1. candymostdandy@

    candymostdandy@ Registered User

    May 12, 2006
    west sussex
    How do you cope with and handle a 85 year old lady that is totally hyperactive throughout the day.

    Mum had now lived with us since January 06, but her memory has deteriorated considerably over the past year. She now is not able to even watch the TV for more than a couple of minutes, she will wonder off and start "sorting out and packing" her bags, and is unable to entertain herself for more than a few minutes.

    Basically she is totally hyperactive and talks constantly.

    Once she goes to bed in the evening I generally don't see her again until the next morning (although we have had a few experiences of her wondering in the middle of the night), but from the time moment I set eyes on her it is full on all day.

    On the days that she's at home all day she will spend 4 - 5 hours of the day at the sink "washing up", and obsessively wiping the sink after each cup or teaspoon that has been washed, and then wants to hang out the dishclothes to dry in the front garden.

    On her return from daycare her first question is "what shall I do now, shall I sweep the patio", on one particular afternoon after sweeping the patio she then washed the front door as well.

    All these things would be great, if she actually did the job properly and was able to find what she needed, but of course for every task that she carries out, it takes me 2 to put right.

    Her constant what can I do, can I help is driving me mad. Her constant questioning, "What is this envelope, what does it say, is it for me?".

    Yesterday I prepared the veg in advance, and for the entire afternoon she wanted to put the gas on, and even attempting to do so on several occasions while I wasn't looking even though I kept telling her not to.

    She follows be around like a toddler and her body and mind just are unable to relax at all throughout the day, even though she is now on Quatipaine.

    Each individual thing that she does in themselves are trivial and sometimes even amusing but when they are happening every few minutes throughout the day it can get quite stressfull.

    She's not agressive, she's not nasty, she still has her sense of humour and luckily when I do lose it with her, she'll go off like a naughty little girl saying that she won't do it again, but of course within a few minutes she's forgotton, and is again asking, "canI do that, canI help", to which I often reply "yes you can help, sit down and be quiet"! so she laughs and carries on......

    Has anyone else had a similar experience, and any suggestions that might help
  2. hawaii50

    hawaii50 Registered User

    Hi Candy
    I can so appreciate what you are saying and how frustrating, tiring and mentally exhausted it makes you feel. I can be mentally and physically exhausted and bored out of my mind all at the same time - and that doesn't make sense to a lot of people!
    My mum is much the same - spends hours "doing" the housework, carpet sweeping, scrubbing the sink and washing dishes - all of which needs redoing when she isn't looking!! My mum needs amusing all the time, can't concentrate on televesion any longer and has absolutely no interests! Today she got her coat and shoes on, lifted two handbags, stuffed a dishtowel and two brushes into a plastic bag and told me she was "off to catch a bus to the nearest town where she had lots of things to be doing" I let her wonder around with her jacket on for an hour hoping it would pass, but it didn't and when I said to her that I didn't think she was able to catch a bus any longer she accused me of keeping her prisoner and being her jailor!!and off she went out the backdoor - fortunately the first stop is my brother's house so I phone him to look out for her take her in and and bring her home in a little while. By that time she has forgotten what her original mission was all about. But my bloodpressure was sky high as you never know what to expect next.
    I read in one of the Alzheimers books I had in the States that many AD sufferers burn off more than 4000 calories a day with all their mental and constant agitation. My mum has lost two pounds a month for the past three years while eating an enormous amount of food so I guess she is burning off a lot more than she eats.
    I don't know what to say to comfort you because each day just repeats itself doesn't it. Someone gave my mum a soft toy a couple of weeks ago and believe it or not this has calmed her down substantially and she can sit and talk to it and nurse it for a few hours at a time. It seems to have brought out her mothering intsinct and she obviously feels she is fulfilling an important task. And for a few hours she doesn't expect me to entertain her!! It doesn't matter how often you try to keep her occupied it is never good enough and after a few minutes she isn't interested in the activity.
    So Candy hang on in there you can only do the best you can do and no more. No matter how good your best is it may never be good enough for your mum so don't beat yourself up. I am slowly learning that I can't be a superhero no matter how hard I try and try to just be the best I can and some days I fail miserably! Like your mum mine can be a really nice sweet little lady and still finds a sense of humour in the middle of her jumbled up world - I find humour is one of the ways to cope and when I sense she is having a good moment I tell her some of the outrageous things she does and she has a laugh and says "that wasn't me" And we both have a laugh and it lightens our groundhog day a little!! Then two minutes later she is off doing something that she totally denies doing!!
  3. Margarita

    Margarita Registered User

    Feb 17, 2006
    #3 Margarita, Apr 9, 2007
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2007
    85 gosh she good and has all that energy , just that I say this because my mother 76 now was like your mother in the first pre AZ , I say pre because when I look back read your post that its like I am reading about my life with my mother added with being incontinent at night time mostly , but my mother was put on exbixa that stop the incontinent and slow her down , she still followed me around for a few year's , but as the AZ progressed, so did the chatting , wanting to help and the wondering out in the street on her own .

    Not sure what that medication is that she is taking , is it for dementia /AZ or one of those drugs they give to people that have a mental illness ?


    I have seen 2 lady’s at mum AZ day center like you mum , wizening around wanting to help out with every thing chatting , one daughter told me that they had to take her of medication for AZ , not meet the daughter of the other lady , 1 st lady live with husband, I see her with her husband in the market , it amazes me , comparing her with how my mother is now , yes the daughter tells me she always ringing her up 24/7 on the phone, drive her husband mad . don't know how he cope and he still take her on hoilday to spain . they are both around my mother age
  4. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    Hi Candy,

    I feel for you, really I do. My husband has probably 5% of that behaviour and it drives me up the wall.
    Does your mum go to a day centre? Would she go to a day centre? I`m sure it would help both of you.
    The soft toy idea might work.
  5. Natashalou

    Natashalou Registered User

    Mar 22, 2007

    is it possible to give her "very important" jobs to do? Things where she cant do too much damage! My mum isnt hyperactive but she is both bored and confused. I had bought her a jigsaw (at her request) she has never managed to link even two pieces...but she is very busy "sorting it out" .
    I also have a huge tin of buttons which in fact once belonged to her own mother, and I have asked her if she can "sort " that out too, stressing to her that only she will do it properly.
    She sorts endlessly, although quite what she is sorting isnt clear as I held back from making any suggestions as I knew she wouldnt remember and she doesnt seem to sort by size or colour,and due to sight problems cant see much anyway! but how busy she is!!
    she does mutter to herself as she works but these "jobs" seem to keep her ocupied for hours
    would it work for you I wonder if next time she asked what she should do, you came up with a similar important task for her that only she could be trusted to do?!
  6. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    near London
    I think what natashalou says is very good advice - it is simply a question of finding the task that will do the job.

    It could additionally be sorting small items of clothing - maybe a lot of individual different coloured socks that need matching - or something like that? Sounds daft, but what works may just be that way, or appear so to us.
  7. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    Hi Natasha,

    What a brainwave, giving your mother things to sort. As for the jigsaw, had you thought of children`s jigsaws, bigger pieces, brighter colours and easier to fit.
  8. Nebiroth

    Nebiroth Registered User

    Aug 20, 2006
    I would say, try to find time-consuming, fiddly but relatively straightforward and harmless things to keep Mum occupied. Things like sorting out tins of lots of different buttons. winding up huge balls of different coloured wools, sorting out boxes of coloured pencils and that sort of thing. When she has finished, you can quietly tip them all into a heap again ready for the next time she is looking for something to do. Jigsaws are also a possibility though Mum will probably never complete one, but that doesn't matter.

    She will probably not remember that she has already done it before!

    The likely cause of the behavior is that she has a longer-term memory of needing to do things around the house, but no short-term memory of having just done them, so constantly feels a need to be "doing something". Also, she may not find things like watching television, reading or doing puzzles etc stimulating because her short-term memory is so bad she instantly loses the plot of what is going on.
  9. BeckyJan

    BeckyJan Registered User

    Nov 28, 2005
    Hello. As GrannieG said my husband is only 5% there but it still drives me mad. 'Can I help you' all the time. I find when I do ask him to do a simple job, eg clean silver, internal mirrors etc he puts off the job!! In some ways the lack of mobility helps me.
    When I first joined this forum my first question was 'what activity or interests can I give my husband?' One interesting reply said that her Dad loved cleaning brasses and the whole family seemed to find him such work to do. That sounded fabulous to me (although it did not work in our case). I do think the cuddly toy sounds good. (How do you feel about real animals? - I have a rehomed cat on my knee at the moment and it does wonders for me and I dont think I have a dementia problem???!!).

    It is nightmare and I do have sympathy for you - if none of the ideas submitted work, then I do feel you need some medical advice to 'calm' your Mum down, not just for her sake but for yours.

    Good luck Beckyjan
  10. candymostdandy@

    candymostdandy@ Registered User

    May 12, 2006
    west sussex
    Thank you all for your suggestions.

    Mum is from what I would classify "peasant" Italian stock, so she grew up working on the land, and when they came to the uk in the late sixties, mum worked as a cook inthe local hospital.

    Unfortunately she has never done a jigsaw in her life, and she wouldn't even recognise what one was.

    Yesterday I left the Dyson out, she volunteered to "sweep" with it, but she couldn't even figure out how to unwind the lead, and put the plug into the socket. When she cleans the cooker, and it only has two plate tops, she can't put them back together and calls me to do it, so anything with more than one piece would be a challenge..

    She attends daycare on tuesdays an thursdays, and I have a lady who takes her out once a week to church and for a coffee. But for the rest of the time she follows me around like a toddler....

    I have always let her do tasks to keep her busy, but unfortunately even if she has just a cup and teaspoon to wash, she will call me to ask which soap to use, then where the dishcloth is, (which she has hidden), then where does the teaspoon go, etc etc and so it goes on...

    My son made me a mother's day card which said

    "don't get so stressed about a dying old lady who just wants to help"

    so I try not to but its not easy..
  11. TinaT

    TinaT Registered User

    Sep 27, 2006
    Anxiety attacks

    It is so very comforting to hear other people so accurately describing the anxiety behaviour which my husband also displays every day. I think when he sees me having to do jobs which all his life he has been conditioned to think of as a man's job, then he becomes extremely agitated. He becomes so anxious that he is then incapable of even the smallest of tasks such as taking a cup into the kitchen let alone telling me he needs to go to the toilet before he has 'an accident'. This then disrupts me when I am also a little stressed out myself because I am tackling a job which I have never had to do before and I am not sure how to do it properly. He also follows me about and tries unsuccessfully to do things which result in twice the work for me having to put such things right again. We live daily in this 'chicken and egg' situation together. He is stressed out, I am stressed out and slowly but surely, I am giving him more and more medication!!

    Our eldest son told me when I was forced to retire last year from my job because of husband's illness "Now you will be able to relax and take care of dad properly". As we only see son at most twice or three times a year for a day's visit, these words of encouragement did not surprise me in the least.

    Living with Alzheimer's disease is full of these trivial incidents, some are amusing, some drive you mad, and some zap your confidence in yourself. The miracle is that despite all this husband and I still love each other very much and because of Talking Point Forum and threads such as this, I know my husband is not actually trying to torment me and put me in an early grave, but is displaying symptoms which other carers also have to deal with on a daily basis, just like myself. Bless you all for sharing xx TinaT
  12. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    Hi TinaT,
    Oh how I identify with your post.

    My husband was never into DIY, so we always had to `get a man in`.

    However he was an excellent cook and did all the cooking and shopping, when we both worked. Now he is unable to drive, so I shop on-line, and has lost the organizational skills, required for putting a meal together.

    When the shopping is delivered, he `helps` to put it away, but has no idea of rotation, so when he`s not looking, I put it away again. He will put a melon on top of pears, and food for thr fridge goes in the freezer, and frozen food gets put in the fridge.

    He gets resentful, saying he used to do all these things but now I don`t give him a chance. So I suggest he cooks a meal and say I`ll keep out of the way. Then he asks me to chop the onions, then he asks me where certain ingredients are, then he has difficulty with the cooker controls, then he says `I can`t be bothered, you do it`.

    These are the trivial incidents you talk about Tina, but there are so many of them, they occupy the day.

    Take care
  13. Skye

    Skye Registered User

    Aug 29, 2006
    SW Scotland
    I'm afraid that's how so many outsiders see it. I'm having a very 'relaxed' retirement too! :rolleyes:

    Amen to that too!:)

  14. candymostdandy@

    candymostdandy@ Registered User

    May 12, 2006
    west sussex
    She tripped and fell yesterday, her left arm is swollen, and she has a bruise on her face.

    I have lost count have many times I have told her to sit and rest since 0800 this morning, she has now been at the sink since for the last half hour scrubbing saucepans, and with each movement she is cursing that her arm hurts...
  15. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    HI candy, Is your mum on medication? If not, would you be prepared to see if her GP could give her something to calm her down. It does sound as if it might help.
  16. candymostdandy@

    candymostdandy@ Registered User

    May 12, 2006
    west sussex
    She's on Quatepeine, but it has no effect on her.

    I've called the GP out so hopefully he will give her something.

    She is currently trying to sweep the floor with one hand..
  17. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    I`m so sorry, it must be driving you mad. I`m glad you`ve called the GP out. Fingers crossed he can help.
  18. candymostdandy@

    candymostdandy@ Registered User

    May 12, 2006
    west sussex
    Well to cut a long story short, had to call GP out on sunday as I couldn't get mum out of bed, eventually he agreed to admit to hospital, on arrival at hospital she had a temp of 38.8 and two fractures in her wrist. (the GP letter stated "admitting on daughter's insistance".)

    After they had set her arm yesterday and given her antibiotics, they wanted to discharge her.

    I said that I wouldn't be able to cope, and that she wouldn't keep her arm still.

    They eventually agreed to keep her in hospital and observe.

    On arrival at the hospital this morning, found mum without the cast on her arm, - apparently she had spent the night unravelling the plaster....
  19. Skye

    Skye Registered User

    Aug 29, 2006
    SW Scotland
    Hi, I'm so sorry you're having so many problems with your mum.

    I hope that now she's in hospital they'll keep her there until she's stabilised.

    Let us know how it goes.

  20. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    Good lord, she's determined! How on earth did she manage to get the cast off?? A saw is normally necessary, but I suppose if you have enough persistence anything is possible. So have they made any proposals to set it again and keep it set? Incidentally, did they use fibreglass for the cast?

    I can't get over the fact that she got it off. Having had both my arms in casts at various times, I can understand WHY she took it off, but can't quite get my head around HOW she did it.


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