There are certain " givens" in dementia which one sees on a regular basis in the Care Home. Just as there are "stages" in Alzheimer's disease or particular "characteristics " which are seen, say in Frontotemporal dementia and so on. But the ' blanket' approach is perhaps not to be taken as judge and jury in all of this, because one very fundamental fact overrides much theory, professional observations or even clinical facts. That is the actual "reality" of 24hr care of one who is living with dementia. Then, despite much study and in-depth research on dementia in all its forms and the structure of the brain, the tomography and the hippocampus in respect of its deterioration , neuropsychological testing etc etc - the actual relationship with dementia unbroken and therefore in continuity, reveals anomalies, surprises and a whole mix of behaviours subject to who the individual is, their environment then and now, the fact that one can NEVER be sure about cognition, or simply what is taking place inside that damaged brain at any given time. One person can be agitated for seemingly no reason at all, whilst another remains calm and introverted. Genuine distress can be seen brought about by an inanimate object. A childhood event re-lived there and then as actual and not recollection. Hallucinations which traumatise because they are " real ". You could fill a tome with presentations that are the stuff of those living with dementia. The key factor here, is in this role of CARER. We accept that we are NOT psychologists , doctors, Admiral nurses or even consultants in neurological disorders - all of these are essential and deserve our respect and appreciation for quite obvious reasons. But when you as CARER embark upon the dementia journey with the loved one in question, you discover that you actually are witness to much that goes unseen by others. The subtle changes, the days which are " normal" when family visit and the days when a kind of Hell seems to fill every waking hour and you plead for it to end, but it does not and you just long for the next morning to be a good one. The days filled with tasks combined with the mind churning over what best to do, what best not to do, or will there be another night of upset into the early hours, or can l risk taking someone shopping because last time we had to flee the supermarket in a state of audible distress......Sorry that you and your brother don't see eye to eye about what's best for your Mum. Dementia is a big learning curve for everyone and sometimes we get it right, sometimes we don't, and everything from caring techniques, medication, activities etc are all a case of trial & error as everyone with dementia is different so behaves and reacts differently. What your Mum says to you may not be the same thing that she says to your brother or the carers. 'Professionals' can and do get things wrong when it comes to dementia (I've had plenty of experience of that!) and can be just as prone to making 'blanket' statements as anyone else. If one suggestion doesn't work then sometimes you have to try something else, and then something else. Everyone's just doing the best they can for their loved one with dementia - that's all we can do.
Perhaps you could put together a photo album to go through with your Mum when you visit? My Mum has a small album which we like to look through now and again. I keep it in a drawer in her room to stop other residents from picking it up and taking it. Maybe some pictures could be used to decorate the walls? We've put strings of bunting up Mum's room which really brightens it up, plus fake flowers, and bringing in things like cushions and throws also makes it more homely and comfortable. We also brought in a small radio which Mum likes to listen to in her room, as well as watching TV in the lounge. Just a few ideas which we found helped to stop Mum's room looking too clinical/barren (not 'blanket' advice)
So, what one is really saying, is what so many here will know profoundly and without need for " expert " affirmation. This is the raw fact that living with dementia at home, especially one to one, is a revelation. You see moment to moment behaviour expressed at times incoherently, aggressively, strangely, lovingly, tearfully, stubbornly, reluctantly, amusingly and at times, very movingly. You don't spend an hour or two doing this, nor sit down and take notes as if to make a report. Nor do you satisfy your anxieties or stress by knowing that this behaviour is due to a specific dementia, with notable presentations and physical characteristics and so on and so forth. You LIVE it, hour by hour, day by day, week after week and onwards. Thus we come to understand that every single case is different. Each one with it's own story and an unpredictable one at that. The ending we know will come, such is the nature of this disease. But the journey can be long and hard and suck the very life-force from your body and sometimes destroy the will to live. All of this sounds perhaps melodramatic, unreal, over emotional or just way beyond the perception of what we term dementia as a given, general term and which conjures up a more accessible interpretation for those who have never actually " been there ". So the question of " blanket statements " here must be seen in the light of actual, day to day, hands on CARE and the ACTUALITY of that relationship with this extraordinary disease of the mind borne in another - the one you care for, pray for, weep for and love unconditionally.