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My 86-year-old mother has dementia but doesn't think she has a problem. She can eat and within 5 minutes be looking for something in the refrigerator. Also, during the day she is alone and does not want a companion to come in to keep her company as it has been suggested. Also, when I get home, I discover that she has taken food out of the freezer for supper without realizing that there is food in the fridge. Leaving notes does not work as I don't think she understands what she reads. Needless to say, there is no conversation between the two of us as she has no interests.

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Pstiegman has voiced the pain of many adult children. Sometimes you have no choice but to wait for the "incident" that will hospitalize your elder or put him or her in a nursing home. Occasionally, Social Services can help if a person lives alone and is in danger, but this depends a lot on where you live. Often, they can't do much, either.

Sometimes you can gain guardianship over the elder, but that is a long legal battle that can be expensive and emotionally exhausting for everyone. Unless the elder is diagnosed with an advanced stage of dementia, this move is unlikely to work.

Waiting for an elder to have an incident that can convince him or her that help is needed is agony for the family, but please don't feel guilty. Do what you can. Sometimes, that isn't enough to keep them safe but it's all you can do.

I had two similar situations - yes, I do feel your pain. We were fortunate in that the incidences were not horrible - just bad enough to make the move.
My best to both of you.
Carol
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I feel your pain, too. We are given so much responsibility, but so little power to make them do anything. My mother has become a fall risk, but refuses to use a walker or cane in the house. She won't exercise to build her strength during cold weather. I can suggest and recommend, but all it does is make her see me as her enemy. It seems we caregivers get cast in the role of enemy a lot when we are just trying to be thoughtful. I wish our loved ones wouldn't have to reach a crisis point to realize that we weren't being the bad guys.
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I feel your pain. My MIL is 86 and I refuse to eat at her house because she hoards leftovers until they are rotten and then offers them to visitors. We found bugs crawling in pasta and dried beans. She was going to hire a companion and HA! She really wanted a chauffeur /housekeeper that was going to cost her $20 per hour with a minimum of 4 hours. We have also found notes to be useless and reminders are forgotten immediately after they are spoken. As far as conversation, her mouth never stops, it is a river of disconnected thoughts and faulty memoirs. There are more and more friends and relatives who simply stay away, simply do not call. She refuses to move to assisted living. We are in the agony of waiting for the "incident" where she lands in the hospital and the MD's order a nursing home.
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This sounds so much like my mom. She is in mid stage Alzheimer's, refuses to leave her home, refuses anyone to live with her and her days consist of little tv, looking out her window or staring at the floor and crying with no radio or tv or background noise. Anyone would go nuts doing nothing all day. She has no interests whatsoever except her soap operas and never had any interests when she was younger so trying to engage her in anything now is pointless. Her interests were my father and me (I'm an only child) and since my father died 26 years ago, she centered all her focus on me to the point where she insisted on doing everything I did, buying everything I bought and going everywhere I went. I have felt smothered all my life and now that she needs me the most, I feel like running away. Thankfully I have an excellent caregiver who does a lot with her, but it's going to take a broken hip or another incident to get her out of her home. So I wait and wait.

Patience is hard because of her constant repeating and she never remembers her medication even though they are in a pill dispenser. If she can't remember what day it is, how can she remember to take it? And she can't leave notes for herself because she won't remember to write them!

It's a tough life we all share and coming here is such a comfort. We are all doing the best we can and my guilt is beginning to lessen. God bless all of us, our job is never easy
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I have found that sometimes, no matter how difficult it is, you must just "bite the bullet" and move your loved one to an Assisted Living Facility. It was so difficult for us to do this to my mother. She was biligerent about the entire ordeal and refused to admit she had any issues. We involved her in picking out which furniture she would like to take, which artwork, etc, right down to the linens. The day we moved her she claimed she did not remember doing any of that or making any of those decisions.
It was just to dangerous to leave her alone any longer and she kept firing any help we hired to come in and help her. I wish you the best with your elder and your caregiving experience. I know that I could not keep up with the worries and the care any longer - to the detrement of my own health. We no longer had any choice. Best wishes and hugs to you.
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This is such a helpful forum! Above all else, may I say thank you to everyone who has taken the time to write here. Knowing there are others who are muddling through taking care of a parent with dementia does help tremendously, even if just having a place to vent, and know someone feels empathy.

Mom is 80, diagnosed with Dementia, lives alone, is deep in denial, refuses my help, and has become totally unreasonable and combative. When her doctor told her not to drive anymore she told the doctor where to stick it. I get yelled at and snapped at a lot.

In the past 12 months it has progressed rapidly, and she keeps accusing me of taking her life away from her, trying to control her, and wanting to have her committed. I am her only caregiver, my sister lives too far away (but is considering moving closer to help Thank God).

I do know that a dementia patient has no control over their thoughts. They cannot understand their confusion and it is scary as hell. I know that as my precious mother suffers this awful disease, I must go through it with her. I accept that, and I have a huge support system to help me, between her doctors and mine too, seeing my therapist, reading and online help such as this website, I thing I will manage to get through it as I wait for that awful shoe to drop, so that I can get her the help she needs to live her life and not take mine in the process.

Remember you need a few things to take care of you: Eat well, laugh, pray, read about it, and open up...speak to others for feedback.

Good luck in your journey, it is a rough road for sure.
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Awww hugs to you! We went through the denial from my mother in law who has Alzheimers. I agree with Carol, sometimes it takes a crisis to be able to make things happen. My mother in law years ago refused to stop driving. Even she had her liscense revoked from state of PA after a failed driving test requested by her doctor and continued to drive until we put a club on her car. We have found it is essential to have had 2 neuropsycology consultations by an expert in dementia. One in 2005, and one in 2011 while in patient in hospital. The last stated she was incompetent to engage in independant decision making regarding caring for herself. The hospital would not release her to her home alone. This helped us tremendously to take action and hire a live in care giver (we live 3 hours away) to make sure she was safe at home. She had been burning pots, unable to properly clean herself after incontinence, or take her medications. After being tested, it made us aware how bad my motherinlaws dementia was. Again, it empowered our decision making knowing we wre doing the right things! My mother in law has had a live in care giver for 3 years, and still insists she lives alone!
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Frequent Flyer, I always sense a red flag going up when I hear the phrase "sharp as a tack!" That phrase delayed me making decisions that needed made for my Mom and added to my guilt and distress quite a bit when I already had plenty of both. If hearing and/or vision are poor, those can be remedied to some degree if the person is willing to use a little technology (page magnifier - hearing aid) though even that can be a battle, and/or everyone else knows of the problem and helps compensate for them. But think a minute - if you or I had enough trouble making out what was being said or what was on a form, we'd insist on understanding it before signing if we judged it important. "Hang on I need my reading glasses to see what this says" isn't so hard...and one rainy day when I did not have my hearing aids in, there was a fellow whose soft spoken, African-accented speech threw me for a loop even in a quiet environment. I ended up having him spell it for me, and bonking myself on the forehead, though he realized I was not stupid just HOH.

Just be aware that people may lose judgement and higher level thinking and problem solving skills - and therefore need a little help- though they are oriented and recognize people OK. And if they can be helped in tactful, creative ways without having to realize that those skills have slipped, so much the better...especially given that they may not be able to grasp that those skills have slipped, simply because they have!
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And, f.f. epsecially, but all of you who are trying so hard to help those who seem to specialize in being hard to help, every now and then pat yourself on the back and remind yourself how lucky your loved one is to have you in their life, fending off scammers and tossing spoiled food in the trash on the sly when you can.

BTW, soap opera can be very interesting, and its slow paced enough that someone who has time to watch can update someone who doesn't in a minute or two. It's been decades since I followed any of them seriously (anyone remember All My Children?) but I understand nothing has changed. :-)
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Yes, it is so hard sometimes too see a parent decline and wonder why. Why so many have it now or was it always around and we didn't see it. I don't remember ever seeing it growing up. I have such a hard time dealing with my mother. She has 2nd stage dementia, getting hard of hearing, repeats, her balance isn't well because of hip surgery 2 yrs ago and arthritis in her back. She needs another surgery on her hip, but won't go through it again she says. She is 90 yo. I get so stressed, depressed, headaches, heart beating fast. Her hair is so dirty today that it makes me sick. Shower every Friday, but it's not enough. I'm looking for a job and if I get one I will definitely put her somewhere. I want my life and home back. I get 4 hours every week to go out and see friends, which isn't long enough. I can leave her for an hour or so because she won't get out of her chair while I'm gone, I think.
Bless you all.
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