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  1. #1
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    Mum's constant phone calls

    Hello

    My Mum has dementia. She lives alone but I am only two minutes drive from her. Her behaviour is getting worse. She is constantly phoning me (except when I'm at work. I drive for a living and am out of touch then). She is sometimes aggressive and is always accusing me, my wife or my brother (who works away and comes home at weekends) of stealing her money. We aren't I should add. We find it hideen in drawrs, jars, clothes. All over the house in fact.

    I am at the end of my tether. No matter how many times we tell her and show her her money the calls and accusations don't end.

    She has been diagnosed and a CPN involved but she cannot be given any treatment because she lives alone and cannot be monitored. She won't go into care. Suggesting it makes her more angry.

    Please help me I feel as if I cannot cope for much longer.
     

  2. #2
    Hello Richard and welcome to Talking Point (TP). I cannot offer any practical advice on this but others who have been in your position will be offering their experience and advice.
    Joanne
    Carer and Volunteer Moderator
    When you've seen one person with Alzheimer's, you've seen one person with Alzheimer's
     

  3. #3
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    What a nasty game you are unwillingly playing - I do feel for you. How does your mother get the cash she is hiding around the house? We had to take drastic action with MIL over her cash when so much of it went missing permanently and several hundred pounds were hidden around the house at any one time. Fortunately she never accused anyone of taking it, and was in total denial about having withdrawn cash on a frequent basis, even when we showed her the bank statements. She just said she needed to go to the bank to get the 'real' bank statements because they must have made a mistake.

    OH has financial POA and he converted her main account to online access only, with her other current account being her shopping money. She cannot draw out large sums any more and if she starts to draw more than she has in the account then the Post Office or bank alert her to the low balance and she stops. She sometimes rings and asks for a top up, which OH ignores. We know she has enough food because family members take her shopping at least once a week.

    OH can monitor her spending online. MIL now seems happier with only having access to small amounts. When she could get at her big account she felt compelled to spend it. We have reached the point where we take the statements away from her because she can no longer understand them, but for a couple of years OH would talk them through with her regularly, and she would just get in a muddle and say she was going down to the bank to get them to explain things. She never did though.

    Could you consider having similar control of your mum's accounts? Shopping can be done online with one of the big supermarkets, so cash is not really needed. A small weekly allowance for daily groceries etc. is really all that is needed. Your mum is using money as a control mechanism, but no-one is a winner in this game. Her accusations are because she has lost control of her financial awareness and someone else must be to blame, not her.

    Another thought, has she talked to her memory nurse, or similar person, about what she wants for her future? She is very afraid of residential care, but is not taking responsibility for alternative support. MIL found it comforting to talk to someone who was not family about what she wanted. She has frequently agreed to consider outside help, but when it comes to the reality she denies that she has agreed and cancels whatever has been arranged. This has been going on for 2 years now, but we are starting to make progress because the authorities have become more relentless in their insistence on offering support and she has run out of excuses. She had her first visit to a CH for day care this week. I never thought she would go through with it, so progress IS possible.

    I would thoroughly recommend the independent advice and support provided by your local Alzheimer's Society. For us this was the breakthrough because the adviser really listened to MIL as well as to the family. The nurses from the Community Mental Health Team have also been excellent. Who have you tried already, and were they any help to you?
     

  4. #4
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    You aren't alone. The issue over money and accusations of theft are, sadly, very common. They are usually caused by money being hidden away which then becomes 'lost' and so the person reaches the only explanation they can find, ie that someone has stolen it. Such accusations are often levelled at those nearest to them. There could also be delusions about money, ideas about having far more than reality, again the only way to explain the discrepancy between this and reality is theft.

    No amount of evidence will convince. It is a case of "I am right, everyone else is wrong", these ideas will be clung to like a limpet. Any evidence will simply become part of the story - medically these are known as 'confabulations'. As witness the poster above: bank statements were rejected as being inaccurate or faked.

    You say that no treatment can be given because no-one can monitor it. It's up to the NHS and social services to ensure that appropriate treatment is given in the right way. If this means carers or district nurses visiting every day to give tablets and make sure they are taken then so be it. Also don't be emotionally blackmailed into taking on this duty - be prepared to say you can't and won't and stick to that.

    In the meantime for the phone calls, I can only suggest that you do something like use an answering machine. At the moment you're on a hiding to nothing - you are engaging in the argument which can't be won. With an answering machine you can 'filter' the calls. If you mum rings up about money it can be safely ignored. This sounds cruel but at the moment responding to these calls is doing nothing but cause distress.

    Your commonsense - and guilt monster! - is probably telling you that you should answer these cause and try to get your mum back to reality. But you can't, reason and logic won't work and even if by some miracle you got mum to accept your side the chances are she'd instantly forget and go right back into the groove of her stuck record about missing money, thefts etc

    Towards the end my dad was utterly convinced he had £30,000 in the bank (he'd never, ever had that much) and that the prize money on TV game shows was being stolen from his account and given away, it was his way of making the reality of bank statements fit in with his delusions about money.
     

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by richardp View Post
    Hello

    My Mum has dementia. She lives alone but I am only two minutes drive from her. Her behaviour is getting worse. She is constantly phoning me (except when I'm at work. I drive for a living and am out of touch then). She is sometimes aggressive and is always accusing me, my wife or my brother (who works away and comes home at weekends) of stealing her money. We aren't I should add. We find it hideen in drawrs, jars, clothes. All over the house in fact.

    I am at the end of my tether. No matter how many times we tell her and show her her money the calls and accusations don't end.

    She has been diagnosed and a CPN involved but she cannot be given any treatment because she lives alone and cannot be monitored. She won't go into care. Suggesting it makes her more angry.

    Please help me I feel as if I cannot cope for much longer.
    FWIW:
    Denial ? No: anosognosia
    http://goo.gl/pNwOZ
    A lack of awareness of impairment, not knowing that a deficit or illness exists, in memory or other function is called anosognosia. The term anosognosia refers to brain cell changes that lead to a lack of self-awareness. Many Alzheimer's patients appear to be in denial ... actually, they have anosognosia, and do not realize that they have problems.

    All dementias are characterized by progressive brain failure due to brain cell deterioration and brain cell death. All dementias are fatal illnesses. As the brain deteriorates, the person's ability, understanding and behaviour go through many changes.

    "delusions that are frequently observed in Alzheimer’s patients include beliefs about theft, the patient’s house not being his home, a spouse, is an impostor, belief an intruder is in the house, abandonment, spousal infidelity, and paranoia." ~ alzcompend.info

    confabulations are a major annoyance — when friends, family, and the medical community take everything our loved ones say at face value, no matter how false we know their statements to be http://www.alzcompend.info/?p=293

    --

    Does your Alzheimer's Association offer a help line for counseling for carer's facing this problem?
    All-Night Care for Dementia’s Restless Minds http://tinyurl.com/d4wsnvc
    Why not set up a Evening-Daycare program those with dementia. this blog provides a guide to establishing Evening-Daycare. http://alzdaycareatnight.wordpress.com

    --
     

  6. #6
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    Me too

    This sounds very like my mum, except we live nearly 3 hours away. She was assessed by sw and gets care 4 times a day and goes to day care 4 days a week. My solution has been to turn off voicemail on the mobile and turn off the mobile itself when I go to bed. I also unplug the landline at bed-time. She will literally phone 2 minutes after the first call to say she's lost her bank card, even though she found it 2 minutes ago. This can go on and on, so now I have to tell her I'm disconnecting the phone after a few calls because this can go on ad infinitum. Usually, after I've told her this, and I've pulled out the lead the calls actually stop. It seems that answering and talking about it just reinforces the repetitive behaviour. This may sound unkind, but she's forgotten about it before too long, and you (and your family) have to have a life too. You could always have another mobile, which she doesn't have the number of, for emergencies.
     

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Nebiroth View Post
    You aren't alone. The issue over money and accusations of theft are, sadly, very common. .............

    No amount of evidence will convince. ...................

    You say that no treatment can be given because no-one can monitor it. It's up to the NHS and social services to ensure that appropriate treatment is given in the right way. If this means carers or district nurses visiting every day to give tablets and make sure they are taken then so be it. Also don't be emotionally blackmailed into taking on this duty - be prepared to say you can't and won't and stick to that.

    In the meantime for the phone calls, I can only suggest that you do something like use an answering machine. ..............
    I am learning how folks in the UK handle needs of imdividuals afflicted with Dementia. I was expecting to read "It's up to the NHS and social services to ensure that appropriate treatment is given in the right way."

    I screen all incoming calls using a "Caller ID" a led panel on the phone-instrument that identifies the person calling and their phone number. Our internet service provides or phone service, cable TV and high speed modem internet service, caller Id, and voice mail.

    I could turn off the voice mail and connect and answering machine that would let us hear the message while it is being recorded. I'd go to Amazon.com and see what they have to offer.

    <quote>
    "Your commonsense - and guilt monster! - is probably telling you that you should answer these cause and try to get your mum back to reality."
    </quote>
    It hurts so much to accept reality will never return.
    All-Night Care for Dementia’s Restless Minds http://tinyurl.com/d4wsnvc
    Why not set up a Evening-Daycare program those with dementia. this blog provides a guide to establishing Evening-Daycare. http://alzdaycareatnight.wordpress.com

    --
     

  8. #8
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    The constant phonecalls at work and accusations about money nearly drove me to distraction. My mother was so plausable, that I was convinced that someone was robbing her and had to stop myself going to the neighbours and accusing them, as they held the key to mother's house.

    I had a wonderful boss at work, who was sympathetic to my plight, as she had just gone through it all with her own MIL, but there was no way I could 'field' the calls as mother lived 100 miles away and there was always the chance that she was in deep trouble.

    I tried every ploy with the money, giving her a small allowance every week and making her sign for it, as the accusation was that I never gave her any money, but it still disappeared. All her bills were covered and her shopping paid for, with the change from the shopping going into her purse also. I used to hide money all over the house for payment to the gardener and hairdresser. She would be able to find this money, yet never find the money she had hidden, that was gone forever. Never has been found and must have run into hundreds of pounds.

    These annoyances will pass eventually, but they seem to last a long while and are very stressful.
     

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nannybus View Post
    The constant phonecalls at work and accusations about money nearly drove me to distraction. My mother was so plausable, that I was convinced that someone was robbing her and had to stop myself going to the neighbours and accusing them, as they held the key to mother's house.

    I had a wonderful boss at work, who was sympathetic to my plight, as she had just gone through it all with her own MIL, but there was no way I could 'field' the calls as mother lived 100 miles away and there was always the chance that she was in deep trouble.

    I tried every ploy with the money, giving her a small allowance every week and making her sign for it, as the accusation was that I never gave her any money, but it still disappeared. All her bills were covered and her shopping paid for, with the change from the shopping going into her purse also. I used to hide money all over the house for payment to the gardener and hairdresser. She would be able to find this money, yet never find the money she had hidden, that was gone forever. Never has been found and must have run into hundreds of pounds.

    These annoyances will pass eventually, but they seem to last a long while and are very stressful.
    We had the same problem with my MIL. She was forever ringing us and accusing us of stealing her money. Our problem was made worse due to her dominant and controlling nature. My OH was so programmed to pleasing her to keep the peace that he found it impossible to refuse her when she insisted on having her monthly housekeeping money. As OH bought all of her shopping and arranged all utilities, insurances etc being paid by direct debit, she had no need to have the amount she demanded. He also found it impossible to ignore her phone calls and just took the abuse day after day. When she became incapable of differentiating between 4am & 4pm she would ring in the middle of the night and then become agressive when it was pointed out to her! When she could no longer understand letters & bank statements she would burn them in a dustbin in the garden. When she eventually went into a care home we thought we might find the cash she had accused us of stealing, we found nothing. We searched high & low pulling out drawers and looking into every nook & cranny but nothing was found. We can only assume that she picked up the cash with paperwork and set fire to it! We do know that she tried to pay the carer with her cash and was told that the payments were done through the bank, she still tried to pay again. As we do not know who may have gone to the house and she may have handed cash over to any stranger who called. It is very worrying when you hold POA and cannot account for every penny spent. She is now in a care home so that worry has gone. I do sympathise with you, it is an awful thing to be accused by your own mother.
    Polly
     

 

 

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