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How do you cope with a 97 year old in denial?

Hazel49

New member
Mar 30, 2020
5
My brother and I are looking after our 97year old mother with advanced dementia, my brother does the majority of it. She is in total denial of everything, has hearing aids - 'I don't need them' but seems to lip read. Denies ever seeing the doctor. Refuses to eat a balanced meal, just wants biscuits, crisps etc. and eats constantly yet is underweight. Calls us liars, tells us to get out and not to come back, wants help but won't accept it. Seems incapable of taking anything in and is unable to retain it. Constantly repeats the same question, over and over again like a broken record. We have tried everything we can think of and don't know what to do/try next. Her appointment with the Mental Health Team has been postponed from tomorrow until the end of June, but we need help now. She will not allow anyone apart from us into the house to help her. Anyone got any suggestions?
 

karaokePete

Registered User
Jul 23, 2017
5,457
N Ireland
Hello @Hazel49, you are welcome here and I hope you find the forum to be a friendly and supportive place.

I haven't had to deal with this scenario myself but I know others have so I'm sure you will get some advice.

I hope you have time to take a good look around the site as it is a goldmine for information. When I first joined I read old threads for information but then found the AS Publications list and the page where a post code search can be done to check for support services in ones own area. If you are interested in these, clicking the following links will take you there

https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/get-support/publications-factsheets-full-list

https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/find-support-near-you

You will see that there are Factsheets that will help with things like getting care needs assessments, deciding the level of care required and sorting out useful things like Wills, Power of Attorney etc., if any of that hasn't already been done. There is also a Dementia Guide in the list.

Now that you have found us I hope you will keep posting as the membership has vast collective knowledge and experience.
 

nae sporran

Volunteer Host
Oct 29, 2014
6,818
Bristol
Hullo and welcome to the forums from me too, Hazel49.
That is a horrendous situation and I can't offer much either, but https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/dementiaconnect has contact phone numbers where you can find expert advice and support. https://forum.alzheimers.org.uk/threads/compassionate-communication-with-the-memory-impaired.30801/ has some useful tips on dealing with the frustrations of repetitive conversations and similar problems.
I hope that or any of the links Pete has posted can help you, and you will find support and advice on the forums from others who know what you are going through.
 

Bunpoots

Volunteer Host
Apr 1, 2016
4,391
Nottinghamshire
Hi @Hazel49 welcome to Dementia Talking Point

I’m afraid your mother is typical of people with dementia and there is no point in trying to argue or explain anything to them as they know they are right even when what they’re saying makes no sense at all. The best way to deal with it is to go along with what they believe as much as possible. This might give you some ideas

https://forum.alzheimers.org.uk/threads/compassionate-communication-with-the-memory-impaired.30801/ .

Eating is also a problem. With my dad I gave him fruit pies and cakes which had some nutritional value e.g. apple pie and custard or carrot cake, whatever he would accept. Yogurts and smoothies are a good choice if she’ll accept them. I used to get reluctant kids to eat bananas by spreading chocolate spread on top a bit like an eclair.
 

nita

Registered User
Dec 30, 2011
1,852
Essex
Can you try ringing your GP? Ours are still running a service though it is over the telephone. When Mum was alive I had a dedicated number for "admissions avoidance" when Mum had problems like UTIs and I was able to get antibiotics prescribed. Maybe the doctor can prescribe something to calm your mother temporarily. Pharmacies are running medication delivery services for the housebound and elderly.
 

Weasell

Registered User
Oct 21, 2019
239
The link that @Bunpoots has given you is excellent.
All the behaviours you have described are just par for the course for many people using this forum.
One reason I think you are suffering is that you and your brother are sounding like a great team. The problem with that, is it inspires hope that something can be ‘done’.
i am on my own and use the technique ‘ mother knows best’. Unless it is dangerous she gets everything her own way.
Dementia can change the tastebuds, the desire for sweet things is strong. I bet so many people on forum live with people who survive on tea and biscuits, but on and on they go like Duracell bunnies, so if a person gets one nutritious meal a day do you really need to worry so much?
Depending on the individual, and their medication a Croft sherry before dinner can work well.
if you can change your thoughts to accommodate this it would be one way forward, the person with dementia can’t change that is the problem.
for the future I see your choices as continue, or residential care. Some posters have managed to get extra help accepted by not calling the extra help the dreaded ‘ carer’ word.
Attendance allowance pays the cleaner and gardener, for us.
Just reading random posts on this forum is so good for you, none of us know what problems are coming our way. You read about hallucinations for example and every time you read the answers you learn. Then when it’s your turn to deal with a new behaviour you don’t feel so unprepared.
 

Hazel49

New member
Mar 30, 2020
5
The link that @Bunpoots has given you is excellent.
All the behaviours you have described are just par for the course for many people using this forum.
One reason I think you are suffering is that you and your brother are sounding like a great team. The problem with that, is it inspires hope that something can be ‘done’.
i am on my own and use the technique ‘ mother knows best’. Unless it is dangerous she gets everything her own way.
Dementia can change the tastebuds, the desire for sweet things is strong. I bet so many people on forum live with people who survive on tea and biscuits, but on and on they go like Duracell bunnies, so if a person gets one nutritious meal a day do you really need to worry so much?
Depending on the individual, and their medication a Croft sherry before dinner can work well.
if you can change your thoughts to accommodate this it would be one way forward, the person with dementia can’t change that is the problem.
for the future I see your choices as continue, or residential care. Some posters have managed to get extra help accepted by not calling the extra help the dreaded ‘ carer’ word.
Attendance allowance pays the cleaner and gardener, for us.
Just reading random posts on this forum is so good for you, none of us know what problems are coming our way. You read about hallucinations for example and every time you read the answers you learn. Then when it’s your turn to deal with a new behaviour you don’t feel so unprepared.