Follow
Share

Mom is arguing about the fact that this is her house, which it is. and that I am doing things without her permission. All I am doing since I am in charge of taking care of everything now including bill paying, is try to same some money here and there. I hired a new gardener at less money a month that does 3 x what the other one did for the last 20 years. She got mad at me for trying to save money on the phone and internet. Then last night she was going through a drawer in the dining room and I asked her what she was looking for and she said money to buy a car. She said something and gave me a look that meant do not say a word to me. Then she started to go thru her church envelopes. She has not driven in almost a year, she agreed to sell her car and she has not been to church in almost a year. She agonized over these envelopes because they are from last year. She kept asking me what the date was and I kept telling her to just throw them out as we now have a priest that will come over and take her confession and a woman comes every week to give her communion. How am I supposed to handle these things? I feel like I should take them away and end it so she does not start crying, which she ended up doing. Should I just leave her alone and let her do these things? Please I really need some advice. Thanks

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Once I found Coy looking through my closet. I laughed and asked him if he were considering wearing any of my shirts. He shook his head and said he was just "trying to see what was what." He gave a similar answer at another time I found him looking through something I wouldn't think would interest him. And then I realized that was literally what he was doing. He was trying to orient himself to an environment that was becoming increasingly foreign to him. He really was trying to figure out "what was what".

Allowing exploration of drawers and closets and boxes and cabinets now seems to me reasonable. If there is any risk that important papers might be lost, or upsetting objects or documents might be found, then a little monitoring might be in order. Otherwise, if the worst outcome is a messy drawer, ignore it.

I doubt that Mom was crying over old church envelopes. She probably had sudden clarity on "what was what" -- that she had lost a year of her life. Why didn't she use these envelopes? Why hadn't she been to church? While you know that answer, at that moment she apparently did not. She needed some reassurance that she hasn't lost touch with her religion, and that she was safe and well taken care of, and you would continue to care for her and see about visits from her church folks.

And, really, if you had just realized you had a missing year in your life, wouldn't you cry? I don't think it is realistic to expect our demented loved ones to always be happy with the state of their lives. Depression should be treated. But a cry now and then is not the same as depression.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

fligirl, it sounds like you're doing everything right. My mother used to remind me quite often that this was HER house -- that is, unless she wanted me to fix something. Then it became my house, too. :)

Dementia can be very frustrating. It is easy to sympathize and empathize with what our loved ones are going through, but it doesn't make it any less frustrating. I usually don't question her if she is doing something like looking through a drawer or searching a stack of papers. It may look odd to me, but I figure she needs a sense of privacy. It is tempting to get involved in all the things she is doing. I think it is because I think that if she is doing it, then it doesn't make sense. That is bad thinking on my part. Usually things she is doing end up making perfect sense. So I let her do things she needs to and know she'll ask for help if she needs it.

About the envelopes -- Would she understand that they are no good now? Tell her you'll be glad to put them through the shredder or the recycle bin. My mother tends to hoard things, but I can encourage her to do the occasional paper clean-out. (Sad thing is that I can't get her to throw out bank statements. We have statements going back 50 years thrown in boxes around the house. She has 10-15 CDs plus two accounts, all that have monthly statements coming in. You can imagine the amount of clutter that creates.)
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Wow, lot's of great answers. I just want to add one little thing. If it hasn't happened already, there might come a time when she turns all her anger on you. She is NOT angry at YOU she is angry about losing control over her mind and body. In her head it is YOU taking her control away.....not her health or age. Try not to take that personally. Knowing it ahead of time might help you cope better if and when that happens. We went though that stage and Mom complained to my sisters that I was controlling her and bullying her. This caused a lot of unnecessary conflict within the family. Good luck and come here often. Venting is an important tool and this is the best place to do it.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

I agree with sunflo. The more you learn about dementia, the more you understand that these behaviors are common and are not unique to your mother or personal to you, the easier it becomes to manage your own frustrations.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

I don't know what kind of doctor your mom is seeing, but I would very much recommend getting a geriatric psychiatrist involved in her care. Agitation, obsessing, crying, these are all symptoms that can be treated.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

Agree about the envelopes. Throw all of them out except the current weeks, give her a drawer, several on dollar bills etc so she still feels some control and let her put money in the envelope etc. it's hard. YOU will have to adjust your thought process and expectations, this disease is frustrating, confusing and a roller coaster for you and mom.

Educate yourself as much as possible. FDA has a wonderful website on ALZ with helpful tip sheets, trials, educational resources, etc. www.nia.nih.com. I also read a couple books. Lastly, I viewed several you tube videos by Teepa Snow that others on this site have heartily endorsed. ABSOLUTELY wonderful! eye opening and worthwhile. It was a turning point in understanding my own mom and being less angry and more compassionate.

I go with the flow and make sure I'm in the right frame of mind when I'm with mom. I let her repeat stories, try to redirect her and ignore the ridiculous. I'm not perfect and sometimes I get frustrated. When she wants to call the dr or lawyer, or whatever, I let her do so, usually doesn't follow through.

As for the car, humor her, take her to the dealer--when they are closed and walk around and look at cars. Go to Carmax and let her get in and out of cars, of course she won't be making a purchase, but it satisfies that urge. Gather some car model brochures, let her leaf thru them, dream, pick one out. Lie if you have to and say "we'll order it next week". Maybe tell her the one she wants is $40K and that may be enough of a shock to stop her.

Can she still attend mass? Is it possible for church to arrange a pickup and drop off for her?
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

Thank you all for putting things in perspective. The only reason it bothers me is because I can see she is very frustrated and then she starts crying and that makes me sad. But your right, if she is not in any danger then I should just let her do it. Also when this happens I do ask her what she is looking for and she really does not want me to help.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

What I read from what you wrote is that your mom knows she's losing control over her life. Do what you can to give her back a sense of control. I'm sure her rummaging through things drives you nuts but maybe ask her, "Hey mom, whatcha looking for? Can I help?" regardless of how unimportant it seems. It's important to her.

And like Maggie said, remember that you can't rationalize with someone who is irrational. Her searches and obsessions may mean nothing to you or may be a thorn in your side but for now they have meaning to your mom.

I believe that when someone with dementia obsesses they need to be on anti-anxiety medication. Obsessing leads to agitation and we all know that doesn't feel good. Talk to her Dr. about anti-anxiety medication.

And if your mom is going through stuff and she's not in any danger and she can be left to her own devices for a while, leave her alone and let her rummage. As long as she's safe it's not going to hurt her to go off on her own in the house to do whatever she thinks she has to do. You step in when she becomes agitated.
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

You have to be sneaky. You throw things away when she is not looking. Ask the church for new envelopes and then just replace the old ones. Small things like that give them control. She probably needs meds for her anxiety now, because she knows she is losing control. Always make her believe the good ideas were hers. At some point you may need a low dose antidepressant in addition to the anxiety meds for her. One day at a time with this. Get her to live in the moment as much as possible and remind her that God Has A Plan. Ask the priest what would cheer her up, he hears her concerns. Take her to a Basilica nearby and light a candle with her.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

My advice would be, "Whatever you think will work best." Trying to reason logically with someone with Alzheimer's or dementia is like putting a screen door on submarines. Might feel good, but it ain't gunna' keep the water out.

So. What are the alternatives?

Put them away where she won't be able to find them. Might be very frustrating for her . . . or she might forget all about them.

Let her keep finding them and stressing out over them. Might drive YOU absolutely craazy.

Or, you could try this: Gather up all the envelopes she has WITH her and suggest she do a catch-up donation to the church to cover them all. Ask her what amount she'd like to send, write the check, tuck it and the old envelopes in a big manila envelope and mail them to the church. Or not.

She'll stop looking for them, or if she starts, you can remind her what SHE did. And a little tithing is always good for the soul. ;)
Helpful Answer (6)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.