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How do you separate the person they were from the person they are now?

at wits end

Registered User
Nov 9, 2012
753
0
East Anglia
Gran has been in her NH for nearly a whole year now. I dont know where the time has gone. She has Mixed Dementia and has deteriorated slowly over that time but is still relatively fit and strong despite approaching her 100th birthday. The walks have got shorter, with more breaks, and her vision has deteriorated but she is still full of vigour. Her only real issue is her memory. It is appalling. She often forgets what she is saying before she gets to the end of the sentence.

Gran is not a sociable person, never was, and therefore has not taken advantage of the social aspects of her NH, which is a shame. Instead she relies heavily on me for amusement and visits, and a volunteer who tries to take her out for walks as often as possible. There are no other family nearby to help, and as I said she was never social so one old neighbour pops in about once a month to see her and that is it. I try and visit her three times a week.

Lately though it has become apparent to me that gran likes to moan about me behind my back (and once TO me thinking I was someone else). She will tell anyone who will listen that I am not doing enough for her, partly because she wont accept she cant live on her own anymore, she thinks I should be getting her 'out'.

Now I know this is partly her Dementia, though it's partly her ingrained complete refusal to ever open herself up to anything she might find enjoyable too. But how do other carers cope with the tarnishing of what good memories they did have with the current situation, how do you keep the two separate? I find when gran is whingy I resent visiting and want to walk away but know I would regret it if I did, but in truth I just dont like her much anymore...
 

angecmc

Registered User
Dec 25, 2012
2,108
0
hertfordshire
Helen, it is very sad, it is not that you don't like your Gran any more, its that you don't like what she has become, it is the same for me with my Mum. I know my Mum would not associate with the sort of person she now is if she were still my Mum of old. I find I cannot find a way to separate what she was to what she has become, so unfortunately find myself wishing a quick ending for her. If she knew half the things she now says and does, she would hate herself. Sorry I have no answer for you only understanding xx

Ange
 

Witzend

Registered User
Aug 29, 2007
4,289
0
SW London
Sadly it can become very hard to keep loving someone when the nastier side of dementia takes over. I used to find it so upsetting when my mother would say horrible things about my husband and daughters and siblings. More than once I nearly walked out and once I really did lose my rag with her. Once she was finally in the care home a lot of abuse was directed at me - I was poison for putting here there (even though it was a joint 4 sibling decision).
I don"t know how you cope, to be honest - you keep telling yourself it's the disease, they can't help it, but these things are still deeply upsetting at the time. I did cut my visits down when they became very stressful. In our case this stage passed some time ago - there is no nastiness any more - my mother is just a very poor, pathetic old thing I go and visit. I love her and I pity her for the dire state she's in, 95 and with severe dementia, not a clue about anything, doesn't recognise her family any more, speech mostly unintelligible, incontinent, you name it. And it's awful to say it, but the visiting is a lot easier now she's so much worse.

Sorry, not much help, I know, but you're certainly not the only one to feel like this.
 

at wits end

Registered User
Nov 9, 2012
753
0
East Anglia
Thank you for taking the time to answer ladies. The replies werent quite the answers I was hoping for but is is so nice not to feel alone. I sometimes wonder whether I am doing the right things, I have no role model for how to look after an elderly dementia sufferer like gran. My other gran ended up in a CH when I was a teenager but she has a couple of severe strokes and lost her mind in a so much more thorough way.

Sometimes I wish my mum was here still and we could do all this in the order it should happen, but other times I think it is a blessing that my mum doesnt have to see this side of her own Mum.
 

Bumblegirl

Registered User
Nov 17, 2012
86
0
Hi,

Yes it must be hard looking after your nan when your own lovely mum has gone. I feel for you.

You do so much for your nan so take heart on that. She is nearly 100 so has lived a good long life. You have yours ahead of you.

My mum is difficult and visits are not so nice. I go once a week but my dad goes everyday. If he was not here then mum would be dependent on me and that would be very stressful for me. Your nan is dependent on you and that is a lot for you to carry. Well done for doing so.

Take each visit as it comes.
Good luck
BG
 

starryuk

Registered User
Nov 8, 2012
1,323
0
Your mum would be so proud of you and grateful that you are taking such good care of your nan.

Of course it is 'dementia nonsense' that you are not doing enough for your nan. Please don't let it make you feel guilty or resentful. The CH staff will know only too well how devoted you are and the other residents don't matter and probably don't understand!

I think your nan knows too, but is just expressing that feeling of dependency and wanting you by her side 24/7. Perhaps you should be kind to yourself and go twice a week for a while. I have learned that my mum doesn't notice the difference. In fact since I have cut the visits down a bit, I get treated more like a welcome visitor and less like a 'piece of the furniture' to be moaned at!

Don't take your nan's moans to heart. Really.

xx
 

at wits end

Registered User
Nov 9, 2012
753
0
East Anglia
'Dementia Nonsense' I like that! I shall try and remember that phrase next time it starts to wind me up.

As usual you have all helped me get a grip and put things in perspective, I think it just came as a shock yesterday on a day off from visiting nan to bump into another residents daughter, who told me, again, how nan likes to moan about me. She added that they all knew what she said wasn't true, but maybe it would have been kinder if she hadn't told me it either!

A tad less visiting, and a reminder to myself there is nothing I can do to make her change.

Thank you all.
x
 

rajahh

Registered User
Aug 29, 2008
2,791
0
Hertfordshire
So far when my husband talks about his wife to me he only says nice things. However one of the things he often says is tht he misses her, and that makes me sad, as that means although he recognises that I look after him he still misses his wife.

On the rare occasions he does recognise me as his wife he always says nice things.

I remember years ago when I was a warden in sheltered housing thinking that an old lady's niece was not very attentive even though the aunt had brought her up when her own mother had died.

One day the niece was coming out as I was going in, and she said to me oh it is nice to see that you do visit after all!!! I replied that I visited every day, to which she said so do I. !!!

We realised then that we had both been judging each other instead of accepting that dementia had robbed this old lady of her memory.

Please try not to listen to foolish people who tell you these " tales of nonsense" you are right they would do better to keep their mouths shut.

Hope your next visit is more relaxing

Jeannette
 

jaymor

Volunteer Moderator
Jul 14, 2006
15,162
0
South Staffordshire
I cope by dividing my life into two parts. Dementia world and the real world. My husband so far has not been verbally abusive to me or our family, in fact quite the opposite which can be embarrassing when he is chatting up one of his granddaughters! When with him in his nursing home we all go along with how his world works and abide by their rules. Two of the men on my husband's floor are very verbal and in our world would not be tolerated but in their world it is ok. Non of the other men bat an eyelid when one of them starts and the carers are great. When told where to go with the offered cup of tea they say ok no problem maybe have one in a minute.
Ignoring the behaviour is the way to go.

I am sure everyone dealing with dementia, carers and relatives visiting know that these outbursts are caused mostly by the disease with maybe just a little bit of the original personality coming through.

When I return home I am back in this world, not sure it is the better one, and can sometimes smile when thinking of the men and I like the thought of them being a bit feisty, there were times when I was my husband's full time carer that I would have felt a lot better if I could have let it all out and let people hear just what I thought about them. You can do it in dementia world, it's not allowed in our world.

Try not too worry too much, accept it and then forget it. Not easy but if you practice enough it will come.

Take care,

Jay





Sent from my iPad using Talking Point mobile app
 

at wits end

Registered User
Nov 9, 2012
753
0
East Anglia
Thank you Jay. your thoughts are always appreciated.

Well i've just visited again and Nan is much calmer today, still very keen on going home and a little bit tearful, but far happier than Sunday. I've jollied her along with promises to see her GP about 'what the devil is going on' but sometimes I wonder if I should just fess up and tell her the truth. SHe moans that she is lonely and has no-one to talk to but the wife of another resident who has lunch there everyday came and said to Nan how much she had missed her at lunch and why didnt she want to join her anymore? She then mentioned her hubby had been in hospital for a few days so I wonder if actually Nan was missing having lunch with her so shut herself off and had apparently refused to go the dining room. Then I saw one of the regular carers who said today was her first day back for two weeks. So maybe she HAS been a little bit lonely. If only she could remember these things I would understand a bit better when she needed extra support, but she never knows what it is that IS missing!

Hopefully she will pick up again.