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Coming to terms with my mums Dementia diagnosis

Joanne A

New member
Jun 12, 2022
2
0
Hi, I am new to the forum. I have so much to say i don’t know where to start. I live in France and mum was with me for many years with my Dad until he died in 2018. Its been pretty downhill for mum since then. After heart surgery, a fall, a mini stroke. She was diagnosed with Vascular dementia last October 2021. Prior to that things had been quite difficult, her walking was bad, her memory with little things wasn’t great. She seemed to have lack of interest in going out and doing normal things.
It hit a peak before her diagnosis in August 2021, she had 3 falls in one day and hadn’t made the toilet. It was so stressful for mum and me, she ended up in hospital and they told me then she had dementia and needed a formal diagnosis. She came home with various things in place a hospital bed, commode And she was downstairs. I had managed to get some care help as well. We were managing just about but mum’s memory was getting worse as was her walking. She was confused about using her mobile phone, TV remote and she would always be asking me about her numbers, when she could get it working she would ring me constantly. She was often distressed and if i went out for more than an hour she would be crying asking where i was. Sometimes when i went in the mornings she would either be on the floor or she had half got dressed and was crying where had i been.
Eventually after a lot of incidents and mum barely being able to walk at all, she went in a home in France for a few weeks. That was dreadful, mum doesn’t speak French and she was extremely distressed. I won’t go into the long boring story but i somehow managed to get mum to England in May this year. We had discussed together that i could not keep doing everything for her, i do have a family as well, she often couldn’t make the toilet, she was just stuck in a chair or the bed watching TV. Mum is not that old either, she is 76 and now in a care home in the UK, the home is really nice and the staff seem to be lovely.
Mum however is not happy as all. Since she has been there bizarely she has kind of improved, well at least she can now walk with a zimmer frame again, when i talk to her on the phone she sounds almost well normal! She thinks the other people in the home are crazy with dementia and she says its driving her mad. I am obviously very happy she has improved in some ways. How, i don’t know.. Can anyone advise me please? Is it the stimulation and meeting new people, she was a virtual hermit here. People talking in English. Her short term memory is not good and she can barely remember all the bad things that happened here.

Everyone tells me i did the right thing and they reckon she would regress to the way she was here very quickly with me doing everything again. I was mums virtual slave.
I do however miss her, and i know she is lonely and finding the adjustment so hard.
She is obviously fairly early on with the Dementia diagnosis. I just have terrible guilt all the time.
She has had a few of her old friends visit,
Thanks for reading.
 

Sarasa

Volunteer Host
Apr 13, 2018
5,047
0
Nottinghamshire
Hi @Joanne A and a warm welcome to Dementia Talking Point.
I too think you have done exactly the right thing. There is a thing that is often called 'host/hostess mode' on here where someone with dementia can hold things together for a short while. It sounds that now you are not seeing your mum every day, and she is somewhere where all her needs are being met she is able to hold things together enough for the amount of time a phone call takes. Have you spoken to the home about how she is? It may well be that she is well settled, but talking to you is the trigger that makes her want to be elsewhere.
I'm sure others will be along very soon with their experiences, but in the meantime do have a look round this very friendly and supportive site, you'll find lots of useful tips and suggestions here.
 

Joanne A

New member
Jun 12, 2022
2
0
Hi,
Thank you for your reply. Yes the home say mum is ok with them, and talking to me triggers something. I know she misses me a lot as it’s impossible to visit regularly. The home say she is in the right place too as, although her mental state has not deteriorated too bad she does have a lot of care needs. They say with the right care and support she has improved.
which is good.
 

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
76,342
0
Kent
she does have a lot of care needs.

...........which you would not be able to provide with the best will in the world @Joanne A

No one is happy to decide on residential care for their family members but it really is the lesser of two evils. Better your mother be in a good home where the staff are communicating with you than at home, at risk, where anything could happen.
 

JHA

Registered User
Aug 7, 2021
643
0
I totally understand how you feel. My mom went into respite care just after Xmas 2021 and is still there - she has lewy body dementia and lived alone and was picked up by the police just before 1am on the corner of her road.

Every time I visit I think is there another solution and deep down I know she is safe and it is totally impossible to keep her safe and cared for at home or at mine.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
18,895
0
South coast
Yes the home say mum is ok with them, and talking to me triggers something. I know she misses me a lot as it’s impossible to visit regularly.
This is really, really common. The way that talking to relatives triggers something in them is very much a dementia "thing". When you are on the receiving end of this it is easy to feel that they are like this all the time and constantly missing you, but - as your mums care home has has said - it actually isnt true and they are fine the rest of the time.

Dont worry that you cant visit often, just go when you can. You would probably get the same response from her even if you visited every day. Please dont consider taking her home. She only improved because she is now receiving the care she needs (which requires a whole team of people, all round the clock) and if she were back home she would go back to the way she was and you would be back at square one.