1. tassie devil

    tassie devil Registered User

    Aug 15, 2006
    15
    Hello all, the site seems to give some helpful and supportive advice to all, very impressed. My Mum was diagnosed yesterday as having Alzheimer's. Although it's not come as a shock to us, it's still upsetting and draining. It doesn't seem to have sunk in with Mum, although she understood what they said at the time, by the time she'd got home she was back to saying she was fine and they didn't find anything. How is the best way to deal with this? Her personal hygiene has gone and we were told to talk to her like you would a child, to make her do things. She has just turned 70 and I can't bring myself to do this.
     
  2. tassie devil

    tassie devil Registered User

    Aug 15, 2006
    15
    Thank you for the advice, that's much appreciated. I think for all of us at the moment it's just getting used to the new situation we're in.
     
  3. Tender Face

    Tender Face Account Closed

    Mar 14, 2006
    5,379
    NW England
    Welcome, Tassie Devil

    I think you're so right to recognise this is a 'period of adjustment'. Any change in life - good or bad - can be difficult.

    Take your time, listen to any advice you're offered and decide what is right for you and yours in the circumstances..... I know just reading different people's ideas and situations on TP is a great source of help for me .... they may not always be appropriate for me and mum but they all help .... not least to look at things from a different perspective sometimes....

    I bet you'll be amazed at what you can do when you need to ... and it won't come as 'bringing yourself to do it' - it will come instinctively because you so obviously care....

    Do keep posting. The help and support here is quite amazing!!!!

    Love, Karen (TF), x
     
  4. jarnee

    jarnee Registered User

    Mar 18, 2006
    181
    leicestershire
    Hi Tassie Devil

    This is a massive period of adjustment and while some of your experences will overlap those of many people here, your overall journey with this will be unique.

    You don't need to treat her like a child, in the sense of being patronising and disrespectful. However, I do find I have to adapt to what my dad's needs are. I have to go with HIS needs and interests at the time. For example, at the moment, he wants to understand how to use his radio (Every time I visit he says, "What is this? I've never used it. Will you show me how?" and we go through what to do. Next visit it's the same. This is his current interest and I am going along with it because it gives him great pleasure and each time he feels he's achieved something.

    I don't think you have to change your way of talking to her/dealing with her overnight either. She'll wonder what on earth's going on, if you do !!!
    Just take each day as it comes

    Good Luck and keep posting

    Jarnee
    xxxxxxx
     
  5. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    39,439
    I suppose it all depends on how you talk to children! If ones normal procedure when talking to children is to simply order them about, and give them no choices, then no, it's not great advice. However, if you treat them with respect, give them choices where any of those choices are acceptable, remember that they have little impulse control and keep them from harming themselves or others it's not bad advice. The only problem with it is that with children, you know that if you keep repeating something they will eventually learn, and that's not the case with a dementia patient on the whole. It is a period of adjustment, but you will find yourself doing (and saying) things that you thought you were done with when your children came out of nappies (if you have children).

    Welcome to TP

    Jennifer
     
  6. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    69,586
    Kent
    I don`t think treating AD sufferers like children is good advice, but we do need the patience we would show a child.

    The nature of the condition means you will need to answer the same questions over and over again and explain things repeatedly. There`s no point getting cross because they either don`t understand or forget, and this is where patience is needed.

    It`s not easy, especially when you`re tired or emotional. We`re only human and can`t be perfect all the time, but we just have to try our best.

    Grannie G
     
  7. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    12,413
    near London
    Maybe it is because Jan and I never had children, but I always treat children like adults. Seems to work.

    Just like me to get things **** about face...:)
     
  8. Kayla

    Kayla Registered User

    May 14, 2006
    621
    Kent
    I was a bit concerned yesterday in the NH, because two nurses were both shouting at an elderly patient, because they had done something which could have caused quite serious problems for the Home. I know that it might be necessary to speak firmly, or even loudly, if behaviour might cause damage or harm to others, but surely two able bodied adults yelling at a vulnerable, little person cannot be seen as good practice. If two members of staff were to both tell a child off in school in this way, it could be interpreted as bullying or intimidation.
    I'm not sure what to do. My Mum would be terribly upset if it happened to her, but she is probably not capable of causing any problems, as she is in a wheelchair. Although she has dementia, she is lucid enough to not need EMI care at the moment. Do you think I should mention this to the line manager, or keep quiet, as I don't know the full details of the situation, and the patient was not my relative. I don't want to cause trouble, but perhaps I should look out for people who cannot defend themselves. I did find it upsetting to hear the "telling off" going on. The staff have always been very nice to my Mum and she says how good they are to her.
    Kayla
     
  9. Lila13

    Lila13 Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
    1,342
    Would you be able to talk to other staff about the two who were shouting, Kayla?
     
  10. Lila13

    Lila13 Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
    1,342
    I thought how much easier it would have been if my mother really had been 2-3-4, and sometimes when she thought I was "the Mummy" I said if I really were her mother I might have some authority over her. She was intermittently well aware of the fact that it was her house and thought that gave her the right to order us around, and to hit people if they didn't do as they were told.
     
  11. Kayla

    Kayla Registered User

    May 14, 2006
    621
    Kent
    Dear Lila13,
    I couldn't see who was speaking because it was in another room,so if I say anything it would put everyone under suspicion. Also, with so many frail, elderly and deaf people in the same place, it must be easy to get into a habit of talking very loudly all the time, which easily turns into shouting.
    My Mum is quite deaf, but can follow a conversation if you sit close to her. I do wonder why staff often stand up and talk from a few feet away, when if they sat or stood nearer, Mum would probably be able to hear them, even if they spoke with a quieter voice.
    I do think that the elderly probably appreciate a quiet, calm atmosphere, rather than a noisy one with lots of shouting and loud conversations. People may also shout back or behave aggressively. Mum's hearing aid needs to be checked, so maybe I could mention the shouting during the course of conversation, rather than making a complaint, as I don't know for certain what happened.
    Kayla
     
  12. magpie

    magpie Registered User

    Jul 21, 2006
    25
    Bradford
    Speaking as if to a child

    In linguistic studies, there's something called 'caretaker speech' It's a way of speaking that we automatically fall into when talking to children, to foreigners, or to anyone we suspect might need a little extra help in understanding. It's characterised by decreased speed, increased clarity and precision and an emphasis on important words or parts of words - and by patience and a willingness to repeat as necessary! Oh yes!

    That it's 'automatic' seems to indicate that human beings are programmed to consider and adapt to the difficulties in understanding that others experience. Which is nice.

    (On the other hand, there's no accounting nor any excuse for the offhand rudeness and sometime downright cruelty of certain individuals.)
     
  13. May

    May Registered User

    Oct 15, 2005
    627
    Yorkshire
    This can be taken two ways and I suppose it how the inflections were given in the original comment!

    I would prefer to think of it as moderating how you phrase things to Mum, choices become difficult for dementia patients. So does the speed and amount of words in a 'normal' conversation. As to 'making her do things', you can't! Mum will still decide what and when she wants to do things.
    On the personal hygiene front, that's more difficult!:eek: You will become very adept at 'telling white lies' or alternatively 'lying through your back teeth':D to get a result (ie. we are going to ....wherever... I've run a bath for you, Mum might take you up on the offer, she very well may not, but at least you tried.) I have gone through buying baby wipes, toilet wipes, buying deodorant sprays ('because I thought you might like one Mum'), using my favourite perfume on her like it's going out of fashion:eek: We now have a lady who comes to help Mum dress and wash/shower in the mornings and Mum accepts this, where she would never accept it from me or Dad. So it's a case of do what you can at that moment and keep trying:(
    Your Mum is still Mum at the end of the day, you will know as time goes on what's right for her, go with your instincts and you won't go far wrong.
    Keep posting, the folks on here are great, and a terrific support. Take care.
     
  14. Tender Face

    Tender Face Account Closed

    Mar 14, 2006
    5,379
    NW England
    Kayla, I can fully understand all the thoughts you have here - and yes, it reminds me very much of school-children, and whether parents should get involved - even if their own child is not a direct 'victim' of whatever is perceived to be going on.... (as carers on any level, I guess we worry about 'making a fuss' - yet surely we only do that when we feel that it's on behalf of those who - for whatever reason - cannot express 'fuss' of their own - whether that's in a classroom or a care home)

    I don't feel you should bear any 'moral obligation' on behalf of any other residents ... you do what you have to to protect 'your own'... (knowing it often benefits others in the process).... I believe there are times to express 'concerns' even when we don't know the full details ... that you were upset is enough....

    I think your approach about bringing this up informally into the conversation about your mum's hearing is a great idea... perhaps there will be a perfectly acceptable explanation for the incident ... (that's from the one who has learnt the harsh way the 'all guns blazing approach' isn't always the best!!!! :eek: (But I keep it in reserve for some occasions!!!;) )

    Best of luck with it....

    Love, Karen, x
     
  15. Lila13

    Lila13 Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
    1,342
    I could hear myself talking to my mother like an old-fashioned nannie, but then I didn't have a nannie's authority over her.

    So much of the time it was like being given a 2-4-year-old to look after, (2 when bad and 4 when good), but then no-one would be encouraged or allowed to leave such a young child alone in her own house.
     
  16. Kayla

    Kayla Registered User

    May 14, 2006
    621
    Kent
    I took my Mum's former carer and her little girl to see Mum today. The visit was a great success, as the child had asked to see Mum again and she was very well behaved for the whole visit. Mum's friend wandered down the corridor and tried to visit another resident, who was really nasty to her and told her in no uncertain terms to go away. She came into Mum's room and enjoyed the company of the little girl and her mother. I think that the raised voices which I heard the other day, may have been connected to the unfriendly resident. It just shows that things are not always what they seem.
    I was pleased that my Mum remembered, in great detail, the time a few years ago, when she helped out at a local baby and toddler group. She just used to prepare the drinks and chat to the Mums, and she loved doing it, until she became too unsteady on her feet. It was a bit noisy, but as she is rather deaf that didn't really matter. Mum has always loved children, but unfortunately we haven't got any children in the family, so it was a lovely change for her to see the youngster.
    Kayla
     
  17. Lynne

    Lynne Registered User

    Jun 3, 2005
    3,433
    Suffolk,England
    Kayla: thanks for your lovely account of Mum's visit from her friend & her little girl. It's been said on here before, kids can be very perceptive & accepting; perhaps it's easier for the little ones, who don't yet 'identify' with the adult situation or problems and just deal with the realities as they see them.
    Also, I'm glad your mind has been eased somewhat about the telling-off incident at the Home the other day. Not all patients/residents are angels, and nursing & CH workers are only human.

    As regards "treating an AD sufferer like a child", my interpretation of this would be that you/me/the family carer has to re-adjust our view of the very capable adult person we have been used to for so many years, and realise that they now have limits to what they can be expected to remember or rationalise, or cope with physically in some cases. In this sense, we have to care for them as we would for a child.
     

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