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This has become her daily routine. She has no concept of time and thinks the food has been in the fridge for 10 days when in reality not even 48 hours. There is no talking to her and she also doesn't wash her hands anymore. Notes don't help. Pleading with her is a waste of time. I am at my wits end. On a positive note I did take the car away and we have an appointment with the neurologist on Thursday. Hope we can get her there as she refuses to get any medical help and will not take any meds. Dad is in denial and believes she will get better no matter how much I tell him it's only going to get worse. It breaks my heart. She is killing both of us...

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Elizabeth, thanks for the update.

Sometimes the most poignant displays of love occur when one or the other spouse becomes ill or grows old. Young love is so different from old love, the latter often being so much more tender, selfless and compassionate.
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We got mom to the neurologist aith a lot of kicking and screaming and biting. Thank God for this doctor. We took her for testing at thr hospital. She became a flight risk and they put her in a red gown she refused to wear and she smiled for the camera. The doctors believe she has frontal lobe dementia which effects their behavior. She is on medication that dad and i put in her food. Life is good as long as she takes the meds and pure hell if she doesnt. We have changed the locks so she cant leave without one of us. She is walking us to death as we take turns walking with her. My poor amazing dad. He loves her so much. It breaks my heart to watch him kill himself for my mom. Thanks for all your responses. We solved the food issue...we don't have anything in the refridgerator except what she eats.
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Elizabeth,
I hope the neuro can offer some suggestions - will dad be joining you for this appointment ? How is his health ?

Your mom's behavior is not unusual and I'm afraid will not get better - it may be time to bring in xtra help

I let mom stay alone while I worked long hours only to end up in a crises - it was a long 8 years and the past year has not been much better now that she's in a care facility

Dementia is tough on everyone

Let us know what the doctor says
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Three words: Locking Food Containers
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JoAnn, a lot of older women get that in their mind. If it is in the refrigerator, it keeps for years. And if it is in the freezer, it keeps forever. Then, of course, if it gets covered with mold, we're told we can just scrape it off. It's still good. Yuck.
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My MIL was 92 when she passed. I don't think she had Dementia just age related. Her problem was not throwing things out and buying what she already had. We visited at Thanksgiving. She had the drawer in her fridge stuffed with bread. Some bagels from the TG before. I thru them all away because they were past the date. She got it in her head that bread stayed forever if refrigerated.
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Thank you JesseBelle.
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Thanks Amy. My mom does sll thr things you mentioned and more. Dont know how we will hanlde this for 2 years. I spoke with my dad and he knows she wont be getting better. I told him to enjoy the good days and cherish every minute.

Thanks to everyone for your input. I feel better knowing we are not alone in this hell. Will post after we see the neurologist on Thursday.
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Elizabeth, I can sympathize because my mother went through the same "stage" for a couple of years. She threw her underwear away, hid things in drawers, took down holiday decorations and put them in a corner of the closet saying the holiday was over, took new clothes off the hanger and threw them in a corner, microwaved tv dinners and threw them away. Yet, she would put food from the facility restaurant in her purse, sometimes leaving it there for days (shrimp was a big bad one) or put food in the fridge for months if we didn't clean it out. She was in independent living so there was no way to control her. The doctor prescribed alzheimers medicine. We marked it for each day and it had a special dispenser. In four days, they were all gone. She said she had taken them all and the dispenser was nowhere to be seen. We never knew if she had taken all 10 pills in 4 days or if she threw them all away. She didn't know why she did the things she did - it was just from boredom and something to do mindlessly. She was like a caged animal pacing back and forth.
It sounds like your father is still alive but in denial. If you can get help for your Mom, maybe you can bring him with you and he will listen to the doctor. Either he learns to monitor her, or she will need someone to do it.
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Elizabeth, I know just what you are going through. Some of us have been blessed with more difficult parents than others. My mother also has no concept of time. Fortunately, she doesn't throw things out. She does place her opinion on if things are still usable or not, and there is no way to change her opinion because she is always right in her own mind. You have to work around it. What GardenArtist wrote about small cans and packages is excellent advice. At least that way she won't be throwing out as much. Buying less at the grocery store and going more often may help, too, if that is possible. That will control the amount that is in the house to be tossed.

It's not easy to deal with the things that they get in their heads. What they think and imagine can become absolute fact to them. If you try to change their mind, you are wrong. I've lived with this reality for 7 years now and don't even try to reason anymore. I just work around things the best way I can.
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Thanks for all your responses. My mom throws everything away. Fridge, freezer, new clothes, and she even tears up family photos. I have spent many hours fishing our things from the trash cans outside. I appreciate all the advice and have decided to seek counseling to learn how to communicate with my mom. Now, to find the right doc or person to teach me. I am grateful for all of you and thank you for sharing. God bless. Best regards, Elizabeth
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The food thing is tough. Several folks here (myself included) struggle/struggled with parents who keep food too long. One of the few things that would snap my mom out of blank-stare-&-one-word-answer mode was when I would pour her 3-week-old milk down the sink. Or the time I refused to "negotiate" with her about the plastic-pack baloney with a sell-by date of 5 months ago.
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That's right. I'd also be concerned that she was throwing away other things, like important mail, documents, medication, etc. I would have to ensure that she was always supervised to prevent this from happening.
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Another thought - is it only food that she throws away? Does she clean other areas and throw out mail? If so, I'd accumulate a pile of junk mail and let her go through that.
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Elizabeth, depending on the type of food being thrown out, you could try a few things:

For canned goods, either buy smaller cans or immediately put the remainder after opening a can in a freezer container, mark it and freeze it. (I get the impression she's only going through the refrigerator portion, nor the freezer.)

Buy milk or juices in smaller containers, if possible.

For cooked food, do the same things. If you can minimize the amount of food in the frig, you minimize the loss. So focus on decreasing the amount of food available to be discarded.
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Put dates on the containers and an automatic calendar in the kitchen.
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Elizabeth, regarding the food, I don't think there is anything that can be done with Mom throwing out good food. You have done all you can since I assume that your parents still live on their own, and Mom's kitchen is her domain [meaning Dad better not touch anything in the kitchen].

Bravo on taking away the car, that is great news. Now you will need to find alternate transportation for your parents, or drive them yourself.

My parents were also in denial of their age and abilities, refused caregivers and refused to move from a home with a lot of stairs. I had to wait for a major crises to happen, which is the norm for many of us grown children.
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Thanks Jeannegibbs.
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My heart goes out to you all! I hope you can get her to the appointment!
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