Could any of this behaviour be boredom & frustration or is it all the illness?

Discussion in 'Middle - later stages of dementia' started by Cirrus777, Feb 11, 2018.

  1. Cirrus777

    Cirrus777 Registered User

    Sep 11, 2016
    Hi, My mother is 76 & has had Alzheimers about 7 or 8 with no other health problems. When she got worse 6 months ago she went into a care home for a month but seemed terrified in there a lot of the time probably as she hasn't really socialised for decades. I set her up in her own home with a live in carer which has been overall a lot better but recently her behaviour has got a lot worse. Despite sleeping tablets (zopiclone) she is often up most of the night obsessively sorting through and trying on clothes, walking up and down the stairs, sorting through cupboards and putting household items in the bin which is a strain on the carer. I don't know if this is just the illness or partly frustration and boredom as she doesn't really have anything to do other than watch TV. The carer takes her out for a walk when she'll go (live in carer doesn't drive) and she goes out in the car for a couple of hours about twice a week, but other than that there's not really any stimulation and she didn't' have any friends. She tried a lunch club, and day centre but was very anxious and hated it. She didn't used to have any hobbies or interests other than reading which she can't do now and can't really do housework now. Has anyone any ideas how I could improve this situation, or is there nothing you can do? She won't do what you ask a lot of the time eg. refuses to wash & a few times she has hit a carer. She doesn't like being locked in the house. When she gets worse again, I suppose she will have to go into a care home. She has regular medication reviews.
  2. karaokePete

    karaokePete Registered User

    Jul 23, 2017
    N Ireland
    Hello @Cirrus777, I haven't experienced this problem for myself yet but I can tell you from research I've done that boredom and a feeling of loss of control can cause behaviour like agitation/aggression. For instance if someone simply does everything for the person instead of involving them in the process they can strike out or resist as a defence mechanism. It's important to assist someone in their daily tasks rather than just do the thing for them. It may take a bit of observation to discover what your mother can still do for herself then let her do those parts of a task herself to give her 'co-ownership' and a sense of independence etc. Maybe she can't do the laundry but she could still fold it and put it away when clean sort of thing. I hope this helps.
  3. yak55

    yak55 Registered User

    Jun 15, 2015
    Hi, my Mum did this when she came to live with us after my dad died suddenly. It drove us mad and in the end we had to hide the clothes and put a stair gate up as we too tried zopiclone and we were afraid Mum may fall down the stairs during her wandering at night.
    We struggled on and Mum is now in a care home but is still not sleeping. She had a traumatic time when she was young which means she is frightened of sleeping alone and although this had been forgotten it is no, because of her Alzheimer's, come to the forefront of her mind.
    I still can't believe she is in a care home and the feelings of failure and guilt never go away I'm sorry I haven't been able to give you an answer but sometimes just knowing you're not alone helps x
  4. Tin

    Tin Registered User

    May 18, 2014
    Sounds very much how my mother used to be, not up doing her version of housework, but moving furniture around! It used to be just endless packing bags with all kinds of things and I was desperate for an undisturbed nights sleep. Gp prescribed zopiclone, but not to be taken every night. So once or twice a week for the last 3 years mum has been taking this, but recently when she does have a disturbed night this is no longer having the desired effect, in fact it seems to make things worse. Have to add that since November she has most nights slept through to the morning - such a relief for me, but we are having one of those disturbed nights tonight - she is very restless and keeps getting out of her bed.

    I take my mother out every weekday for at least 3 hours in the morning, mainly just shopping and then to a café. Some days we are invited to friends for lunch and some days I invite one or two of my friends here for lunch. Weekends I try to stay home and catch up with things. Long way round, but my point is that even though I keep mum busy she can still be restless at night.

    If you want to increase daily activities for your mum then simple things may be better, is there a pub within walking distance? these days they tend to open early and serve coffee and tea. Are there any Memory cafes operating in your area? Is there enough petty cash money to pay for a taxi to take to a local garden centre?

    Your carer must be getting quite tired if she is up during the night and the day. I don't suppose she would be willing to just let your mother get on with it during the night. Different here I know , but there was a time when I was able to sleep through all her activity, either in my bed or the sofa, making sure she could not hurt herself, kettle and toaster locked away in a cupboard, child lock on the fridge and all plugs removed from sinks so she could not flood the place. just prepared myself to wake up the next morning to a mess. .
  5. Ludlow

    Ludlow Registered User

    Jul 20, 2016
    SE England
    Hi. I don't think boredom is the cause of her behaviour but it certainly won't help the situation.
    My mum was also far too anxious to continue with the day centre but I found she was fine with things so long as I was with her. Could the carer take her to something like singing for the mind or a dementia cafe or to any local events? If transport is a problem then is there a local good neighbour group that would transport them for a small donation?
    As pete says can she be given little jobs around the house? My mum can't do much but she does help me fold the sheets, pairs the socks, and grates the cheese for an omelette. We often end up with nearly as much cheese on the floor so it's not exactly a help, but I tell myself it is her therapy!
  6. Cirrus777

    Cirrus777 Registered User

    Sep 11, 2016
    Hi Karaoke Pete. Thanks, Yes that makes sense. I will remind the live-in carer to try to include her in the housework and daily activities, if she's not already doing that.

    Thanks Yak55. Yes the obsessive behaviour and wandering at night does drive you round the bend. Sorry to hear you couldn't cope and you feel bad now your mum has had to go into a care home.

    Tin, Yes my mum does lots of bag packing too. It's good to know the night time wandering can go away at times. We only give her Zopiclone occasionally too, but difficult to know if it helps or maybe makes things worse, she's only had it a few weeks. Sounds like you've got your hands full with all the trips out in the morning. I'll look into the memory cafe's and see if the carer could do a taxi trip somewhere. I think the carer does store things in her own room out of the way, and does leave my mum to get on with it at night. Thanks for your suggestions.

    Cheers Ludlow. Yes I will investigate dementia cafe's and see if there's something else local she could go to with one of the carers, though I think I mentioned things like this with the elderly mental health team a couple of months ago and they said there's not much in my area. I'm not sure if day centre's allow the carer to go along too.
  7. Tin

    Tin Registered User

    May 18, 2014
    Just a bit of info for you. The memory/dementia cafes are for carers too. The Alzheimers society run the twice monthly ones in my area. They are only for a couple of hours in the morning. Mum and I don't go anymore - for no other reason than timing and I think may be a parking issue!
  8. Dayperson

    Dayperson Registered User

    Feb 18, 2015
    You have my sympathy, mum gets up in the morning and just wont settle in bed so we get her up and take her to the lounge.
  9. May30

    May30 Registered User

    Feb 25, 2017
    Would she do anything like colouring or puzzles? You can get puzzles made with your own photos on them which my dad likes and they're simple, not too many pieces. My dad and i build Lego models together and even though he struggles to do them on his own I think he enjoys doing them with someone as a joint activity.
  10. HENRYT

    HENRYT Registered User

    Sep 1, 2016
    Interesting thoughts. My father has had vascular dementia for about 3 years now and has shown signs of restlessness and behavioural issues. He went into full time care a year ago and had a difficult time settling. Our local care home had a Dementia / Alzheimers day in which they gave you the opportunity to experience what it was like to have this issue. It really was an eye opener for me. One of the things my father always loved was music, so I bought him an Ipad and set up a spotify account for him with all his favorite music prelaoded.I also got him a bluetooth speaker that he can take into the bathroom and listen to whilst he is having a shower. For christmas I got him bluetooth headphones because he was being restless at night. The nursing staff have said that the music makes a huge difference. When he gets agitated they put the headphones on and in 10 minutes he has calmed down and generally falls asleep. It may be worth a shot for you.
  11. Nanny4

    Nanny4 New member

    Mar 14, 2018
    Hello Cirrus777, The symptoms you are having with your mum sounds like my Dad. Although he gets violent at times which to me seems a little frustration. He knows he has Vascular Dementia but is struggling to accept it I think . I live 241 miles away from him so its not easy just to pop in. My parents moved to the south west a couple of years ago now, for a better quality of life. Since they have been there this has all developed. He lost two brothers in a very short space of time and had this huge move I cant help thinking it didn't help. But doctors have said it would have happened at any point. My mum is not of good health herself she is finding it the most hardest she just keeps saying she wants her real husband back. Last night my sister called me screaming at me to talk to dad. She was only screaming cuz its taking the toll on her too. However, it makes me feel guilty and I know I shouldn't. He called my mum a very nasty name and said he was going to drown her my mum was in bits. He doesn't go out in the day but come night time he wants to go out Mum had the locks changed for his safety, but he thinks she is doing it on purpose.
  12. acorns

    acorns Registered User

    Jan 25, 2018
    Could she develop an interest in plants - houseplants, window box, patio tubs or a garden area? If she had something to plant, care for and water - or watching you plant, care for and water - that might interest her. It wd also be a source of fresh air or sunshine if she sat at back door/front door/sun lounge/ on patio to do this.
  13. LT

    LT New member

    Mar 13, 2018
    I think that it would be the disease as it sounds exactly like how my mother behaves and it nearly drives dad mad. I do think though that it is also in part boredom as during the day if we sit with her and chat or put on music she likes it can distract her for a while. It's just hard at night when anyone else wants to be in bed. My mother will hardly every allow me to help her wash now and can be quite confrontational if I try too hard to persuade her. Is it worth revisiting the day centre? Mum didn't like hers at all at first and often refused to go but now she really likes it and goes 4 days per week. Dad couldn't cope without it, it gives her something to do during the day and she enjoys the staff talking to her as she talks constantly and gets upset if we don't always understand. I feel for you though as know how hard it is.
  14. Dee62

    Dee62 New member

    Mar 23, 2018
    Hi Cirrus
    Sorry to hear that your Mother is worrying you so badly and refusing any help etc. It can be hard to get people to accept Carers coming in as they are sure that all they want to do is take over their life for them. Take the time to explain that this isn't the case, you will probably have to talk about it for some time before your Mother accepts it and of course she may still not accept it anyway.
    You say she only had reading as a hobby but cannot do that now, have you looked into getting her some Audio books instead? Being a big reader myself I'm sure your Mother would love them as long as you get the right type of books for her....favourite author/subject etc. These can be obtained from the RNIB and other sources on the internet.
    Good luck

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