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Mom has dementia but all she ever thinks about is "Has the dog been fed." I have taken over the care of her dog and feed it twice a day, but I am asked at least 50 times a day, if the dog has been fed. The dog is on a limited ingredient diet due to allergies, so she must stick to her food and I also give medication. We put up an erasable board that gave the date and told that the dog was fed breakfast and the dog ate dinner. She took it down and hid it. Now I am back to printing out huge notes in different colors and place them on my door and around the house for her to see.

This morning I had to run to the doctor and she was home alone for 1 hour, I left notes all over the house, when I came home she had dog food all over the place feeding her dog and our nieces dog all the wrong foods. I have thought about hiding the food if I have to leave the house, but I am afraid she will pull out anything from the refrigerator and feed her, which will trigger an allergic reaction.....and then I will be running the dog to the vet.

When I got home I asked her why she had done this, why hadn't she listened, I had explicit notes all over the house. Her reply, was "I don't give a damn, I will do what I want!"

This seems minor but it is driving me nuts. The issues over the dog are forefront but I know if the dog was gone, it would be something else. Getting rid of the dog is not an option.

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Wyndie.... I hear ya Loud and Clear!!!!
This is the point when you throw all your sensible, functional, rational ways of thinking in "your world" (so to speak) into the wind.
After you have gone into "Mom's World" ... take a look at it from her view of the situation. You may find it easier....
#1 She wants to feed the Dogs!
#2 She does not want to be told what to do!
#3 She can't follow instructions but!!! you may be able to train her in a way to do it,
Correctly or exactly Right, may be out of the question ,right now
#4 Your Mom can't remember instructions, but can read
#5 your Mom likes the Dogs and does want to care for them.
#6 She is obsessing over this, you can't change her behavior but "you" can turn it
into a different obsession (I am not saying over night, it's going to take time)

You may be thinking this girl (ME) is out of her mind but at this point your cutting a steak with a butter knife and using a sharper knife is a solution. If you use the butter knife for cutting butter it will work, but continuing to use it on a steak is only going to frustrate you and you are still never going to cut the steak, but a changing to a steak knife will work. So instead of using the tool that's never going to work you need to use what will work. That knife might not work if it's not sharp enough but you can sharpen it until it works!!!

I am explaining it like this because,I used to punish myself when I had my Mom at home with me. I would get angry because she had obsessions that I could not change, she would do things I could not understand. It took me a while to figure out... I can't change her behaviors , but I can change mine.....
"I got a new knife and sharpened it until it cut a steak like butter!"

I tell you some examples....
Mom was putting her clothes on all sorts of ways, so naturally it took an hour to redresses etc. so I started a new routine, so this way I was able to make her think "I can do this myself" by me handing her 1 article at a time... always Bra first, undies second, Shirt next, then pants, then socks then shoes. After a while if I handed her an article, out of turn she'd say somethings wrong... you know why it was not in the routine... it didn't make sense because after a while it was habitual and she was acting on habit not memory.
So for your problem it's more complex but..... if you get her used to a certain organized daily habit with one item, then next item, then next etc. let her be the one to do it... not unsupervised of course.... but your just the guide and also maybe use a check list and # the items in there turn Buffy's bowl fill it #1 Kings bowl #2 etc.

So you may start this at first by saying..." hey Mom would you like to feed the dogs I need your help, I'd love for you to help me and I know the dogs like when you feed them". Then get her in the habit (maybe preparation of the food first , by you) and after your done go to a calender with dogs names already written on each day prior to the feeding written by you... then have her cross off the dogs name after they were feed. Then at first she'll want to feed them out of order and you point to the list and say "MOM read what's next".... "I can't see?" Have her go to the calender and say "I don't know did we feed them yet?"..." Mom look and see ?" "OH yes you crossed of the name already!"
This may be far fetched but you know your Mom and everyone is different but I know one thing for sure Dementia or not we are all creatures of habit.
I also know if I wake up on vacation, let's say, in a room different than mine, it takes a lot of thinking upon awakening to adjust to new surroundings. Wheres the bathroom? where's the clock? the shower is different,? the towels are different,? etc. .....
Then to be lost and disorientated, while someone is frustrated by my confusion of the new scenery, and they're expecting me to do my morning routine as if I were in familiar surroundings, yet, in a strange place, as if I were in normal conditions.
I think I would be like "leave me alone, I am on vacation, your ruining my day!"
I am not making this suggestion out of cluelessness or forcing this on you..
.I've been there... done that.... just trying to help you out with my experiences!!!

With all that said ..... when I was a teenager and my Mother said to me "NO" and I couldn't go out somewhere, and I knew that begging her would never, not ever, get the "yes go answer I wanted" ....
I would wait until she was resting and relaxing and then blast music or have my friends ring the phone (the old days way) constantly, basically annoying her to no end then say "Mom can I go to the movies? " then she'd say "stop bothering me, go anywhere just leave me alone!"

There are a few points that I am trying to make.... you know your Mom's buttons.. good and bad!
she knows your buttons too!
She wants to remain your Mother and the biggest button is taking that role away from her!
AND if you think about your relationship and personalities as they always have been and go with your Mom's inner feelings instead of a woman who you can't communicate with.... you will be able to communicate, just on a revised but similar level.
Oh by the way when I visit her in the NH home now, where's she's comfy and at peace... and if ,I ask her a million questions and if I talk too loud, and I am a pest to her she still tells me... "stop bothering me, go anywhere just leave me alone!"

That's how I know she is my Mother and I am her Daughter... and somewhere in all her confusion I still know how to bring out the Mother and her real inner self!
Furthermore personalities do not change that much, you need... not to control and this freedom and feeling of independence is all a person wants in life!!!
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On a personal note.....Of all the things I hope Mom Doesn't forget, I honestly can't wait till she forgets her dog. He pee's and poops everywhere (kinda like Mom) and I have enough to deal with. I will keep taking care of him for as long as I have to....but sheeesh....Over it!
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Hey Wyndie,
My Dad would be handing my dogs pieces of food from his plate and say 'I'm not feeding the dog'....I never knew if he was just kidding or serious. He had dementia My Mom would give the dogs treats every time they went in and out the door and yell at me because they were going in and out. Maddening is a shared feeling! My Mom is living with my sister at this point and she insists on feeding the dogs so my sister lets her but she gets the bowls ready and then forgets to put them on the floor. My niece has huge dogs so they eat my sisters little dogs food off the counter. My Mom yells at the big dogs, which out weigh her by 60 pounds, then my sister yells at her then they are both upset and round and round it goes. This whole scene replays a few times a night. I am not sure if the smaller dogs ever get a whole dinner.
On a positive note, a medication like klonipin might help with the OCD behavior (personal experience) or maybe another med that would help with the fixation on feeding the dog. I think my Dads dementia meds helped him somewhat with his fixation on time. It drove my Mom crazy. His neuropsych doctor was very understanding and I could talk to her without him being in the room.
Maybe your Mom could have a list of other tasks to do. Would she be receptive to having other responsibilities? I know my Mom has to be doing little things all day or she feels useless then she gets in a funk and then she thinks we are yelling at her and then we feel guilty, around and around we go.
Here I am venting and not helping....sorry.
Another thought, can the dog have a healthy treat? Something that would not flare allergies but would let your Mom feel like she is in control? I have found some preservative free treats for mine and they are small. Maybe it is a control issue for her. If she feels helpless and can't express that, who can, the pain could manifest in repetitive behavior. How about anti depressants? (Personal experience again) my Mom and sister and I are all on anti depressants and klonipin. We are a crazy group.
Well, I have rattled on long enough. I hope the doctor can help with meds or a task list helps.
Take care!
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I think lynns advice was a good idea. But yes, if not the dog food than something else. With My Mom it's the mail. Has the mail come yet????? I have to sneak the bills out to pay, or she stresses and hides them.
Eyerislass.....How are you doing? May God bless you thru this tough weekend. Remember the happiest of times.
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You're right. If it weren't endless questions about the dog it would be something else. Aside from putting up notes everywhere I don't know what to suggest except answering "yes" 50 times a day but I know how maddening that would get. Hopefully someone will have a clever idea for you. I would imagine that if your mom fed the dog she would promptly forget and continue to ask if the dog has been fed? Obsessive behavior in people with dementia or Alzheimer's is so challenging.
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Maybe try this...put 1 day's ration of dog food in a see through container and let your mother feed her dog throughout the day. LynneV
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