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My mom might not have dementia, but her memory loss is becoming a health concern for her and a safety concern for our household. I had to take over doling out her meds because she ended up in the hospital a year ago after a fall and it later came to our attention that she'd been basically over and under dosing herself. She wants to do things on her own, naturally, but she isn't capable of many things because of her bad memory.


She recently had cataract surgery and has to wear a plastic eye patch at night and take eye drops. I keep all her items in a blue bag from the surgeon's office in my bathroom. She hates the patch but until this morning she was waiting for me to bring the bag into her bathroom first. This morning she took off the patch on her own and when I brought the blue bag out she didn't know where the patch was. We hunted everywhere. Then all of the sudden, I look in the blue bag and there it is. She had to have put it in there after we started looking for it. I don't know if she did that intentionally or really doesn't remember doing it. It might not seem like much, but she can't afford to pay for another patch on her fixed income and things like this are happening almost daily.


A couple of weeks ago, she opened the front door while our escape artist dog was standing at the top of the stairs. If my daughter hadn't been right there to close it, he would have run out. Yesterday my daughter, her partner and I came back from the store. Summer was the first one inside and smelled gas. She checked the gas stove and one of the burners was unlit but on low. Now my mother has always been afraid of gas appliances because a high school friend died in a gas explosion. I can't see her turning on a burner, but the stove wasn't used that morning and unless our dog has become incredibly dexterous, well, my mom was the only one home.


She also has rectal incontinence and I'm beginning to worry that she isn't cleaning herself properly because she always smells like.... poop. She uses feminine pads (which the doctors all said was fine) and goes through 2-3 heavy duty ones each day. She was supposed to have exploratory surgery last year, but I got sick and we had to cancel. Then she refused to go in for it..... I'm hoping we can talk her into doing it, but we'll have to see the specialist again.


I just don't have the patience, ability or training to handle this. I'm stressed, become easily angry and frustrated - at everyone in the family and I worry she is going down hill quickly. Just the idea of having an invalid to take care of with my bad back scares me. I feel guilty because I should be willing to take care of my own mom, but at the same time I feel like I have a right to my own life....


Sorry to dump on everyone. Reading the posts and answers here over the past couple of weeks since discovering this site has really been helpful and eye opening. I know I don't have it anywhere near as bad as many of you do, so please forgive my pity party. You all are awesome!

kirahfaye HELLO! Does your mom have a POA, Power pf Attorney?
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kirahfaye Jan 13, 2019
I am her POA
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An update - my mother is the one who left the stove on. While everyone was out of the house is exactly the time she tries to do things she know she shouldn't. So she decided that instead of heating her soup in the microwave like she always does, she would put it in a pan and turn on the stove. However, she doesn't know how our stove works and ended up leaving the gas open. I know this because she tried it again today. The stove started clicking and my environmental scientist husband jumped up from the couch and carefully moved her away while turning off the gas. She wanted to heat water...... She never used the stove before. The good thing is that it appears it wasn't too long before we did get home. I guess someone will have to be home all the time from now on.
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Oh, regarding turning on the gas burner without the burner being lit. Talk about timing, this happened the other evening at my house, and here neither my sig other nor myself have dementia. It was just accidental because the way the stove was designed, which we didn't pay attention when we bought the stove.

The knobs for the burners are at waist level, and the oven controls are at the back of the top of the stove. Apparently sig other was turning off the bake cycle when he leaned into the stove, which in turn pushed the knob on for the gas and when he brushed against that knob it moved to a higher setting. A design flaw to think about next time one purchases a stove.

It was the odor that got my attention, wondering what in the world was sig other baking, or was it the fish lingering smell and later chestnuts making that off mix smell. Then I noticed the "hissing" sound. Freaked me out because at first I didn't know where on stove it was coming from.

I know, I need to get a new carbon monoxide detector to be really safe. Those detectors have a short life of 5-7 years, and the one I had was from many moons ago. Thankfully I noticed the smell, found the source, opened the windows and patio door to get some fresh air.
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How old is Mom?

First, you need to have her evaluated. I took my Mom to a neurologist. I think she has Dementia and pretty far into it if she turns on a stove and doesn't turn it off. Really, she should not be alone. Since she has no money, Medicaid is the answer. I would look into facilities now, take a tour. Look at the cleanliness. Are there smells? (A good NH won't have them). Are the residents clean and smell free. Do they look content. Do they say hi and smile. Do they have daily activities. Nice dining area.

I went to three in my area all owned by the same company. Each one different. The last one had a big Common area with comfortable couches and chairs The activities area was also the dining room. After lunch there were movies, activities and entertainment.
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kirahfaye Jan 12, 2019
She is 84 and she has been evaluated. Both her doctor, her neurologist and the specialist at the hospital assure me that it's "just old age". She recently started having vivid dreams and now is having false memories which she's on a new medication for. She's also on social security as her only means of income. Her house is in the final stages of foreclosure. We have enough money set aside for her final expenses (I cancelled her life insurance after realizing she'd paid about 12K for a 5K policy over the years). I will have to look into Medicaid. To be honest, the activities and such wouldn't matter to her - she doesn't like to socialize anymore. She used to, but after my step dad was diagnosed with Parkinson's I think it became so difficult for them to go places she stopped trying.
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As you have discovered your Mom can not be left alone.
Start looking at Facilities near you. Do tours. They are more than happy to do a tour, maybe lunch as well.
Ask what the fees are and how the fees change as the dementia progresses. A facility that sounds like it costs more might actually be less expensive if they do not have added fees for every imaginable thing that hey have to do.
You can even ask if you can arrange Respite stay to see if it is a "good fit" for your Mom.
Ask if the facility is locked so Mom can not "escape" or if they have a locked wing for Memory Care residents.
It may be that at this point she needs Assisted Living not Memory Care so look for a place where she can transition to MC.

By the way when I started going to support groups after my Husband was diagnosed hearing the Bad stories made me realize that I did not have it so bad after all. And there was always someone that was having a worse time than I was. And I learned from them and I passed on what I learned.
As far as keeping someone at home..I based it on 1 thing. SAFETY. As long as I could safely care for him I would keep him at home. It had to be safe for me as well as safe for him. Luckily I was able to keep him at home but I was ready in my mid to make that decision whenever it became unsafe.
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