days and at the end of the day for about the last 1.5 hours when I am finishing up my day she is in close proximity and earshot, but does not have any one-on-one attention which she has from 9am-4pm.

Within 5 minutes of being unoccupied, she is crying, feeling sorry for herself, and in a tizzie, starts :"urping" and shaking. I still have to do my job. I check on her, but can't be by her side.

How do you help a person like my mother?

She sees me as absent, but I have a very intense position as a chief of operations and can't mess up and be unfocused. I don't thinks she understands and when I try to explain, she doesn't remember. I find it very frustrating and the crying is very distressful to me because I am a solution finder and this I can't seem to fix.

Thank you in advance for any caring solutions/thoughts you may have as to how to deal with this on her side and mine.

Best regards to all-
LastOne

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Is a nursing facility an option? My Mom has recently started crying. Mostly because I don't understand. I do understand, but I can't do anything about it. My home is not conducive with someone with Dementia. She can no longer do things she used to and is at the point she can't learn anything new. I ask her why she is crying, she doesn't know. Its part of the desease.
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My Mom used to love to go thru junk drawers, or old boxes filled with bits and pieces. After dementia took hold, I went to flea markets and put together 5-6 boxes of bits and pieces. When I needed some quiet time, I would get out one of the boxes, and ask her to go thru it for me cause I needed the help, and she could keep whatever she wanted. Most times it worked, not always. But when it did, she was actively engaged. Since she could not remember, I just kept recycling the same boxes. Of course I would make a big fus about how thankful I was that she helped me out. Maybe there is something similar that would help you. Maybe old photos, a jewelry box. Does she sew? Maybe she could fix a hem for you. By the way, It takes an extraordinarily awesome woman to hold down an important job and care for their mother. A quick answer would be to bring in extra help. Keep in touch and let us know how your doing.
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I have the same problem, but, unfortunately not enough funds to get more time covered. I have recently started a business, but it isn't producing an income yet. If your job pays well, keep in mind that if the assistance doesn't need to do any skilled work, but only keep her company, perhaps you can get by paying someone less. I am sure a stay-at-home mom or a retired person would love to pick up a few bucks in exchange for companionship (and only companionship). For that matter, there could be an organization in your town that provides occasional companionship service for free. Check with your local senior center and local churches.
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A parent who has dementia cannot always be cared for at home, especially as the disease progresses. Sometimes the most loving thing for us to do is to research and find a good facility for them. I have found that there are great places with caring staff that also have access to resources and care that I would have had difficulty finding on my own. Every situation is different. No one can, no should they, judge another. I have peace of mind knowing that my dad is well cared for despite the progressive challenges due to dementia that continues to ravage him. As I was told by a staff member at the adult day center we used for a while, I am still a caregiver, just in a different way. I see him often and continue to make decisions for him. But thankfully I have a team of support that helps me along the way. Blessings to you LastOne as you navigate these difficult waters.
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LastOne, I love my mother too. Well, I love the memory of her - she died two months ago, at home, where I cared for her 24/7 for two years and less intensively for considerably longer than that. I am not against people choosing to make the necessary sacrifices, you see; but where those sacrifices appear not to be working, which was part of the problem you laid out in your original post, then it seems to me to be a good idea to find out whether there might be better options.

I am sorry that your experience of rehab was a bad one (can I ask what your mother was in rehab for, by the way?). Ours was better than that, for the month my mother stayed in it for recovery from a serious stroke which left her hemiplegic; but I too concluded that on balance I could do a better job than the nursing home which was the next option on discharge - so I brought her home. But I wasn't trying to run a business. And my mother, although she had vascular dementia, was not suffering the emotional symptoms you describe in yours.

What troubles me is not the choice you are making. It's that you write as though there are only two possibilities: abandoning your mother to be treated worse than an animal by (presumably inept and heartless) strangers, or keeping her at home with you in spite of the heart-breaking distress which you cannot solve and must go through daily.

If you have done your research, visited memory care units nearby and firmly rejected all of them, then fair enough; I am only sorry that there is not better provision available to you. But that then returns you to the question of how to handle your mother so that she and you do not have to go through this very upsetting routine day after day.

Ironically enough, the answer to that lies in skilled mental health nursing with a specialist background in dementia care. People with these qualifications are generally to be found in… memory care units. Don't dismiss them. The good ones are very good indeed, offering a level of expertise and of insight into dementia that loving amateurs can't hope to acquire in the time we have at our disposal.

In the interests of balance, I just took a twenty minute break to see if some of the best practitioners I personally am aware of publish anything that could assist you, a bright and highly motivated person, with this specific area. As I'd half-suspected, there doesn't seem to be any happy medium between the very specialist post-graduate academic publications - which are mostly aimed at people working in institutions of one sort or another - and the kind of inane generalist tosh that the Alzheimer's Society puts out. I'm sorry to be so rude about such a benevolent organisation, but really! "Talk about their feelings. Keep active. Eat a healthy diet." You don't say.

Having roundly insulted them, I ought to add that their fact sheet on anxiety in dementia might be worth a glance - but frankly I'd be surprised if it tells you anything you don't already know.

The kind of techniques I have in mind were covered in a tv programme recently. The series title was 'Dementiaville', unpromisingly, but the approach was impressive. Also extremely time-consuming, requiring unrelenting engagement with the person being cared for. I'll just see if there's a précis online…

Not exactly, but there is this link -

http://www.open.edu/openlearn/whats-on/tv/dementiaville-family

- which will take you to the part of the series that focused on a person being cared for at home. I didn't see that episode, but it seems the one that is most relevant to your situation.

Anyway. I hope it's interesting, I hope it's fruitful, I hope things go well for you.
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Dear CountryMouse,

Your post: " LastOne, I don't mean to add to your frustration, but can I ask about why it is important to you to care for your mother at home and whether you have considered alternative options?

You cannot make your mother happy. For a problem-solver, that is a nightmare. My huge sympathies on that point."

First, it is important to me because it is my mother. She has been my faithful friend throughout my life. I can't turn my back on her like my siblings have done. She has nobody left in this world to care for her. I can't leave that up to strangers. I had her in a rehab facility for a month before she came home to me. It was a terrible thing. I spent a minimum of 4 hours a day with her then. I wasn't terribly impressed with how they handle people and how they drug them "down" to make them manageable - and the funds they require to let her sit in a dirty diaper all day, feed her sugar and lay in a bed. I'm sorry that is not any quality of life in my opinion.

Once I got her to my house she went from a 96-year old who couldn't walk or stand to one that could and became mobile. We take her on long drives in the countryside. She isn't ignored at all - not even during the night when she has to go to the bathroom - sometimes on the hour. She isn't going to die being treated less than the lowest animal on a lackluster farm. We try to do what we can to make her happy.

I love my mother.

Respectfully,
LastOne
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NY2015 I understand what you are saying, and it is a frightening thing and horrible what experience you went through. I have heard those things before. What you describe is especially bad in state and government facilities because they have lower hiring standards (in order to be non-discriminatory) and once hired, its hard to fire them. There is little accountability in government paid jobs anyway. I have heard privately held care facilities are a little better because they are for profit - and since they are concerned with consumer feedback and reputation they try a little harder and they don't have to retain bad employees (I'm not saying they are all that great but hopefully better than government controlled care). That is the quandry - whether we can afford a more expensive private AL or nursing home and whether our family members will move us if we don't get good care. Most of us baby boomers won't be able to afford it so we will enter the system and be forgotten and neglected because we are already seen as a burden on society. (Social security which we paid into is now called an entitlement - ha! And who has already spent our "mandated" retirement saving deducted from our salaries? - not us - the govt, so our social security never grew or was invested) To the current government seniors are expendable, resources are scarce and it believes we should make room for younger citizens and those entering our borders. With the cutbacks to what is covered for medical care and increases in our medicare and Advantagecare (and co-pays) - it doesn't sound good for us. Makes me wonder why the government mandates coverage for transexual operations but not for hearing aids (which 80% of seniors eventually need - and not being able to hear affects mental capacity and comprehension, etc)
I wonder if we will become like Belgium which has senior euthanasia laws which are becoming more and more liberal! I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm frightened that my savings will not take care of me when I am too old to take care of myself. Six years ago, when I retired I felt secure - but no longer! You are right, in this administration seniors are unimportant, as are veterans and we will not receive "the best caregivers" from our government paid workers. I know my children will not bring me into their homes in 20 years and care for me - they will still be working to keep their heads above water!
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Sorry about the typos here.
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Hello Babalou, I am not saying that LASTONE should do what I want. As you say " Some of us want a group of qualified professionals with supervision, oversight and accountability to the State caring for our parents. There are choices, and we are free to make them ". I was just telling about my experience and what the American way of handing these problems is. Yes, if LAST ONE decides to leave her mom at a nursing home hopefully she will be surrounded by " professionals " unlike my case where most of the " work " is done by CNA's. I think you heard about them. These are people that probably used to work at Burger King and go out there to an institute which grants them a " certificate " after " studying " for three weeks in their classroom. I went to school all my life, not three weeks. Anyhow, these are the professionals that exist in our nursing homes and what I have also noticed is that the older we get the more discrimination we will encounter around us in these places. None of us knows these because we are not there yet, but eventually we will go through the system and we will see this with our own eyes. I was just describing what happened to my family. Good luck to all.
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Well said Chris! I agree. People shouldn't criticize the choices others make when they have not walked a mile in their shoes. Neither my sister nor I can live with Mom - we've tried years ago before she had dementia) It was an awful experience for all of us. Mom needs our love and help, but that doesn't mean she has to live with me. Now with dementia, she doesn't even want to visit let alone spend the night with us. She wants her own apartment (which is totally impossible, her dementia is so bad she can't even work the appliances) When she was in IL, she was struggling and we did everything for her for 9 long years because she would not let anyone else in her apartment to help. So when they said she had to leave because of her Alzheimers, we moved her in a lovely AL where she is safe and cared for (although she refuses most help!) No matter where Mom has lived for the past 40 years, she has complained and been negative. Nothing makes her happy and she has never appreciated what she has. When Mom's dementia gets worse, we will have to move her to memory care unit or nursing home. Living with her, taking care of her, is not an option for either of us. My sister is full time caregiver for her husband who has brain cancer. I live in a house with three stories which is unsafe and Mom doesn't like it here, complains constantly, will not listen or cooperate. I couldn't leave her alone even for an hour because she would burn the house down or fall down the stairs. She lives totally in the minute, and gets upset if she has her daily routine changed even a little. I am happily married and we are both retired, finally able to relax and enjoy the summer spending half the time in our camper with our dogs. Mom is good where she is, lives in a small safe environment and easy routine and I visit weekly and bring her treats. Movingg her into our home would destroy our marriage and force us to completely change our lifestyle to fit hers and would not guarantee she would be better off. I love my mother, but I am a senior myself, my health is not that great, I'm not up to caring for her 24/7 so I am not going to give up what is left of my life when there are alternatives that are actually better for her and me.
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