What can I do when my mother-in-law gets stressed out the night before knowing she has to go to daycare? - AgingCare.com

What can I do when my mother-in-law gets stressed out the night before knowing she has to go to daycare?

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MIL with Alz. dementia. Once we remind her she is going to daycare she can spend over an hour picking out an outfit and changing her mind. During the middle of the night I hear her clothes hangers on the doorknob meaning she is checking and rechecking what she is going to wear. In the morning she can change her mind about what she is going to wear and does. All this behavior is so stressful for me too in trying to be patient. Help!

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Suzanne, this issue was the only one I got wrong when I was doing an exam about dementia care so it's engraved on my memory!

You don't remind her. You follow her usual bedtime routine, then assist her to dress in the morning, and then when it's time to set off you cheerfully explain that today is one of her days for seeing her friends.

Earlier on, when she was less affected by dementia, it was correct to involve her in day-to-day planning and preparation because that supported her autonomy. But this principle no longer applies because she's no longer able to plan or prepare without experiencing disproportionate, counterproductive anxiety - move on to supporting and encouraging continued activity.
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If she's getting up in the middle of the night then she's not going to be well rested to enjoy the outing

While she could still manage the trip, my niece and I would take mom to Tahoe for her bday every year - the last couple of years it was nearly impossible to get to the airport on time as she would just sit on her bed and count her money repeatedly, put it in hiding places in her purse and wallet, and then take it out and start all over again - packing her suitcase was another nightmare - she'd pull everything out that I had packed for her

Your mother can't help that her mind is now not working properly so there's probably no need to tell her the night before - dementia is a long tiring journey for everyone
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My mother didn't have dementia but she was always very anxious about what she would wear for an outing. We found it easier to not mention the trip until the last minute. Also you can try limiting her clothes to complete outfits that she enjoys wearing to daycare. Assure her she looks beautiful.
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Picking out an outfit to wear is about as good a way as any to spend an hour when you have dementia, isn't it? What are the indications that she is stressed about this?
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Do not remind the night before. But be grateful she still cares.
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