Mom has lived with us for 12 years but is now asking to go home so she can take care of her Mom (who died in 85). Advice? - AgingCare.com

Mom has lived with us for 12 years but is now asking to go home so she can take care of her Mom (who died in 85). Advice?

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I have tried telling her that she has passed and other times I have told her that I would call and leave a message for my grandmother to call back. She forgets and after some time just asks again. Please advise.

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It is a terrible disease. So frightening for your poor mother, and so heartbreaking for you. If, as it sounds, your mother is trying to make sense of things, perhaps it would be better, though painful, to try the explanation and see if at least it stops her being terrified that her mother is alone and without food. It also has the merit of being true, and therefore easier to keep to the same, formulaic story. I'm so sorry you're both having to go through this.
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Thank you all for your suggestions and comments regarding my Mom and her wanting to call her Mother. Tonight she insisted on calling her because she feels so badly that she isn't home with her. My grandmother lived with my Mom and Dad their entire marriage and Mom is very worried that there isn't enough food left in the house for Nanny. Mom said that Nanny told her that she was scared to be at home alone. She said that Nanny was never afraid before but now she is. She remembered that I called her the other day and she didn't call back. This is so upsetting for the both of us. The other day she said," I live her with you right? I said yes and then she said how could that be when I live at my house with Nanny? So she remembered that she lives here but forgot that Nanny passed back in 85. I think she is really worried about her. I guess if this keeps up I will have to try and explain that Nanny is in heaven and that she doesn't have to worry about her. By the next day she will forget what I said and we will probably have to go over this again. This is such a terrible disease.
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I suppose it must depend on how your loved one responds to the bad news of hearing that a parent, spouse or sibling has died. If it causes fresh grief or real distress each time, then there's a clear case for delaying tactics or even frank lies, I suppose, if necessary.

Short of that, though, and speaking only for our own particular circumstances, I don't feel the need to protect my mother from all sad subjects. She pretty regularly forgets that her mother and sisters have died, and I remind her, and she's more or less sorry to hear it depending on what it was that she wanted them for in the first place.

Codysmum, did your mother in fact care for her mother, back in the day? Is she worrying that your grandmother is being neglected, or anything like that? I suppose it's a question of finding what answer she seems to get most reassurance from - you could try a few variations and then stick boldly to whatever story works best, without scruple.
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My mother sometimes forgets she lives with me and plans to go home. She sometimes packs to leave. She regularly invites my cousin to Sunday dinner, but no longer lives close to this cousin (my cousin understands, by the way).

It depends on the day how I respond to some of these things. Sometimes, if I remind her that she lives with me and that her house or whatever piece of furniture she wants to get is gone, she suddenly remembers and is fine. There are times when I can tell her dementia is a little worse and I might put her off, saying that we'll have to do it "later" because I know she'll forget, for the most part.

Sometimes when her dementia is a bit worse, she becomes obsessed with something. I do my best to distract her. If I ask her if she wants the TV or radio on she might respond that she doesn't so I'll sometimes just turn one or the other on and see how it goes. If she becomes really upset, I'll turn it back off, but sometimes doing that works. Sometimes getting out some cookies distracts her.

It really depends on the day what kind of tactic I take. With your Mom, maybe a little trial an error with some of the suggested responses will help you decide how to approach it. Some days, you might just be honest, but if there are days when she's belligerent or stubborn, you might try the "she is with her father" approach, if you like to stay as honest as possible.

Here's another example: my mother was recently in the hospital. It affected her badly. She was disoriented for a couple weeks afterwards. The second night out of the hospital, she and my husband and I are watching TV and she turns to me and demands to know where my brother is.

I was honest - I told her that he lives in another state and doesn't happen to be visiting us, right now. She insisted he'd just been sitting next to her. I was really honest with her - told her she'd been in the hospital and not recovered and had also just been nodding off and probably dreaming. I convinced her to go to bed.

So, sometimes I find brutal honesty shakes her up and convinced her to do something she needs to do, like getting extra sleep, other times she just can't process it. When she can't process the truth, it's not merely that she doesn't believe me, I mean that it just doesn't sink in, period.

But I sympathize. It's a real tightrope kind of thing.
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I dont lie to my mum in that way Losing. If Mum asks about visiting her Mum I say well she's on holiday or gone shopping or whatever place she could possibly go to. the phase of the request is short and Mum doesn't remember I told her that before so it is fine. I have gotten caught out once or twice when Mum switched between out of synch and lucid mid sentence as it were but hey I then say sorry I meant my daughter has gone ....... As for the babies in the next room. You can always say I have just checked on them ..... they are sleeping clean and dry so perhaps bewst not to wake them ...now tell me about what you want to do tomorrow or..... I recorded a fabulous programme on whales or whatever interests her shall we watch it together its not often we get tome to do that is it? - a change of subject often works
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There are many resources on the internet about "therapeutic whute lies" and use with someone with dementia. First and foremost those with disease have lost their ability to reason just about everything. I suggest that you google the term and this website is a great place to start. See this link.
https://www.agingcare.com/articles/validation-therapy-for-dementia-166707.htm
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I feel like moms whole history of memories is no longer on a time line. It's just all right there at the same time. I don't lie very well. How do I lie to her & tell her 'yes, there are two babies that you aren't caring for in the other room. Yes you can call your dead brother. Yes your mother does need you to help. 'In face to face conversations, she Completly understands that her brain is mixed up. It's dumb but I wouldn't want her to think I lied to her although she doesn't have a short termemory at all so she doesn't even remember talking, much less what was said. I hate it that she's so alert & mixed up at the same time. But the clear times are getting shorter. I do know I'm lucky that she's do kind & thankful & I can talk to her patiently & usually get her to calm down when she's upset. We are getting us a board to write the things down that confuse her the most. See how that works out.
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I lie all the time to mum she is just not linking up the dots and even when she does not always in the same way - I keep an old phoito album to hand and draw her towards this - usually does the trick. As for the brain - I swear God is a computer wizard and sometimes gets its wrong when he defrags our brains to make more room. I swear mine has been defragged recently I havent a clue where I put a CD I desperately want for my mum.
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When my aunt died she was in a Nuring Home at the age of 81 and she kept saying that she had to go take care of her sister because her house burnt down and her sister needed her. (Her sister is my Mom) Thing is My Mother's house never burnt down but HER house did more than 30 YEARS ago!! She died thinking that my cousin (her son) was her husband, than she believed that he was her Father and than right before she died she said that he looked familiar but did not know who he was. This is the end product of a dying brain that is misfiring. The saying that my whole life flashes thru your mind right before you die might be true. Now brain sergeants know that they can touch a spot in the brain and your whole life flashes before you like a movie within a very short period of time . I wonder if this was know in biblical times and that is what the bible means when they talk about your final judgment and works before God. No one really understands the brain. I believe that it is still God's territory.
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Unconditional love you can provide, she is remembering a time or two that her mother needed her. Accommodate the memory of the way she has been there for Grandma. Take some of the old photos from the days that's she was feeling well and make a post card saying thank you baby girl (what ever her mother called her)
For taking care of me, or being there for me, I am at peace of mind and body..... Etc. Send your mommy a few short lines to put her heart at peace, so she can. Feel free of any heavy burdens about her mother. We don't know what is really troubling her, so make sure you write that her mommy loves her and always will.
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