Difficulties with strong willed mother living with us

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Rodelinda, Jul 8, 2015.

  1. Rodelinda

    Rodelinda Registered User

    Jun 15, 2015
    My 88 year old mother has lived with me and my partner for nearly 4 years. She does not have a dementia diagnosis but it is clear to the medics since a recent 2w spell in hospital as a result of dehydration that she is somewhere on the dementia spectrum. She was discharged home lunchtime yesterday, we had lunch together at home, she watched tennis in the afternoon and we had a nice supper. Within a couple of hours she was almost totally unresponsive and having called 111 an ambulence arrrived; with the paramedics she was alternately uresponsive and aggressive - flailing around, screaming and scratching and was taken to A&E and admitted to their diagnostic unit at 4am blood tests, xray etc showing nothing. She kept telling nurses etc to go away (and stronger) and continued to scratch.

    In hospital we are continually told how wonderful she is and what a lovely lady; until now she's been fine with us. But things have fallen apart since coming home mid afternoon today and she won't talk to us, tells us to go away and stop nagging her, is refusing to eat and drink - saying we're doing everything for our convenience. She is particularly harsh on my partner. The hospital has arranged care workers to come in the morning to help her dress and wash. I fear for what will happen

    Has anyone else faced this and found ways round it. She is a strong willed woman, and I realise that this behaviour is related to her illness and recognise that she is often confused and trying to make sense of the world. but I don't see how we can cope with this person in the house who won't eat or drink, won't get up and won't talk to us or listen. I know it's early days but we are both trying to work (I had to give up my job to care for her but try to do some work) are suffering from dreadful guilt and feelings of inadequacy. Any thoughts/experience gratefully received
  2. CeliaThePoet

    CeliaThePoet Registered User

    Dec 7, 2013
    Buffalo, NY, USA
    Has she been tested for a Urinary Tract Infection or other infection? Is she really re-hydrated? Is she constipated? When such behaviors come on as abruptly as you describe, it is quite often due to an infection. Blood tests don't show the above, I don't think.

    Also, hospital stays are very disorienting to those with even mild dementia, and she might be still suffering from hospital-induced delirium. I hope this has given you a few things to ask about.

    If you can't cope, it is okay to say so and to begin to pursue other levels of care, especially if you are giving up income. This would of course be up to you and your partner, but it is often the case that a person with dementia can feel more secure in a place with steady routines and staff used to the condition.

    Hope you all feel some relief soon.
  3. Long-Suffering

    Long-Suffering Registered User

    Jul 6, 2015
    Hi Rodelinda,

    Sorry to hear about what has happened. I agree with Celia about the possible infection and also that going in and out of hospital can have a bad effect on a dementia patient's behaviour, both while they are in there and also for a while after they come home. They find it so unsettling. Happens to my dad every time. Try keeping things quiet and the routine as similar each day as possible and it may well calm your mum down a bit, or it may not. Good luck.

  4. Rodelinda

    Rodelinda Registered User

    Jun 15, 2015
    thanks both

    Afraid no infections - she had the full tests; it is likely that the dehydration is an ongoing issue and I know that all I can do is to gently persuade, give lots of variety, try to include soup, ice cream etc with meals. I managed to calm things yesterday (having read the compassionate communication blog which helped a lot). I'm sure you're right that lots of it is the confusion of being back home after hospital and then going back in again albeit briefly. I'm doing lots of reassuring and giving the same messages over and over again. Now waiting for care workers arrival this morning and we will just take things as they come. Thanks both for coming back so quickly. :)
  5. Stresshead

    Stresshead Registered User

    Sep 13, 2014
    Hi Rodelinda I'm sorry you're having such a difficult time. My dad is back and forth to the hospital with infections (he is currently in with pneumonia at the moment). He went in a few weeks ago with all the signs of an infection, massively confused, off his legs, hallucinating but all the blood tests , X-rays etc were clear. They kept him in to monitor him for a few days then sent him home. A week ago he was re admitted with pneumonia. I'm not sure why but with elderly people it would appear that sometimes the medical signs can be masked. You know her best so keep on with doctors. I hope you get some help soon.

    Take care xx

    Sent from my iPhone using Talking Point

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