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  1. #1
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    Exclamation How to cope with mother in law's dementia

    We moved in withe Theresa 7 months ago, when she was first dianognised with dementia and at that stage she wasn't too bad. Now we are findig it very difficult to cope with her some days. Although she can just about manage to get dressed we have to tell her when to put clean clothes on, she won't go in the shower but she does wash mot days although there are the odd days when she forgets. Once she is up, she sits in her chair in the sitting room and only moves to make a cuppa or go the the toilet,her excuse is that she cant walk far but to be fair she was like this before the dementia set in, she wont do any house work and after being here for this length of time we are beginning to realise that she must have stopped doing the house work long before this. In the last couple of weeks we have found things have began to deterriate, most days now she wont get up out of bed we have to tell her to get up, she has forgotten who are am a few times, and she seems to think her son and daughter are still children. Theresa also keeps hiding things then we have to hunt around the house for them, she keeps packing her shopping bag with different things most of them rubbish, she has no ide of the date or time or even the day. It was her birthday last week and although she received loads of cards and presents, yesterday she told us it was the 10th july and that it was her birthday and nobody had sent her any cards and after we told her that it was last week and she did receive cards we cant seem to find where she has put them. Theresa will pull plugs out and even turned off the freezer and fridge, she has even pulled all the wires out of the phone, but when ever she does these things and we try to tell herabout it she will reply with it wasnt me. Her son(my partner) is finding it very difficult to cope with this and leaves most of it up to me, he seems to think that it is just going to get better. The other day she had an accident in her bed but instead of telling us she just pulled the covers up and we only discovered it when she had lost her purse and we were looking in her bedroom for it, theresa was with me when this happen and I said it looks like you had an accident to which she rplied no it wasnt me. Does anybody have any advice on how to cope with what is happening now and also how to get her son to accept what is happening, although he knows she has alzhimers he seems to hide away in the shed in the garden. I forgot to say that Theresa is 87years old
     

  2. #2
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    Hi Verity and welcome to Talking Point

    Has your MIL been officially diagnosed with alzheimer's? I'm afraid your husband is going have to come to terms with the fact that she isn't going to get better and is actually going to get much worse.

    What support is in place? GP, Social Worker? Community Psychiatric Nurse? Consultant? It sounds to me as if you need a carer's assessment which can be arranged through the SW or possibly the GP.

    Did you move in with the intention of caring for Theresa and are you claiming Attendance Allowance for her?

    Also, is there a Power of Attorney drawn up? If there is no Enduring Power or Attorney, you'd be advised to get a Lasting Power drawn up if Theresa is having problems with money, shopping and so forth.

    Sorry to ask a lot of questions but with more information more help and support can be suggested.

    Glad you found us, I hope you get as much out of this forum as I do

    Vonny xx
    Vonny
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    TP: "A little light in great darkness" Ezra Pound

     

  3. #3
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    Sadly most of the things you describe are typical of dementia.

    I would say, there's no point in trying to reason with Theresa, or to point out things she has done, because she won't believe you. She will have no memory of doing them. What she does do will have made sense to her at the time, even though they don't to anyone else. Arguing will only distress you and her, and you can't win.

    Have you any sort of support from social services? For example, does Theresa go to a day centre or anything like that?

    It really sounds as though your partner is in denial - unsurprising since it's soul destroying to see a parent go this way (and dare I say it, worse for a son to see a mother).

    Sadly, as dementia is a progressive, untreatable condition, Theresa can only get worse.
     

  4. #4
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    Smile Caring for Mother in law

    Thank you for your replies. We moved in as Ray didn't want his mum to go into a home although his sister thinks that might happen in the end. Christine had already sorted out Theresa'a finanaces and deals with all that side of it. I get carers allowance and also deal with all the medication and doctors and the hospital. The last time we saw a social worker was back in March. I had to phone them 3 weeks ago as me and Ray were going to go to our daughter's for the weekend and we asked for a carer who could come in and give her medication and make her breakfast and dinner as Chris could only do it on a night time as she was at work during the day and could only come over on the night. So really we were only asking for a carer for 3 visits as Chris was going to do the Sunday and as we would be doing breakfast and medication friday morning.On speaking to social services and explaining this to them and also saying that the social worker we saw in March said on occassions like this we just had to ring them and this could be arranged we were informed that to start we Theresa would have to be means tested and then it had to go before a panal for them to decide if this could happen,so it would probably be better if we arranged for a private carer. We did this and although it only cost us 10.58 and we met the carer before the friday we didnt feel that this was right. Theresa does see the doctor who has been very helpful, also she has seen a doctor at the hostpital whon said that she was only border line that was in march and due to go back to see her in september. We found out that this doctor though that it was vascular dementia. Last week i had to take Theresa for some blood tests and we saw our own doctor who said that she was going to make arrangements for another doctor to come out and assess Theresa at home as she thought that Theresa was more that border line. Yesterday Theresa came into the kitchen and looked really frightened on asking her what the matter was, she said that there was 2 men in the sitting room, one was doing the dusting and the other was rummageing around. I went back into the room with with her and explained that there was nobody in there and that there was only me and her in the house but she kept asking me if I could see them, not only must this have been frightening for her it was a bit scary for me although i knew there was nobody there. I understand that it is going to get worse but although Ray knows this he still finds it hard to handle, he keeps talking about packing in work to look after her but this would not be a good idea as he is already finding it hard. When I talk to him about it he says that it is his mum and he doesn't like seeing her like this and he can't do some of the things that i have to do for her especially when she has her little accidents. He says that when he was younger she once said to him dont ever let me go senile and if I do, do me in. I said although she said this she probably didn't mean it and to stop thinking about it as there is nothing he can do to stop this happening. Plus it is against the law. I will keep you posted as to how we get on
     

  5. #5
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    I know a little how Ray feels, Verity. When I was in my late 20s and my ma was in her late 50s (not so much older than I am now ) we often chatted about the future and she made me promise her several times that if she ever went senile I would end her suffering. I agreed, even if it meant me going to prison, because I love her so much.

    However, that was then and this is now. I have a 15 year old son who I'm responsible for and even if euthanasia was legal I'm not sure I could do that, even in the name of love. Apart from my first marriage vows, I think this is the only promise I've ever broken which is obviously distressing. I'm sure I am not the only one who has this burden of not being able to help in the way we said we would. Please tell Ray he is not alone.

    Theresa certainly sounds more than borderline and I've glad you are having her reassessed. You may be able to get more medication and support to help you all.

    Do let us know how you get on

    Vonny xx
    Vonny
    Former Carer

    TP: "A little light in great darkness" Ezra Pound

     

  6. #6
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    It's often difficult to differentiate between hallucinations and delusions; the former is actually seeing things that aren't real, the latter is a belief (and can include believing you have seen/heard things, but never actually did).

    If Theresa is actually saying "can't you see the men, they are over there" or somethin glike that, then she is likely hallucinating. If she things like "there have been people in the house", that could be a delusion. Delusions are very common, hallucinations less so, but still possible.

    There are medications that may be helpful - it really does sound as though Theresa is considerably more than "borderline".

    Vascular Dementia is typified by long persiods of stability, with sudden declines - it sounds as though Theresa has had one or more of the mini-strokes that cause the declines.

    It's definitely worth having reassessments.

    I'm really rather shocked by what the social worker said re carers - yes, it is means tested, but really, unless Theresa is obviously wealthy, then it was surely worth at least trying to get funding before suggesting privately employeing someone?

    It is always worth keeping in mind that Theresa is probably unaware of there being anything wrong with her. Her distress comes from her false beliefs and ideas, rather than knowing that she is ill and is seeing/hearing/forgetting things etc.

    It is rare for someone with dementia to realise and comprehend they have anything wrong with them, unless they are in the very early stages in which case there is perhaps a realisation that the memory is not what it should be.

    My father believed to the end that there was nothing at all wrong with him, even when he reached the stage of not recognising myself or my mother, or his own home - he believed he was on an Indonesian island running a fruit and vegetable business, that his home was his office, and that my nother was a "strange woman" and that I was her husband!
     

  7. #7
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    Hi Verity (what a lovely name!)

    I think you are getting close to thinking about a care home for your MIL. As Vonny says, what we intend to do when there is no immediate problem is one thing, but when things get worse we have to re-think what we said. It is all about doing your best with the information that you have at the time.

    Nebiroth, I never understood the difference between delusions and hallucinations. Mum used to tell me that two men and a woman were living with her, and that dad was sitting in his chair doing ****** all about it. Now, my dad was never a man to do ****** all about anything, he was absolutely a get up and solve it man. Pronto. So I still don't know if those were hallucinations or delusions - and which is worse.

    Let us know how you go on, Verity.

    Margaret
     

  8. #8
    Margaret, a rose is still a rose by any other name. I've often found it hard to distinguish which is which when confronted by Ken imagining he has things in his hand, or telling me some story which cannot be true.

    It seems from your post Verity as though you need a lot more help than Social Services are giving at the moment. Have you asked for a carer's assessment. This is for you - not for Theresa and should be for your benefit such as having a sitter in to stay with her for a few hours whilst you get some time to yourself.

    xxTinaT
     

  9. #9
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    Smile

    Thank you for your comments, they have been very helpful. Theresa has her up and down moments as I call them. Take last night for instance, it was 9.45pm and I could hear her mesing about in the freezer, i went to see what she was doing, she told me she was looking for something to cook for dinner, I explain to her what time it was and that she had been out for her dinner with her friend and that we had also had tea and it was nearly bed time, she seemed to be quite shocked about this but i put some of that down to it being the light nights that can appear quite confusion for her. Today she has got up early and when i went down stairs she is dressed and has her shoes on, on asking her if she was going somewhere her reply,"I had them on when i came in". I asked her where she had been and she said Haggerston Terrace, funny enough this is where she used to live when she was a little girl. I sat with her and explained that this was her home and that she has now lived here for 40years, and that she had been to bed and just got up, she seem surprised by this and looked really confused.There are other things that I found confusing about some of the things that she does, like she will sometimes attempt to do the washing up after meals but uses cold water and no washing up liquid as if these things dont exist. She often asked me if he late husband is up at the club although he has been dead for 5years and looks at me when as if i am daft when i explain this to her. Sometimes she even forgets who i am and even last week after Ray had been out that he had bought a girl home and that they were upstairs, I found this quite amusing but Ray seemed abit disturbed by it. I arrange for a hairdresser to come every 2 weeks to do her hair as she stopped doing washing it herself, but suddenly on Friday she informed us that she was going to wash her hair as she hadn,t done it for 3 weeks and she normally does it every week, I didnt stop her doing this but watched her from the landing to make sure that she was ok,she ran her hands under the tap and then wiped them over the back of her hair, put shampoo on her hands, wiped this over the back of her hair and then more water on her hands, rubbing them over her hair, she said "thats done now, that feels better". She never once touched the front part. Ray said " she hasn't done that properly dont you think we should tell her". I am not sure if I did the right thing her not but said " it doesnt really matter has the hairdresser is comming on Monday(today) and she will do it properly and your mum is just doing what she feels is right. The council workmen are comming today to put new windows in, so I have asked Theresa if she wants to help me take the blinds and curtains down but she said " tell them to come back when I have gone". Ray's mum and even his dad when he was alive have been saying that to the council for years and now this is the only house on the estate that has never been modernised properly. I do sometimes feel that if I have to go shopping that I shouldnt be leaving hr on her own for her own safety but Ray keeps saying that if you get a carer to sit with her while your out they might take her into a home, i told him it doesn't work like that. He cares very deeply for his mum and as he keeps saying, she adopted him and now he owns her, but in the next breath he can get frustrated with some of the things that she does, for instance treating him like a child at times( although i think most men act like chrildren at times lol). Have to go now as council knocking on the door but will let you know what happens
     

  10. #10
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    Hi Verity
    I can see similarities between my MIL and yours. Being a DIL comes with its own problems, we cannot make any major decisions but we can be used (and I use that word deliberately) for a lot of the care, but that's another can of worms.
    I have found that 'kindly' lying is the best way out of many situations (unless they are life threatening), I would have done the same as you over the hair washing. Otherwise I would find myself constantly being negative and that isn't good for anyone's self worth.
     

  11. #11
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    I so know what you mean

    Hi Verity

    I know just what Ray means.

    [ He says that when he was younger she once said to him dont ever let me go senile and if I do, do me in. [/QUOTE]

    My Gran, Dad's mum, was in a terrible state (Dad's a long way from that yet) by the time she died although I don't think AD was ever formaly diagnosed. He used to say to me "if ever I get like that for God's sake shoot me, if I kept a dog like it the RSPCA would come knocking on my door".

    I understand what he meant but I still couldn't "pull the trigger" even if it was an option.
     

 

 

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