My Mom thinks I am her friend which is fine but she (sees) me as a toddler. What can I do to ease this? - AgingCare.com

My Mom thinks I am her friend which is fine but she (sees) me as a toddler. What can I do to ease this?

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She sees me in her head running around as a toddler and gets real anxious because she is in a wheel chair and cannot catch me. I have tried to explain I am a grown up but we all know she is back in time now and there is no changing her mind. I thought about buying her a baby doll but she said she is not a baby!! Not sure how to handle this one because the Nursing home has called me a few times now for me to try and talk to her to settle her down but it is not working and buy the time I leave work and get there she is so...........worked up she is soaked with sweat and has just wore herself out! Any suggestions?

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I told mom I cleaned her apartment for her (she's in rehab right now), and she was quite consternated that I had been "plundering in her drawers" to see what I can take with me. I remember her fussing at me about that when I was about 5. I'm 42 this minute. Not 5. And believe me, there is NOTHING in her drawers but old worn out "drawers" that I couldn't give to the ragpicker. :-)
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Maybe a picture of you as a younger child, at school or somewhere else safe would be a reassurance to her.
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Nursing homes vary in their ability to deal with dementia patients. If the one your mom is in doesn't have staff who are trained in this area, try to work with the patient advocate to get them some; otherwise, it's going to be a very bumpy road. THEY should be giving you advice, not the other way around.
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I find with my mom & her dementia, that explaining anything is pretty pointless - she's too confused and hard of hearing.

And by the way, the care center your mom is at should NOT expect you to come fix situations. Remind them you're not trained and that's what they are there to do. I had a preschool do this to me when my son was about 4 because the teachers just wanted to work to a scripted list of activities all day long, like this was shift-work, and not have to actually deal with the children. We didn't stay there. You may need to speak to the patient advocate or someone in administration versus going head to head with the staff. If the facility is under-staffed, that's a red flag. Under-trained people are another red flag.

Bring her activities or items that she might find calming or comforting. Bring a doll to a visit and just see how it goes with no expectation, as if it's just a conversation starter. "hey look what I found!" "what do you think?" "did you play with dolls like this?" "How did you play with them, did you rock your baby?" See if you can get her talking about long ago when she had a real baby or talking about playing with dolls herself.

If that bombs, it's not you, you didn't fail anything. Pick something else for the next visit like a stuffed animal if your mom liked pets, or a mylar balloon from the dollar store.

Trying counts more than "winning" at these things. And once you get something figured out the situation will change, guaranteed.
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My cousin (and, his wife) finally got his mother a doll (she had ALZ) which calmed her down...
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I'm so sorry you're going though this. Is there a geriatric psychiatrist who consults at this facility? They can do wonders with some antidepressant medication that eases anxiety. See what they say.
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The nursing home staff should realize that trying to reason with someone with dementia is impossible and only agitates the person more. I don't think they should be calling you when your mom becomes agitated. Didn't you admit your mom to the NH because they're professionals who can take better care of her than you?

Anyway....

The baby doll idea was good and you might want to put it on the back burner for now. It may work in the future.

Trying to convince your mom that you're all grown up isn't going to help her. She doesn't live in your world anymore. In her world, she's a hectic mom trying to keep up with a toddler, living the worst nightmare of a mother-- losing her baby. She's going to be upset and agitated and scared and inconsolable. There's little that you can do about that. Trying to convince her that you're fine, that you're all grown up, isn't going to be effective.

It sounds like your mom has sundowner's. Because there is no reasoning with someone with dementia and we don't want to see our loved ones with dementia become upset when we can't help them I would talk to the NH and see about getting some medication for your mom. I would suggest that it not be PRN ("as needed") because the staff is not liable to give it to her until your mom is already upset. The goal is to keep your mom from becoming upset in the first place.

This must be very hard for you, seeing your mom like that. I'm sorry you have to go through it.
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Get her a baby doll. Girls of all ages love dolls.
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