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any advice on how to cope with my mum thinking we have moved her flat

GCB

New member
Jan 18, 2022
3
0
hello, my mum is 92 and over the past year has had memory loss. I had put it down to being 92. Over the past couple of months she has declined . On Sunday afternoon, she became really upset with me and accused me of being deceitful as I had moved her from her old home to this one. Cleverly putting all the furniture in the same place? There was nothing I could do to convince her.
On Monday Mum said she had proved that this wasnt her old home as she has returned to her old flat that morning to collect a watch from her bedside table. So she has proof that she had been moved. Why were people lying to her.
Mum lives in a one bedroom flat in a retirement block. She has lived there for 9 years.
Can anyone give me advice with how i deal with this? Is it best just to agree ? Or keep trying to convince her that she has not moved anywhere. No one has moved her.
My GP did suggest a memory clinic before Christmas but I have heard that these can be demeaning. My mum is very proud and hates being talked to as a child. She worked until she was 86.
 

Sarasa

Volunteer Host
Apr 13, 2018
4,843
0
Nottinghamshire
Hi @GCB and a warm welcome to Dementia Talking Point. Thinking they are not in the right house is very common with people with dementia. It only happened once with my mother, and that was after a very stressful day in which her hadn't eaten or drunk enough. Does your mother have carers coming in or anyone else checking that she is OK and looking after herself?
It's best to make up an excuse she will accept. My mother's major problem was that she was sure the neighbours were stealing from her. My husband told her straight out she was mistaken. I tried logic 'Is it more likely that you put something away and forgot where, or that the neighbours go into your small flat sight unseen and took your skirt, false teeth, instructions for your iron etc etc.' That didn't work either. What did work, at least for a while, was distracting her by suggesting a glass of wine or watching a nice film on the TV. This thread Compassionate Communication with the Memory Impaired might be helpful. Don't beat yourself up if it doesn't always work, but if it does it does provide a bit of breathing space.
I think it would be a good idea to contact your mother's GP and set the ball rolling for a diagnosis. I'm not sure about the test being demeaning, I think it depends on who administers them. We never persuaded mum to engage with the memory clinic but the one time we did go the nurse wasn't great. She wouldn't try to persuade mum to do the test by just being friendly, and insisted that if mum had dementia she would have to tell her, something I knew would upset mum greatly. However her GPs were good and really tried to explain in ways mum would understand. My mother has vascular dementia and at the time her memory was good, it was, as my husband said, as though her logic boxes were fried. However if you do get a diagnosis that may open up the way to some help and if it is Alzheimer's there is some medication that might help at least a little.
Your mother sounds very much like mine. Up until her late eighties she was going on adventurous holidays by herself, was a main stay of her local branch of her political party and loved going to the cinema and theatre. Things really flipped when she was 90, though there were signs before that and I ended up moving mum into care, as her needs were too great for supported housing. It is a shock when you realise the person you never would get frail, elderly and exhibit signs of dementia has, but you'll find this a very supportive place and I'm sure others will be along shortly with their suggestions.
 

jennifer1967

Registered User
Mar 15, 2020
11,713
0
Southampton
i didnt think the memory clinic was demeaning but just another test to get a diagnosis like any other illness. i stayed in the room with my husband the whole time, she asked me if i had notice changes, did his test with a sense of humour and he was diagnosed with vascular dementia having had the MRI scan before when had TIA. they didnt treat him like a child but were respectful. at least if you have a diagnosis, then things open up and if its alzheimers, there are tablets for that. they are not supportive afterwards as theres no tablet for vascular but you can be prepared
 

northumbrian_k

Volunteer Host
Mar 2, 2017
2,324
0
Newcastle
Hi @GCB and welcome to Dementia Talking Point. What you describe seems fairly typical I'm afraid. When we arrived back at our home of 20 years my wife would ask me if this was where "she" lived. She seemed to have lost the ability to recognise things that had been familiar for years. She had no clothes (despite overflowing wardrobes), the house layout had been changed, items that she needed had 'walked' and so on.

My only strategy was to be non-commital. I stopped short of agreeing with things that were just plain wrong but did not try to correct them. I said that I would look into things, to leave it with me to sort out and so on. But I would qualify this by saying I would do it later. Let's have a cup of tea first. Sometimes this worked, but not always.

Our experience of the memory clinic was far from demeaning. The nurse was very patient and took things slowly. She engaged my wife in conversation, got her to do various tasks and tests etc., then tried them out on me. This gave my wife the impression that it wasn't just about her.

Don't be put off by what you have heard. Attending a memory clinic is a normal part of the diagnostic process. GPs are not specialists and can only do so much in this regard, which is why referral to a memory clinic has been suggested. It sounds to me like a logical next step.
 

GCB

New member
Jan 18, 2022
3
0
Hi @GCB and welcome to Dementia Talking Point. What you describe seems fairly typical I'm afraid. When we arrived back at our home of 20 years my wife would ask me if this was where "she" lived. She seemed to have lost the ability to recognise things that had been familiar for years. She had no clothes (despite overflowing wardrobes), the house layout had been changed, items that she needed had 'walked' and so on.

My only strategy was to be non-commital. I stopped short of agreeing with things that were just plain wrong but did not try to correct them. I said that I would look into things, to leave it with me to sort out and so on. But I would qualify this by saying I would do it later. Let's have a cup of tea first. Sometimes this worked, but not always.

Our experience of the memory clinic was far from demeaning. The nurse was very patient and took things slowly. She engaged my wife in conversation, got her to do various tasks and tests etc., then tried them out on me. This gave my wife the impression that it wasn't just about her.

Don't be put off by what you have heard. Attending a memory clinic is a normal part of the diagnostic process. GPs are not specialists and can only do so much in this regard, which is why referral to a memory clinic has been suggested. It sounds to me like a logical next step.
Thank you so much for your reply. It is strangely reassuring to know that mums behaviour fits into the Dementia brackets. I will try your suggested strategy. On Sunday I couldnt think of a way out of the conversation so we went around in circles. I shall have a few distraction topics to call upon now. Many thanks
 

GCB

New member
Jan 18, 2022
3
0
Hi @GCB and a warm welcome to Dementia Talking Point. Thinking they are not in the right house is very common with people with dementia. It only happened once with my mother, and that was after a very stressful day in which her hadn't eaten or drunk enough. Does your mother have carers coming in or anyone else checking that she is OK and looking after herself?
It's best to make up an excuse she will accept. My mother's major problem was that she was sure the neighbours were stealing from her. My husband told her straight out she was mistaken. I tried logic 'Is it more likely that you put something away and forgot where, or that the neighbours go into your small flat sight unseen and took your skirt, false teeth, instructions for your iron etc etc.' That didn't work either. What did work, at least for a while, was distracting her by suggesting a glass of wine or watching a nice film on the TV. This thread might be helpful. Don't beat yourself up if it doesn't always work, but if it does it does provide a bit of breathing space.
I think it would be a good idea to contact your mother's GP and set the ball rolling for a diagnosis. I'm not sure about the test being demeaning, I think it depends on who administers them. We never persuaded mum to engage with the memory clinic but the one time we did go the nurse wasn't great. She wouldn't try to persuade mum to do the test by just being friendly, and insisted that if mum had dementia she would have to tell her, something I knew would upset mum greatly. However her GPs were good and really tried to explain in ways mum would understand. My mother has vascular dementia and at the time her memory was good, it was, as my husband said, as though her logic boxes were fried. However if you do get a diagnosis that may open up the way to some help and if it is Alzheimer's there is some medication that might help at least a little.
Your mother sounds very much like mine. Up until her late eighties she was going on adventurous holidays by herself, was a main stay of her local branch of her political party and loved going to the cinema and theatre. Things really flipped when she was 90, though there were signs before that and I ended up moving mum into care, as her needs were too great for supported housing. It is a shock when you realise the person you never would get frail, elderly and exhibit signs of dementia has, but you'll find this a very supportive place and I'm sure others will be along shortly with their suggestions.
Hello Sarasa ,thank you so much for your reply and your recommended reading. I have read it and it holds many useful tips and insights. It is such a relief to me to find this forum as I felt so useless over the weekend as I really had no idea how to best handle my mums new state of mind.
You are correct it is a shock to have to admit that the person who was so fiercely independent and strong is showing signs of not understanding or remembering. thank you
 

VicM

New member
Jan 18, 2022
1
0
Hi GCB.

My dad had a memory test nearly a year ago from the local mental health team and it was great to be able to get a diagnosis of vascular dementia, because it was obvious something was wrong. The test wasn't demeaning and he'd already had an initial assessment from his GP. The only thing you'll need to start the ball rolling is to be able to speak to your mum's GP about her - this needs express permission from the person being talked about. This involves the GP surgery phoning your mum to ask if you can speak to the GP about her care.
 

Cat27

Volunteer Moderator
Feb 27, 2015
12,832
0
Merseyside
Hi GCB.

My dad had a memory test nearly a year ago from the local mental health team and it was great to be able to get a diagnosis of vascular dementia, because it was obvious something was wrong. The test wasn't demeaning and he'd already had an initial assessment from his GP. The only thing you'll need to start the ball rolling is to be able to speak to your mum's GP about her - this needs express permission from the person being talked about. This involves the GP surgery phoning your mum to ask if you can speak to the GP about her care.
Welcome to TP @VicM