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Dark Days and Stormy Nights

KatyKat

Registered User
May 8, 2022
111
0
Just got back from another bad day at Mum's. One of the problems with caring for a dementia patient is that with every least thing that goes wrong there's another panic. Today, Mum kept repeating something vague about one of my aunts calling to insult her and say she's not fit to be a part of the family. Plus, the aunt wants my dad's grave dug up and him shipped to another cemetery (supposedly the cemetery where he's buried isn't nice enough). I can't get Mum to answer a straight question about any of this, so I doubt any is true. I'm not friends with the aunt (don't have her number), so can't call her about this. Mum had a quarrel with Dad's family 60 to 70 years ago...I'm thinking this paranoia may be about the past.

Next, Mum goes into a rant about how lonely she is since Dad passed and how she has "nobody' to care about her and "nothing" to live for. So she threatens to either kill herself or move 4.5 hours away to where she was born, not realising that the people she knew there are dead and gone and everything's changed.

So my name is Nobody, because I'm here to care for Mum 40+ hrs per week. And her lovely house and lovely things on a pretty street in a respectable neighborhood, with enough income to pay for it all, cable TV, long distance telephone service, and blazing fast internet are all Nothing. It makes me grind my teeth, because there are less fortunate people nearby who would feel blessed as to have Mum's Nothing, but Mum can only complain.

To top off a bad day, the house stinks worse than an old cigar, because Mum microwaved something for too long and burnt up her plastic microwave splatter cover. Then she messed with the thermostat and got the house temp stuck at 82 degrees and couldn't get it back down. As I was trying to fix it, she discovered one of her hearing aids doesn't work and started implying that I should call the manufacturer for her. I did put in 3 calls to the heating/air conditioning people with no luck. As I could barely breathe in that house today, I was thankful that the line of thunder storms passing through gave me reason to leave early.

The ingratitude and constant demands are causing me to lose what little empathy I had for Mum. She was not the nicest person to be around and very manipulative before the dementia. I can tell she has just enough of her mind left to use her disabilities against me and everyone who tries to help.

Dad died, and the world must pay.
 

taliahad

Registered User
Nov 22, 2021
60
0
So sorry for you. I have no suggestions, can only offer sympathy. Dementia is hell, for everyone.
 

KatyKat

Registered User
May 8, 2022
111
0
So sorry for you. I have no suggestions, can only offer sympathy. Dementia is hell, for everyone.
Thanks. For some reason, I keep seeing the words "For those who are about to die, I salute you."

At the moment, I'm listening to Neil Diamond singing "Solitary Man" and right now, it suits the situation.
 

Sarasa

Volunteer Host
Apr 13, 2018
4,854
0
Nottinghamshire
Hi @KatyKat , does your mum have any help coming in. It sounds like she is beginning to be a danger to herself. She could have easily started a housefire with the microwave for instance. I'm afraid how ever lovely the house is it will never be what your mum want s any more.
Do you have Power of Attorney as I wonder if trying to see if a week or two's respite in a care home might be a good idea. At the very least you can re-set your batteries and at best she'll settle and you can make it permanent.
 

KatyKat

Registered User
May 8, 2022
111
0
Hi @KatyKat , does your mum have any help coming in. It sounds like she is beginning to be a danger to herself. She could have easily started a housefire with the microwave for instance. I'm afraid how ever lovely the house is it will never be what your mum want s any more.
Do you have Power of Attorney as I wonder if trying to see if a week or two's respite in a care home might be a good idea. At the very least you can re-set your batteries and at best she'll settle and you can make it permanent.
Today, I asked how much Mum actually ate over the weekend. She avoided looking at me and mumbled "I don't know", then got aggressive and started yelling that she just wanted to die. So I suggested that I should hire someone to bring food to her on weekends and she screamed that she will NOT allow strangers in her house.

I would have PoA if she's declared incompetent by a doctor. So far, no help from the GP.
 

Sarasa

Volunteer Host
Apr 13, 2018
4,854
0
Nottinghamshire
You don't need the GP to declare incompetence unless that is how your POA is set up. I used mine to help mum with bills etc when she could still just about manage on her own, mainly because as well as the (unacknowledged by her) dementia she also had failing eyesight which made a good excuse for helping her out in a way she would accept.
 

KatyKat

Registered User
May 8, 2022
111
0
You don't need the GP to declare incompetence unless that is how your POA is set up. I used mine to help mum with bills etc when she could still just about manage on her own, mainly because as well as the (unacknowledged by her) dementia she also had failing eyesight which made a good excuse for helping her out in a way she would accept.
So -- how do you prove that you have PoA? My Mum is incapable of writing out a check and has poor vision due to cataracts. She had my name added to her checking account so I could pay bills for her,
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
18,483
0
South coast
@Sarasa - KatyKat is in US and the systems are different there

The only thing I would mention, @KatyKatis that if you ask someone with dementia if they want something, then the default answer is no. There comes a time when you have to stop enabling their wants and start enforcing their needs, so dont ask them. You can dress it up with "love lies", but you need to find some way of getting her to accept the help.
 

KatyKat

Registered User
May 8, 2022
111
0
@Sarasa - KatyKat is in US and the systems are different there

The only thing I would mention, @KatyKatis that if you ask someone with dementia if they want something, then the default answer is no. There comes a time when you have to stop enabling their wants and start enforcing their needs, so dont ask them. You can dress it up with "love lies", but you need to find some way of getting her to accept the help.

I agree. Just wish I knew the magic words or actions to get Mum to accept outside help, since she is so very paranoid. She's had fantasies (delusions) so far about everyone from the man who mows her lawn to the priest in the catholic church nearby. They are either molesting her behind my back or in a conspiracy to get her out of her house.

I could, without her consent, hire someone and send them over to help her, but I risk having her slam the door in their face.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
18,483
0
South coast
Im too tired at the moment (its getting late for me) to think up "love lies" that might work, but Ill have a think tomorrow and I expect others will have some ideas too
xx
 

KatyKat

Registered User
May 8, 2022
111
0
I understand and thank you for taking the time to write. I'm one of those who never learned how to tell believable love lies. Now, I'm willing to listen to any and all suggestions.

--Katy At Wits End
 
Last edited:

Lawson58

Registered User
Aug 1, 2014
2,833
0
Victoria, Australia
I agree. Just wish I knew the magic words or actions to get Mum to accept outside help, since she is so very paranoid. She's had fantasies (delusions) so far about everyone from the man who mows her lawn to the priest in the catholic church nearby. They are either molesting her behind my back or in a conspiracy to get her out of her house.

I could, without her consent, hire someone and send them over to help her, but I risk having her slam the door in their face.
I understand exactly what you mean about the paranoia. My husband accused me of stealing his money, hiding things from him, having affairs, even stealing his car while it was still sitting in the garage.

I realised that I would have to be careful how I asked things when after a reasonable discussion about the need for a new kettle, I bought one and was promptly asked why I had done such a thing.

I worked out that it was useless to tackle him head on so I used a side tackle instead. Having already decided on a course of action, I would say that such a thing needed to be done so should it be this way or that way. I always put the one I wanted last because he would latch on to that and then he would see it as being his decision. I think people with dementia have a need to be in control without any idea of what they are doing.

We started getting help at home after his cardiac arrest and before a diagnosis of AD and I know he doesn’t like it but after eight years, he can’t really say no.
 

Libbybookworm

Registered User
Apr 6, 2018
82
0
I understand exactly what you mean about the paranoia. My husband accused me of stealing his money, hiding things from him, having affairs, even stealing his car while it was still sitting in the garage.

I realised that I would have to be careful how I asked things when after a reasonable discussion about the need for a new kettle, I bought one and was promptly asked why I had done such a thing.

I worked out that it was useless to tackle him head on so I used a side tackle instead. Having already decided on a course of action, I would say that such a thing needed to be done so should it be this way or that way. I always put the one I wanted last because he would latch on to that and then he would see it as being his decision. I think people with dementia have a need to be in control without any idea of what they are doing.

We started getting help at home after his cardiac arrest and before a diagnosis of AD and I know he doesn’t like it but after eight years, he can’t really say no.

Just got back from another bad day at Mum's. One of the problems with caring for a dementia patient is that with every least thing that goes wrong there's another panic. Today, Mum kept repeating something vague about one of my aunts calling to insult her and say she's not fit to be a part of the family. Plus, the aunt wants my dad's grave dug up and him shipped to another cemetery (supposedly the cemetery where he's buried isn't nice enough). I can't get Mum to answer a straight question about any of this, so I doubt any is true. I'm not friends with the aunt (don't have her number), so can't call her about this. Mum had a quarrel with Dad's family 60 to 70 years ago...I'm thinking this paranoia may be about the past.

Next, Mum goes into a rant about how lonely she is since Dad passed and how she has "nobody' to care about her and "nothing" to live for. So she threatens to either kill herself or move 4.5 hours away to where she was born, not realising that the people she knew there are dead and gone and everything's changed.

So my name is Nobody, because I'm here to care for Mum 40+ hrs per week. And her lovely house and lovely things on a pretty street in a respectable neighborhood, with enough income to pay for it all, cable TV, long distance telephone service, and blazing fast internet are all Nothing. It makes me grind my teeth, because there are less fortunate people nearby who would feel blessed as to have Mum's Nothing, but Mum can only complain.

To top off a bad day, the house stinks worse than an old cigar, because Mum microwaved something for too long and burnt up her plastic microwave splatter cover. Then she messed with the thermostat and got the house temp stuck at 82 degrees and couldn't get it back down. As I was trying to fix it, she discovered one of her hearing aids doesn't work and started implying that I should call the manufacturer for her. I did put in 3 calls to the heating/air conditioning people with no luck. As I could barely breathe in that house today, I was thankful that the line of thunder storms passing through gave me reason to leave early.

The ingratitude and constant demands are causing me to lose what little empathy I had for Mum. She was not the nicest person to be around and very manipulative before the dementia. I can tell she has just enough of her mind left to use her disabilities against me and everyone who tries to help.

Dad died, and the world must pay.
I know exactly how you are feeling and agree with all the suggestions made by others. One thing that might help with the heating; I have a Hive thermostat that I operate from two of my phones. Once installed you'd be able to control the temperature remotely.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
18,483
0
South coast
Good morning Katy
Ive slept on your dilemma and, having had a pot of tea Im feeling more awake and have been pondering your problems. I wondered whether you could tell her that a friend of yours is setting up a take-away business and they want her to try out the menu, but I have a feeling that anything she agrees to will be quickly forgotten.

I think your biggest problem is the paranoia. My mum became terribly paranoid too - she thought everyone was stealing from her, that her oldest and dearest friend was plotting to take her home away from her, that I was abusing her and that her neighbours were conspiring to have rubbish delivered to her (in reality this was rubbish put out by the neighbours for the dustmen to collect). This paranoia was born of fear and anxiety from being alone and trying to run a household when she was very confused. She, however, did not realise that she was confused and insisted that there was nothing wrong with her, but she knew deep down that things wernt right, so her subconscious made up scenarios from her deepest fears (called confabulations) to explain these emotions of fear and anxiety.

Perhaps it would be better to address the feelings of fear and anxiety. In mums case the paranoia went when she moved into a care home so that she was never alone and she no longer had to worry about trying to run things, but I understand that you cannot do this. Would her GP prescribe medication to reduce her anxiety?
 

KatyKat

Registered User
May 8, 2022
111
0
I understand exactly what you mean about the paranoia. My husband accused me of stealing his money, hiding things from him, having affairs, even stealing his car while it was still sitting in the garage.

I realised that I would have to be careful how I asked things when after a reasonable discussion about the need for a new kettle, I bought one and was promptly asked why I had done such a thing.

I worked out that it was useless to tackle him head on so I used a side tackle instead. Having already decided on a course of action, I would say that such a thing needed to be done so should it be this way or that way. I always put the one I wanted last because he would latch on to that and then he would see it as being his decision. I think people with dementia have a need to be in control without any idea of what they are doing.

We started getting help at home after his cardiac arrest and before a diagnosis of AD and I know he doesn’t like it but after eight years, he can’t really say no.
Mum and Dad had gotten into hoarding over the years. or perhaps you could say its just the accumulated debris from a 72 year relationship. I've been trying to help Mum clear a path thru some of it so she can downsize. She's fearful though - terrified I'll throw out something she'll want someday. So she gets in my way, and there are arguments, sorry to say -- especially when she accuses me of misplacing things or messing up the house. In fact, Mum messes things up; I pick up and clean up after her. She's in total denial of what she says and does.

It must be awful to have your OH accuse you of stealing things from him and having affairs. Sadly, even tho my Mum's accusations are different, it's the same paranoia and distrust going on here. I can imagine how you feel. Wish I didn't know what it was like, but I do.

Glad to hear you have help! At this point, I think it would take a medical crisis to make Mum agree to in home help.
 

KatyKat

Registered User
May 8, 2022
111
0
I know exactly how you are feeling and agree with all the suggestions made by others. One thing that might help with the heating; I have a Hive thermostat that I operate from two of my phones. Once installed you'd be able to control the temperature remotely.
I've never heard of a Hive thermostat. A family member suggested that I might want to call the Fire Dept. today if the problem persists and the heating/cooling people won't respond.
 

taliahad

Registered User
Nov 22, 2021
60
0
Medication might help. I've said this before but Risperidone has worked wonders for my mum. It has made life so much easier, it's taken away a lot of her anger.
 

KatyKat

Registered User
May 8, 2022
111
0
Good morning Katy
Ive slept on your dilemma and, having had a pot of tea Im feeling more awake and have been pondering your problems. I wondered whether you could tell her that a friend of yours is setting up a take-away business and they want her to try out the menu, but I have a feeling that anything she agrees to will be quickly forgotten.

I think your biggest problem is the paranoia. My mum became terribly paranoid too - she thought everyone was stealing from her, that her oldest and dearest friend was plotting to take her home away from her, that I was abusing her and that her neighbours were conspiring to have rubbish delivered to her (in reality this was rubbish put out by the neighbours for the dustmen to collect). This paranoia was born of fear and anxiety from being alone and trying to run a household when she was very confused. She, however, did not realise that she was confused and insisted that there was nothing wrong with her, but she knew deep down that things wernt right, so her subconscious made up scenarios from her deepest fears (called confabulations) to explain these emotions of fear and anxiety.

Perhaps it would be better to address the feelings of fear and anxiety. In mums case the paranoia went when she moved into a care home so that she was never alone and she no longer had to worry about trying to run things, but I understand that you cannot do this. Would her GP prescribe medication to reduce her anxiety?
Hi Canary,

Thanks for getting back to me on this. Mum is currently on quetiapine which she takes at bedtime to reduce the night terrors. There has been some improvement. Before taking this med, she was shaking violently and in hysterics for hours on end. Now, she just grumbles and gripes a lot about how everyone is out to get her in some way, but she stays calm about it.

I do work on reassuring Mum that I will handle these "bad" people for her if they make good on their threats to sue her, kick her out of her house or whatever. I know the threats are mostly all in Mum's head, and sometimes we (meaning me and family) tell her so outright. It seems to shock her back to reality.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
18,483
0
South coast
It sounds like you are doing the best you possibly could in the circumstances.
Could the medication be "tweaked" in some way by the GP to improve things a bit more?
Sometimes with medication it can be a bit of trial and error as to what is best.