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She gets angry and then cries and cries as if they died yesterday. They both passed away many years ago. She's so shocked that no one told her that they are gone; but of course she knew years ago. Also, she starts packing her clothes to get ready to go back 'home' , which is South America! She's been in this country for 49 years, yet she insists she only stays here to visit for a few months then has to leave. My poor dad has to hide suitcases and carry on luggage to keep her from packing but she does it anyways by using plastic bags! How can i convince that she is home and her family is here?

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IRENE:

Her perception is her reality, and the only thing I can suggest is to play along and act "as if." As dementia progresses, sometimes memory loss for recent events is severe and the person may appear to be living in the past. In your Mom's case, there's a sense of safety and stability in those vivid, palpable memories when everything else around her is one big, scary jumble. When you're running from yourself there's no place to hide; except, perhaps, in your own head (where you can refine memories etched in your subconscious into a sort of truth that allows you to live with yourself and endure everything else you have no control over).

So play along ... even when it hurts. Good luck.

-- ED
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go with their world- i agree-

u do have to watch and check up on the meds though-
my experience with meds is that the doctors we have, seem to love to medicate!!
too much...over doing it- i wanted my mom not to be so depressed, not so anxious,nervous, and the dr went crazy with antipsychotics- and other
heavy drugs, that when i checked them out, most say- not recommended for elderly with dementia or not approved-- i felt they just wanted to sedate her,
i wanted to interact and keep her mind( the parts that are able) active-
instead , the bit of memory she does still have, isnt being used-
she just lays in bed and mumbles to herself- i hate this disease-
i am so bitter- and most likely you are not going to run into this- but..
just had to add my 2 cents- it doesnt hurt to ask what the meds are- for what? and side effects, and dosage, and how long she wouldneed it-
anyway, huggggs are always given to u-
k
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One of my concerns with my mom was that along with her thinking she was younger, she thought she could do the physical things she could do when she was younger. I worried about her having a heart attack because her heart was weak and she was being so active during these spells. She had been hallucinating and then the doc put her on some meds and that stopped. That was a good thing. The only down side was she was a bit sedated. Unfortunately there are no perfect answers sometimes.
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At different times I am different people. If Ruth thinks I am her dead brother Benny, than that is who I am. She calls me Mary. I respond with Yes Ma'm. I did notice when she was more depressed than usual, more aggitated, that is when she wanted her mom and dad to come pick her up. I would just tell her they got a late start and would be here tomorrow. As Linda says, little fiblets. sometime within just a few minutes she was off on to something else.
As far as the packing, can she get out of the house?? If not, then let her pack. But you may also consider an appt with her DR. to explain changes in her anxiety and depression. That is very commom, and there are meds that help them to calm down, not overmedicate them...I wish you well and as was said, about thier reality, I just go to her world, she no longer lives in mine. Hugs to you.
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lie alot only makes them happy and we feel quilty
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that is a great idea-
but i know with my mom, too much info only made it more difficult to follow-
i guess it depends what stage she is in. i found, the simpler the explanation, the easier it was to compute- and body language!!eye contact, quiet voice...
good luck- u r doing fine-
love
k
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PR, As others have mentioned, the truth will just hurt her, then she'll forget, then the truth will hurt her again. Your idea of writing a letter from her Aunt is great. You might want to mimic the handwriting (if you have a sample) or she may have more questions. Could you include in the letter, that their phone isn't working? She could then write letters or ask you to write letters to them etc. Then you could write her Aunt's (or whoever) reply. You could also try to distract her with the things she loves whenever she starts. Her own forgetfulness can help you to help her feel better. It could help you feel better too. Hugs :) Care
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This may sound dumb, but is it possible to tell her she is in South America, that you all are? When my father in law had dementia, he thought it was Christmas, in April, and we were going to put up a tree and wrap things up around the house, as if they were gifts. He suddenly got worse just then, so we didn't do it.
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Thank you all for your input, concerns, and well wishes.Globaloke, do you have the must read book you mentioned?
Currently, I'm constructing a letter to my mom from her 'aunt' telling her that she and her grandmother will be visiting her soon. I sure hope this helps to calm her down and maybe keep her occupied in prepping the house for 'their visit'. I feel rather guilty on deceiving her but, I'll have to look at it as a 'fiblet .
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I know these events must break your heart each time they happen. Perhaps a picture album with postcards and photographs with family discussions of each individual's picture will help. I also found old magazines at Goodwill stores and used books stores. I always felt guilty when I thought I was deceiving my grandmother, but then I felt better after I realized how happy she became when she talked about "old times" and events. I learned so much from her while listening and started asking for stories that I now treasure. Your are being loving instead of manipulative, but I respect your concern about wanting to be honest. I started finding music and television shows that made my grandmother feel more secure. ( She loved Lawrence Welk.) Reality is an odd thing ,and I have stopped trying to understand it with elderly people and my students who have emotional issues. I think the bottom line is simply love. Write to us whenever things become overwhelming. This site has been my lifeline. Take care. Rebecca
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When Pops lost touch with reality (government men in black suits were coming into his room at midnight to warn Pops about the impending end of our world), my husband and I just listened and nodded. Every now and then, we gave Pops a "Huh" or "You don't say?". It was enough to let Pops know we were listening to him, but we stopped short of validating. Pops would eventually wind down and move on to another topic.
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My mom passed several years ago and she too had dementia/early Alzheimer......there is a book you truly need to read, when I did, I thought someone was in my life and had written solely for us, it was a carbon copy of what I was experiencing with her..........but the book explained what and how the disease they suffer operates in their head: its like making mash potatoes......you know you have to have potatoes, you know they have to be peeled, then sliced, then diced, then smashed. Take out the peeling and the smashing........and how would you do it? That is what this disease does to their brain, it removes bits and pieces of life and memory and they are left with trying to sort it all out, which is very confusing for them. Just stay positive in whatever they say! As long as they do not hurt themselves or someone else the alternative of trying to sort it out for them, correct them or convince them will only bring more stress to both of you! Right now they need so much love and support and as much as it hurts to see them like that, they need us more than ever. Just be careful with car rides/stores etc......trip.......removing them out of an element into another can sometimes trigger stress and you don't even realize it. Each person is different so you have to find their comfort zone. Alternations of daily routines and changes is not received very well in dementia and Alzheimer patients. Most often it might be best to let your Dad, the one that is easier to make changes leave the house and do something he likes while doing something with her at home. You will find that comfort zone, but keep your stress down and ALWAYS take MAKE time for yourself. You are no good to anyone when you are at your wits end, I know, I had three elderly (my parents and a mother in law) all at the same time, under the same roof for 4 years, all requiring aid in some ways - some more than others!! Prayers and sanity be with you!!!!
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Irene, that's why someone I know came up with the word "fiblets". It is not a lie to hurt her. It is a lie to help her. I have been told by an RN that stress can cause strokes. Making it easier on your mom is the kind thing to do. I felt the same way about lying to my mom but I just told myself it was the best thing to do and the doctor said it was okay.
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Thank you for the hugs and your thoughts. It has become very difficult lately to deal with my mom's perception lately. And, your right k, maybe I'm just trying to make it easier for myself and especially, for my dad. Perhaps the answer is to just go with her 'reality' and lie to her. Oh, how I hate to do that. But, that is the world she lives in now. Maybe I'll write a letter to her as if her aunt were writing to her and advise her to stay home for now. You are very wise k, thanks :)
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hi- why ?why even try?
for what reason?will it help her?will it help u?
dealing with this disease, i have found I needed to change how I saw things and how I respond.
there will be many battles , what difference does it make if she believes they are alive?
if it helps her cope- what is the harm..
that it isnt the truth? whos truth?
her perception is her reality now, and that may not be the same as yours.
she needs to be respected- her feelings respected- she is losing control of so much-
she is frightened and frustrated-
maybe this helps her-
with my mom, i found logic and reality can be different at different stages-
it might be a way to protect or calm herself-
i dont think u can convince her no matter what u do-
but i also dont see why it is necessary-
is it for her or for u?
i send u huggs , lot of them-
this is a difficult and life changing time-
k
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Thank you both Miz and Ihardebeck. Man, Miz, you are right on about the age thing! She does think she is much younger than her years. She looks at me and thinks I'm a teenager (I'm 52). That's a great idea about telling her it's the wrong time of year to go or that her aunt and grandma went traveling somewhere. I did have an idea of scanning an old pictures of both ladies and frame it with their birth and death dates....hmmm, wondering if that's a good idea??
Ihardebeck, you gave me a great idea for this weekend! I'm going to take my mom down the coast (I live close to Half Moon Bay) and visit nurseries (she loves plants), while listening to some of her favorite music. This will give my dad an additional break (she does go to adult day care 3 times/wk).
Thank you both for your input and much luck dealing with your own situations.
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miz is right . when my dad flips out and freaks out , i take him out for a joyride , go to drive up window and order favorite ice cream or anything . while we re drivin around id put in his fav music , pasty cline or dom williams , oh he has purtty voice , i get tired of listing to it but good ole dad he just smiles and enjoys the ride ,
go stop by one of ur friend s house and tell a fib that aunt s not home or something like that , you do have to play along , theyre dreamin and theyre in the dream and can not shake and get out of it . only way to pop that dream is go do something about it .
hope it works out ,
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Irene, You really can't convince her. What she thinks is so REAL to her. It's the dementia. She might think she is younger than she really is. Maybe she is kinda back in time. My mom had a spell where she insisted this was not her house and that Dad was waiting for us in Phoenix (he has passed) and that her brother and sister-in-law were still alive. She wanted to leave before we got in trouble for being in this strange house. I didn't handle it well at all. The kind thing to do is tell fiblets. If you can, just let her think that they are still alive and if she says she wants to go see them, tell her something like, it's too late today to go see them but maybe tomorrow. And when she wants to go back to South America. Say it's the wrong time of year to go there now. Stuff like that. Why put her through the grief again and again of finding out that her aunt and grandma are dead. I know this is all very difficult to take and I am probably not saying all of this in the best way and maybe others can help me out here but there are ways to handle these things. Mom's doctor told me it was okay to lie to her. The stress that your mom goes through when she is told that what she thinks is true is not is not good for her. My heart goes out to you, Irene. It's so hard to deal with all of this.

miz
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