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Emotionally drained from drip fed misery

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Snowdonia, Aug 5, 2015.

  1. Snowdonia

    Snowdonia Registered User

    Sep 2, 2013
    12
    Northants
    My mother has recently moved into a care home which offers a caring environment, lovely rooms, nice meals and activities. This should be a vast improvement on how she was living before - not eating, lonely, crying through the night, wandering off and feeling terrified. She is feeling very confused with everything though and still thinks she can do all the routine things she used to do such as cooking, cleaning and going to town. She believes that she has been doing all these things even though she has been unable to for some time now. She has Alzheimers & COPD.
    One day she is reasonably ok and another day she is very abusive towards me, but the one thing that is really draining me emotionally is her constant comments about wanting to die. She says, 'If someone would just give me a pill to die, I'd take it.' 'If I look happy, I am not. It's just an act and I want to die.' 'Don't ever get old.' 'Why couldn't I have died at 80.' 'I don't want to live anymore. Why can't I just die.' 'You've got all this to come, so don't get old.'
    This constant reference to the perils of being old and wanting to die is really playing on my mind. I am even dreaming about her and then waking up several times a night. I know that not everyone gets dementia or has a bad time in old age but it is like being drip fed misery and I keep thinking that old age which is not too far away will be a nightmare. This leads to the situation where I then feel guilty for worrying about myself rather than her, but dementia is so unfairly one sided in relation to feelings. Sometimes I would like to just scream from the rooftops asking her to shut up or just for once say something positive.
     
  2. Moonflower

    Moonflower Registered User

    Mar 28, 2012
    775
    You could be a long lost sibling, Snowdonia
    My mum has been in a lovely care home for every 3 years, if I see her without her noticing me she is happy, singing, dancing, joining in, interacting.

    But I get a constant stream of misery - she hopes I never have to live in a terrible place like this, prays every night that she will die in her sleep etc. I took her out for a walk once recently and for the whole time got a steady stream of misery, woe and death wishes - at the end she said "I've really enjoyed our little chat, have you?"

    It's horrible. I no longer visit every day, and try to go on the days when I can cope with it.
     
  3. Gigglemore

    Gigglemore Registered User

    Oct 18, 2013
    526
    British Isles
    Hello Snowdonia

    If your mother is depressed most of the time(rather than just making comments to you) it might be worth asking her GP about trying antidepressants to see if they work for her. I know they don't work for everybody but it is worth a try - they made a huge difference to my mum.

    Hope you get some happier visits soon.
     
  4. cragmaid

    cragmaid Registered User

    Oct 18, 2010
    7,963
    North East England
    Hi Snowdonia, How is Mum when you are not there? Do the staff report a participating, settled Mum or do they also see a " misery - guts" ?:rolleyes: Have you looked in the day room/lounge/dining room without her seeing you and seen if she interacts well?:confused:
    It might be just a habit she has adopted, or it might be that she is depressed. I don't know if your Mum is on any medications but when my Mum was in her " I hate the world and the world hates me" mood we got her GP to prescribe Citolopram and it helped her see the world in a different light. Yes it took time and yes we were sorry to have to resort to a drug but depression can be a self fuelling problem and in Mum's case drugs worked.
    I found I fixed the smile on my face and did not rise to her bait...black mood= short chatty visit and " must go Mum, got to get to the butcher, baker or cream cake shop" and left!:rolleyes::D
    Good luck :)
     
  5. Long-Suffering

    Long-Suffering Registered User

    Jul 6, 2015
    426
    My mother has always been like that. Having lived with it for almost 50 years, I just mentally switch off as soon as she starts. She just becomes background noise.

    LS
     
  6. piedwarbler

    piedwarbler Registered User

    Aug 3, 2010
    7,188
    Female
    South Ribble
    My mum was like that too. Every time I visited she would think of a new and distressing way to ask to end her life:

    "Would you take me to the motorway bridge so I can jump?"

    "Get me a gun so I can shoot myself"

    "I want to die"

    "Why can't I be (name of someone she knew who had died) and they be me?"

    "I wish I was dead"

    "Every night I pray to die in the night"

    It was so hard to deal with. We might try and joke it off "OOh, we don't want any strawberry jam on the pavement now do we?" Sometimes I would just cry and cry.

    When she started taking citalopram (for anxiety), it did get a lot better, and towards the end of her life she did not say it at all. So, if you hang in there, with a bit of luck, you might find that she stops saying those things at some point.
     
  7. Snowdonia

    Snowdonia Registered User

    Sep 2, 2013
    12
    Northants
    My mother is on antidepressants although I am not sure that they are making much difference. The care home say she has settled in but has the occasional melt down. They say she chats to the other residents, although whenever I have been there no one seems to be doing any talking.
    Maybe she is more settled when I am not there because thinking about it, she was in a respite place for a couple of weeks previously and when I visited she was singing along to Old MacDonald Had a Farm, before she realised I was there.
    I did like Moonflower's comment about her mum's response after pouring out a stream of misery ...'I've really enjoyed our little chat, have you?' That has been amusing me all afternoon!
    I wish I could be in my mother's mind for an hour just to really know what she is feeling and if her confusion is so scary that she genuinely does not see any happiness in her life although even then I'm not sure I could make it any better.
     
  8. Tara62

    Tara62 Registered User

    My father is like that, Snowdonia. Exactly like. He's been like that for years. I agree with you - it is very, very wearing, and depressing. A drip-feed of misery is an accurate description of it, and yes, the fact that he says all these things (every single day) also makes me dread old age.

    On a lighter note: these old people who say "Don't ever get old" ... um ... how are we supposed to manage that, then? :D My mother used to say it, too.
     
  9. marionq

    marionq Registered User

    Apr 24, 2013
    5,860
    Female
    Scotland
    Maybe it's another slant on the adolescent whine of - everybody's better looking, richer, luckier, cleverer etc than me. For some people it's a way of attention seeking at any age. They know it is upsetting you and so when you walk away you're going to be thinking about them whereas if they are smiley and happy you can forget about them for a while.

    It's not just people with dementia who do this.
     
  10. JayGun

    JayGun Registered User

    Jun 24, 2013
    298
    This is my mother in law to a t. She says those exact things, all the time. The thing is, she doesn't really seem miserable or depressed. I think maybe she enjoys a good moan and a bit of doom-mongering?

    If the smallest thing goes wrong (such as the occupational therapist being a few minutes late for instance) she can spin it into a massive drama spiral of "why does everything bad happen to me? I'm just a poor old lady all on my own and nobody helps me. " She often seems quite pleased with herself if she upsets anybody with her death talk or gets a bit of fuss and bother going. She absolutely loves to ask my husband how old he is then fold her arms and tell him he's "not got long left."

    She's also quite mean and vindictive at times and thinks she still goes to the supermarket etc - when she hasn't for years now. It's a bit the disease, and a bit who she is as a person. She never seems to have the vaguest idea of all the people trying to help her.

    My brother in law just cuts her off with a "that could be arranged Mother" when she starts the death talk with him. He hasn't the patience. :D
     
  11. JayGun

    JayGun Registered User

    Jun 24, 2013
    298
    I think there's definitely an element of that with my MIL. :D
     
  12. garnuft

    garnuft Registered User

    Sep 7, 2012
    6,588
    Oh...I don't think it's deliberate. I think it's a natural reaction to increasing need and whereas, mostly, we would all respond to a child with the same requirements, our 'middle-age' genes have not yet adapted to accept the same requirements in older people.

    Perhaps the missing link is in our age group?

    Perhaps, if evolution continues, we will learn to feel sympathy for a decreasing intellect in the same way as we feel pride in one that is expanding?
     
  13. Tara62

    Tara62 Registered User

    Yes, I recognise this one. My father does it too, as well as all the constant misery. From what everyone has said on this thread, it looks like it's quite a common behaviour pattern.
     
  14. JayGun

    JayGun Registered User

    Jun 24, 2013
    298
    Oh I think we do lovely, but it is as Snowdonia says: Dementia is very one-sided when it comes to feelings.

    I'm pretty sure that this is the only place where mine count.
     
  15. Canadian Joanne

    Canadian Joanne Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 8, 2005
    16,111
    Toronto, Canada
    I had a co-worker (retired 3 years thank goodness) who would do the same and she doesn't have dementia. It's really whether you are a "glass half full or half empty" kind of person. Unfortunately, dementia can intensify these traits.

    I love your brother in law. :D
     
  16. Rageddy Anne

    Rageddy Anne Registered User

    Feb 21, 2013
    5,990
    Cotswolds
    I'm patient most of the time but occasionally I can get my husband to laugh( we still get glimpses of his old sense of humour) Sometimes when he says he's going to end it all I just say it's not convenient today and could he just wait until tomorrow....and sometimes it lifts his mood and he actually laughs!
     
  17. JayGun

    JayGun Registered User

    Jun 24, 2013
    298
    It's good if you can still laugh. My daughter tries to joke her granny out of it. Sometimes it works. Sometimes the death talk multiplied by the repetition makes ME want to stick my head in the oven! :D
     
  18. JayGun

    JayGun Registered User

    Jun 24, 2013
    298
    I had no idea it was so common. I think I'm going to ask the doctor about anti depressants for MIL because of other people on this thread's successful experience with them. Maybe she is more unhappy than we think, and I feel a bit rotten joking about it now.
     
  19. Pickles53

    Pickles53 Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    2,482
    Radcliffe on Trent
    Don't beat yourself up Jaygun. My mum was like this too, always a bit of a 'glass half empty' person, and this was exacerbated by her dementia. GP prescribed Citalopram but it made no difference at all as far as anyone could see.
     
  20. sistermillicent

    sistermillicent Registered User

    Jan 30, 2009
    2,951
    It isn't just people with dementia, my MIL has been doing this for years and it has got worse and worse lately so that I no longer ring her because I just can't stand it any more. My husband is now the person she moans to and at last he understands what I have put up with for many years.
    i dont think my mum with dementia did this for attention though, she was genuine, and although I tried to help it made no difference whatsoever.
    Although it makes me sound very selfish I found one of the most difficult things to get my head round was the fact that mum would never know that I had tried so hard to help her, I think I always needed parental approval.
     

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