Follow
Share

Mom (93, NH, blind, dementia) is 90% of the time very easygoing and happy, singing, very pleasant, positive, loving. No short term memory and lots of huge gaps in long term. She occasionally asks some questions about her past and I answer them truthfully, but we basically live in the present moment. Yesterday morning she was fine, but after a short nap she was a nonstop litany of questions. Do I still have any friends. Where is my husband. What was his name. Where did I work. Who was my boss. What do I do now. Did I have a car. What kind. How do I get around. Why am I here. Where is my brother. Where is he buried. On and on for over an hour. I tried to explain things kindly, (over and over) until she finally asked if she was a “Boob McNut”. We both laughed so hard! Anyway when I got home and described the day, DH said she had a “Good day”. But I was an emotional mess. It was so exhausting. She was really struggling trying to fill in the blanks of her memory...it was heartbreaking. Sometimes I would rather see her just living in the moment and not trying so hard. I guess I’m just venting, but how does anyone address these type of questions.

Be glad she can ask these questions and except the answers for now. It may have been exhausting but you had a nice laugh and seems she took it all in stride. My Mom couldn't carrying on a conversation. Her mind just jumped from one thing to another. I'd be answering one thing and she'd be on to another.
Helpful Answer (12)
Reply to JoAnn29
Report

Is it possible to redirect the questions rather than having her go on and on?
"Lets talk about that later, why don't we go for a walk now" then take her for a walk. OR..."why don't we go get a snack" and go get some tea, water, juice...
How long are your visits? if you were with her and she took a nap, woke and you were still there...it sounds like you were there for a while.

Maybe cut your visits shorter, if she falls a sleep quietly leave. It is possible that if she took a nap she may be confusing time and might think it was another day. (If you do not know long you were asleep you could easily think you slept 8 or 10 hours)
Shorter visits might also help your emotional and mental stress.
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to Grandma1954
Report
rocketjcat Mar 9, 2019
Thanks. Yes I tried hard to redirect but maybe not hard enough. I get there about 11 and we usually fiddle around singing, doing hair etc. then a short nap then I feed her lunch in her room since the DR is very noisy and can sometimes set her off and I can get her to eat more than the overworked aids can. It usually work out fine. If she’s at it again today I definitely will try harder to redirect even if it means moving lunch. I’m going to try to cut out the pre lunch nap if at all possible. She woke up all worried about a dog (dream?) and I think that may have started the onslaught.
(4)
Report
This is what a typical visit with my mother is like. She is also extremely hard of hearing, so I have to repeat many of my answers (but of course I'll have to do it a few minutes later when she cycles back to the same question). It doesn't help that she turns her head toward me because she's on a pillow, so this just covers her "better" ear! She has always been an "interrogator" but at least years ago she could hear and remember the answers. I go every other day to visit because I need a day to "rest" in between!
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to jacobsonbob
Report
SparkyY Mar 12, 2019
I love this sight! You just described a visit with my mom almost exactly. Throw in the sound of the oxygen machine and I'm learning in about two inches away from her ear. The place she's at is supposed to see about getting her hearing checked. I keep hoping that when she hears better she'll be a lot more with it.
I've been told I'm being naive. I would like to hear your thoughts on this?
(0)
Report
See 1 more reply
Venting is ok! We're here for you. It is all exhausting, imo. It is heartbreaking. My mom breaks my heart every week. I thought it would get easier, and sometimes it does, and is. Maybe it depends on how my week is going, whether or not I can flow with the punches? Sometimes I'm a basket case after the visit. Sometimes I'm just fine.

Isn't the brain a strange animal? You go along with your elderly parent and things seem predictable, and then wham! there's a burst of activity, or a huge decrease in activity. You never know. Cognitive decline is a bummer.

What I like is that your mom still has her sense of humor. So, humor her, answer the questions. All you can count on is that it will be different next time.
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to Rabanette
Report
rocketjcat Mar 10, 2019
Thanks for the reality check. We are on the rollercoaster....up, up, up with her nonstop questions Friday. Saturday again kind of anxious and Saturday night she was up all night at the nurses station, even after her nightly 10mg of busparone. Today crashed and burned. Ate breakfast but then slept all day and we couldn’t roust her for lunch or dinner. This has happened before and she “should” be more alert tomorrow. But like you said...you never know. These cycles are so distressing. I probably should have recognized the beginning of one with the wild brain activity on Friday. Yes heartbreaking. I’m sorry your Mom is putting you through it too.
(3)
Report
How about making her a memory book using a scrapbook. Fill it with photos of her family and friends and things that she asks about and things that mean a lot to her. Even pictures of news events from the past or old tools that she might have used and places she has been. I bet once you start you will enjoy it and will fill a few books. Good Luck. X
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to NannaJ
Report
shad250 Mar 11, 2019
Good idea, though OP mentioned she is blind.
(1)
Report
See 1 more reply
My goodness, that certainly is a very unusual thing to see happen with someone who has dementia. I wonder what did bring that on. I suppose that I would just try to provide her the answers that make her happiest in the moment. I know it's tough to see her struggle and it's unlikely that she will be able to recall what you told, her, but the good thing is that she felt curious and happy in the moment. IT's good you were able to keep it light and have a laugh together. That's really great.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to Sunnygirl1
Report
rocketjcat Mar 9, 2019
Thanks that’s what DH thought since they were good relevant questions. We do always seem to find a laugh together. That’s a true blessing and thanks for reminding me.
(7)
Report
Igcrazy2B,
When my LO was able to talk in the earlier times, before she began medication, she would ask lots of questions about problems that worried her and be VERY worried about things that didn't even exist. She thought that people had an issue with something, something bad had happened or other things that she often could not verbalize. She would look for certain people too and it exhausted her. So, I'd often tell her that I had already taken care of it. That everything was resolved, that there was nothing left to do, but, celebrate the happy outcome. (I said this regardless, because it made her feel better.) She would thank me profusely and be so happy for the rest of the visit. I'd bring treats and sometimes balloons or flowers to help celebrate. Once she got her Cymbalta adjusted, she got much better and didn't cry and worry so much.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to Sunnygirl1
Report

I have seen memory books although being blind perhaps making an audio of "her life story" would be something you could pop in. It may be though that she is lonely and craved human interaction ( being blind she can lose touch with people) so i would say to approach it from that angle, she just wants to talk. I remember my uncle being in his cottage and saying to me "who owns this?" and i said "you do !" and just enjoying his rediscovery of a good event in his life. You get to share with her all the memories you value so she can rediscover them.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to DJ9876543
Report

"The moment" isn't very interesting for her these days. She can't see, her world is the size of a nursing home room -- of course she wants to talk about things she might still be able to see in her memory. I don't understand why you don't want to help her remember a lifetime of memories.

All those questions are a conversation starter. It makes me sad that they exhaust you rather than provide you with rich topics for conversations.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to anonymous875604
Report
rocketjcat Mar 12, 2019
No they weren’t rich conversation starters. We usually have plenty to talk about and very pleasant topics. They were the painful start of a 24 hour nonstop insomnia rampage when she was heading off the rails. I couldn’t even answer one before another one was asked. For an hour and half. And they were painful and sad questions that she wasn’t going to like the answers to so I had to decide what to tell her. And it was exhausting. No need to be sad for me, be sad for her.
(0)
Report
I understand how hard this is. I put up with it several hours a day. Have tried redirecting, doesn't work. My husband keeps thinking his father doesnt love him anymore because he doesn't see him. He died in 1952. It's truly heartbreaking.. the only thing thsst worked at all was going for walk or drive.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Bjwalters
Report

See All Answers

Ask a Question

Subscribe to
Our Newsletter