Constant Complaining/Is this a Feature of Dementia?

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by JackieJames, Oct 21, 2015.

  1. JackieJames

    JackieJames Registered User

    Dec 31, 2014
    83
    USA
    #1 JackieJames, Oct 21, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2015
    I googled and tried to find posts here about this issue but cannot. Briefly my mother, age 88, suffers with congestive heart failure, pretty advanced and possible dementia, undiagnosed. Brother has POA and will not get a neurological work up done. I believe he may be in denial. I see symptoms of it (memory loss, confusion, misunderstanding that I say, etc).
    She “complains” constantly about her physical problems (all real). She also about it being too hot, too cold, her house (what is broken down), and, finally about her three children. One fixes things but they always break, another has done this or that. One day, one is good, the other is not. We are four who are trying to help her, but it is overwhelming. The others do not listen for more than three minutes. For me, it is literally hours.
    This is a complete turn-around. She was always easy-going and even-tempered. Now she is quick to anger. I know she is suffering and I listen, but it gets hard. I just want to know if this is feature of dementia and/or her illness which has majorly impacted her life. She is homebound, ill, lonely, and very depressed.
    Also, she frequently cancels doctor appointments. Yesterday she had an appointment with two doctors, one to start her on anti-depressants and another for the various physical problems she has. She cancelled because it was too cold out. This happens often. She would be going by car, so it is hard for me to understand. It is beginning to affect me emotionally, yet I don’t want to be unsupportive. Thank you. Any links to this would be helpful.
     
  2. marionq

    marionq Registered User

    Apr 24, 2013
    5,602
    Female
    Scotland
    I would suggest that if you listen for hours you are reinforcing her pleasure in complaining. Take a tip from your siblings and swiftly change the subject or move on to do something else. Neither of you are benefiting from the complaints so bring them to an end.
     
  3. Ann Mac

    Ann Mac Registered User

    Oct 17, 2013
    3,699
    Nothing ever being right has been - and continues to be - a regular theme with my Mum in Law. We say, when she is in that mood, that water wouldn't be wet enough for her. On days like that, the complaints range from the water isn't hot enough/too hot for when she is washing, towels are deemed too big, too rough or damp, she doesn't like whatever brand of soap is being used, she is getting cold, she is sick of me making her wash everyday, etc, etc. She produces a litany of health complaints. Her breakfast is never 'just right', she'll complain that her bag or coat are missing before she has even looked, the weather will be moaned about . . . you get the picture?

    And its totally wearying and stressful to deal with, especially for extended periods of time. Nothing you can say or do will stem the tide and in fact, I found that being sympathetic made Mil a lot worse. Make an excuse to be busy elsewhere, or to leave the room - it won't stop her doing it, but it might just save your sanity. Its a horrible aspect of the the illness, one I've also seen quite a few others comment on, and you do have my sympathy xxxxx
     
  4. Bessieb

    Bessieb Registered User

    Jun 2, 2014
    108
    I think it's very common. My parents only seem to remember things about the past that were good and everything in the present is therefore bad. I think it's a symptom of finding everything now just too confusing. They know that things aren't quite right with them - although have no insight into their AD disease specifically - and their confusion and frustrating makes everything bad and difficult.
    It's very wearing.
    The only way I've found with dealing with it is distraction....taking my young children to visit is perfect as they are always upbeat with them...or going for a walk...or switching the television on to something upbeat (quiz show or sport....not the news!!)
    Feel your pain though..the constant complaints and negativity is very draining.
     
  5. Lawson58

    Lawson58 Registered User

    #5 Lawson58, Oct 21, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 21, 2015
    Your mother has obviously been diagnosed with depression as you said that she was supposed to be starting anti-depressants. So you should not be surprised that she is behaving as she is. So you need to make sure that somehow she gets to see her doctor and get started on her medication.

    Even after she starts taking it, it will take sometime for it to kick in and until then you do need to listen to her as exhausting as it may be. It is not a matter of rewarding her behaviour by listening to her.
     
  6. hvml

    hvml Registered User

    Oct 10, 2015
    300
    North Cornwall
    It is very wearing. My Dad gets a gripe in his mind and won't let go. It's almost as if it is something - in terms of a thought process - that he can grasp and have control of. The other day, I went into the bakery next door and found that they had a cream horn, which they don't usually have. I got it for him as a treat. He enjoyed it, but when he found out that they didn't often have them, he complained for 3 hours that..."why can't I have one every time I want one. Why don't they........" Reasoning or explaining is not an option with dementia sufferers. Distraction is the only way, but that negative thought process is tenacious. In another thread, some wise soul said that you have to develop the persona of a Hi-dee-hi yellow coat!! True dat! Try to build up a stock of programmes that she enjoys, music is good, to put on and take her mind off the negative thoughts. Leaving the room briefly is a good idea. I read an interesting newspaper article then go back in.
     
  7. Ann Mac

    Ann Mac Registered User

    Oct 17, 2013
    3,699
    #7 Ann Mac, Oct 21, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 21, 2015
    Hi Lawson, I just have to say that I don't think that JackieJames is being disrespectful. I, like many others, haven encountered this as a feature of dementia and it isn't just a case of it being something that is incredibly draining and unpleasant for the carer, its not nice (obviously) for the person with dementia to be so negative. Listening and being sympathetic often - in my own experience and others - does nothing to alleiviate it and can in fact almost 'fuel' the misery and complaints. Anti-depressants - again in my experience - don't seem to have any impact either. I think Bessieb's explanation proabably has a lot of merit - and so its no wonder that antidepressants don't help much, because they can't do anything about the dementia that causes those feelings, at best they can only ease it a little. So if there is no benefit to listening for hours, if it doesn't ease the situation and can in fact make it worse, then distraction (if it works) or removing yourself as a recepticle for the complaints seems to me to be the best all round response, for the sake of both the carer and the caree x
     
  8. Cat27

    Cat27 Volunteer Moderator

    Feb 27, 2015
    9,769
    Merseyside
    #8 Cat27, Oct 21, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 21, 2015

    Jackie is obviously struggling & has asked for help & support.

    Jackie I can't do anything right with my Dad. He'd argue black was white.
     
  9. Witzend

    Witzend Registered User

    Aug 29, 2007
    4,282
    SW London
    #9 Witzend, Oct 21, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 21, 2015
    From long experience, endless moaning can be a feature of dementia, with or without actual depression. I think people sometimes just get into the habit of it, like a loop, and with complain about the same things over and over, in the same way that they will ask the same question, over and over.
     
  10. Lawson58

    Lawson58 Registered User

    It may have sounded harsh but untreated depression is a very serious situation. Her mother has not as yet been diagnosed with dementia and may well have it. However, she was to see the doctor to get some anti-depressants and until any other diagnosis is made, she should be treated accordingly. It is irresponsible not to try to get Mum to the doctor.

    Maybe anti-depressants didn't help others but I see little point in complaining if you haven't made an effort to avail yourself of a possible treatment and and given it sufficient time to take effect.

    Irritability (among other things mentioned in the post) is very often a symptom of depression and when taken into consideration with Mum's poor overall health and age I don't blame her for feeling depressed.

    If going on anti-depressants helps Mum feel better, it will ease the stress in the family so it only makes good sense to do so.
     
  11. cragmaid

    cragmaid Registered User

    Oct 18, 2010
    7,963
    North East England
    This comes over clearly:D

    My Mum went onto Citolopram as a mood enhancer. She didn't know or realise that she was depressed....every one else did:rolleyes: It did help her mood.....but she still complained a lot. It had become habit.
    If changing the subject doesn't help her, leaving the room helps you.:D:D

    It will always be difficult to get the right help when you do not have the legal right.
    I gather you are doing the majority of the hands on caring. Try pasing the buck back to the POA a bit.....if you can!:D
     
  12. Shedrech

    Shedrech Volunteer Moderator

    Dec 15, 2012
    7,475
    Yorkshire
    Just a quick practical thought - is it possible to write to her GPs, explain her cancelling appointments and ask for a home visit instead? I appreciate it is not always as simple as that.
    You could add in your letter all your concerns. Or is this the behaviour that the POA doesn't take kindly to?
     
  13. JackieJames

    JackieJames Registered User

    Dec 31, 2014
    83
    USA

    Great idea. My other sibiing wrote the doctor a letter concerning possible overmedication. Letter went unanswered. Brother with POA found out and called him stupid. I don't believe home visits exist other than a Nurse, or other person they have sent in for short periods after each hospitalization. Mother quickly sends them packing as she is suffering and doesn't want them in at all hours. It agitates her to wait all day for them to arrive. I don't know what to do anymore. I recently lost it and told her that if she continues to deny every carer entry, she "may" have to go to a nursing home. I regret that comment to this day. I do what I can. I believe we four do love her and each are doing our best. My role is the cooking, shopping, cleaning and commiserating. She does not want anyone over there. I know there are no easy answers and I value all of your responses. That you take the time to reach out, even though you are going through so much, is testament to your compassion and love. I wish no one had to suffer this awful disease ... or any awful disease. It is what it is.. I may give that letter a shot, but I doubt I will get a response. I would get a reprieve from Master Brother with POA. :(
     
  14. JackieJames

    JackieJames Registered User

    Dec 31, 2014
    83
    USA
    Craigmaid: I hope, hope, hope she will take the Remeron (Mitrapazine?) that has been prescribed. Am putting it into her containers and we will see. Fingers crossed. No, not the majority of the caretaking. Four of us have divided up roles.
     
  15. JackieJames

    JackieJames Registered User

    Dec 31, 2014
    83
    USA
    I want to thank everyone who is reaching out to me. It is amazing that with all that you carry on your plates that you care enough to take the time to help others. I feel quite alone in this as I seem to be the only one who "sees' (if I am seeing correctly), that she "may" be in early dementia. This thought alone brings on feelings of guilt.
    I am so grateful for this place where I can say what I feel and be understood and taken seriously.
    You know prior to coming here, I read and read and read, but it is only through communicating with all of you and reading your posts that I start to 'get it', bit by bit.
    May God Bless and help us all ... the ones who suffer this awful disease (any awful disease) and the ones who love them.
    Jackie
     
  16. Cat27

    Cat27 Volunteer Moderator

    Feb 27, 2015
    9,769
    Merseyside
    Jackie you are reaching out & helping people just by posting.
     
  17. notsogooddtr

    notsogooddtr Registered User

    Jul 2, 2011
    802
    And when mother refused to go what are they supposed to do?Drag her kicking and screaming from the house?
     
  18. JackieJames

    JackieJames Registered User

    Dec 31, 2014
    83
    USA
    I just had to :) at this. Exactly.
     
  19. RedLou

    RedLou Registered User

    Jul 30, 2014
    1,161
    Jackie - the self-centredness and moaning are definitely a symptom of dementia in my personal experience. My brother couldn't deal with it at all and used to leave most of the sympathy-giving to me. What was the result? My father got more and more annoyed with me and continued worshipping my brother! ;) It's an awful, horrible, illogical disease. My father refused to take anti-depressants and even though he had been declared mentally incapable the nurses/medics in the country where he lived did not over-rule him. (I believe a similar situation would arise here.) So just be reassured -- you are not alone and you will find a great deal of non-judgemental fellow feeling here, in the main. *hug*
     
  20. JackieJames

    JackieJames Registered User

    Dec 31, 2014
    83
    USA
    #20 JackieJames, Oct 21, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2015
    Oh Lou: I can so relate to this. Again, we have no diagnosis, and my brother with POA will not. it takes time to 'get this'. I ask for everyone's patience. What makes it so hard is that I am the only one who sees this: not the doctors, not my siblings and I am left to wonder if I am nuts. I was confused all the time because I could not follow her in a conversation, or because I got her angry without meaning to, etc.
    Here is my mother, who was this gentle loving lady, who is my 'heart', and my best friend. Here is the source of so much imparted wisdom and kindness all of my life" ... in the same body, looks the same, her voice is the same, BUT, it is not really her? So hard to grasp this. I find the conversations so hard to follow and I thought it was me for a long time. I even took those tests... you know memory tests ... I know ... nuts. She, and everyone else thinks she is fine, so what is wrong with me that I doubt that she is fine? I am hoping someone can relate to this sort of confusion.
     

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