Care for my mother one day a week, she gets very anxious

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by catherinelaura, Jan 7, 2015.

  1. catherinelaura

    catherinelaura Registered User

    Jan 7, 2015
    3
    Hi Everyone, this is my first post here,

    my mother was diagnosed with Vascular dementia last year and the deterioration has been rapid. I care for her one day a week to give my father a break so that he can play golf. She becomes agitated when he is not around and by the end of the afternoon she is tearful, pacing and saying that he will never come back. She has problems articulating her feelings as she finds it difficult to find the words to speak.
    Are there any ways of coping with this or any medication for anxiety that we can ask the doctor for, my father told me that he was told by her doctor that he is unable to prescribe anything.
     
  2. lizzybean

    lizzybean Registered User

    Feb 3, 2014
    1,398
    Lancashire
    Welcome to TP. I don't really have any advice on anti-anxiety meds, my MIL seems to live her life in a state of anxiousness. Distraction is usually the first thing that is mentioned but it is awfully hard to achieve sometimes.
    Does she like to do anything? I don't know where she is in her journey so please forgive me if this is rubbish advice. Could you play dominoes/cards with her? Would she do some colouring in with you. Are there any simple household tasks she could do?
    Could you prepare a meal together for when your Dad gets back?

    Others will be along soon with more ideas.
     
  3. catherinelaura

    catherinelaura Registered User

    Jan 7, 2015
    3
    Thanks for the advice, lizzybean, the problem I have is she has never liked to do anything, her younger years were spent sat at home watching tv or reading, she has never moved much, now she can't read and only watches bbc1 (major brain drain with daytime tv i hate it). I did take her to my house the last couple of weeks I'm trying to get her used to coming over to mine and I put a movie on for her which she sat through. Some weeks are better than others but yesterday she was crying a lot. She is really attached to my father, if he is out of sight she panics and it can be quite suffocating for him as she wont leave him out of sight for more than a couple of minutes.
    I might try a jigsaw or something next week, any suggestions for distractions would be great, It will be an uphill battle with her as I've never known her to do anything except sit with a book or watch tv.
     
  4. sistermillicent

    sistermillicent Registered User

    Jan 30, 2009
    2,951
    I also used to look after my mother one day a week when my dad played golf. It was horribly difficult and mum got very upset. However I continued doing it for about a year. I never came up with anything that helped I am afraid, I just had to steel myself and deal with whatever happened, a lot of the time I was very frightened.

    I would imagine that if your mum gets worse as the day goes on that she may be sundowning, maybe this happens every day even when your father is there, have you asked him? I think your doctor may be right, unfortunately, as I believe there is little available to help with vascular dementia, mum (who has AD) had tranquilisers for when they moved house but they never did the least little bit of good.

    I would agree that anything, singing, colouring, peeling potatoes, might work for a while as a distraction technique, I used to take mum out to coffee, it would pass an hour or so.

    Has your Dad has a carers assessment as he may be able to get help for the afternoons while you are there, mum was always better with strangers than she was with me, far more polite.
     
  5. lizzybean

    lizzybean Registered User

    Feb 3, 2014
    1,398
    Lancashire
    #5 lizzybean, Jan 7, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2015
    I play dominoes with my MIL sometimes as she used to play when she was younger, films are good. We watch films sometimes & you can pick easy watching old movies up on dvd really cheaply. Would she go out for coffee & cake with you, a trip to a garden centre maybe?
    Have you got a local Alz Soc? They run memory cafes & different courses for the pair on you, or Age UK? We recently put a Xmas play on, it was hilarious with some of the people making up their own lines even tho it was written down for us.
    Sometimes I moisturise her hands & paint her nails. It all passes time.
     
  6. catherinelaura

    catherinelaura Registered User

    Jan 7, 2015
    3
    I do take her out for lunch on the days that I have her, but sometimes she becomes so anxious I have to take her home so I make sure before we order that she will see out the meal.
    I've never heard of sundowning before, I think I will start taking her for walks just before 4pm which is when she starts getting agitated. Thanks for the advice.
     
  7. Tin

    Tin Registered User

    May 18, 2014
    4,826
    UK
    Separation anxiety, my mum has this problem, I am her full time carer and she 'misses' me when I am out of the room. I have a sitter that keeps mum company for 2-3 hours a week and although she is an absolute life saver, she has recently told me that my mum is getting more and more anxious when I am out. She does sometimes read to her.

    When I am at home and she shows signs of missing my brother, I do usually take her to a café or even a garden centre for lunch, sometimes we just go to the library. These only fill a few hours but sometimes it works.
     
  8. pippop1

    pippop1 Registered User

    Apr 8, 2013
    518
    I don't know what you think of this idea, but why not take a photo of your father holding his golf clubs and in golfing clothes. Frame it and put it near where she sits so you can refer to the picture when she asks where she is. It might help.
     
  9. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    11,711
    Female
    London
    Another idea out of left field is to let her husband record a short message telling her not to worry and he will be back home soon, which you could play when she asks for him?
     
  10. sistermillicent

    sistermillicent Registered User

    Jan 30, 2009
    2,951
    #10 sistermillicent, Jan 7, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2015
    I've been looking for a thread about sundowning, I have found this one

    http://forum.alzheimers.org.uk/showthread.php?78471-six-o-clock-sundowner

    it is a state which often occurs in the afternoon and can be extreme anxiety, aggression, extra confusion, just a general worsening of all symptoms really. It passes off as the afternoon goes on - this is a general description not the same for everyone.

    Does anyone know where Barry's description of his sundowning can be found please as I found this helped me understand what mum was going through and it might help here

    This one is from Barry but not what I was looking for
    http://forum.alzheimers.org.uk/showthread.php?70397-Some-Sundowning-Tips-to-ease-the-anxiety/page2

    Here it is
    http://forum.alzheimers.org.uk/showthread.php?54242-Read-of-the-reality-when-Im-Sundowning
     
  11. jeany123

    jeany123 Registered User

    Mar 24, 2012
    19,049
    Durham
    Is this it
    http://forum.alzheimers.org.uk/showthread.php?54242-Read-of-the-reality-when-Im-Sundowning
     
  12. MERENAME

    MERENAME Registered User

    Jun 4, 2013
    236
    scotland
    A bit left field

    Could you maybe get someone to make a video of your Dad playing golf. Then she could 'watch' him while he's out.
     
  13. Izzy

    Izzy Volunteer Moderator

    Aug 31, 2003
    59,580
    Female
    Dundee
  14. sistermillicent

    sistermillicent Registered User

    Jan 30, 2009
    2,951
    Thanks folks, how great that people responded so fast! the search facility on this site is pretty good as I found it fairly quickly!
     

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