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She is also sorting socks over and over placing them in a grocery bag and hanging the bag on the door knob. Rearranging her dresser drawers repeatedly as well. She seems to also focus on me when it comes to hateful remarks. Most healthy foods she won't eat, basically refusing anything but pizza, cookies, sodas and things like that. Lately she has started smacking, pinching, elbowing me. When I take her out sometimes she makes sure to tell her doctors, waitresses and so forth that I am mean to her but she's the Mother and I'm the child. Carries her purses around and screams she's leaving and I can't stop her. I'm just trying to keep her safe, it's taking a toll on my husband and myself. Is she going into another stage?

Packing and rummaging are both typical of dementia. Pinching smacking and elbowing you is intolerable in my opinion, so a call to her doctor is in order now. Perhaps a calming medication can be prescribed. If that doesn't work and her aggression and accusations worsen, you may want to look into Memory Care Assisted Living placement for her. There's not just one life that's of importance here, but 3.....you and your husband's lives matter too. Please remember that as your mother continues to decline as the dementia worsens.

My mother is 94 and lives in a Memory Care Assisted Living community where she's safe and very well cared for. There's no way my DH and I would or could ever care for her in our home due to her myriad of issues including incontinence and horrible behavioral attitudes toward me. Everyone is better off with her in Memory Care.

The food issues are common too as they lose their tastebuds. All that remains is a taste for mainly sweets and junk food as they revert to toddler-like behaviors before they stop eating in the late stages toward the end. Pick your battles, or get rid of some of the junk food in the house so she has no access to it.

Good luck. This is an ugly and insidious condition to be dealing with.
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If these behaviors are new, then I would venture to say that her dementia is getting worse, and as you are already aware, will continue to do so. Vascular dementia is the most aggressive of all the dementias, with a life expectancy of only 5 years, so the decline you see in someone with vascular dementia, is much quicker than the other dementias. I don't know if you are living in her home or she's living in yours, but it may be time to be looking into placing her in a memory care facility, especially since she's getting abusive, and you say it's taking it's toll on both you and your husband. You have to do what is best for not only your mom, but your husband and yourself as well. Wishing you the best.
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My formerly organized mother emptied her filing cabinet and stuffed financial records into purses. She emptied her linen closet and placed bedding in suitcases. Her drawer of accessories are in a duffel bag. Some clothes hang in bags, on door handles, while their drawers now hold towels. Her book shelves are nearly emptied, their books "sorted" into piles on the floor, chairs or tables. This is a change of terminolgy from when she was "hiding" everything in unexpected places to thwart (imaginary) thieves. I snag anything important (she's now at the point she doesn't notice) and leave her to feel productive about her organizational progress.
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jacobsonbob Apr 3, 2021
That's probably the best approach in this case!
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There is absolutely no handbook on the descent into dementia that would help, except to say you can and should expect ANYTHING.

She lives with you? I wonder if you can give her tasks to do that would burn off some of this energy?

As far as the physical abuse--that's a no-no. In a 3 yo and in a 90 yo. IS there any chance you could move her to a MC facility? They are so much better at handling this kind of stuff.

And the eating---my one grandmas adored fast food and actually lived in condo right behind a great greasy spoon cafe. I think they worked out delivery for her. She lived her last 5 years on the worst foods, but she was happy and she ate one banana everyday, so to her, she WAS eating well.

Yes, she's probably going into another stage and it's not going to be 'better' than this one.

Time to decide how much of this you can take. I know my DH can take about 10 minutes of my mom and then he's GONE. He hasn't even seen her in almost 2 years and she lives 2 miles away.

IS this how you want to spend your life? Mom might live 10 more years. My YB houses mother and it has almost ruined his marriage. He regrets moving her in with all his heart. And she is 91 and pretty healthy. We expect she could live to 100. She's already been there 24+ years.

One thing that's almost for certain--she won't get 'better'.
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Thanks for asking the question, and thanks for all the answers. I couldn't figure out why I never had any baggies, until I looked in my husband's dresser drwaer. Each of his socks was in a separate baggie. Clean ones and dirty ones. He has two shoe boxes that he refuses to let me throw away. Every couple of days he wakes me up by re-arranging his important papers (empty manilla envelopes, ads that come in the mail, magic markers, a lighter, flashlights and 7 dog biscuits.)

His caregiver will make a great detective once she leaves us. She can find just about every missing item!!We are still.looking for one of my arthritis compression gloves, but she will.eventually find it.
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yes that's another phase of Alzheimer's. Your mom probably needs around-the-clock supervision because she may start wandering, and if that happens at night she can get hit by a car or get mugged by a thug.

What is happening to your mom now is that she cannot control her thoughts, so they do these repetitive things to get a sense of security. And if she should start wandering it is because she is trying to find her home...during childhood. So she will need around the clock supervision.

I started taking mom for walks in the park to help control the "crazies". It helped a lot. I never had to put my mom on any kind of psychotropic or narcotics which are fall risks in themselves. I used a walker. Her walks in the park became routine and she REALLY loved them. She eventually needed a specialized walker which cost me $700, but it kept her going for five years until she literally forgot how to get in and out of the car (it was a struggle for a year), but eventually she could not do that. I miss taking her out. I also enjoyed taking her to the mall. Of course that was long before COVID. She would do her walk in the morning--every single morning-- and at least twice a week I took her to the mall in a wheel chair and she liked that. If it was raining I walked her in an enclosed parking lot. I think of all the five years, she only missed about 5 days due to illness or a hurricane. Definitely less than 10 days. I sure miss walking mom to this day.

I worked very hard to keep mom awake during the day so she slept all night and "sundowning" was kept to a bare minimum. You also need a floor alarm. If mom tried to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night or try to get out of bed, it would go off. Most falls happen near the bedside. Get a fall mat too in case she does. I got all of that with Amazon. that's why I never got mom on any psychotropics or narcotics because they increase the likelihood of falling, and there is no medication that helps with Alzheimer's--they only mask symptoms.

I think a routine of exercise and just good care kept mom alive extra years for sure AND improved the quality of her life. Mom died age 90, and three months. Not bad for someone with insulin-dependent diabetes (well controlled) and hypertension (controlled). Her only medications were a multi-vitamin, insulin and lopressor. Two years of hospice. In the end I had to get mom on a feeding tube but she did great with that just to prevent her from dying of dehydration which can take weeks. Bottom line mom lived a very comfortable life, and she died very peacefully at home. But that feeding tube took a ***LOT*** of care and you must really know what you are doing to prevent complications and infection. Mom never had a problem with that either, and she never attempted to pull it because it was a last resort only.

NOBODY can say she had a bad quality of life even due to severe end-stage Alzheimer's because she was at her own level of being and she was kept comfortable and surrounded by love at all times. Mom did not have a care in the world. I did all the worrying and hard work for her. She 100% depended on me for everything--nutrition, fluids, cleaning, bathing, hygiene and even I had to keep her on a BOWEL schedule. Her feeding tube made all of that possible. Her needs were met. So she was comfortable. and that is why she died absolutely comfortable. Mom also died with perfect skin.
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Myownlife Apr 3, 2021
Cetude, you are amazing. And what you did is what I have already decided to start doing with my mom in respect to the getting out of the house and going somewhere to walk with her walker, and I guess eventually a wheelchair. It is so good to hear from someone who did this and that it was so helpful... it makes me more encouraged. Thank you!
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No one has mentioned it and I hate to sound like I am on repeat, but get her checked for a UTI. My mom, who was not diagnosed with dementia, began doing odd things, then she became violent toward dad. After the third trip to the ER in five days, I finally convinced dad to not pick her up. She had a UTI for weeks apparently. She was then diagnosed with dementia and died a few weeks later. I kept saying UTI from five hours away, but I was told that I'm no doctor and leave it up to the medical personnel to decide.
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RoughMatch Apr 3, 2021
Wish I could upvote your answer 10-20 times. UTI's are notorious for causing confused and/or crazy behavior. This might not apply to OP since Mom has the vascular dementia diagnosis, but it is worth hearing for all of us other caregivers if loved ones' behavior gets wacky.
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My mother was more recently diagnosed with vascular dementia but I saw serious signs of the disease at least 12 years ago. My mother is now barely oriented to herself at this time, but still becomes agitated and will yell at the staff and try to run away.

I never had a relationship with her, but even putting the bad history aside, I could not have managed her behaviors or care and maintained my sanity or marriage. And her personality and paranoia would never have allowed for me to encourage exercise or distraction. At her first facility she eventually was hiding feces around her room, removing her diaper and having serious delusions.

Placement in a facility was the only option I considered. There, I can work with staff and her medical professionals to coordinate care. While visiting, you can remove yourself from the bad behaviors once they start up.

I can’t say that there has been any “normal” progression of this disease that I or anyone that cares for her can identify. It has merely been a waiting game of what will come next. She was placed on hospice over six months ago and we didn’t expect her to live this long. She has surprised us at every turn, and while her behaviors and dementia have worsened, she is stable physically. She’s 88 this year and she could go on for years. My spouse is having health issues I also need to manage.

In considering future care for your mother, please include yourself and your family in a realistic care plan! And put your needs at the top of the list. Good luck.
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My Dad will be 98 next month and I decided that he can eat whatever he wants. At that age, there's not a lot of happiness in his life so I tell the Caregivers to let him do what he wants. He likes to snack all day and I told the Caregivers to let him eat as often and whatever he wants.

As far as rearranging her socks or drawers, ect.

I suggest you do the same.
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As long as she is not doing anything harmful to you, your husband, and particularly herself, let her be. Before you know it, another behavior will replace or get mixed into the old ones. However, if you and your husband are seriously losing patience with her bizarre behaviors then maybe she needs to be in a better place because more are coming and health issues will increase too.
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