How to respond to Mom (85) diagnosed with dementia? She's started sobbing a lot saying she wants God to take her. - AgingCare.com

How to respond to Mom (85) diagnosed with dementia? She's started sobbing a lot saying she wants God to take her.

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My Mom has always been pessimistic - she can think of the worst scenarios for a sunshiney day. Very negative. She is great for being 85. At her Home, she has musical programs, activities 2-3 times a day every day, personal care givers, beautiful room, everything she needs and more. She's 9 months in her 'Home' having fallen at home with my husband and I. The doctor's diagnosis from the Hospital put her in the Home to keep her safe as she has dementia (and did start fires on the stove at home). She is jealous of her neighbor's attention from the caregivers - the woman can't do anything for herself so 4 aids get her up and ready in the morning. My mother can go to the bathroom, get dressed, make her bed, move in her wheelchair anywhere in the Home - her poor neighbor can't do any of that - yet my mother scorns the attention her neighbor gets. My Mom was also angry about having to 'help' the 101 year old woman at her breakfast table opening her butter!!!! She said the people there are idiots and 'she's not' - very much lacking compassion for these ladies who have been nothing but nice to her. She says she wants out of the facility yet won't go when we try to take her somewhere. Underneath I know she is angry and wants to be home where my husband and I took care of her every whim for 10 years and I for the 20 years before my husband. We quite our jobs and moved in to help her as she has macular degeneration also. One day she is laughing about winning bingo that she wouldn't play previously because of her macular degeneration and the next day she wants God to take her and can't stand the 'sensations' in her shoulder (post surgery nerve damage and then shingles in the past). I don't go running because she will just puppy down with that - if I gave in and ran over there at every call - she would never have tried the Bingo which she has to start taking part in things for her own good. Whatever she does her stimulus is ANGER. She can't do ANYTHING good with a healthy and positive reason. She has a 'church' face and then the 'truth'. Does anyone else deal with a manipulative emotional blackmailer type of parent? My mother was totally codependent on us and me specifically her whole life. She always has to have someone to 'step' on to feel good - she doesn't know that everyone can be on the same level. Also she has no esteem and needs her 'stuff' - jewelry and all - to feel 'better than'. She lives for compliments and has an extremely shallow outlook. She has no off button - if you feed into filling her 'void' with compliments, gifts and attention, it doesn't last - it's a black hole with no bottom. Now, with the complication of her memory and perceptions - she is just in a dither and keeping herself stressed out and anxious. The nurses give her meds and let her eat in her room and stop in to talk - she has a psychiatrist visit every week - has depression and anxiety meds....she is determined to be miserable and just stays constantly 'anxious' and 'stressed' and changes like the wind if the minister stops in for a visit so this is how I know it's somewhat contrived for my benefit to keep me upset and in line. If it was real - I would fly there and move in if need be - however - I know it will do more harm than good and she will then continue her poor behaviors like she's been 'confirmed' - I, therefore, don't 'jump' or call the nurse or anything and she needs to deal with her attitude and damage she's done all by herself like an errant child or she'll never be any better. Thanks for listening. I know what's right - I have has IBS, heart issues, muscular back issues and shoulder surgery over the past years so am trying to manage the stress so do not want to succumb to her exaggerations babying her or she will never 'grow up' and start to adjust healthfully. Anyone have info on how you respond to this kind of stuff?

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She sounds narcissistic. My Mom was the same way. She died in May. When you're raised by a mother plagued by this disorder it has lasting consequences. I cried as she lay dying, I told her I knew she did the best she could as a mother and grandmother, and I know she lives us the only way she could. Her behavior through the years has left two daughters scarred, emotionally, and sad that we never had a relationship like some people have with their mothers - best friends. I'm simply trying to remember the fun times - few and far between - and make sure I'm not trying anyone in my life that way.

If you can detach or remove yourself a bit from the constant exposure and realize that you cannot make her happy or content, you will feel much better.

Good luck and hugs to you.
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Faithfulness: Your situation mirrors mine...and I am sure so many others here. From picking up helpful tips here and through others, this is what is currently working for me when I visit my grandmother and she exclaims:
1) "I want to go home!", "I'll walk home soon if no one takes me", "This is no place for me.", "What's wrong with my home?", "Its ridiculous to have a home and not be there!" - I answer: "I know grandma...I want to go home too." (She thinks I am traveling more for work now) "How about we go home when (the weather is better, so-and-so is back in town, the swelling in your legs goes down, doctor bills are paid off, etc.)... for now let's go for a walk. Then just get up and walk, knowing she'll follow. All the time I talk about other things, such as the facility cat, the clouds, the green grass, current events, family happenings. (Validation & Re-direct )
2) "No one does nothin' 'round here. No one talks to me. Everyone sleeps." - I respond with: "I know grandma...not everyone can be as active as you. Let's go for a walk and talk to some of the other residents." Then we go and she follows and I meet and talk with the other residents and do the introduction between her and others and we all talk about anything and everything. (Caregivers know by now that a person with dementia can be doing something every waking minute...though due to their condition, they will not remember what they just did...and unfortunately feel like they have done nothing.) The other residents with lessor degrees of dementia really appreciate me talking with them. My grandma asks each time how I know "these people". ;-)
3) "Why am I still here (alive)? This is nuts!" or other anger issues. - I just try to do the validate and re-direct method again. "I know grandma (give her a hug). How about we go play the piano?" Then just go towards the piano and tell her I want to hear her play. Even when she says: "Okay, that's enough, no one wants to hear my noise!." I just tell her that I do...Its important to me...that others do, that she plays beautiful music and I want to hear more." That usually gets at least 5 more songs outta her. ;-) 5 more songs worth of her being content, 5 more songs worth of her mind being at the age when she was happier, 5 more songs where I don't hear "I want to go home NOW!" ...and I again re-setting to remember to just validate, then re-direct. Continued best!
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My mother was negative most of her life, more so in old age. She was finally diagnosised with Alzheimers. My sisters and I insisted on a a evalation at a hospital stay where they had examples of her paranoid, mean behavior. They finally gave her an anti-pychotic med that helped her and us. She told my sister. "I didnt know what id do with you when you were growing up, but now I dont know what I would do without you. Later when she had to go to hospice, we said stop other meds but nit that one. She died a loving, sweet grateful mother, looking forward to seeing Dad again in Heaven.
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Sounds like your mother is long overdue to be evaluated for medications which might give all concerned some peace of mind. Blessings for this challenge.
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Hi y'all,

Both my mom and dad were very negative. Naturally, after he passed and she become more stricken with dementia, it got worse. All I can say is, the correct medications have changed our lives...and the medications are:

Citalopram 20 mg. for depression, and

Risperdone 0.05 mg. for delusions.

Oh, let me tell you about those delusions. They were not fun and all directed at me--who else was there? ( no sibs). My mother said such awful things about me to the other residents at the AL that they were all recommending to her that she call her lawyer. They stared at me when I arrived--the ones who remembered anything. Now, after the senior behavioral clinic and correct meds, she is peaches and cream every day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

As I have mentioned before, I thank the doctors daily who gave this to my mother. We have nice visits because of these medications and for no other reason.
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I think individual people need individual medicine my mum was put on Citalopram and Risperidone and god did they make a difference - she hallucinated and was worse than ever. After 2 days they stopped the meds.

So while one set of meds works for one there are no guarantees at all.

What I would say and it is really hard to do is detach yourself as much as you can and go visit when YOU want to. Remember she may need help you may be offering help but ON YOUR TERMS. If she is rude to you walk away you don't have to put up with it. Narcissism is a beast that can only occur if you allow it - that said I have allowed it so don't think I haven't a clue....I've fed the beast for years and now reap the consequences and they aren't easy either. You DON'T have a DUTY to care for your Mum you do have a choice and it is OK to choose NO. You just have to live with your choices. Being the coward that I am I chose yes because I can't live with the alternative - this would be breaking a promise to my Dad and I really couldn't live with that. So sit back consider what you are going to accept and make a decision and stick with it. Good luck because none of this will be easy at all xxxxx
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That's the thing about dementia. It can screw with a person's personality or exaggerate things that were already there. You have to keep reminding yourself that and not take it too personally. It can be a roller-coaster of emotions from the person who has it who doesn't understand what is going on and is incapable of expressing themselves. They may have lots of anxiety about things we consider unimportant. There's a write-up on Dementia by the Mayo Clinic that I keep handy, which does a good job of reminding me what I'm dealing with and p10 suggests non-drug therapies - suggestions on what you as the caregiver can do to help. I found I was doing the opposite. Here's the link: mayoclinic/diseases-conditions/dementia/basics/definition/con-20034399?p=1
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I took care of my grandmother who raised me for 10 years, the last 6 years around the clock because of dementia.

It was the hardest time and very rough, but I rejoice in the bits of laughter we had, loved seeing her laugh.

For the most part, everything I did was wrong, according to her. They are having a hard time adjusting to the fact that they CANNOT take care of themselves.

In the last year, she went to live in a residential home. She acted the same as you mother.

Now my father in law is going through the same. Acting the same as you describe, the same as my gram.

One thing I noticed that I'd like to tell you, is that both my grandmother and my father in law were given the TWO dementia drugs Aricept, and Namenda.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved two types of medications — cholinesterase inhibitors (Aricept, Exelon, Razadyne) and memantine (Namenda) — to treat the cognitive symptoms (memory loss, confusion, and problems with thinking and reasoning) of Alzheimer's disease.

Neither my Father in law nor my grandmother had Alzheimer's they both suffer from dementia.

Those medications caused BOTH of our family members worse emotional pain. They caused delusional thinking. Both of them even had hallucinations.

They also gave my FIL Ambien! Everyone in the family thought he was AWAKE ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT, but in reality he was in his sleep. Those are the side effects of the medications.

We took my grandmother OFF the "memory help" drugs and she no longer hallucinated.

The same for my FIL. We took him off the "memory" drugs and the ambien and he is so much better.

Dont know if your other is on those. But it's worth looking into.

WHAT DID WORK FOR BOTH: Seroquel. Very helpful. Yes, you will read online that it says "not for the elderly, not for dementia" but it worked well for them and it works well for many with dementia.

On top of the Seroquel, both my grandmother and FIL took/take depression medication SSRI My grandmother took Celexa, I cant remember which my father in law takes, but he takes one.

They both were sometimes on xanax. Whatever works

My grandmother tried the Resperidal that someone mentioned to you already. For some reason it didnt work. But I remember look back and studying the medication and others that used it and realizing that we didnt give it enough time, I believe is a medications that takes time to work and also, we didnt adjust the strength. We just gave it to her and thought it didnt work.

Because the MEMORY help drugs caused such horrible behavior, side effect and reactions from both my grandmother and FIL. They both needed to be heavily sedated. Because we didnt know that those were side effects, till I read it on boards like this one. Doctors never told us, the pharmacist never told us.
For my grandmother we did not know how to handle her hulucinations, she thought everyone was against her, she didnt trust us, she was scared....she would try to fight us, she thought she was being kidnapped.... it was bad, so bad that no medication would calm her down.....until the doctor gave us Haldol. I DO NOT RECOMMEND Haldo, unless a last resort. The thing that makes me mad, is that she wouldnt have needed the Haldol, if we knew that it was the Aricept, and Namenda. (memory drugs) causing this trouble with her. We did not know the side effects, so instead of taking them away from her, we gave her more drugs on top of it. The Haldol worked to sedate her, nothing else would, she was getting physical, she wouldnt sleep for days, she didnt want to eat, she thought she was being poisoned. Looking back, she was right, she was being poisoned by the memory drugs, they were making her feel and see things she didnt need to feel and see.

The Haldol sedated her, but she began dribbling, very week, shaky voice, couldnt talk. Some people never recover from haldol. Thank God my Gram did. We got her off of it in less than a week.

We got her off the dementia drugs. And things were better. Not perfect but better. She no longer needed the xanax daily.

Same with my FIL. Took him off the Aricept, and Namenda. and he no longer needs xanax to calm him.

Just something to look into and to be aware of.

The rest of the problems..... Well, they are not happy. They never will be really happy. They have lost their lives and their families, they are dying....its a no wonder they need depression medication, anxiety medication and seroquel or resperidal.

They arent going to get any better in that department. If they do, they are just dealing with all their feelings alone and keeping it inside.

At the same time. WE AS CARETAKERS go through the same. And we have to take care of ourselves. And sometimes that means we CANNOT anylonger take care of them. For me that was heartbreaking, sending my Gram to a residential home.

But, I WASNT takeing care of myself at all in those last year. I was caring for her and raising three children and homeschooling them.

I ended up heaving health issues caused by stress....and the doctor said I could no longer do it.....

My grandmother was mean to me as I cared for her, she was also nice sometimes. She treated me like I do nothing for her, when I did everything. She needed CONSTANT emotional soothing and conversation to sooth her and tell her "Its going to be alright".. that was CONSTANT for YEARS....and the minute I went to the kitchen to cook for her, or to do her medications, or to talk to her doctors on the phone....she was yelling "Sandy! What are you doing?!" as if I was waisting time.

She never even know that I took care of her all those years, because she had a memory that lasted one minute. As soon as I took her lunch plate, she forgot she ate. So she never knew all that I did for her. So we get no THANK YOU'S and we get YELLED AT sometimes and it feels like we are NOT APPRECIATED.

But, it's not their fault, they have dementia, their brain is disintegration and dying.

If they were younger and already had some problems in behavior/manners/ personality (as my Gram did) than, we cannot expect that to get better as they are aging with dementia. We can expect it to get worse....and its not their fault.

Their brains ARE NOT going to progress. There are little things we can try to teach them.... like consequences.... because they act like children.....but there is no guarantee that will work, because they are not children with brains progressing.... they are our elderly with brains digressing. None of us would be happy in that circumstance.

If my grandmother had my phone number while a caretaker had her through the night (in her home care a few nights a week, so I could take my kids home and we could TRY to sleep)....then my grandmother would call me all through the night.... there were times that I finally had to not write my number down for her....and just have the caretaker call me when it was an emergency. Because I couldnt deal with that anymore. Sadly

But, when she was in a home....they need lots of visits. They need us to visit without calling, so we can check on the caretakers.. They may seem nice....but take lots of notice of their personalities.

My grandmother was abused in her "nice" Residential home. They hit her, they pushed her, they were rude and harsh with her and they knocked her down in a bathroom and she broke her hip and died from it.

Please visit your family members and go through the trouble of removing them from homes if you have ANY INDICATION of wrongful personalities working for them.

Install camera's, I wish I did.
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Dementia is notoriously difficult to be definitive about. Most tests only definitively identify some dementias post mortem which is pretty unhelpful. My mums demetia vascular and alzheimer (so mixed dementia) falls into both categorie - the vascular is identifiable via scans but the alzheimer's is not. I live day to day with just a few meds - she needs them to exist - heart etc but only one dementia related drug donepezil and while her memory has imroved dramatically her sleep has gone to pot.

Caregiver Rob - love your approach when you visit your greandma. I am perhaos gonna be blasted for this but I am going to say it anyway. I simply cannot do that 24/7 - it is physically and mentall too draining forme and as I am the mainstay in all of this (OK my kids do visit sometimes) the bulk of it falls on me to do. Yes I get fed up, yes I get resentful that if I go out for an hour I get 2 days worth of earache - (so I stop going out). Yes I find it damned difficult that she is so utterly negative every second of every day. Yes I hate her telling me I am ugly and fat (nothing new there - I have always been that in her eyes). Yes I get peed off that she tells everyone how I spend her money (Well someone has to buy groceries etc and she cant). I have to say when mumm starts on the I wish god would take me - there is a part of me that thinks the same.

I hate that our respective country's drug companies are spending huge amounts on keeping us alive presumably so they can they sell the drugs they have devised to attempt to keep our brains alive too. I can only hope for euthenasia to become legal by the time I need it. God forbid that I should become the person my mother is
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My mom was on Ambien five years ago and I am not sure how long. I am sure that she would be dead now if we hadn't taken her off of it. We spent a winter together and that was when I realized that she was hallucinating, sleepwalking, babbling, a total mess. Google "problems with ambien." You won't believe what you read. I took her off of it when she dumped a cake onto the living room floor in the middle of the night (LOL).
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