Doing too much for mum??

Discussion in 'Memory concerns and seeking a diagnosis' started by saskia, Feb 2, 2016.

  1. saskia

    saskia Registered User

    Aug 10, 2015
    North Essex
    Hi all,

    i dont post a lot sometimes you need to air & share!

    We know mum has memory loss, its becoming more evident lately, but I do wonder if I am ' molly coddlying' her and letting her memory loss affect me so much that I have ended up on anti depressants.

    Today for example, saw mum yday & reminded her she had a well women check at the hospital today & I would be round to take her. I turn up, she has forgotten but quickly covers up with ' I was going to cancel anyway'

    I then pick up phone to rearrange appt, mum looks at me & says ' I was just about to do that' ...slight row ensues..

    We then go toTesco, & I immediately start putting things in the trolley I think she should have or would like as I normally do her food shop at weekend as she doesn't drive out of her village now. .she tells me I'm being too controlling... I know I am!

    I'm like this constantly, I worry over everything with her,has she put bins out/ fed her dog/ taken her tablets/ done her washing etc etc.....

    An answer would be to have her move in with me& hubby, but that's a route neither of us want ( at the moment, it may come)

    My hubby says I have to let go and let her get on with stuff, we can deal with whatever happens, if it happens! I feel as though I'm waiting daily / weekly for a crisis to occur.

    She's on her own, does not want to join thank you! Hardly sees anyone apart from me & hubby & my brother might pop up once a month.

    How do I lessen the worrying & stress??.........or maybe it doesn't for us in this position?....
  2. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    my mum was the same in the beginning and I managed to look after her for 4 years at home because that was what she wanted and to be honest she wouldn't have fitted into a care home at all.
    But I had to adopt some survival techniques and these are the things that worked for me

    I told her she must go to a lunch club because otherwise we would not both get through this and to be fair faced with a choice she went along and it became second home to her which was lovely. She made some friends, it was her place to be, they were wonderful to her and she loved the bus ride.

    A little bit later I paid for a carer to go in in the morning and help her with pads and see her off on the bus because she was getting a bit difficult with me but the carer was wonderful with her and it made a good start to her day.

    I used this as though it was my Bible
    This leaflet on compassionate communication is very useful - I found it very hard to master but I stuck it on my fridge to remind me every day and it really does work

    Do have a look at it

    To be honest I did almost everything for her over time, bins, all appointments, set the heating, washing sorting out the TV and putting it on automatic programmes that she liked, meds etc etc etc and in the last 3 years she used to go to lunch club, come home at 3 then I used to pick her up and she would come for supper with us, play a card game and then I would take her home at about 8, set the TV and then in the last year I would go round again to help her get ready for bed and settle her for the night

    We had a carers assessment about 18 months before she died and so we had someone at the weekend and one night a week for a few hours, a wonderful lady who came and played games or took her out.

    It was tiring as in the middle of all this my husband was diagnosed with cancer and died and I have 2 teenage children BUT it was worth it because I knew that was what she wanted more than anything and she hadn't had an easy life xxx
    I don't know if any of this helps but I hope it does a bit.
    PS I ignored all the so called useful advice from family who had NO idea and TP was invaluable xxxx
  3. MrsChristmas

    MrsChristmas Registered User

    Jun 1, 2015
    Hello Saskia

    After reading your post I am in the same position as you.

    I was wondering, has your mum been diagnosed or have you been to the GP with her for her to be assessed medically? I was wondering if you have a Lasting Power of Attorney in place?

    I really don't know much but can only share my own experiences. Others on this forum are much more clued up than me and the above pointers only what I have been advised to do by the lovely people on here.

    Until your mum is diagnosed with something then you are sort of floundering between being a carer to being a daughter. In my experience that is quite a difficult place to be. If she has been diagnosed then, as I understand it, your mum would assessed by Social Care and then you would know what care mum needs. I really don't know too much because my mum is at the same stage as yours but she refuses to be diagnosed so I am in a sort of limbo.

    My mum forgets thing and I have to repeat things 4 or five times. She's 90 and quite fit for her age. She has been to her GP for all the physical tests but has now refused to have anything more with her GP. However, she does have Glaucoma and is quite deaf. She was driving up the end of last year which frightened me to death.

    Like your mum, she has only me (I live next door and pop in every few days) and my brother visits every few months.

    I was like you up to the end of last year, worrying about mum all of the time, especially she refused to visit the doctor and go to the memory clinic.

    Mum is actually coping okay and I have had to take a step back and it has worked.

    Also, I just think that people should have their independence as much as they are able and do as much as they can for themselves. I take mum shopping but she chooses what she wants to put in the trolley and I just remind her if she forgets something. She pushes the trolley but she hates me being around!

    Maybe just try to let your mum sort of 'sink or swim'....keep an eye on things and if things seem to be slipping then step in...just a thought.

    Maybe others who are more knowledgeable than me might have some better suggestions.

    Kind regards

    Mrs c
  4. carrieboo

    carrieboo Registered User

    Feb 1, 2016
    herts uk
    i too am 'floundering between being a carer and a daughter' (great description!) Mum agreed to go to her GP about her memory (final straw was when she said how sad it had made her to tell everyone in the village that we'd left her home alone on Boxing Day, which was untrue). I duly wrote it down in her notebook that we had AGREED this, then when I reminded her the day before she flew off the handle, said she'd never agreed and flatly refused to go. Now says she'll go 'in a couple of weeks' but she has form on kicking things down road and endless delaying techniques... I saw the GP on my own, i have POA, and he said I have to get her in front of him so plan is the surgery will 'phone me about her annual diabetic assessment' which I think she will agree to because, ironically, she frets about her health a lot. I think a diagnosis will help me, if not her, as I'll be able to see myself as a carer of someone with an illness rather than being in this frustrating hinterland where I'm never sure if I'm having a mother/daughter argument or trying to take care of a sick person.

    My plan is to be as hands off as long as possible, if you do something for mum once she will expect it for ever, she's always been the same. I know that, in the end, I'll end up doing almost everything (I'm an only child and my dad died last year) so want to delay it as long as possible...(does that sound awful?) Having said that, I see her 2-3 times a week and phone her every evening so not that hands off!

    We're all just fumbling in the dark really with this horrible illness, aren't we?
  5. saskia

    saskia Registered User

    Aug 10, 2015
    North Essex
    I'm really not alone am I?

    Thank you all soo much for replying, everything rings very true.

    No diagnosis yet, flatly refuses to acknowledge anything wrong with her memory, she says on many occasions she knows the signs as she worked with the elderly all her life!

    Today was just a bad day, my brother has said he will see her tomorrow & try to get her to the doctors as she has lost weight.......i then start stressing as he has very little patience & tends to stay with her for as little time as possible!

    Have had today off work & came home from mums early as had splitting headache, now feel so guilty as have had a few hours to myself!

    I don't think the worrying will ever stop.
  6. saskia

    saskia Registered User

    Aug 10, 2015
    North Essex
    Forgot to say, have the compassionate communication thingy, yes it works, but sometimes it goes right out the window!!
  7. carrieboo

    carrieboo Registered User

    Feb 1, 2016
    herts uk
    Saskia, I would suggest that you let your brother help as much as possible - he may not do what you would do but at least your mum has company/care and it gives you a break.

    I've read the compassionate communication thing - I must be a truly dreadful person because I would struggle to do any of it!!
  8. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    My mum was never formally diagnosed, it became obvious to everyone but she was in denial and I knew it would upset her terribly so we avoided it like the plague
    Can't see any reason in upsetting someone unless there are drugs and my Ma had vascular dementia for which there is no treatment
  9. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    #9 fizzie, Feb 2, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2016
    It's not about being a terrible person. It is like medicine - if you do it, it works and it relieves your stress and also takes stress away from the person with dementia and life becomes much easier - if you don't life gets more and more difficult because you end up locked in battles and everyone on here who is caring for someone with dementia will tell you that dementia has no logic and always wins so the battle isn't even worth starting
  10. Slugsta

    Slugsta Registered User

    Oh, I am so glad to hear you say this! I thought I must be a terrible daughter and the only person in the world who found it hard :( One of the things I simply cannot swallow is saying 'sorry' if I haven't done anything wrong. Covering Mum's memory lapse by blaming myself really sticks in my craw...
  11. carrieboo

    carrieboo Registered User

    Feb 1, 2016
    herts uk
    Exactly! It doesn't help that mum has always been quite self pitying and manipulative even when she was 'well' so I find it hard to 'draw a line' between her as she was and her now. Which is why a diagnosis would be helpful for me.... which brings me back to the beginning of this conversation...
  12. carrieboo

    carrieboo Registered User

    Feb 1, 2016
    herts uk
    Fizzie, can I ask how you knew it was vascular dementia without a formal diagnosis? Are there particular signs/indicators I should look out for? Mum has a history of high blood pressure so I'm guessing that makes it more likely?
  13. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    I have a lot of contact with the medical profession through my current work, my own GP who was also my Ma's GP, was very good and prepared to talk to me and and when it was first noticed my mother was having some rehab for a fractured femur and I had many conversations with a very experienced matron at our Day hospital. I used to work with elderly people in days of old and still retained a lot of my contacts. I also did a huge amount of reading. I was also very lucky and given access to a number of courses about the different types of dementia. In our area some of these are still available free to carers through our carers organisation. Do you belong to a carers organisation - if not do connect with yours, they are brilliant for info, support (carers cafes) and training.

    High blood pressure is a factor but my ma had low blood pressure so it doesn't necessarily follow and it seems these days a lot of people have a diagnosis of mixed dementia.

    This thread is quite useful

    If there had been any question mark about Alzheimer's at the early stages I would have persuaded her to have a diagnosis because treatment is key in slowing down the process. Although having said that she wouldn't have tolerated a scan and I think it would have been a detrimental process for her personally to go through. Added to which our memory clinic is as much help as chocolate teapot (and I know that cos I do a lot of voluntary work in our community now lol)
  14. Aisling

    Aisling Registered User

    Dec 5, 2015

    Step back a little bit please. You will worry yourself sick. Does your Mum live near you?

    Keep your hands off the food trolley or probably sneak in the forgotten goods!

    Can you put her meds in daily packs?

    It is not the end of the world if washing doesn't get done.!! Mine is lying in a pile, no not at washing machine! Inside back door!

    It is obvious that you love her so much.

    Keep posting. We are all here to support you.

    Loads of hugs

    Aisling (Ireland)
  15. Frederic H

    Frederic H Registered User

    Apr 1, 2015
    memory problems

    Hi Saskia
    My OH has memory problems similar to yours.I have to run the house diary otherwise she would not get to where she has to be.Often she says I don't want to go there anyway,sometimes we cancel but other times I persevere and get her there
    She does not cook controls too difficult and cannot operate the TV remote.
    I would like at times just to leave it to her but I know she would not manage
    Yesterday our MH doctor came and did the dreaded test. I could not listen after a while as her memory is so poor
    I am still looking for the bright side where is it ?
    Frederic H
  16. Dayperson

    Dayperson Registered User

    Feb 18, 2015
    Hi saskia,

    I have the same situation as you, my mums mental health has rapidly declined and I feel I am taking over too much but for her own good. I've found as she has got worse I have to be on my toes and change how we do things. An example of this is a lavender soap we used reminded her of The Cotswolds and she would hoard it in her bedroom so we stopped buying it. Then I started to lock my bedroom after she started coming down for breakfast wearing a T-Shirt and ended up in my bedroom looking out of the window when she was meant to be getting dressed. I just don't like the way when she is in my bedroom she will pick things up and put them back somewhere else, she doesn't remember they aren't hers.

    I do her washing and cooking (for all of us not just mum) and I will sort out and check she takes her mediation, but other than that I try to be hands off. It does get frustrating when we have to go out for a set time and she won't get ready, she does seem to live in her own world at times.

    It's a hard balance if you do things for her she will expect you to do them more but then you don't want her to not do things. My general rule is important stuff, the medication, food, washing etc I do but the rest is up to her unless we have to be somewhere for a set time.

    I too am finding the lies hard, she will make up stories about anything, this morning she did it about something she watched on TV, didn't remember the facts and came up with her own version. She will never admit she is wrong, so sometimes it's hard but you have to go along with those lies even though you know they aren't true.

    I am not on any medication but I should be because my blood pressure was high last time it was checked.

    It's a horrible illness where the true sufferers are the carers rather than the patient.
  17. beverrino

    beverrino Registered User

    Jan 12, 2015
    hi - I felt I had to comment on this one. My mum has been diagnosed with Alzheimers about 18 months ago (approx.) shortly before my dad died (although it was undiagnosed for a long time previous to that). she cared for my dad who was physically in very poor health - and that kept her busy pretty much all the time.

    It has been very difficult since he died as she really has nothing left to keep her busy - this causes anxiety. she doesn't want to do anything, but continually says 'what am I doing'.

    she (as most) has bad days, weeks, and good days. On the bad days I have to do most things for her - she needs so much support, but on the good days - she needs far less and I think the thing is getting the balance right.

    everyone is different, of course, but I have learned to 'read' mum and understand when she needs more help than other times. Its learning when to step back and when to 'take over'.

    I don't know if this helps, and as I say this is my own personal experience. It can be very stressful on the bad days, and I wish you all well and please remember to look after yourselves.
  18. netsy22

    netsy22 Registered User

    Oct 31, 2015
    I have found that in the last 18 months I have taken over all my mums washing, shopping, cleaning, financial affairs, organising medication, making her appointments and taking her to them. She has given up things so easily, almost wilfully. She does not go out of her door without me and refuses to join in with any social activities. (She is in an extra care sheltered flat but does not have a care plan yet). Her memory is really bad e.g. she phoned me 8 times today to ask the same question about her meds. The last time I lost my patience a bit. And the losing things drives me crazy. But I try to have a sense of humour and mum hasn't completely lost hers yet.
    How I cope - I treat it as a job/project and try to detach emotionally. I do not blame myself for anything. I do not go and see her on Sundays or Wednesdays unless she needs anything. If she won't try to socialise I can't be blamed if she's lonely when i'm not there.
    She is very grateful and always thanks me for everything I do which helps, but I wish she would relax and take it for granted that I will be there if she needs me instead of being anxious all the time.
    If she begins to need physical care I will not do it myself.
    You need to be strong, detached and as I have a daughter who needs some care, she is my priority. I also spend some time looking after my own health and wondering how I can avoid getting like my mum!!!
  19. netsy22

    netsy22 Registered User

    Oct 31, 2015
    I replied to this yesterday but reading it back I have realised I just rambled on and didn't really reply to your question. I was in the same situation as you - mum becoming increasingly forgetful, not coping with simple things but i was 180 miles away. I gradually over a period of about 6 months or longer, fed the idea of her moving down to be near me. She gradually accepted this, then when she got here I forced(!) her to go for a memory test and it came back she had mixed (not specified) dementia. From when she came down she has relinquished more and more control of her life to me. Each time I did something for her, she gave up doing it for herself.
    (See my other reply). At first she tried to protest when I started cleaning her kitchen, sorting out her clothes, etc. and I tried to let her write her own list and pick her own shopping. now I take her shopping and drag her round or it would take forever. (My brother also is a distant rare visitor) I think you may have to accept that this will happen to your mum. Start by helping her and you will gradually take over and she will gradually let you. Whatever you do I would say DO NOT let her move in with you. There may be a crisis or just a gradual acceptance. Try to get her into sheltered accommodation. I think they just let go of things because they can't cope but still want to be independent. Look after your own health. Try to detach emotionally. Treat it as a problem to be solved. I am not known for my patience but I am learning. Do what hubby says, face each mini crisis as it comes. If she wants you to help, let her. If not, stay away and deal with consequences later.
    Sorry, I have rambled on again. Not sure if i am being helpful.
  20. saskia

    saskia Registered User

    Aug 10, 2015
    North Essex

    Hi Netsy

    Thank you soo much for your sound words (& indeed everone who comments)

    i am becoming more strong as the weeks progress & am learning to detach - i used to get so upset when she forgot or asked the same thing over & over - but now - i do kinda treat it like my other job. If i could be paid as much for being a carer as i do in my full time job - i would most definetly do it!

    Y/day was dentist - a complete chore as she didn't want to go - i dropped her off & had to park -then run into the dentist -where she was arguing with them as they told her there was a half hour wait! I did lose it a bit - told her in no uncertian terms we wern't going home -took her to the waiting room, grabbed a magazine & sat her down & just ignored her moaning!!!

    But i have found that humour does work - i can turn anything into a jokey situation & she does seem to respond to this.

    But the stepping back - its hard. I get to her house & automatically start cleaning, & had to do a pile of ironing for her as she says '' i'll do it tomorrow'' - well we all know -that tomorrow never comes!

    I think as you say - over the next few months, we will have to wait & see what happens - its is a case of bumbling along - - waiting!

    & she has even said herself -that when her dog dies, she wants to be in a flat in the town where we live as its close to us & the shops & that she can't cope with doing the housework upstairs anymore (she clearly doesn't!!!)

    as me & my hubby say every night - just keep swimming.

    thank you

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