Do we ignore strange behaviour or acknowledge it?

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by picklejar, May 1, 2018.

  1. picklejar

    picklejar New member

    May 1, 2018
    6
    We are very sure as a family that my mum has dementia of some sort. She is 80 and for a couple of years she has been very forgetful, especially during periods of stress. Some days are like groundhog day with repeated conversations and questions. A bit worrying, but not too stressful so far.

    However she seems to have deteriorated rapidly and for the past few weeks she has been imagining that there have been visitors to the house and has been calling outside for pets that died long ago. There have been numerous occasions when she seems to have lost all sense of reality.

    We've managed to get her to the doctors for a few appointments this week (to discuss her uncontrolled diabetes and her mental state), however she is very distressed, depressed and and in complete denial, although I think she really does know that something is wrong. She is due to have an assessment at the memory clinic soon.

    The question I have is, at this relatively early stage, do we tell her when she has imagined things or forgotten very recent events or do we pretend not to notice? I realise that once a diagnosis is in place that it may be best not to pick her up on her lapses, but I have no idea how to handle it right now. I don't want to make the situation worse than it already is, but it would be helpful if she could see that there are problems too.

    Apologies for the above essay, but we've never had to deal with this before as our grandparents died before any dementia could become apparent and we are a bit lost right now.

    Thank you.
     
  2. Leedsloiner

    Leedsloiner Registered User

    Jan 8, 2016
    6
    Look up compassionate Alzheimer’s on this forum . This really helped me with dealing with my mum. Keep using this site because it is a great source of information. Keep smiling
     
  3. Jerry2648

    Jerry2648 Registered User

    May 1, 2018
    20
    Male
    Fort Worth, TX/USA
    I have learned that most things are not worth correcting them or advising them when they make a mistake. My wife gets her stories wrong all of the time but I let it go..the only time I correct her are the times when she tells me I left her for a while. Did not happen. But, honestly, I still thinks that she believes it.
     
  4. Canadian Joanne

    Canadian Joanne Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 8, 2005
    16,138
    Toronto, Canada
    I see no benefit from correcting her. It might only upset her and that is something I think should be avoided if at all possible.
     
  5. picklejar

    picklejar New member

    May 1, 2018
    6
    Thank you for your help. I'm happy to go along with her if that's what will help the most. It's what my brother has been doing so far. He lives just around the corner from my parents and I live 2 hours away, so he is doing a lot of the day to day organising at the moment.

    I don't think the diabetes is causing the confusion, but that is being looked at first. Her blood sugar is sky high, but she refused to go into hospital as the nurse wanted. I've only just discovered that. I think it's low levels that causes confusion, but I'm sure it's not helping the situation. It is another major concern on top of her mental state. Having said that the diabetes is a useful tool to get her to see the doctor.

    Both of my parents are blind and have been since childhood, so my brother tried to organise a nurse to come and check her bloods and make sure that she is injecting her insulin, but they have refused to do that.

    It doesn't help that my dad is a first class worrier and flapper. He says he wants to look after her, but I just don't think he has what it takes. That sounds mean, but it's how it is.

    I really appreciate the time you have taken to reply. I'm sure there will be many more posts from me in the future. Sorry.
     
  6. hrh

    hrh Registered User

    Sep 16, 2017
    59
    Hello

    This maybe of some help to you but having high bloods are as bad as low they can cause a person to become very agitated confused and also aggressive, we have learned a lot from our son who is type one but now fully controlled. If not injecting correctly the insulin will sit under the skin, this is what causes slight lumps in the skin hence the need to change sites regularly. Does your mum have access to a talking blood monitor, if she isn’t able to do this foe herself then a district nurse should be coming in to do it..
     
  7. hrh

    hrh Registered User

    Sep 16, 2017
    59
     
  8. karaokePete

    karaokePete Registered User

    Jul 23, 2017
    5,022
    N Ireland
  9. picklejar

    picklejar New member

    May 1, 2018
    6

    She does have a talking monitor now. She had one previously, but appears to have lost it. Apparently she is ok at injecting, but has been struggling to use the tester. It would be lovely if it was the diabetes making it worse, but I'm preparing for the worst.
     
  10. picklejar

    picklejar New member

    May 1, 2018
    6
    Once we have a clearer idea of what is happening I will have a look at that.

    My brother seems to have the right approach, but I worry about my dad. He does have a habit of arguing with her and correcting her and obviously he has the biggest impact on her mood. I will try and have a quiet word with him about how he should handle her behaviour.

    I feel much better for having posted on here. Thanks.
     
  11. OnlyChild1

    OnlyChild1 Registered User

    Jan 19, 2018
    13
    Thank you for mentioning this; I've just looked it up and wept buckets... how wrong could my approach be? I will be printing the article and keeping it close to remind me how to be a better and compassionate person in dealing with my mum.

    Strangely, my husband has been telling me most of these things for quite a while and saying I need to adopt a more caring approach and that trying to explain to my mum is just not working, yet I have persisted and failed her and me in that impossible quest. I feel very sad but will try think of the article each time I'm with mum - it's never too late to make positive changes.
     
  12. DollyBird16

    DollyBird16 Registered User

    Sep 5, 2017
    1,186
    Female
    Greater London
    @OnlyChild1
    Hi, I had to reply to tell you, you’ve not failed.
    This is a really tough job, we didn’t ask for, therefore had no training, and the training course is long and the manual huge and incomplete, we try anything, we learn along the way and adapt as we learn. For some your original approach will work, others it doesn’t.
    A great one for me I read on the forum ‘once you’ve met a person with dementia you’ve met one person with dementia’ everyone is different, not one size fits all.

    Failing would be not trying and not caring, you are doing both.

    Sometimes a good cry helps, well that’s what I say to me.
    Take care. X
     
  13. OnlyChild1

    OnlyChild1 Registered User

    Jan 19, 2018
    13
    Hi, Thank you for your support and kind words.

    It is a tough job, and you're right, there is no training. I also think, in the early stages, everything seems hard to judge - one minute 100% normal, next minute not so and things are going pear-shaped.

    My mum lives with us and yesterday she was in high spirits and all seemed well. It was a lovely day and mum and I had a little walk with our dog and she was really good. My husband suggested he and I go out for a quick bite to eat after work, which we did, we returned to find mum in a heap - really anxious, upset and convinced 'two women are after me, they've been walking about in that field and are standing in the corner over there staring into the house". I had not read the article then and immediately began to reason - nothing there mum, I can't see anyone - she got really agitated so I changed tack and said perhaps they were just exercising their dogs and if mum was worried, we could go speak to them (this made matters much worse) or just close the curtains then they couldn't see in. We went with the latter and eventually mum went to bed and slept. This morning, she's not mentioned it and neither have we.

    Despite getting the approach wrong so many times, when you follow the article and put these recommendations in place, it really does make things so much better.

    Best wishes x
     
  14. OnlyChild1

    OnlyChild1 Registered User

    Jan 19, 2018
    13
    Hi there,

    Like you, I am a newbie! TP is so helpful and nurturing, so do keep posting.

    I think we are adjusting to things in a similar way. It is really difficult to judge what to say, how to phrase things and not end up causing more angst. I struggle because I can have sensible conversations with my mum quite a bit of the time and quite naturally find myself dug into a large hole before I have realised I have been 'sucked in' by mum's 'normality'!! Then we are in conflict and things get really unpleasant for both of us.

    My husband thinks I am struggling to come to terms with mum's illness and this is why I seem to be in denial of a real problem.; I still see her as mum, fully functioning. Now I have read the Compassionate Communication with the Memory Impaired article, it really has made an impression. I have emailed all the people close to mum a link and asked them to remind me of it when I fall off the rails!! Do read it, it really helps put things in perspective, even if you knew it already.

    Take care. Best wishes x
     
  15. JBK

    JBK Registered User

    Feb 25, 2018
    37
    Female
  16. Fullticket

    Fullticket Registered User

    Apr 19, 2016
    468
    Chard, Somerset
    I would nominate myself for sainthood JBK but unfortunately I just tripped over a round shiny object that appears to have fallen from the top of my head. Oh b....r, that was my halo.
    All I can offer picklejar is that a broom sweeps demons from under beds and usually lightens the mood, the lady in the bathroom who keeps looking at her is probably her reflection in the mirror and the people staring at her through the window are probably also reflections. Not seen any squirrels but we have had cows at the French doors (though it transpired that they were real and ate my plants) and a carnival in the fruit cages (not real!). On the plus side - yes there are many - every time mum used to watch a travel programme she thought she had been to that country. So for very little cost she went to India, South Africa, a cruise on the QE2, etc. etc. She had a lovely ride on an elephant and bottle fed a baby tiger. Those she met at her various clubs were always impressed by her tremendous memory of the places she had been in her past...
    I used to go with the flow, no point in arguing as the only person, ultimately, who gets upset is you; mum forgot. If I did argue I was her evil daughter, if I didn't I was sometimes elevated to the status of best friend or her mother. I was often her driver, employed exclusively to taxi her around but working for the local cab company. So much so that the local taxi driver, who I used to bump into at the place she went for day care, always told her that 'the other driver' was coming for her today, he was taking her friend Betty home. Probably 'abuse' of the PWD but there is a lighter side if you look (hard) for it.
     
  17. hrh

    hrh Registered User

    Sep 16, 2017
    59
    Pictures in the memories are all they see, they have to try so hard to connect them that what eventually comes out are some wonderful stories, true in their own minds, my husband, her son is also the driver to and from !clubs! Going with the flow is now normal, getting away and back into normal land can be difficult at times. We never ask mum questions, we never contradict her, and we listen to her carefully as she is the expert about her illness, not us. The book Oliver James Contented dementia is literally an eye opener and revelation
     
  18. JBK

    JBK Registered User

    Feb 25, 2018
    37
    Female
     
  19. JBK

    JBK Registered User

    Feb 25, 2018
    37
    Female
    Thanks Fullticket. That gave me a giggle!

    My OH has worked with The Supervet, The Yorkshire Vet & Vet on the Hill (tv vets) I just smile & agree. Sense of humor is a God send some days Lol
     
  20. picklejar

    picklejar New member

    May 1, 2018
    6
    Apologies for not coming back and thanking everyone again for taking the time to help. My mum was taken in to hospital yesterday and I'm travelling up today to see my parents and brother. Her blood sugar was sky high and they are trying to stabilise it. Her very high blood pressure is also causing concern. I know she hasn't been injecting her insulin and I doubt that she's been taking her other medication either.

    From what my brother has said, I think they are going to tackle the things that are physically wrong with her, but I'm really worried that her mental state is going to be brushed under the carpet. We've never had to deal with social services before so that's going to be another first.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.