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Senior Contributor

Dementia

Took my MIL to lunch and groceries yesterday.  Just making small talk, I told her about my FIL's brother and wife health problems.  (My MIL and FIL have been divorced for 47 years).  anyway, she said the last time she saw them she was with dad (her father) and John (not his real name) whom she was married to from 2005 to 2008 when he passed away.  Her father passed away in 1987 or 88.  I can remember her telling me she and John  saw them at a resturaunt a few years ago because she said they were rolly polly!  Well, they are short and heavier than they had been in the past, but I wouldn't say rolly polly!  But for her to think her father was with her and John...oh boy ...dementia kickin in...and when I told her her father had passed away before she was married to John, she still insisted that the three of them were together!  I am sure she got right on the phone to one of her cousin's and got the story all mixed up about their health. I also had to tell her to drop a subject she had been riding my husband about...its only going to get harder.

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Honored Advisor

Re: Dementia

I try to tell myself that they really can't help it, and it has to be SO frustrating for one's thoughts to be jumbled that way.

I kind of see it coming and going...with Winn, who is becoming verbal, trying so hard to construct a frame of reference for everything in this big, wide world. He has new words and understandings every day now. Mike's mom, at 99, getting less of a grip on her surroundings each time we see her.

He can still get away with an occasional meltdown, when we aren't clear on what he needs. As long as an adult can speak, you tend to think they can still reason, even when that is beyond them anymore.

I find myself having to think and pick words more carefully myself. Not sure whether that is an intellectual issue, or an emotional one.
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Senior Contributor

Re: Dementia

I never quite know which way to play it when my mom can't grasp a name or what an item is called.  She does quite well but we've noticed this more & more.  Sometimes she says it's worse with me because I'm always in a rush & she can't think when someone is "pushing" her.  So I wait, & she struggles & I guess & sometimes I can win the game & sometimes we drop it.

 

What's really maddening is after spending the day with this situation, to come home & have my DH (who has always been terrible with names) start the same scenario.  As I go screaming into the other room!  LOL

 

I will say, I think I have more patience since we've quit milking & life has become less demanding.

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Honored Advisor

Re: Dementia

Your mother never had to cope with chores that had to be done every single day at a certain time, so you had to be in place 2-3 times a day, did she? I dealt with farrowing and thus sows for decades...they required twice daily dependable care, no matter what else I may have wanted to do that day. I am sure I was " rushing" constantly then, too.

Having an ending time on every errand that way can make you less than endlessly patient. My biggest peeve now is to have to be back from somewhere by a set time. It keeps me watching he time, never relaxing.

That is the pressure that is at least partially relieved for you right now. It wasn't that you lacked patience all along...you lacked the luxury of truly free time. Think about it.
Advisor

Re: Dementia

My husband has been able to accept that his mother is gone.   She can't help it.   He keeps telling me,  "It surprises me that it still surprises you".     The Books say:  don't argue with them.  Unless,  it is a health or safety issue.   Such as when to take medication.    Your MIL probably  won't remember what she said or you said by the end of the day.   My MIL  is now to the point  of not remembering 1 minute.   As long as she remains calm and is able to feed her self  we'll be okay. 

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Honored Advisor

Re: Dementia

Suey, this not arguing thing is precisely what my sis-in-law learned at her seminar at MIL's retirement home. This was the genesis of my extreme upset with the idea of her wanting to move back into Jenna's house, actually.

Mike's BIL had to ARGUE with her, over whether she had given up her life right there or not. She said not he said so, and that made her really dig in her heels. Of course, she did,formally. So we took over the taxes, repairs, insurance, etc. That was 12 years ago, done by formal deed to Mike and recorded in the courthouse.

After everyone had a few weeks to settle down, I wrote Sis a letter, and said she could being MIL over, just not when I was there...no big deal, as I can do my errands there as well as anywhere. She and Mike talked, and she said ot was all BIL's fault..First, for arguing with MIL, second, for upsetting ,e at the birthday event in July.

He is almost eighty himself, so I would say maybe slipping...but, he's always instigated stuff like this.. Not any of his business, really, when you look at it objectively.

The new mindset in the family is that MIL is right, except when safety is involved, just as you say. Just let her accusations and odd remarks be water off a duck's back. Easier said than done, but it does have to be done.

I wish your families the best, girls. Dementia is a rough patch of road, for everyone.
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Senior Contributor

Re: Dementia

I need to have a sign or a bracelet on my wrist that says....Don't argue or let them beleive!  I wish my husband wouldn't argue with his mom.  If he would just say what she wants him to say...life would be much better.  She keeps at him about someone in the family always living in the house.  I tell her yes, we plan on our son living there.  My Dh fights her and tells her he can't promise that and he will just burn the house down then so he doesn't have to pay taxes on it...i think she stays awake at night fretting.  She thinks things are gone in her safe again too....She must dig in it everyday.  I told her no one has been in there because she has been home the whole time....she does have the accusation thing going and that has been going for a long, long time.  I am glad my upbringing wasn't so terrible that I have to blame everything on somebody else.  She also has her daughter mad at her for stories she has come up with.  Its a long road ahead.

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Senior Contributor

Re: Dementia

Don't know about your area but in ours there seems to be no assistance on the problems of handling dementia.  Yes, there is info out there but it would be great to have a support group or counselor to help.  It may be the spot I'm in dealing with my mom who has either some dementia or the small stroke damage, but when they are still pretty independent in their living & issues arise it's hard to have the upper hand. 

 

I feel so sad that my mom & I really have such a bad relationship.  I suppose part of it is resentment on my part.  DB leads a stress free life from her responsibilities.  And truthfully, I married at 18 and my DB was 6 so he was the focus in their life.  My in laws were much more help in our early marriage.  With DB, my mom working, and then to her credit for a time she went every weekend to take care of my grandfather in his home, this left me on the short end.  Thus I survived and am fiercely independent.  Now she often wants to help me out when I fight her help.  Simply not used to it.

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Advisor

Re: Dementia

Reading books and pamphlets really can help.   I think I've checked out every book in our County Library on Dementia and ALZ.  Some I've read.   Some I've skimmed for the parts I needed to help me understand.   I know there are Regional ALZ org and they put on  monthly workshops.   Unfortunately,  if enough people do not sign up they are cancelled.   But,  if you were to call one and ask for a pamphlet  that  Ruby's DH could read  I think it would help him understand better to not argue with her.   Don't tell her everything.   Tell her what she wants to hear and when pushed for when???  Just be real vague.    If they are into the constant repeating of themselves  be prepared  to smile  or make a personal game out of it and count them.   When my MIL  gets to 4 - 5 times of saying the same thing in 30 - 60 minutes.... it is time to go home and take care of the pigs.  That means she is getting frustrated at trying to carry on a conversation.   Or  it might be time to remove the item of her obsession.   Like  the deer story brought on my the deer antler,  Close the curtains so she can't see the clouds.   Is there a chance of rain?    Yes,  NO,  Maybe,  They give a chance for tomorrow,  Should pour tonight...  We start having some fun with it.  She won't remember.   Now,  if I could just take away that China with both 3 and 4 leaf clovers that people couldn't tell the difference so she has both.    Whatever,  unless it is health or safety.... let it go. 

And don't worry  if you get short or angry with them.   Ask for forgiveness in your prayers,  and more patience.   They worked hard in their lives,  they did nothing to deserve this,  we should do our best to make the rest of their lives as peaceful as we can.   NOW,  I need to heed my own advice. 

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Honored Advisor

Re: Dementia

Closest comparison I can make was when son had a concussion from a skiing accidnet. He had NO short term memory for about 12 hours, and it took days to weeks for it to totally return.

It was a maddening drive home.. He asked a loopof three quesitons about his skis, his guitar, his truck, for two solid hours. Scared the beejeebers out of me, and he was constantly improving after that first night.

I do not know how you handle it on a frequent basis. I hope I never really do...
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