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Sometimes I get so angry at my mother’s obstinance.

A few days ago some of the members on this site suggested that I allow my mom to make decisions and do things more for herself and not treat her like a child. My mom also said to an insurance agent that I treated her like a child.
Because my sister-in-law, who my mom was being taken care of by for the last 6 months treated my mom like a child, I didn’t want my mom to think of me that way.
So, my pride got in the way and I said that I wouldn’t treat mom like a child and try to let her be more independent. I let her walk up and down the stairs by herself (I walked next to her), and I let her choose her clothes each day and tried to let her feel more independent.
Well, today we went to a Christmas craft fare. She didn’t want to use her rolling walker and she didn’t want me to hold her arm because she didn’t need my help. She wanted to walk on her own and not appear helpless to the others at the fare.
She drags one of her legs because her leg is painful to bend. We give her acetamenophin to help with the pain but otherwise there isn’t anything else that can be done about her knee. She drags it.
We were walking through the parking lot and into the building where the craft fare was and she fell. She didn’t put her hands out to break her fall, she hit her head first. I was walking alongside her and she fell right in front of me and I saw the whole thing. She went from her feet to her hitting her head.
Several people witnessed it and rushed over to help. We got her to sit down on the sidewalk and after checking her over we realized there was a gash in her forehead. She was bleeding. I put a napkin over the cut to stop it from bleeding and the paramedics for our small village were called. They arrived within a few minutes, checked her out, bandaged her head, and said to keep an eye on her.
I am so very tired of people saying that those with dementia need to be not catered to and allowed to be treated as adults. My mother hit her head so very very very hard. I will never remove that image from my head.
I told my mom that I will never allow her to walk up and down the stairs ever again on her own. That if she is walking without her walker that I will hold her arm and not let go.
People with dementia CANNOT make these decisions on their own.
Those who believe that they can are fooling themselves.
I’m angry and very upset right now.

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Pink, please don't beat yourself up over this. It really is not your fault, you are only human too. My mom has so many fake things going on alongside of real things and it gets so frustrating trying to determine the difference. To the point that I began to feel angry. She can do this but she can;t do that and then next time she can do this again, it began to seem to me that she was picking and choosing what she wanted her own limitations to be in order to get more attention. I started to feel heartless (of course, there is a lot more to this story) and not wanting to help her do anything, otherwise she just lays in bed all the time, making me feel that she is just lazy and wanting to be waited on hand and foot. Being on this page has helped me to relate to her a little more and now I am the one picking and choosing how to help instead of letting my anger get the better of me and not helping at all.
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Thank you for sharing your experience. I am new to this sight. I have been caring for my father-in-law for the last year. I no longer work so I can stay home with him. Since I am fairly new to this care taker job I sometimes feel like I am treating him like one of my children. Sometimes like he is much younger than my 8yr old. My father-in-law is 83yrs. old he will be 84 in January. He has congestive heart failure and has had a triple bypass along with a valve fixed and a stint put in. Although he has not been diagnosed he shows signs of dementia. Some days are worse than others. I try to stay consistent with his routines. On his good days he often gets angry with me. I try to explain to him that I do not know if he is having a good day or bad day so I have to treat him the same everyday. Hearing your story helps me know that what I do is right and I should just stay the course no matter what frame of mind he is in. Thank you.
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I can say "ditto that" to what you said above. Pretty much the same thing happened to me three years ago. We were coming back from shopping and I was carrying two bags in each hand, and my mother was using her walker. She insisted on picking up a dime in the parking lot, even when I told her I would get it later after we crossed the parking lot. She fell, bruising her knee and hurting her back. She is now in a Rehab-conv. hospital, and has been there three years. She rolls about in a wheelchair, and is content in her circumstances. It took about a year, but since she has recently become a Christian, she is a true joy to be around. She invites others to her "church down the hall on Sundays at 2, and to her Bible study on Thurs. at 2, and is involved with other activities. The residents and staff love her. We do need to become the caregivers--for our adult loved ones with their childish understandings. We are not to treat them as children, but as those more frail and weaker among us. This is the way to honor and respect our aged. Thank you for your statement above to be loving and cautious, and true caregivers in the fullest sense.
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Eddie please stop beating yourself up. An accident happened and you have clearly learned a valuable lesson from it. You are a caring and careful daughter so don't let fear stop you from helping Mom do things she enjoys.
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@Eddie, you are absolutely correct. I would not have a life if I watched her every second of the day. I think she realized that she is unsteady on her feet and that sometimes she does need assistance. Whether or not she remembers that in a day or so will be another matter. Thank you.
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kathyt1, no need to apologize.

Thank you everyone. I was beating myself up pretty good yesterday. The cut wasn't so bad it was the intensity of the blow to her head. She went from being on her feet to hitting her head on the concrete sidewalk. It was very scary to watch.

Mom seems to be okay. It doesn't appear to have affected her adversely. The EMTs did show up and checked her out and didn't think that she needed to go to the hospital.
I told her over and over that I will no longer allow her to walk on her own without her walker or without my holding her arm. She can still do other things on her own if she wants but if I feel that she is too unsteady to do something I will not hesitate to step in and offer her support.
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Pink,

Don't beat yourself up. This was a learning experience for everyone. Your mother wanted to look strong, dignified, and independent as she entered the fair. She fell. It was an accident. Despite her A/D, I bet she's more cautious. But watching her like a hawk because you're blaming yourself can be a double-edged sword. You'll have even less of a life as a full-time bodyguard; and she'll amplify the rebellious existential angst that comes with feeling so helpless all the time.

In any case, I'll have to walk a million miles in your shoes to truly grasp what you're going through. ... I don't think I'd have the strength.
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I am sorry. I didn't understand your Mom has dementia. I thought she was mentally competent. Falls happen. Don't beat yourself up. I am glad she is alright.
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Please don't punish yourself. You were trying to allow her some dignity. It is a very fine line trying to know when they can do something, and when you have to draw a line in the sand and say NO. My mother too complains that I treat her like a child, that I am a control freak, etc. I've has to stop discussing it with her, and deal with her rages when I say NO to her. You know you are doing the best you California and her safety is what is important to you. You are a caring & loving daughter/son. If you weren't, you wouldn't try so hard. Otherwise, you'd be like my brother who has basically turned his back on the situation & refuses to help in any way. You did nothing wrong. You were trying to make your Mom happy. Remember that. ❤️
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Life is one big risk. You can not prevent everything. 50 years ago in the hospital where I was training they had a couple of rooms in the ER that were literally made of rubber and had nothing else in them. They were reserved for violent uncontrolable patients brought in off the streets.
We don't want this kind of "protection" for our elders. We also can not watch them every minute of the day. Just like a toddler they will find amazing ways to get into trouble. If there are activities that seem unsafe remove the tools. When the stove is a danger disconect it but leave the microwave.If the kettle burns dry get an electric one that turns itself off. Can't stop them driving leave the keys but disable the car. Lock cupboards and keep the keys on your person. Set pills in a medication box. Doing a week is more convenient for the caregiver but it may be necessary to just put each days or even each dose in a separate box. they can still independently get and take their medications but it is easier to track and preserves some autonomy. If you can afford it install a chair lift on the stairs. Insist it is used or a locked gate goes on the stairs. properly fitted footwear must be used at all times. if this is refused get some of the slipper socks like they give you in the hospital with the rubber patches on the bottom.
Keep the home clutter free and remove all loose rugs etc. Present hot drinks in a mug the elder can handle which usually means with a fairly substantial handle. Cold drinks are easier in a glass mug with a handle. Canes, walkers and rollators are non negotiable. have the Dr instruct your loved one that she has to use whatever is prescribed. holding the arm is not enough what if she takes you down with her and you break something where will the two of you be then. Choices are good. clothes, food outings, furniture placement, paint color pictures. Family caregivers for parents in their 80s and 90s are often in the 60s and 70s too so all these precautions are sensible rules for the caregiver to follow too. I am two months shy of 75 and mentally wish I wasn't but I have to realize there are things it is no longer sensible to do (like cleaning gutters)
Head injuries should always be treated seriously and checked out in an ER especially with a deep bleeding cut that may need sutures. Don't be frightened of sutures there is now a medical super glue that can be used on lots of wounds. The elder may also need a tetanus shot
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Pink, in general I think it is important to respect our loved ones an treat them with dignity. And to allow them as much independence as they can safely manage. Deciding what to wear today is a whole lot different than deciding not to use a walker or deciding to inject too much or too little insulin. Some things you must simply take control of, for their safety. Other things are OK to let them be in charge of. Balancing this all out is a constant judgement call. Sometimes we regret our judgements, and we need to learn from them and go on.

It doesn't have to be all-or-nothing. You can take charge ("treat her like a child") about some things, and step back about other things.

I like captain's analogy. Some (most?) would rather live independently and risk dying sooner than live in dependence and have a longer life. We, of course, don't want them to die before they have to and we want to eliminate risks. But no risks at all means living in bed. Somehow we have to strike a balance.

By the way, I saw my husband fall many times in the 10 years he had dementia, including many times while he was using his walker. There is no 100% guaranteed way to prevent falls. We try, of course. Try to put it behind you when it happens.

You are a good and careful caregiver, Pink. Treat your mom like an adult, but an adult who needs your help to remain safe.
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Dear Pink, I am so sorry and I hope you took your Mom to the ER because she could have internal bleeding of her head. I am so sorry to hear. Go with your Gut and do what you think is right, you can treat her like however you want. I can see not talking to her in baby talk but keeping an arm on her or telling her she has to, or she cant go, is appropriate. They are so darn stubborn I know! Follow your heart, I also have a vision in my head when my Mom saw me and raced over to see me and fell and hit her head, then started to cry, I will never forget it and feel so guilty. I was coming into daycare and between her and I was a couch and 2 recliners and she hit her head on one before I could get to her. Best of luck , keep us posted.
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I understand you like my mum was injecting too much insulin but wont let me take control of it,shes not taking her meds as im finding them on the floor,stairs, she continues to come downstairs with a tray of cups etc.... basically she does not do anything i ask and just says im a bully OR shes not an idiot? SO hard so stressful and so worrying.
I used to be a nanny the only difference between my mum and a toddler is the toddlers did what they were told!!

If we are supposed to treat dementia like adults then WHY is this job so stressful??????

I agree just watch her like a hawk now because once you turn your back they are up to something dangerous.

Last xmas my brother was trying to unblock the toilet. He put ACID in it and left a HUGE SIGN "ACID DO NOT USE" he covered the seat with a plank of wood........... well she managed to remove the lot and pee???? lucky she didnt burn her you know what!!
Yep this is the pits! Big Hug dont be angry just learn not to trust them as they will manage to do something that makes your blood boil!!
Lately my mum paints when im not here YEP gets on a ladder and paints the walls ALONE.
The more she behaves like a bold child the closer shes getting to a NH!!! Or ill be dead before her!!
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This is terrible. Whoever told you to let your mother navigate without a cane or Rollator was really out of line since you're mother does not walk well. I am sorry that this happened. Is she going to be alright?
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there are abandoned villages in the area around chernobyl that many oldtimers chose to return to and live in. they contend that dying in 5 years from radiation related illness was better than living in an appartment in kiev for 15 years. of course you dont want your mother to be injured but you have to balance safety and quality of life imo. nothing is in black or white, proportion is what becomes complicated.
lastly, your mother is going to have falls unless she lives in bed . living in bed is a terminal condition as is dementia.
my mothers mobility became so limited that she kept a sports whistle around her neck for the last few weeks of her life so she could summon my deaf ass at any time. she had a couple of falls but she lived and died on her own terms. kinda like the oldtimers around chernobyl..
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