Is there anything I can do to help a friend who put their mother in a memory facility?


I have a friend who had to put his mother in a memory facility home because it was getting too much for his family. She has Alzheimer's. However, their mother acts out at the home and is not happy there. She wants her freedom but forgets everything. She also gets angry at him and verbally attacks him. It's awful because I know he is carrying this huge burden. Luckily we have been hanging out more. I actively listen but at the end I feel he wishes I could say something to make it all better. Additionally, the supervisor at the home says they have never had a case like his mother. My question is, is there anything I can do to help him? Or are there any resources when a family member is in this situation that I can lead him to? Sorry if I am rambling. I just care about him and wish I could do something to help him. He's a great person and I know has done so much for his mom. Thank you in advance.

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Thank you all so much for your responses and kind words!!

I wouldn't mind being a part of helping his mom out by taking her out but her home is too far away.

I try to do what I can for him. Yesterday we went on a hike and I think he really enjoyed it. I'll do my best to still be there for him all i can.

Based on what he has told me, his mother is seeing a psychiatrist as well.

Thank you all also for being there for your loved ones. It is a tough journey, but I am glad we can all share here together!
Helpful Answer (1)

You're already doing something important by listening and providing a sympathetic ear. I've found so many people, including those in the medical profession, at private duty and home health care companies, and even in palliative care, who really don't understand what a caregiver experiences unless they've been through it themselves.

You might also just take your friend out for dinner, take over some meals, go for walks, anything that's relaxing. Meals are especially important b/c sometimes the stress is so great that just focusing on cooking can be relaxing, but it can also be taxing. Sometimes I just don't have the desire to cook.

That can contribute to a negative situation in which the caregiver relies more and more on quick meals, not necessarily healthy ones, and that contributes to the stress b/c of lack of nourishment.

Diversion helps also; talk about common interests that have nothing to do with caregiving.

And reassurance is important - reassurance that you understand how difficult this is, that you know how important, sincere and helpful his efforts are. But it's also very helpful to reassure him that sometimes these journeys spiral out of control, and it's not b/c of anything he did or didn't do.

I also like to send thoughtful, lovely floral cards to people experiencing challenging situations. They're pretty, cheerful, and can be carried by the person. My sister sent me a very thoughtful thank you card during her last battle with cancer; I kept in my purse for months.
Helpful Answer (2)

One, recommend this site. It helps so much to read other people's stories and realize there are others out there who know what you're going through. It keeps from getting too caught up in your own head, which, for many caregivers, being lost in their own head means endless feelings of inadequacy, doubt, and guilt with a side dose of fatigue and loneliness.
Two, I can only speak for myself, but having a friend like you is life changing. You have no idea how amazing a friend like you is for us. I have a friend like that, and I tell her all my sad stories and never feel disappointed that she can't help me make it all better. I'm just tremendously grateful to her for listening and letting me vent without judging me.
Third, I too had a special case mother who had Alzheimer's and got tossed from the memory care unit for extreme behavior (nurse in a chokehold). Alzheimer's caregiver support groups help you realize that behaviors like this are not unusual, and they offer you a place to safely cry and vent.
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I have a dear friend who visits my mom at her facility for lunch - she has been there for some pretty rough times when mom's behavior was bad last year but with the hours I work and no visits from my siblings I can't tell you how much I appreciate her kindness

I recognize you may have no interest in being part of your friend's mom's journey but even if you are a sympathetic ear I'm sure he'll appreciate it

It takes great effort to make things better when one is in the throes of the nightmare of dementia so I hope your friend has taken his mom to a neurologist or psychiatrist for assessment - she may benefit from a medicine change - some folks take a long time to adjust to being placed in a facility
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Thank you both so much!! Means a lot!
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If his mom is suffering from anxiety or emotional distress, I'd recommend that he talk with her doctor and ask for a psychiatric referral. For some people, medications can bring relief from emotional distress. Meds helped my LO a great deal.

You might also recommend that he join a support group in person or online. These types of sites are very informative too. I think that if the caretaker reads a lot about their LO's condition, it can help them understand what is going on better. They can come to realize that dementia makes people say things that they normally would not say, so, it's helpful to know why they are behaving that way.
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Help him find a caregiver's support group to join.
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