My mother has been diagnosed with mild to moderate cognitive impairment ~ she is 78 years old and has been living with my husband and I for the past 7 months. She has a room off of our kitchen that is up 7 steps. Her room holds her bed, tv, sitting area, dressers, a desk and full bathroom. We have a small fridge in her room that holds yogurt, cottage cheese, fresh fruits, seltzer waters.
I prepare her main meals and at first she was coming down to eat dinner with us and I was bring up breakfast and/ or lunch for her.
Over the past few months she has stopped coming downstairs at all unless we are leaving the house for a doctors, hair appointment or visit with the grandchildren. When she does come down, it's with the full drama of moans and groans ~ she has a sore back and hip and she does suffer from COPD which she takes medication for.
She has become accustomed to being waited on for each meal. I have explained she needs to "move and get some sort of exercise" and it would help me a great deal if she would bring down her garbage and dirty dishes every day. She refuses.
We just had a doctors appointment and her doctor noticed she has gained some weight (13 pounds) in the past 12 months and has told her the same thing I have been saying ~ he also added that she is fast tracking her way to a nursing home with the lack of activity.
I want to make sure that I am doing the right thing for her and am considering preparing her meals and leaving them in the kitchen for her to come and get ~ this would have her coming down and up the stairs. I have tried this once and she slammed the door in my face ~ and she sent the dirty dishes she had down the stairs....
We also tried bringing her meals but not removing the dirty dishes and garbage from her room ~ this lasted 11 days before I couldn't take the mess up there and my husband felt the newspapers in her room were becoming a fire hazard. I just reverted back to bringing her all her meals, removing her dirty dishes and bringing down the garbage.
I know that I am dealing with someone with dementia so I don't want to make assumptions that she completely understands what she needs to do. I will say that she knows how to make her coffee in the morning and work the small microwave she has in her room ~ she also reads the paper and does her crossword puzzles. She has told me many times she just loves being waited on.
Suggestions please ~ my frustration levels are through the roof and my migranes are becoming much more frequent. I feel like I am dealing with a toddler.....
I would love input from anyone that has/is dealing with this type of issue and how to best handle.
Thanks very much.
I might consider that with the cognitive decline, comes the LOSS OF INITIATIVE. It's not really laziness. It's brain damage. She may be good on some things and not good at others. I had to digest this when my LO insisted on lying in bed in soiled diapers, rather than going to the toilet. It made no sense to me at the time, but less than a year later she had severe dementia. Healthcare workers had labeled her lazy and spoiled.
She may need exercise, but, if she's resisting.....I'd try to figure out, how much benefit are you going to get by stressing over this? I'd just try to purchase healthy foods and keep smaller servings.
If you really want to increase her activity, you could say the fridge is broken and keep her things in your fridge, which means she has to come down to get them. I just wouldn't invest a lot of time in trying to get a person with cognitive decline to do chores or things around the house. I'd just treat it as a disability. If she will go to a senior day center, it might make her feel better.
Believe me, I love him. If he was not so stubborn about giving up his independence and he also wants to save money for my future, then he would get some help from an in-home health agency. I feel like I'm neglecting him because of my disability.
Confused as to what other clothes to wear.
Confused as to where his clothes are.
Confused as to what to do with the clothes he has been wearing.
My husband would take off soiled clothes, fold them and place them by his chair so he would know where they were. Once he went to bed I would take the soiled ones and wash them and fold clean clothes and place them right were he left the soiled ones.
As for the shower he could be afraid he is going to fall. He may be cold, he may not know how to adjust the water. He may also not know what to do once he is in the shower. There are a lot of things to remember to do, turn the water on, wet the wash rag, soap it up, wash, wash hair, rinse, dry, get dressed. And if you toss in brushing teeth and shaving that is even more to remember.
It is not being lazy.
It must be exhausting to not know what to do!!!
Now, I am dealing the same thing with my dad who is 90 years old. He has dementia and is extremely stubborn. He is losing weight and doesn't take showers even if I hired an aide to come in. He's too lazy to change clothes daily.
What makes harder for me is that I disabled with cerebral palsy since birth. I can't walk and can't use my hands. I remind Dad to take his pills, eat or drink Boost every day, and set his appointment, etc. I beg him to clean up the mess after himself and he doesn't do it because of his backaches and dizziness. I feel guilty that my own assistants have to do the cleanup sometimes. Dad's bedroom is a mess with dirty underwear and Kleenex. No one cleans his bedroom yet because he doesn't want anyone else to see the mess.
So, it's NOT easy and it's very frustrating for all of us taking care of our parents who became children again and some others are being "rebellious." 😩😰😰😢😢😢
If you think it is frustrating now..and you have migraines now just wait.....
This is not going to get better.
Her attitude will not get better.
Your frustration as well as hers will grow.
If you do not think you can do this it will be easier to place her in Assisted Living facility now that it will be in 6 months, 12 month or longer.
She will not be able to do stairs for long so if you plan on keeping her at home you will have to either adapt a room on the first floor or resign yourself to the fact that shortly she will not be able to leave the house without the assistance from a medical transport.
If there is a bathroom near her room that will have to be made accessible, open shower, raised toilet and large enough so that a wheelchair can be used safely.
While neither of you probably want placement in Assisted Living then eventually Memory Care (and she may be past the point of Assisted Living now) this would be easier now rather than later if you do not think you can handle this for the next 4,5,8 years or how ever long she has. As I said this will not get easier.
Try going up stairs, saying to Mom..."dinner is on the table, let's get you up and down stairs" and proceed to help her do it. Don't ask.
This got me an argument the first couple times, but I knew it was dementia...so, I just ignored what she said and continued along as if she had said nothing. And it worked!
See that helps you
All the same, mind you, many ladies do appreciate attention and support from younger gentlemen - I know my mother was always more apt to do as my exSO told her than if I tried it. Humph! But of course it does mean asking your husband to step up a bit above and beyond the call of duty... Any chance?
Either way, do give her plenty of time, and do be patient. She's not faking how creaky she must feel :(
Of course, I'm sure she knows that. And unfortunately it won't make moving around any less uncomfortable for her right now. What a depressing situation she is in; and how stressful for you.
Well, she's your husband's mother. Let him be the bad cop. Meals get taken where the family eats, and - assuming you do the cooking and the clearing away? - he goes to get her. He'll need to allow plenty of time at first for arguing and "I'm not hungry anyway" (and for the fact that she will need to take her time), but if he's sweet but firm with her it should work and it will do her good.
If your husband's not around for breakfast or lunchtimes, then just prepare a tray, take it up and fetch it - it's actually easier to work it into your schedule if you're expecting to do it anyway. But I don't see why you should be set up for twice or thrice daily confrontation with your MIL.