How to cope with Mothers comments in street.

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Candlelight 67, Dec 15, 2015.

  1. Candlelight 67

    Candlelight 67 Registered User

    Nov 4, 2013
    167
    West Sussex
    I was just wandering if anyone has any tips on how to cope.

    Every week I take my Mother to the hairdressers. It is a short walk and we always go the same way. Every time my dear mother comments that everybody she sees were there the last time. She also comments on people's appearance in a loud voice.

    I have stopped telling her that she is mistaken. I also fear this is upsetting for her. She is the same in a car. One of her favourites is the "that girl with the spindly legs" (someone wearing leggings.) She loves babies and small children.;)

    Thank you for reading this.
     
  2. Beetroot

    Beetroot Registered User

    Aug 19, 2015
    363
    I have no idea how to cope with it, but would be interested in others' ideas. Our really nice postman just happens to be black and his name is Sam. My mother refers to him as "Sambo". Every time she says it, I correct her and she is contrite and says, "Oh no, I didn't call him that did I?" but the next day when the post has arrived, she still tells me "Sambo's been". I am terrified that she will call him that to his face one day.
     
  3. Countryboy

    Countryboy Registered User

    Mar 17, 2005
    1,396
    Male
    Cornwall
    Unfortunately this happens because this is reality for a person with dementia remember majority of people with dementia grew up in an age where there was No political correctness one could say exactly what they thought ok things are different in today’s society but its still alive in the minds of the older person dementia or no dementia (only my opinion though I have dementia I not making any excuse )
     
  4. Beetroot

    Beetroot Registered User

    Aug 19, 2015
    363
    You are making perfect sense Tony. The odd thing is my mum is (or maybe was?) something of a lefty in her day and a fundamentally very kind and unjudgemental person. It's not said maliciously. I have no idea where it comes from.

    Candlelight, I don't think it matters if she thinks she sees the same people and if you keep the windows up in the car, no-one's going to hear her. Could you engage her in conversation while you walk to the hairdresser or otherwise distract her so she's looking at you rather than people around her?
     
  5. Countryboy

    Countryboy Registered User

    Mar 17, 2005
    1,396
    Male
    Cornwall
    #5 Countryboy, Dec 15, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2015
    Hi Beetroot yes you correct its Not malicious unfortunately it obviously buried in our memories , I myself reply to many threads on T.P ok I know sometimes it difficult to read but it make sense to me but in verbal conversation for me is completely different again the words are lost before I have chance to say them that’s causes frustration that brings out swear words very easily (no problem) the swear words are not directed at any one, only at my situation of frustration hope that make sense , one good thing we forget in a short while if we insult someone ok they may not but that’s unfortunate

    just notice i left out Not see how easy it is to make a mistake
     
  6. Beetroot

    Beetroot Registered User

    Aug 19, 2015
    363
    You're doing fine Tony - probably a lot better than you think you are! Your insights are helpful, thank you.
     
  7. Candlelight 67

    Candlelight 67 Registered User

    Nov 4, 2013
    167
    West Sussex
    Thank you all for your comments.

    Interesting insight from Tony particularly. My Mother has found a new swear word. She never swore previously.

    Beetroot - I will have a go with a conversation. She does enjoy a good moan.
     
  8. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    2,740
    My Mum did the same thing but far worse racist language occasionally - I have children who are internationally adopted and she definitely isn't racist but one day in London a black man punched her when she was on a bus - she never said anything much more about it although I knew it had made a huge impact then when her memory deteriorated she made awful comments in the street and I think that was a memory throwback. At the beginning I tried to 'reason' but she would just say 'we always loved the black and white minstrels and anyway it's not a bad word, not like punching an old lady'!!! There was logic you see.
    I agree with Tony she was brought up in a different era and I wonder what I will be like - will I be anti technology or something else - I'm sure I will be very very not PC .
    Distraction and behind closed doors is definitely the way to go Beetroot
     
  9. jasmineflower

    jasmineflower Registered User

    Aug 27, 2012
    335
    Hi, I once read a very good idea here on TP. One lady had made up some little cards which explained her husband's condition and asked for their understanding if he had said or done something inappropriate.

    She would quietly pass one of these cards to people when needed.
    I thought it was a lovely way to explain without embarrassing or upsetting her partner. J x
     
  10. marionq

    marionq Registered User

    Apr 24, 2013
    5,552
    Female
    Scotland
    Fizzie we did indeed enjoy the black and white minstrels but so too did we love black musicians. My mums favourite jazz singer was Fats Waller and she would never have felt that the minstrels were an insult to him. Previous generations were less politically correct because life was less sophisticated and with little space for pretense.

    My husband is a seriously nice man but in dementia will comment on girls with short skirts and " tree trunk" legs. He would never wish to insult anyone and fortunately does not speak too loudly.

    Most people turn a blind eye when old folks behave oddly.
     
  11. Candlelight 67

    Candlelight 67 Registered User

    Nov 4, 2013
    167
    West Sussex
    I do hope so. My Mother has also commented on big bottoms.

    By the way my father would shout British at the Tv when an ethnic minority newsreader was on. This was only following a stroke.
     
  12. tatty

    tatty Registered User

    Oct 14, 2015
    61
    Hi Jasmine flowers idea of 'calling cards' can be effective I know a few people who use them when caring for others with varying forms of autism , our old neighbour went through loads as her young son would have horrenous meltdowns in public causing many an unhelpful comment to come my neighbours way, it did seem to help, if even if she only used them as a reply to any negative observations of her parenting skills.

    My MIl refers to her grandaughter, my neice, who has mild autism as ' handicapped', 'not normal/right in the head' she say it sympatheically (though reading this it doesn't come across that way) but makes us all cringe my teenage daughters are horrified; just pray she never says it to my SIL who really wouldn't cope well with her mother saying it about her child-just think it is how anyone who did not fit the norm was refrred to in the past and at 91 its too late to change her, she wouldn't remember anyway if corrected but would be upset so I just ignore it and change the subject.
     
  13. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    2,740
    my elderly neighbour used to affectionately! call my daughter, adopted from China, Ping Pong!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am sorry but we did have to laugh even though it is so un-PC and my daughter, now an 'old' teenager still remembers him, long gone, with a great deal of love and laughs about her nickname!!
     
  14. 1mindy

    1mindy Registered User

    Jul 21, 2015
    539
    Female
    Shropshire
    Every day I query how this dementia brain works as it seems to go the same way in so many people. My OH also sees the same people,cars,dogs that we saw last time we were out.He swears far more.. The other day in the co op he tried to " abduct " a small child from his mother as he was sure he was a little boy he new. Mothers face was a picture, Iexplained and she was fine.
     
  15. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    11,485
    Female
    London
    OH, himself "pleasantly plump", used to get fattist all of a sudden! Loud comments were made about "look how fat she is!" Also, ripped jeans, nose rings and purple hair always got a reaction. It was a relief when he stopped making comments altogether!
     
  16. lizzybean

    lizzybean Registered User

    Feb 3, 2014
    1,398
    Lancashire
    My MIL is the same! Anyone who doesn't fit the "norm" & she eye rolls at me or makes a comment. ATM it is quietly, just to me but I am waiting for the day when she blurts some thing out a bit louder. Also my niece & nephew are mixed race & she has made comments in the past. Good job my sister gets it (sort of!)
     
  17. theunknown

    theunknown Registered User

    Apr 17, 2015
    321
    Oh dear :eek:. It's excrutiating but this thread did make me laugh, particularly Beetroot' and Fizzie's comments. I know it's wrong, but I think it's the thought of the sheer embarrassment for everybody involved :eek:, apart from the person with dementia of course.

    Jasmine's mention of the cards seems a good idea. However, they're probably only really helpful at the point when an individual starts making loud comments that are particularly unsuitable. I remember a few years ago when my mum mentioned loudly that a child had very bright red hair. She said nothing other than that, and there was no insult at all intended; his hair colour just happened to be particularly striking. However his parents gave our table very dirty looks. In those circumstances it wasn't appropriate to explain. More importantly, my only explanation would have been that as my mum was getting older she tended not to realise that her personal comments could sound wrong to others.

    With hindsight I can look back on many occasions when things happened that I put down to 'her personality', when I now realise that she'd probably been descending into dementia problems for a long time. The times when we'd take her out for a meal and look at each other and cringe - :eek:. Of course, some perfectly healthy elderly people feel they have a god-given right to say what they think, however unpleasant it is. There's no way for outsiders to differentiate. Unfortunately, I think the rude comments aimed at appearance probably do have a very upsetting effect on those who receive and hear them, but what can we do about it, other than using a blindfold and a gag when taking our parent out?
     
  18. Ann Mac

    Ann Mac Registered User

    Oct 17, 2013
    3,699
    I've struggled with this one with my Mil. She is so very 'pass remarkable' now! She will comment on peoples appearance - weight and what they are wearing are the most common subjects, and we correct her quietly each time.

    Harder is when she has said really offensive things to peoples faces. She has upset my oldest once or twice, telling her that she needed to 'watch her weight' - in that case not only offensive, but untrue - my daughter is a size 12! When its a stranger, how to react is even more difficult to work out. She made loud comments about a woman stood in front of us in a queue, because the womans hair was dreadlocked - and when the woman turned to glare at Mil, Mil looked her straight in the face and rudely said 'I was just talking about your hair. How do you get it like that? Do you just never bother brushing it?' On another occasion, in a restaurant, a young gentleman serving us was quite effeminate and as he put down Mils drink, she grinned broadly and looking him straight in the face, raised her glass, saying 'Cheers to queers and engineers!' . In both those cases, our response was to tell her firmly not to be rude, and thankfully, that seemed to appease/molify the poor person on the receiving end of her remarks. I do worry that one day someone will not be happy with just us correcting her, though and can't see any way out of a situation like that other than apologising for her - which will infuriate her - and maybe giving a brief explanation :(
     
  19. Countryboy

    Countryboy Registered User

    Mar 17, 2005
    1,396
    Male
    Cornwall
    If I can just touch on yesterday people bore between 1920 & 1950 are the majority of those suffering with various dementias and pre WW2 and many years after this political correctness didn’t exist remember TV programs like Till Death do us Part & Love Thy Neighbour we were brought up during those years and it’s in our memories our brains aren’t like a computer memory we cant reformat our brains

    personally I never knew anyone who didn’t like those TV shows but they wouldn’t show them on TV today , however I was watching Jeremy Kyle TV show last week it may have been a repeat but during the show he said “ were going to a add break and I’m going off to the Asylum” now as a person with dementia I could take that as being offensive but thats ridiculous because i know it was an expression of words which he found useful at that moment and I’m sure Jeremy has a lot of respect for those of us with dementia

    sorry for any mistakes ??
     
  20. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    2,740
    I so very much like that comment Tony

    "We can't reformat our brains"

    How very very true and we will all be 'guilty' of not being able to change our past experiences one day - so cheers to those who don't mean to be mean and we need to stop being embarrassed and start to be upfront about memory loss and ageing.
     

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