My mother has more moderate dementia. She lives by herself and refuses to go in to a memory care facility. She is incontinent and will not wear the Depends I got her so therefore she smells like urine and will not change her clothes or clean up. My sister thinks it is a reflection on us that she smells like urine and looks unkempt. I say if anyone knows anything about dementia, then this is part of it. Does anyone have any feedback on this? I don't believe it makes us look like bad children if my mother flat out refuses to change her clothes or bathe.
Does it matter?
Nobody understands better than the people on this forum how incredibly hard and frustrating this phase of caregiving is. You know your mother needs help, she says no to anything you suggest, what on earth are you to do?
Well, the answer is - don't do nothing! Have you contacted your local social services and asked for an assessment? Have you reported her living conditions to APS? If your mother's dementia is becoming so advanced that she can't be responsible for her own decisions any more, there are ways to intervene; and at the very least you need to start getting her onto people's radar and ask for help.
Anyone who has had ANY experience with elderly people will not judge YOU for the way your parent appears. You have to shrug it off--as awful as it sometimes is.
I am no longer involved in CG for my mother and never will be again. I don't see nor talk to her (her choice) and so whatever happens or how she looks or smells--has zip to do with me.
I have friends whose daughter is married to my brother--mother lives with them. These people are on my case constantly b/c I don't take better care of mother. I cannot get them to understand that even when she WAS 'functional' she wouldn't let me help wash her or really clean her apartment. They just think I am horrible. And they let me know it, every time I see them.
Um--what about the 3 sibs who are 100% MIA and do and have done ZERO for her over the past 7 years that she's been 'bad?" They all get walks b/c they don't
live close by'.
It's a conundrum--I could not make mother bathe often enough, nor wash her clothes properly, nor have a chair cleaned that she'd peed in so much it's rotting....I just gave up.
Mom with moderate dementia is at the point she needs at least 24/7 monitoring. Do not stick your head in the sand or get into denial of her condition, which is very common for family early on.
Who has mom's POA? Time to get her the care she needs. Nope, she will not like it, but, it is time. The doctor is a mandatory reporter.
i called the next day, she slept the whole night and was making friends. She is so much better off there than here. She gets physical therapy, has a social group, and also the privacy of her own room to watch tv. They also noted blood pressure issues that I was unaware of, because I didn’t take her blood pressure every day. I was never told to. Her meds were adjusted, and it’s under control. So far this has been a win win situation. Of course they don’t want to leave what’s familiar. It’s so much better for her and for me.
We had a very loving relationship and I can fully empathize with your sisters view, as I did feel Mom was a reflection of me and my ability/willingness/resourcefulness/devotion to help her. But not so much for how other people would view me, but how I would view myself. I couldn’t just throw up my hands and say “oh well, it’s the disease, people understand.” My goal was always to do the absolute best for her I possibly could, and that was the reflection on myself. At the NH I curled her hair every day because I wanted her to look good and feel good about herself. I wouldn’t have felt right being there with her hair sticking straight up, whereas that might not have bothered other people. And of course I learned and grew emotionally as we plodded along together.
My suggestion is to take a baby step and try to find a caregiver who can come in a few hours a day to “visit” with your mom. Maybe just watch tv with her, have lunch together and chitchat. Then ease into more caregiving roles like “let me help you to the bathroom” etc. And I agree with the other posters, your Mom needs more help than she’s getting, and it’s probably going to come one way or the other. Try to get ahead of it as much as you can.
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