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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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P.S. Fyi, her ceilings are pretty high, and so changing the batteries requires a tall ladder, which she doesn't have. If the ceilings were lower, I would have just done it myself.
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I'm in a similar situation as you, with my mother. She will be 84, has dementia, and refuses all "formal" assistance, like moving to AL, having in-home and/or companion assistance, etc. She's perfectly happy though, leaning on people who don't have all the time in the world to help her, like her neighbor and me. I did everything I could while I was there to get her to have her smoke alarm batteries changed (one of them was chirping incessantly). I explained that the chirping was not her security system; I explained that it will continue to chirp until the batteries are changed. I explained that this was very important and needed to be taken care of. I got the batteries out for her, and explained again, what they were for. I ran through the drill of who she should call. And then, I had to go home! In rush hour, the drive back home took me 3.5 hours. Visiting her is a huge time commitment, and I can't do it at the drop of a hat. I found a service that she can call, and am getting her set up with the service. But if she hasn't taken care of it already, it will be about another week before she will be able to schedule someone with this service. Am I going to call and nag, and remind, and call again? Nope. Some people would definitely think I'm a horrible person, or using terrible judgment. But they don't know my mother. The more you insist that she does something, the more she'll dig in her heels and resist. Yes, it's a lousy position to be in.
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That's hard to go through. Just do what you can. I go to my mom's place and she leaves stuff out to thaw way too long, arguing it's fine that the meat is fine at room temperature, etc. I just put stuff back in the fridge or take it to the dumpster when she's not looking, if it looks like it's gone bad.
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I feel like one of the luckiest folks here at the moment because, although my 91 year old mother is not an easy person by any means, I was able to engage the services of an aide 2 x per week for 4 hours a day (mostly to handle things like groceries, laundry, etc. and let me continue to work) by basically convincing my mother that the aide wasn't just for her benefit, but mine. This seemed to make her more accepting and it helps immensely that she really likes her aide....when not doing chores, etc. she takes walks with "Mary" and also plays rummy, which they apparently both enjoy. My mother is still living "independently" in the sense that she isn't in AL or NH but definitely needs a lot of attention, help and assistance in multiple ways and has absolutely no short term memory. But, for the moment, this is working out and I try not to obsess about the "what if's" regarding how long her money will last, etc. One step at a time, basically.......
All good thoughts going out to everyone who is this, or a similar, situation....
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I too feel your pain as my 87 y/o mom has dementia but refuses any help. She won't go to AL or hire a live in as she has lived alone since my father passed away in 1968. She is quite lucid at times but has delusions of people living in her apt & stealing from her, destroying her place, etc. She is on 300 mg seroquel a day which doesn't seem to be helping although she does sleep at night. Previously she would call me at 2 am or 5 am claiming she was robbed or her house is on Fire. Now she thinks she can go rent another apt in the same retirement community & that will be the answer. This is her 2nd apt as she sold her condo blaming a woman upstairs for playing music & harassing her. I told her I won't have any part of moving her again unless to AL. I have also resolved myself to the fact that an " incident" will occur that will force her into a nursing home eventually. I wish u luck with your mom. It is the most stressful thing to deal with.
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I went to see my mother today and once again she thinks she has not seen me in weeks and weeks. I was there last Friday. My mother microwaved a meal for 50 minutes and burned up the microwave. She knew that there was a lot of smoke in the house yet she called my sister for help and not the fire department. It was when we realized that she had not tested her blood sugar for over 9 weeks that we decided to move forward with getting things ready to move her. We moved her to ALF after re-hab after the Drs. got her blood sugars back under control. She says every-time we visit that she just wants to get out of where she is living at the ALF home. I did not want to wait for her to fall down the stairs, have another fire, continue to pay bills 2 and 3 times over or not at all. I did not want anymore contractors knocking at her door and seal her driveway for $5000, or cut down a tree for $2000, no more diabetic supplies from 4 different suppliers, or countless new romance novels delivered in packs of 4 every month. We know that she is safe and is being taken care of by very nice people who choose the profession to care for the elderly which I can not do as well. Sooner than later you will have to face a very tough decision also and it will be easier on you once you know that you are making the decision to keep your husband safe from harm.
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Well, if you can find friends who play cards and would play along with him no matter how bad, or disguise the caregiver as a friend who needs someone to visit with..probably would have to be a guy. Maybe there is a respite center that would offer an activity he would actually like. But hey, he shouldn't run the show and keep you cooped up and housebound. He can't understand because of his dementia and his decisions are not good ones that you should abide by. Leaving him alone is not a great idea either, obviously...his judgement and problem-solving are just not there anymore, along with his empathy!
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Wow, that sounds exactly like my mother who has a five minute memory also and is in complete denial of having any mental problems. My heart goes out to you. I wish I had an answer but I don't and, like you, we struggle all the time with the consequences of dementia. She belongs in assisted living but until you have a crisis to make the transition, hang in there. I send you a hug!
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Sadly, as many others have said, it sounds a lot like my own mother. She now lives with my husband and me and agreed to come here, but doesn't remember that. And, also as others said, we couldn't do much for/with her until an extreme event happened - it took something really big to get things moving.

It sounds like your mom lives with you. I have to think that possibly trying adult day care might be something to try. My mother didn't want companions and didn't have interests, either, but when I got her with a bunch of other people she blossomed a little bit and started getting interested. She has her up and down days. Conning her into going was the hardest part. Finding a way to get them there is probably unique to each person.

When I say I "conned" her into it, I just mean to say that it's not as easy as giving a rational reason. I don't mean that I claimed she was going to visit a relative or anything like that. Because if I'd done that, my mother would have been so hopping mad she'd have just walked off.
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OK here I go again! I retired three years ago because I knew that my husband needed me at home. He would forget to eat himself , but feed the dogs twice or more while I was gone for the day teaching. Now fast forward three years, he cannot use the telephone, get dressed alone, remember what to do when brushing his teeth, wash himself, soils his underwear about 5 times a week, makes messes, throws out the trash on the recycling days, etc etc. And he insists on going everywhere with me. He doesn't want to be alone. So I signed up for a Meditation class on Monday evenings for 5 weeks. On the 5th week he threw a fit about the caretaker coming "Again!" He declared yelling at me, "I m not a baby! I don't need a babysitter! I am not having someone come here again to watch me." this from the guy who rarely talks to me because he can't remember what to say. He has lost most of his vocabulary. I was shocked. He is never mean and usually happy. Now I feel that my world is getting so much smaller. I can't go anywhere or do anything without him. When I go out with my girlfriend we take him along. They are understanding but sometimes I need to get away from him! How do I get him to agree to a substitute caregiver? Should I just leave him alone as the previous people have said until something terrible happens. I told him, "You cannot used the phone! How will you get help if there is a fire?" He said, "I'll go outside." "And then what will you do, I said?" He said, "I'll watch it burn down."
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Dear lindafromvt. I called an organization here in St. Louis about how to keep my mom from taking her night meds in the morning and sleeping all day. They recommended a dispenser which beeps, lights flash and it rotates every time it goes off so she can't take the wrong one. She does, however lay meds on the counter and not take them. She swares the thing doesn't work for days at a time, but the meds are gone and the correct meds are next. I am with her 3-4 times a week. She is in denial about the dementia also. I can see things are going to get harder. She is in assisted living except they don't bathe her or see that she takes her meds. They call her to come for meals and other help that they are not obligated to do. She is 87.
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Captain: Regardless, I get what you are trying to relate. Today, in this moment, she is not fine, and is not going to be fine. But, yes, in our world, and I am a person of belief, people want to believe, that is how we cope with the word death. Everyone here is trying to assist your aunt, and give you understanding that the Priest was referring to the afterlife, but you never hear "when you die, you will be fine" Thank you for the open mind.
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Thats what dementia is.
Clearly your mom just hates loosing her independance eg. having strange caregivers at HER HOUSE...
she forgets things everything that she hears and does.
its will only get worse, its part of the aging process and diseases as well.
your mom can only communicate presents then everything gets blocked out
the best thing you can do is show your mom love and find a caregiver thats very caring and empathetic ...to care for your mom at home ..
You might want to consider locking doors of kitchen entrance ...if you dont have doors just have them put in,,,it could be worse you mom could turn the stove on or get burnt....
Nursing Homes would be another option for your mom..
you can see your mom anytime ,,and not have to be so stressed out and frustrated.
its a very hard job...you are a great person.

Also you might want to follow up with your moms doctor and let him know whats has been going on with your mom.

God bless
sharon
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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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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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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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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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@ 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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