I was wondering if anyone has any tips on how to get her off of a subject.

She has Parkinson's, dementia and paranoid schizophrenia. And she's a very nice lady. She's in assisted living, and I am here daily on top of it. Over the past 9 months I have learned her quirks and I understand what she's talking about when she forgets her words. Her son is in charge of all her finances.

But sometimes she gets on these tangents where she needs to call her investor, the bank, etc. She gets highly agitated. I try my best to deflect on another topic, but even with all her conditions she is still very sharp and she'll come back to it. I also try to explain that her son handles all of it that and that she doesn't need to worry. But she'll find another angle in a split second.

There's nothing I can say/do... what usually happens is that she just wears herself out talking about it and fall asleep.

There has to be something I can say to her. A perfect deflection?? It is stressful when she's like that. I am grateful to work for her, but I work 6 days a week, 8 hours and have only taken one day off. I think I'm getting caregiver burnout.

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Dear one, you are doing great, just believe it, you do need a little time off though, I urge you to see if you can work that out!

As Lealonie1 said, adjust to your lady's obsession as much as you can. My darling husband gets like that and I hand him copies of old bank statements, they are no longer relevant if they get misplaced. He "looks them over" pronounces them "good" and we move on. Often he drags them out of his hiding place and demands a new one, which I have ready in my office, newly copied prints of the same thing, that "just came in the mail"! Take the easy way out if you can, we all have to learn "the hill to die on" which translates to which demand do we hold the line on and which ones aren't worth the fight!
Stay stong in yourself, and be brave, God bless you! And get another day or so off! Some of us can't and if you can, we're all cheering for you!
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to HisBestFriend

6 days a week 8 hours a day is too much. Cut your hours by at least 8 so you have 2 days off.
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Reply to jemfleming

Caregiver323: Imho, you cannot amend this habit of her's since her brain is broken. Seek respite through any means possible, e.g. Visiting Angels, et al.
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Reply to Llamalover47

First of all, arrange for the needed days off with your client's son. Caregivers need days off and vacations. Burnout doesn't help you or her. Hopefully you'll get some paid time off. My mother used to have the same delusions about finances. I didn't know what set that off. At one point she thought she had to move in order to downsize her living arrangments and packed suitcases! There's no perfect response to these delusions. I kept telling my mother that she has enough money to last for many, many years and she doesn't need to worry. I'm not sure if this really helped. Eventually those delusions passed.
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Reply to NancyIS

Realize that when she spools herself up on these tangents that she is experiencing anxiety. It would be helpful to redirect her focus as soon as you notice she is heading into one of her triggering thought patterns. Since you are already doing this, it might be time to talk to her son about this problem. Your client would probably benefit for a mild anti-anxiety medication to help calm her when she becomes this anxious.
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Reply to Taarna

No, there is no perfect deflection to break someone out of a dementia loop. I'm sure you've heard it all from giving her a snack, distracting her with a toy or an activity, or playing soft music. If they're seriously fixated none of it works.
I've been in homecare a long time and have had more clients with dementia then I can remember. Many of them were like yours. They would get fixated on a subject then in a dementia loop and even if they were distracted momentarily would come right back to it.
What I would do is tell them a few times that I couldn't help them with whatever the topic of the loop was, then would totally ignore any and all mention of it.
If the client would start up with it again, I would say nothing as if I didn't hear them. Or I would every now and them tell them with kindness, that we've already talked about it and I am not talking about it again. Or I would say that I've already answered that question and am not answering it again. Don't acknowledge anything associated with the topic of the dementia loop. Don't ignore the person. Ignore the dementia loop and it will stop. Let her wear herself out talking about it and fall asleep. I don't think this will happen though. More likely she will drop the subject if your ignore it because she's getting no attention from you on it.
I learned a long time ago not to validate any talk that's the topic of a dementia loop. That only feeds it and keeps it going longer. You have to learn to ignore with kindness otherwise you won't last long in this line of work.
Also, the six days a week eight hours a day has to stop. That is way too much time for anyone to have to be with a demented elder. Even if you are young, you will burn out. Cut your hours with her down. Make them up with a different kind of client who doesn't have dementia and who isn't elderly.
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Reply to BurntCaregiver

Play music she likes and ask her to tell you what she was like when she was young.
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Reply to NYCmama

"Yes, ma'am. John has been taking care of your finances. Let's send him an e-mail so he knows what you need done."
Get her to explain as well as she can to the point that she feels like you understand her wishes if possible. John doesn't need to act on her instructions.
Then, if she still persists, tell her that the two of you have told John and he is taking care of it, and re-direct.
A lot of times, people just want to feel relevant. They want to know that their wishes are understood, and that they have some say in their lives.
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Reply to Cynthiasdaughtr
Isthisrealyreal Oct 8, 2021
With my mom I ask a question…”oh mom, did you see that red cardinal outside the window? Hey mom do you like my new blouse? “…I use the subjects she always loved…birds, nature, clothes and it often works. I do not get involved in the subject thats agitating her.. this often works. My brother now uses this method and he says he can often get the irritant subject changed..Good Luck…
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Reply to Sadinroanokeva

I wonder if you spoke with the clients' son and asked him for a couple of simple bank statements of hers, if that might calm her down a bit? It's a gamble........looking at a document might wind up agitating her further, but it also might do the trick. My mother has dementia and when she gets an idea stuck in her head, there is no talking her out of it. Her questions involve her deceased family members, and where are they, and how can she get their phone numbers, so I have a few different stories I tell her to calm her down. It's terrible when they get stuck on a topic they won't let go of, and I give all caregivers a lot of credit for your patience and perseverance day in and day out.

The other thing may be to talk to her son about calming medication for her from the doctor. If the topic causes her agitation and it's something that's ongoing, a little bit of medication might work wonders for her as well. My mother has some on order as needed, thank goodness, so I wonder if your client might as well? If this topic comes up at the same time every day, in the late afternoon, it's probably Sundowners which is when my mother is most agitated and confused. Baby dolls can be very helpful for agitated seniors and give them a sense of purpose again when they feel confused and are looking for something to 'do'. You could try bringing her a baby doll and a blanket and see how she reacts to it; I've seen stressed out elders turn on a dime when they have a 'baby' to care for!

Wishing you the best of luck with a difficult situation.
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Reply to lealonnie1

Aaaaah…the perfect deflection whilst a loved one is in a loop!

I’m desperate to find something that works, too! 🤣

6 days a week is too much. Perhaps you could negotiate for both weekend days off.

YOU matter, too!
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Reply to cxmoody

Maybe talking about it is what she wants.
If she is aware that her son takes care of her finances maybe ask her if you can write down the questions she has so that next time her son visits the list of questions will be there. He can answer the questions so next time she asks a question you can refer to the notes and give her an answer.
Other than that doing as you are doing and deflecting, redirecting is the best option.
Maybe getting her to "go for a walk" to the café or some other spot might take her mind off the subject.

And it is possible that you are getting burned out. Caregivers ALL need a break.
Are you a private hire? If so do you have a friend that can work 1 day a week for you? Obviously you would have to clear this with the son and allow him to do the background checks that need to be done.
If you are with an agency talk to your manager and see if there is someone that can do a day for you.
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Reply to Grandma1954

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