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Thread: So Friends. . . where do I go from here? . .

  1. #1
    Luv Saving People Money MortgageQueen's Avatar
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    I'm not big on talking about myself, so this is hard. My Mom is (or appears to be) in some sort of stage of dementia. She seems to be heading downhill faster than I can keep up with. She started losing her memory a few years ago, but I thought," Big deal, she's 82." Fast forward and she's 84. This past year has been one episode after another. There was one time in the summer when she went on a mini trip with a friend. She woke up the 2nd morning in, and said she didn't know why she was there, did not even believe her friend that she agreed to come! (not aggressively though)
    This week, she "forgot" how to get into the underground parking (after 12 years) then parked her car in what she thought was a visitors parking but was just some random tenant parking spot..

    Now my mom is an absolute doll and everyone loves her. (picture your typical sweet little old lady) So that is a blessing. She has an old friend that moved in with her after my dad died and (double bonus) she used to be a PSW.

    But today. . . . she forgot she had grandchildren. (my brothers') That felt like a punch in the gut. When you forget your grandkids, that's a whole new level. I have had her to a geriatric specialist twice, but all he gave her was a pill for her memory which apparently takes months to work. That's all fine and good, but I think we have a bigger problem than just memory obviously. ( i have a call into him)

    This seems like it's sudden but in reality it's just me not accepting the signs in front of my face. My mother and I have been extremely close and while it's true, she's gotten old and depends on me, I just didn't face the gradual increase of dementia like I should have.

    So Now? I have to assess how fast this will progress, I have to get power of attorney, and I have to figure out what/where she will go in the future. I absolutely adore my mom and I would take her into my home without hesitation, but my sister-in-law pointed out that she's happy where she is now and if she had to leave there, it would likely only be into a home because she would no longer be able to be independent of 24 hour supervision.

    Sounds good in theory, but I think my heart would break if I put her in a home. Seriously. My business is a good one, but I still have to work hard at bringing in the business and I can't do both that and take care of her, so I feel screwed.

    But I didn't write all this to complain because I know you guys have far worse stuff going on and you're superstars. I just thought I'd throw this out there because maybe others have gone through this and have suggestions or ideas that have worked for you and your elderly relatives?

    I know alzheimers and dementia are different. I'm pretty sure mom has dementia. She's also exhibited paranoia (which is not her at all)

    Thoughts and personal experiences would be appreciated. . . MQ
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    I'm sorry that your family is going through this. I went through something similar with my grandmother 6yrs ago when it became obvious that grandma living with family was no longer sufficient to meet her needs. We currently have a 93yr old friend whose short term memory quickly deteriated this fall. It was discovered last month that the memory problems and headaches were caused by brain lesions that are caused by cancer hiding somewhere else in her body. Until January she was living alone in her own house. She was able to make it clear which facility she would like to move into, she is fortunate to have the financial means to choose.

    You already seem to be looking into medication and therapy treatments that might help to slow the progression of the disease. As things progress it might be a good idea to talk with your mom about her preferences. Doing research on facilities of where she might want to go when the time comes. You might also find it helpful to look into family support groups. They can be a great source of information and comfort. I believe that others on SC might have additional valuable suggestions.
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    Luv Saving People Money MortgageQueen's Avatar
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    Thanks Angela. I'm afraid to broach the subject of a nursing home because I think it would scare her to death and make her more paranoid. Frankly, if she were to go into a home, she would be past worrying about what her room is like or if it has a nice view, etc. I won't put her in home til she's quite far gone. . .and only because I can't care for her at that point.

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    Smart Canuck frugal50's Avatar
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    i would put her in an institution, she could be a danger to herself and others if not medicated and carefully monitored.
    You can't change other people. You can only change yourself"
    - H. H. Getter

    when we change our attitude, we change our lives





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    Canadian Genius Tweets77's Avatar
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    I believe that it would be beneficial for her to have a complete workup to try to get to the root of the problem. I have seen seniors hallucinate because of a bladder infection. If for some reason she is not eating properly, her brain is not getting the nutrition that it needs to function which can also be classified as "dementia". I am not saying that it isn't the problem, just to get all the information that you can and therefore enable you to make an informed decision. Hope things work out for both of you.

  6. #6
    Mastermind Lynn49's Avatar
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    Well, MQ, I'm sorry as heck that you have to go through this with a beloved Mom, but I was in exactly the same boat as you're in now and it was so terribly sad and scary.

    One word of caution, however: Your Mom will eventually require constant monitoring and with you working, this will be dangerous for the both of you. My Mom used to want to "cook", and would subsequently turn on a stove element and simply walk away, leaving it on. We had to remove the knobs at night when we weren't home. She could never be left alone. Thank heavens we had home-security that would let us know if an outside door was ever opened, so we didn't worry about her leaving in the middle of the night to go "shopping". I could never leave the house, although my darling Husband said he was perfectly capable of "tidying her up" when she went to the washroom. I knew she probably understood enough to know it was him, and her pride would be crushed. We had a care-giver visit every weekday morning to give her a shower and stay with her for a while, so that I could take a deep breath and wallow in some silence. Every Thursday, my Hubby and I had 4 hours with her there so that we could actually go out together!! Now, that was a treat!!

    Needless to say she deteriorated with her alzeimer's and the day finally came when we had to make the awful decision to place her into a nursing home. I called, and they returned my call merely 4 days later, saying they had a place for her!! I was hoping it wouldn't be so soon, but when there's a spot, you have to take it or the wait could be much longer than you want it to be. Well....MQ, that morning I was almost hysterical in tears! I called my late Friend and she came right over and we sat outside and I just cried: how can I wake her up from her comfy bed, her bedroom, and haul her away??!!! A neighbour came by and joined us and I was so grateful for their company. Well, we had to be there at a certain time, so we all pitched in and helped her prepare for her 'car ride' and like your Mom...mine was always cheerful when I had friends over, and everyone loved her. We drove to the nursing home and I was still just shaking; she, apparently by this time, had no idea where we were heading or what a nursing home was, although I did try to explain it to her. You'll find that with this disease, if they say the sky is pink, then it's pink. There's no discussion...it's not to anyone advantage to try to change their minds, it's just frustrating for them!
    We got there, got her comfy, stayed most of the day, then left after dinner, me in tears in the car again. When I got home I didn't know what to do with myself!! I just kept spinning around in the kitchen wondering what I should do with my time!! I was always looking after her and now she was gone!

    Fast forward a little, for a few days she asked to 'go home' but I said yes, in time, when the doctor says you can leave 'the hospital', but for now, we have to be patient. Broke my heart. However!!! She loved being among other people, loved people-watching, loved her meals with people, loved her ice-cream store visits when I'd wheel her to the little store and then go outside onto the patio...oh, those were lovely days!!! I went to help her with lunch every day....although, once in a while I was just too exhausted and didn't and oh, the guilt!!

    One day, as I was wheeling her back to her room after our ice-cream treat, she simply said, "I'm tired. I want to go home now."...my heart broke. Again, I explained about the doctor, etc, and she listened and was so tired...we got to her room and she said, "Oh, thank you. It's good to be home."!!! She meant her room, not our home!!! What a relief to know she was so comfortable there!

    As for forgetting...it happens slowly, but it does happen. Sometimes I was her sister from the old days, sometimes her daughter, and sometimes this nice lady who comes to visit. I was whoever she wanted me to be. She was just always so nice to be with, and when our DD visited, oh, my, those two peas in a pod...! HER, she remembered always!!

    It's an unforgiving disease, MQ.....but what you want is to make her comfortable in whatever way you can. Nursing homes can be lovely places for them. She loved watching everything going on around her! She chatted with others in the beginning and later she just smiled and watched them, the tv, attended little concerts, her visit with Santa that Christmas...it's not the end of the world, it's just a new one for them.

    Yes, the paperwork, power of attorney, her 'whether or not to resuscitate" protocols...it all should be in place asap.

    Hon, if ever you want to PM me and chat, I'm here for you. I wish I had known more than I did when we were going through this horrible time...wish I had knows when her time here was drawing to a close. She was also on that pill, Aricept, is that the one? It works for a while, but then the downslide is dramatic, unfortunately. But it does stall the progression. Watch for tremors, also...their bodies can stiffen up for a few minutes...not dangerous, but something to watch for.

    Well, I hope I haven't frightened you....please reconsider having her move in with you; it's a noble sentiment, but you'd have to stay home or have someone there every minute that you're not home.

    Take good care and sorry you're going through this difficult challenge...

  7. #7
    2y uterine cancer free Mia001's Avatar
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    whent to it all with my father something around 7 years ago..(time passed so fast)...and last year with mom....
    + had to deal a little with FIL and MIL also last year
    4 people, 4 different situations and ways to take the moove for them....all heartbreaking situations though
    i know how it could be hard for you
    try to find her a good home where you can leave her and not always Wonder if she is safe and well treated...that his the best relief you can have, i know guilt will be with you anyway...
    at the beginning , mom was phoning me several times a day telling me everything she could tell me to make me cry....she knew what rope to pull with me,
    but when whe had to decide whether we find another place closer or stay there....she didn't want to moove
    i must tell we had already visited some other places with her...so she knows she has the 4 stars place (lol)
    other then that i think ....

    Lynn said it all....


    i'll be thinking of you both
    Thank's to DH who told me the grumpy Garfield was not at all representative of who i am

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    Luv Saving People Money MortgageQueen's Avatar
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    Tweets- That is a very good suggestion, but we have done that already. Nevertheless you are 100% right.

    Lynn and Mia Thank you SO much for sharing your experiences and wisdom. I'm sure there's lots you could still teach me.
    It's funny. I didn't have this problem with my Dad when he had to go to a home, but in his case it was more him being too sick and weak and needed constant care.
    With Mom, she's obviously not at the point yet, but she'd be still walking and talking and doing normal stuff. It's gong to be a work in progress for sure. I just love her Soooo much, I don't want her ever to be scared or shed a tear of loneliness. One day at a time I guess.

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    Canadian Guru avoncallingu's Avatar
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    MQ, I found that for the last couple of years of my mum's life she started to distrust me. She would lie to me about things that had happened. My brother who has mobility problems lived with her. So there was always someone with her. But when I rode in the car with her driving (I had broken my ankle as I usually drove them around) I realized that they we a "team" at driving and she could not drive by herself.

    I had to let her Dr. Know and the Dr told her that she would have to give up her licence or she (the Dr.) Would have to have it removed. She never forgave me for that one.

    She had agreed years before to let me have access to her bank accounts which was good because when she signed all her savings over to an investment fellow that she didn't know, I was able to get to the bank and remove her money to a new account before the bank closed and the cheque went through. By that time she never would have agreed to a joint bank account as she didn't trust me.

    She would get "sucked in" by sales people and pay outrageous prices to unscrupulous people for things she didn't need.

    She passed away due to a head trauma that she incurred because she had not turned the a/c on and fainted on a very hot day, banging her head. Even then, after my brother called me much later, she convinced the ambulance people that she didn't want to go to the hospital and because I had no medical Power of attorney, I could convince them to take her. She finally listened to her visiting nurse and went to the hospital. Sadly, she never returned, passing away 8 weeks later.

    My advice, have her undergo a "memory test" given by the Alzheimer's Society. That can serve as a comparison line to measure any further loss. Their questions are very subtle.

    Try to get her to assign you as financial and medical power of attorney. But it will still take a medical person to determine whether she is "competent" and able to make her own decisions.

    Even when my mum was in the hospital and we were trying to talk about where she might go when she recovered, the staff were suspicious of our motives and are bound to protect her from "elder abuse" in the form of unscrupulous children who just want to get their hands on their parent's money. She convinced them that she was totally lucid and we were evil. Days later when she took a turn for the worse they conceded that maybe she had been in fact wrongly suspicious of us.

    I f your mother is able to walk, dress, and feed herself, a seniors' retirement home will take her. There are some which feature a progression of care to full long term care.

    If she cannot afford the cost of a private room or if a semi-private one with a room-mate would be more appropriate, then you would probably have more chance of getting her in when you want her to move.

    If she doesn't have extensive finances, then a place will be found for her in a four person ward - but in order to accommodate her getting a place when she needs it, you may have to accept a placement in a facility that is second or third choice.

    All this is very hard to have to deal with in a stressful situation. Does she have a living will which describes just in what circumstances she might wish to refuse treatment? Does she have a will at all? She may be quickly be past when a lawyer would consider her to be "of sound mind" enough to make one. A lawyer will act on her behalf and be very suspicious of your motivation if she appears to want something that you are not happy with.

    All this is so hard to imagine. Thinking about what steps to take when will help. Would her Dr. Perhaps help you to set some things up as part of a "General check up"?

    You have all my good wishes for an easy journey with your mother as her and your life transitions together.

    Hugs!
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    Frosh Canuck $stretcher's Avatar
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    Very interesting to hear all these stories, it is heart breaking.

    I think everyone should plan for their parents (assuming you are close with them) when they turn 70 -when they can help make those decisions on what they want as well. So many people wait until their parents decline, and then they can't get perspective on the situations and every decision is emotional.

    We all know we are getting older, and will eventually decline. I have made plans with my parents now in their mid 70's, after watching my husbands parents both go through terrible similar situations. If you can make decisions factually it will be easier on everyone.

    I hope you and your family can find peace and a plan that will suit everyone's needs.

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    Smart Canuck frugal50's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by $stretcher View Post
    Very interesting to hear all these stories, it is heart breaking.

    I think everyone should plan for their parents (assuming you are close with them) when they turn 70 -when they can help make those decisions on what they want as well. So many people wait until their parents decline, and then they can't get perspective on the situations and every decision is emotional.

    We all know we are getting older, and will eventually decline. I have made plans with my parents now in their mid 70's, after watching my husbands parents both go through terrible similar situations. If you can make decisions factually it will be easier on everyone.

    I hope you and your family can find peace and a plan that will suit everyone's needs.
    mid 70's is still young.. old age doesn't hit until after 85 at least that's with my parents.
    You can't change other people. You can only change yourself"
    - H. H. Getter

    when we change our attitude, we change our lives





  12. #12
    Frosh Canuck $stretcher's Avatar
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    Frugal - you are totally missing my point -I don't think I articulated myself well now that I re-read it.

    If you make PLANS with your parents for what to do in their older years while your parents are in the early 70's, when they get to that older age you will know what to do, and what their wishes are. It will be understood what the directions are going to be, and thus take the emotions out of the decisions at that time.

    Does that make sense??

    My inlaws are very old(not in age) -Dad has advance parkinsons at 76, completely incapacitated and requires full time care, and Mom is 74 but looks like 90, also needed to go to a home- I am sure they thought they would not be in this condition at this age, but it happens!
    Last edited by $stretcher; Sun, Feb 14th, 2016 at 11:37 AM.

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    Sorry for your heartache MQ. I don't have a personal story to share but finding the very best place possible to care for your mom might be the best thing. If she remains on her own you'll worry yourself sick and if you were the only caregiver you would run yourself ragged as the disease progressed. They'll have social workers and mental health workers that can help your mom too. You sound like such a kind caring daughter, she is lucky to have you.

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    Smart Canuck frugal50's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by $stretcher View Post
    Frugal - you are totally missing my point -I don't think I articulated myself well now that I re-read it.

    If you make PLANS with your parents for what to do in their older years while your parents are in the early 70's, when they get to that older age you will know what to do, and what their wishes are. It will be understood what the directions are going to be, and thus take the emotions out of the decisions at that time.

    Does that make sense??

    My inlaws are very old(not in age) -Dad has advance parkinsons at 76, completely incapacitated and requires full time care, and Mom is 74 but looks like 90, also needed to go to a home- I am sure they thought they would not be in this condition at this age, but it happens!
    sucks to be them because I know a lot of folks well into their 90's



    as I look and act like teenagers and lead a very full and happy healthy life I guess it's genetics and lifestyle
    You can't change other people. You can only change yourself"
    - H. H. Getter

    when we change our attitude, we change our lives





  15. #15
    2y uterine cancer free Mia001's Avatar
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    OPs are right ,
    when in this situation, your brain never rest... wondering
    ''is she ok?'' '' did she take her medication ?'' ''did she eat properly'' '' why don't she answer the phone ?'' '' why the line is always busy?'' ( when she has 2 phone line)...etc...

    i strongly agree with Seylz , legal papers have to be done when people are well and know all the aspects of it....
    Last edited by Mia001; Sun, Feb 14th, 2016 at 03:35 PM.
    Thank's to DH who told me the grumpy Garfield was not at all representative of who i am

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