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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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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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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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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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Hello, Dementia comes in many forms, and what I can say from experience as both a daughter of a father that has it, and a caregiver is patience, patience, patience. What I remember is this, "no one asked for these diseases" and they do not know what they are doing regardless. So if you think that you can reason with someone with Dementia, what I would do, is exactly what I do with Alzheimer's, even though they are two separate diseases. Re direct, find something they enjoy, and remember their pace has slowed way down, be it magazines, television programs, or a favorite movie. Dementia is a confusing confusing disease, and Alzheimer's is also, but there are types of Dementia, where they do not lose their cognitive function, they just cannot talk to you about what is going on in their brain. I would use this sight as a place for respite for you, and remember to take care of yourself. We, as caregivers all say that, because we have probably all been guilty of letting our own needs go for the sake of assisting the ones we love. I say that being a paid care giver and a care giver to my mother and father whom are 87 and have Alzhimer's Disease (mother) and father has Demential (Frontal Lobe Aphasia), which means that he knows what he is trying to state, and there is no real memory loss, he will eventually end up mute.

Best to you, and good luck.!!!!!
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I agree with all above, this is a worrying and depressing situation for you, and you can only do your best. The only thing I'd add is: you say "she has no interests" - but what were her interests, during her active adult life? I'm wondering if there is maybe something there you can use to reconnect with her; but also, if the change in her spirits and general level of participation is comparatively sudden, whether there might be depression at work on her, too?

Best wishes, hope something small but important happens soon x
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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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Sometimes I wonder if it is dementia or that the elder person has a hearing problem. Why I say this is because of what I see with my 96 year old Mother.

If someone tries to talk to my Mom, Mom comes across as very confuse.... but she's is sharp as a tack and the problem is with her hearing, not her mind. Thus, any doctor appointment I need to be there to help relay information between Mom and the doctor, and anyone else in the doctor's office.

Also, if Mom needs to fill out a form or sign something, she also comes across as confused because she has a serious macular degeneration eye problem, and has trouble reading or even seeing the line to sign her name.
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As someone in a very similar situation with my parents, I appreciate the comments and support listed above. At least we have this site to help keep things in perspective, when our days are so exhausting.
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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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to LindafromVT getting a "retirement clock" that the hands point to the day instead of the hour is great so that they can keep track of what day it is. I also decorate Mom's room for any holiday so that she can deep track of the seasons.
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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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Deb, but what if they absolutely refuse to go to assisted living like my mom? Just the mention of it brings hysteria. And as you know, we can't force a loved one to go into AI. In my mom's case, she refuses any and all suggestions and us quite biligerant about it. She has Alzheimer's but is still very aware of her surroundings. So I do what I can and with me and the caregiver, we keep her going - until her condition gets worse.
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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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Well, all I can say is that we all have such similar stories that I have to believe we are all on this site by Divine Providence. My 90 year old mother sounds like several of yours, including but not limited to the lack of physical stability, cognitive ability, hearing and..OMG...if I hear "I have to write a note" comment one more time (when, of course, the note is never written and/or written and then misplaced because, God forbid we leave it out on a table and not shoved into a drawer to keep everything neat!!!) I will lose my own mind. Mom can't remember from one hour to the next, the repeating of all things (and, for reasons I simply cannot fathom, it's usually the awful stuff that I, for one, certainly would rather not revisit on a constant basis) and paranoia that is now a new little "gift" in the mix. We all need a group hug for being supportive, helpful and loving children to put ourselves, and in many cases, our spouses or signficant others through this with us. My mother does use a walker and, after 3 falls in less than a month (the woman is like an accordion...I think she simply "folds" downward when she loses her balance and nothing of any significance has occurred) she was convinced by a friend (not her family, of course) to use the walker throughout the apartment. So, like many others here, we wait for the inevitable (hopefully, not too terribly painful for her) accident that will set the AL or NH ball in motion. It is so difficult to see our once vital parents slipping in these ways and, of course, it just adds another level of anxiety to the mix when you think of your own children having to possibly deal with this with us. It's one of the reasons my husband and I go to the gym regularly and try to stay in the best shape possible as we age.....
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NONE of them EVER know they have it...That is the HELL of this disease...it is a silent thief..stealing your memory, your mind and your life...No way can I ever afford a Nursing home..and right now he does not need one...I hope they find a cure...as this disease...sure MAKES YOU HUMBLE and in the bible it does say..you must be as humble as a little Child to enter the kingdom of GOD...so I wonder...knowing my husband like I do...who will never say he is sorry for anything...is this a way to HUMBLE those who will not come to the Lord willingly..those he wants....but just will not submit...I guess it is just me...thinking How much I love the lord and How I hope and pray my love will cover my Husband ....in the eyes of the Lord...My hubby has been to Church..he says he believes...but I have never heard him say he would every repent....or ask forgiveness....I repent everyday...Jesus said he will forgive us up to ...I THINK 470 times a day...I don't ask that many times a day...but At least 3 or 4 times...for SINS...things I did not do that the lord wanted me to do...Things I should have said to bring others to the Lord...For being a SINNER!!
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vstefans, thanks for the feedback, you gave me food for thought and something for me to watch in the future regarding both my parents.... Dad still has good hearing so he's the one that answers their phone and the doorbell, that is if he can get up from his chair :)

As for page magnifiers - hearing aids for Mom, I've tried each and every one I could find for her to try out. Dad usually takes ownership of the page magnifiers for himself because Mom doesn't find them helpful. Because of her eyesight, Mom is trying to teach Dad how to use a checkbook and how to balance it... that was the era they grew up in, the wife usually handled the paycheck.

Mom is even showing Dad how to set the washing machine as the new washer controls are difficult for her to read, I even found the settings too small to read myself. HELLO washing machine manufacturers, us baby boomers are fast approaching, need larger lettering on the controls.
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FF- brain function alert! If page magnifiers aren't helping your mother to read, it could be a brain problem rather than an eyesight problem - it was one of the main presenting symptoms when my mother had minor strokes/vascular dementia diagnosis last year. Hard to describe exactly, but there was a sensory inattention/sensory deficit/visual field problem (all terms used) going on. Could this apply?
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Its okay let her think she is ok, whats wrong with that? She does however need to not be alone any more for sure, she might burn the place down or something.
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Time to start looking for assisted living for her. I'm experiencing the same memory problems with my 91 yr old dad. He forgets he already took his meds & starts looking all over his bedroom for them. I have to keep them locked up in MY bedroom & dole them out to him at the proper time. And the temper tantrums!! He threw his walker at me when I suggested he take his false teeth out while he was in the bathroom at 8:30pm right before his normal bedtime. He watches westerns on tv all day and can't tell me the plot. I can have a better conversation with my 3 yr old great niece. He doesn't greet me when I come in from food shopping. Actually he looks at me like I have a bug on my face. I'm in the process of touring facilities for him. It has to be done. I have not had a vacation in 2 years. It's a thankless, fulltime job.
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I haven't made any comments here lately but I have been reading posts and that helps some but today I just have to vent. As I read the previous posts I feel the pain that all are going through as my Husband and I are going through the same things with my MIL. She believes that she is 'sharp as a tack' still has all of her mental capacity to continue to take care of all the things she used to, such as paying her bills, driving, cooking. My husband is not her only child but he is the only one that has stepped up to take care of her when no one else will. My SIL says she loves her mother but just can't get along with her for more than ten or fifteen minutes at a time, but still questions all the things that are going on with her mother.
We have totally given up any hopes of getting any help with MIL from my SIL and we feel so trapped all the while our health is declining but what else can we do.
One of us has to be here 24/7, oh well I say 24/7 but we can leave MIL alone for a little while as long as it is during the day but when it starts getting dark she gets panicky. There is no laughter, smiles, happiness anymore it is a constant battle of strength as to not totally lose control.
We have given up our home, sold off nearly all of our assets in order to take care of someone that thinks we should be happy with the way things are, we are going under more everyday all the while being accused of treating and talking to her (MIL) like a dog. She doesn't realize how hateful she is when she speaks to us and when you call her on something she has said "I have never said that to you! I'm good to you and you treat me like this! I do everything for you!"
The only things she does is make her bed and she attempts to do her laundry, when she isn't looking we have to rewash her clothes. She refuses to wear her depends, unless she is going to the doctor, and places washcloths in her panties to "protect" from accidents. We have caught her with her but at the edge of her bed and urinating on the carpet. No one is their right mind would do this. She won't shower, insists that she washes herself every time she goes to the bathroom. She has frequent UTI and doesn't believe that it is from not bathing.
It sucks being a caregiver to someone that shows no love or caring, and doesn't appreciate anything that we do to make her life easier. '
I know I have gotten off the subject that these posts are talking about but I had to vent here because everyone here understands what we are all going through.
Thanks for being here.
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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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My mother was having anxious episodes, getting up and night packing because she did not think she was in her own house, even though she was. We finally admitted her to a senior behavioral health inpatient facility where she stayed for about 2 wks. They helped get her outlined on medications and we moved her from there to a secure assisted living facility. We told her the doctors said that was where she needed to be.

She still wants to go home but they have activities which keep her stimulated and she is much better mentally than she has been for a couple of years. She also is in denial that she has any more than normal 'forgetfulness' which comes with aging and thinks she can take care of herself. We just redirect her as best we can.

I am lucky to have 3 sisters who are all just as involved as I am with the care and decision making regarding our mother. Thanks to all who post here!
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Speak Life to the Dying Places

There’s a friend of mine, a woman on our staff, who lives in an urban part of Houston. She has a townhome with a townhome on each side. When the townhomes were built, all three neighbors had identical trees planted in front. They were young trees, maybe 10 or 12 feet tall. When hurricane Ike came through in September 2008, those three young trees were toppled over, blown by the strong winds. They looked as if they were dying.

After the storm, all three neighbors went out to replant their trees. They tied their trees to stakes in the ground and did whatever they could to help those little trees take root again. But, my friend did something different from her neighbors. Every day she’d pass by her tree on her way to work, and she would speak to that little tree, “Be blessed! Grow straight and strong.” Day after day, she would speak life over her little tree. It wasn’t long before she noticed that her tree was growing stronger and straighter than her neighbors. In fact, her neighbor’s trees are still leaning over, not looking too healthy or growing very much, but her tree is now straight, strong and flourishing! All three trees received the same amount of sun, the same water, the same soil. What made the difference? The power of words.

As you think about your life, what are the things that have been blown over by the storms and circumstances of life? What looks like it’s dying in your world? Are your dreams toppled over? Does your marriage appear to be uprooted? I encourage you today, just like my friend, to begin to speak life and blessing to the dying places. Water those areas by speaking the Word of God. When you sow seeds of life and blessing no matter what your circumstances my look like, before long—just like my friend—you’ll see life and health flourish by the power of your words!

The tongue has the power of life and death… (Proverbs 18:21, NIV)
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@ sherry,
i try not to discredit or taunt believers unless they get to witnessing too strongly to me then i get a little defensive. visited my 90 yr old aunt today and shes clearly not doing well. general weakness and late dementia. she said a priest visits her and has prayed for her 3 times and now assures her shes going to be fine. shes not going to be fine, the priest is full of crap. aunt edna is going to die . faith just do not change facts related to old age and mortality. harmless , but still malarky..
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captain, I have to come to the priest's defense. Your aunt will be fine, even if it means she will die soon. I cannot imagine the priest gave her the impression she is going to jump out of bed one of these days and will feel like a young woman again. "Being fine" does not always refer to our life on earth, having inner peace and accepting this journey is what it's all about.
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DIL2014, my thoughts exactly when I read "your aunt will be fine." Whats he supposed to say, you're going to die?"She will be fine, however she takes it, here or in Heaven, its comforting words either way. When my MIL was dying we were Positive all the way until she went to the Lord, no negativity was ever spoken, thats Faith.
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There is a world of difference between offering the consolation that "all will be well, all will be well, and all manner of things will be well" and encouraging cruel and futile hopes of physical recovery.

I hope Aunt Edna's priest was doing the former; but I have heard chilling stories about parents of dying children being visited in hospital at their child's bedside by people I would gladly kick all the way down the stairs.
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1956Sherry
Re: your post about your husband who will not humble himself.
I'm almost an atheist, but even I know that any god worth believing in would be able to see deep into your husband's heart. God understands why your husband doesn't repent, and god loves him anyway!

My authority for this is not scripture, so feel free to ignore me if you disagree. I just want you to trust that your husband will be all right.
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