How do you answer the question 'What's happening to me?'

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

  1. GrannyS

    GrannyS Registered User

    Jan 10, 2014
    5
    Essex
    Hello. I haven’t posted before but I have looked in. It has been a help to me that others have posted , even if it is only to make me realize how lucky we are, thank you.
    I wonder if anyone can help me with this. My dear Mum recently moved to the residential section of a care home. Mainly because we felt she was too vulnerable to be on her own and because she said it was what she wanted, to always have people around. She and we hoped she’d find company, maybe even people with similar problems with memory and confusion. It hasn’t happened yet, possibly but I can’t be sure, because the residents who are mentally fine but with physical problems seem to avoid her and the rest seem to be worse off mentally and can barely speak. She longs for a friend despite a lot of time we three children spend talking to her and with her - and to the other residents and staff to help her settle in. We have discussed it with the staff who are all pleasant and say Mum is lovely and no trouble which is the person I know. But I guess they can’t make it happen anymore than we can.
    She does get deeply, deeply unhappy at times. I can distract her sometimes and bring her back but sooner or later she will say or ring up to say there’s something wrong with her head , she can’t think straight, that I don’t realize how serious her problem is and get all tearful and resentful.
    She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s three years ago but has always avoided the name or talking about it. I talk calmly with her and tell her again it is a memory problem she has and that she is coping really well and we are looking after her. But deep down I know what she is saying is that it is stopping her connecting with people and she is really frightened by that. Then I try to distract her again with another topic.
    It is so very upsetting, and I realize as I write this that I’m probably doing all I can for her, and there isn’t a right answer. But I feel a little better now. Thanks!
     
  2. Cat27

    Cat27 Volunteer Moderator

    Feb 27, 2015
    10,346
    Merseyside
    Hello GrannyS:)
    TP is the perfect place to talk stuff through.
     
  3. lin1

    lin1 Registered User

    Jan 14, 2010
    9,320
    Female
    East Kent
    Hi GrannyS. I am glad you have dipped your toe in the water here and posted. Their is nothing like receiving replies to your own questions and probably making cyber friends on here as well as lots of cyber support.

    I found it terribly difficult when my Mum had those moments of awareness and asked me what was wrong with her ( it hurts so much , doesn't it ) ,just like you I told her that she had memory problems and we were looking after her. Though at the beginning of this vile illness she was told it was dementia, I felt it was wrong t distress her more by keep reminding her and what was the point anyway as she would only forget again.

    When mum was feeling rough had infections etc I found it helped her when I told her I had called the Doctor out or that the doc had given her medicine to make her better.
    Perhaps this would help your mum too.

    It would be wonderful if mum could find a friend there, maybe in time she will.
     
  4. AndreaP

    AndreaP Registered User

    Recently I posted here about my own experience. My mother has the same problem in her CH. She wants to talk but the mentally ok ones avoid her and the others hardly speak.

    I felt sick with guilt about her unhappiness but a friend helped me realise that this is mum's journey and reminded me how much care I had taken to find her a really lovely place. We are not responsible for this awful sickness and it is not something we can remedy. All we can do is make sure our mothers are well cared for.

    Remember there are carers talking to your mum during the day and she is no longer isolated at home alone. That is something at least.

    I would let the call go through to the answering machine if you are not feeling able to deal with it. We have to take care of ourselves too and dementia can drag everyone involved into a pit of despair. Remind yourself that you have done the best you can and no one can do more than that.
     
  5. GrannyS

    GrannyS Registered User

    Jan 10, 2014
    5
    Essex
    Thank you all for replying. Those are all thoughts that are helpful. Mum has once or twice thought she was in a hospital, and though I would always call it a care home, I could encourage that way of thinking about it. She always seems to have some minor NHS appointments coming up that we take her to, for which , funnily enough, she seems to rally, though the downside is the constant checking of the time and date! I hate the thought of not answering, we set up the phone for her so she would not feel abandoned, but the calls that floored me yesterday afternoon led indirectly to emotional strife between us offspring which doesn’t help her or us. Yet when I went to visit a second time to check up her, she was not exactly happy but getting on with the evening. I guess if it’s a bad day for me it might be okay occasionally. I agree that seeing this as her journey - that we help her along as far as we can - is the right way to view the situation. It’s the terrible guilt that comes when you feel responsible for her suffering that is so soul destroying.
    Thank you again for your thoughts. It has helped me sort it all out in my mind. :)
     

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