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At a loss to know what to do for the best

Buckeroo

Registered User
Apr 16, 2020
20
My mother 85 yrs - Alzheimers. Living with father 92 yrs. They don't get on. He doesn't understand dementia so doesn't respond as guided. They fight. She is argumentative; adamant she is right when clothes go "missing" - won't let up, goes on and on. Feels violated. As her daughter I try to placate which is worse than trying to reason that there is nothing to fear as I'm told I am being condescending. She doesn't walk - could but won't. Won't help herself. Refuses any outing offers, then says she is bored, fed up being just a "housekeeper". Aggressive when any further suggestion of help is mentioned - we currently have a nurse administering meds in the morning and someone cleaning on Wednesday mornings - she will not have any more. Both parents stubborn, completely negative in every response. "We can manage and if there are any changes we will sort them - we're not senile yet!" is a regular response to anything. Our mother cries - on an d off - shouts like a bear often and yesterday pushed me aside and told my father she didn't like "this woman and wanted to get away from her" - that was me. All forgotten for a few hours then more argumentativeness later in the day.

I think she may have another UTI but she won't have it. Says her pee is fine and will I stop interfering - I can hear her muttering and getting stroppy under her breath as she heads for the loo. How do I get a sample from someone who doesn't think there is a problem. Doesn't think she's got dementia (diagnosed and head scan next week).

Honestly, she is a nightmare and together with a very stubborn father - its like spending time in the Temple of Doom. We only want to help but at every turn they make it so jolly difficult. And they have nothing to talk about, no hobbies, no social interaction and its so gloomy and depressing so must be horrendous for them too but they're too busy making it worse.

Thank you for letting me sound off this morning. I've repeated myself I know from past threads - it seems the problem is the same but notching up a gear at a pace. I don't know how to handle it for the best or what the future holds. Both parents still able to voice their opinion very strongly, especially my mother who has always been out spoken and tricky, dementia just making this worse and she still thinks she is in charge and there's nothing wrong while doing absolutely nothing, no exercise, nothing - blaming everyone else (mostly my father for being a dreadful husband, which he's not). This is a dreadful disease and I know most of the time her behaviour is out of her control and must be frightening for her. I really, really feel for her - but at the same time I'm so irritated and angry that she can be so vile. Then I feel huge guilt .....

There are masses of us dealing with similar scenarios today - I send my sympathy and strength to you all. By golly we need it.
 
Last edited:

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
71,814
Kent
Hello @Buckeroo

I suspect you are realising from experience whatever you do will be considered wrong or interfering.

Do you shop or offer any other help to your parents?

Whatever you do to help them, I would continue , but then step back. I`d not offer suggestions or opinions, as long as they are not at risk, just do the necessary and then leave them .

It sounds cruel and may be thought cruel by some but your mother obviously doesn`t understand your motive and your father doesn`t have the strength to override your mother.

Hopefully in time your parents might even ask you for help.

Have you read Compassionate Communication? I`m not sure if it has been shown to you before. It`s a tall order to live to it by the letter but considered a very helpful guide.

 

lemonbalm

Registered User
May 21, 2018
586
Hello @Buckeroo . I often wonder how you are getting on. You should congratulate yourself on managing to persuade your mum to have someone in to help with cleaning at least. It's so hard to help when you're up against such resistance, and incredibly frustrating. There may be something to help in this link if you haven't already seen it and, of course, you can always have a good old rant on here, where you know are are people who understand absolutely.

I remember trying to get a urine sample from mum when she was almost literally climbing the walls, scrabbling at the cork board with important telephone numbers on and screaming that she needed a hairdresser. I put a sterilised (just boiling water) jug and sample jar in the bathroom next to the loo which she did eventually use but it took a bit of persuading!

 

Buckeroo

Registered User
Apr 16, 2020
20
Thank you for responding so positively. I would say you have no idea how much it helps but of course you do!
When my mother continues to cry and complain how her clothes are being taken or the freezer raided do I gently remind her of her diagnosis and explain that her mind is sometimes playing tricks with her? Or present its normal and leave her in fear (which must be horrible for her)?

Yesterday I said that perhaps the clothing she remembers is from a while ago and not seen as recently as she thinks it has been (I know that the clothing was given to charity at least 30 years ago) but she went off like a bottle of pop that I would insinuate she was lying.

And I hadn't mentioned dementia, just a general comment that we all forget how long ago we last saw things ..... wasn't the best approach and I could have done better but it was an endless distressing conversation all day.

I've not been given any guidance on how to respond to a diagnosed dementia mother, so usually (not yesterday when I failed) i never argue, never try and reason ..... as the excellent article explains. But still I'm controlling and bossy and I don't even live with them - just visit at weekends where I cook, sort and leave them able to cope until I return the following weekend. I'm still working - have no option so do the best I can and give them most of any spare time.

Such a worry ..... my brother and I are waiting for a crisis which seems to get closer each day.

Thank you again for support, help and understanding. Truly makes such a difference to a hellish day.
 

lemonbalm

Registered User
May 21, 2018
586
Having a mum made mainly out of fireworks is very tricky. All that walking on eggshells and it's difficult to get it right, when actually there isn't a right or wrong, just a best you can do for this moment. If your mum is like mine (which it certainly sounds as though she is, or was at that stage) she is probably lashing out because she's frightened and unsure of herself. It makes the insults a jibes a bit less painful. As far as the missing clothes, food and so on, I suppose I normally said something like "oh do you think so? I'll see if I can find them/sort that out/I'll buy some more and bring them over next time" - I'm sorry, I know it's exhausting!
 

lemonbalm

Registered User
May 21, 2018
586
I've just thought (you've probably already thought of it), could the nurse who comes in to do the medication persuade your mum to do a urine sample?
 

Sirena

Registered User
Feb 27, 2018
2,287
Hello @Buckeroo
In reply to your question about how to respond with issues like the clothes or the freezer, I would not remind her of her diagnosis. To ease her fear you have to enter her world, and say whatever would be most comforting. Don't worry about what is true/factually correct. Try saying something like "oh dear, that's annoying isn't it - don't worry, I'll sort it out". You'll probably have to say the same thing several times every day.

In case you haven't seen this, you might find it helpful

 

Buckeroo

Registered User
Apr 16, 2020
20
Thank you to you all for your responses. I have re-read the excellent response guide - good to remind myself so I can handle situations much better than I am doing at the moment. My mother is almost child-like in her reaction to anything she thinks she hasn't organised and rebels against it all. On line shopping arriving tomorrow morning at same time as cleaner is with them for 2 hrs. Said there would then be help as its coming in trays from Sainsburys. Mother has made it quite clear and is adamant that no one will help her unload it into the kitchen and why have I bothered shopping when they can perfectly well do it themselves (92 father who is currently dizzy so not driving and she hasn't driven for years). More missing clothes so I responded this morning as suggested - response was "... don't be patronising, I know you don't believe me" ....... tirade to follow, then tears, then moody for a while and a garden walk-about, then calm - eventually.

What a horrible, horrible, horrible disease.

Thank you so much Lemonbalm, Sirena, Grannie G for keeping me sane. I'm truly grateful for your time and input.
 

Sirena

Registered User
Feb 27, 2018
2,287
As @canary says sometimes there is not a good answer, just a least worst one.

I too used to arrange the online shopping order to arrive when a carer was there. I didn't bother to tell my mother it was arriving, I just told the carer to expect it. Then I didn't get an argument about it!
 

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