I dont want to hear about the war any more.. Advice please?

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Skyrim, Jul 19, 2015.

  1. Skyrim

    Skyrim Registered User

    Jun 19, 2015
    My MIL obviously did some thing in the war, the WRAF I believe. Nothing else has been, or will be said. An old sort of plane want over the house the other day and now she's stareted having panic attacks.

    She's smart, she was a radio operator and now talks abouth "luther" and the henkels, I know she worked at Bletchley Park and now she's so terrified of wetting the bed she gets into bed with me. I dont know what she's on about.

    Any help , any ideas how to make this better please.
  2. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    I wish there was some way to make it better but incidents which trigger past lives seem par for the course in some people with dementia.

    Getting into bed with you is a different story and you certainly need help from either a continence nurse or your MIL`s GP.

    However upsetting or annoying your MiL`s behaviour is, she really can`t help it. No one would choose to be so frightened.
  3. Jessbow

    Jessbow Registered User

    #3 Jessbow, Jul 19, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2015
    do you know what went on at Bletchley park? If you are imagining you are still there, and what is perceived as an enemy plane went over, you would be in danger

    You could try taking her into he garden and pointing out that the sky is clear of plane. They have gone elsewhere tonight- ie *be there* with her, as though it WAS going on, and reassure her accordingly.

    She quite possibly did climb into bed with someone else all those years ago, for warmth and for comfort. perhaps some music, just quietly might sooth her to sleep .
  4. Bod

    Bod Registered User

    Aug 30, 2013
    It is possible to visit Bletchley Park, as it is now open to the public.
    If you felt it might do good to go, contact them first, some of the original staff are there as guides now.

  5. Saffie

    Saffie Registered User

    Mar 26, 2011
    Near Southampton
    Please, try to just enter into her world, as Jessbow says.
    It must be terrifying to be so frightened. My husband was always thinking he was being chased and shot at and my mother thought there was a man in her bedroom.
    I'd be terrified too.
  6. mancmum

    mancmum Registered User

    Feb 6, 2012
    Can you just tell her you have heard the 'all clear'

    perhaps putting it on some sort of sound loop playing in her room. Sorry I'm not technical enough to do this but i realise it can be done.

    This is something I am concerned about for my elderly relatives who were blitzed. People seem very reluctant to see it as a child did. Who would think about having a jolly old Gaza Party today for war time refugees, but a number of activities organisers think this is a good thing to do for old folk.

    Its a regular concern for one old lady at our group who was bombed.

    Could you reinforce during the day with a post war victory poster?
  7. cragmaid

    cragmaid Registered User

    Oct 18, 2010
    North East England
  8. lin1

    lin1 Registered User

    Jan 14, 2010
    East Kent
    Just on the off chance I'd check incase MIL had an infection.
    Is it possible that she has heard something on TV or radio about the war ,which may have triggered this.
    Sorry not much help I know.
  9. Suzanna1969

    Suzanna1969 Registered User

    Mar 28, 2015
    #9 Suzanna1969, Jul 19, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2015
    My Dad's cousin worked at Bletchley Park too. They went through terrifying and intense ordeals. She was a WRAF, not quite sure what she did but I know they were not allowed to speak of it for 70 years. Even her husband had no idea what she did until fairly recently.

    I have to say I love hearing my Dad's stories about the war. Maybe if you encourage your mum to talk about her experiences a bit more she might accept that it's in the past.

    A look at some of the documentaries about Bletchley Park might give you a good insight into what she went through though. Several are available on Youtube including this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQOnkYVnptE

    Your mother in law, my cousin once removed and the many thousands of people who worked at Bletchley Park and served in the Second World War (and the other wars of course) made huge sacrifices for the future generations. I'm really proud of what they did and I do think we should try to understand and appreciate those sacrifices, especially when they come back to haunt them in their old age and associated confusion. We shouldn't forget or gloss over what they went through, whatever their current mental state.
  10. Skyrim

    Skyrim Registered User

    Jun 19, 2015
    Than you, thank you all,

    I have discovered, thanks to all the advice given that the MIL was thinking about the doodlebugs?.The V1's. Apparently the appeared form nowhere, whistled and then landed.
    No wonder she has worried about wetting the bed!!,,
    For those of you who took the kindnesss to respond, your help has been great. I have used explanations that the war is over...although news on the TV doesn't help much and I have taked to her that her duties are no longer for her to worry about...its my job now.
    For any militarians amongst you....Lusser (not Luther as I thought) was the designer of the v1 and the Heinkel was the plane that delivered these nast.y bombs.

    Thank you all again, Your support has been invaluable and she is more settled now.
  11. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    Im glad you have got to the root of the problem and she has been reassured :)

    PS you may find you will have to censor her TV viewing. News and soaps used to regularly worry mum.
  12. mancmum

    mancmum Registered User

    Feb 6, 2012
  13. jugglingmum

    jugglingmum Registered User

    Jan 5, 2014
    I remember one of my aunts telling me about the V1s and later V2s. She worked in London in the war (she is long since dead although made it into her 90s) and she said these were the most scary bit of the war. They came in daylight and I think flew below the radar technology they had at the time, and were undetectable, so there wasn't time to sound the sirens, so no one could get to the shelters and also it meant people saw the aftermath before it was cleared up. Don't know if that helps at all.
  14. chrisdee

    chrisdee Registered User

    Nov 23, 2014
    My Mum used to go on constantly about the war in Hull, which got a terrific amount of bombing, in fact the second worst to London per head of population. It often was the defining event of that generation. I now visit my Aunt regularly, who was her close friend.No prizes for guessing the most popular topic of conversation. Auntie survived her munitions factory work too, she's now 93.
  15. Skyrim

    Skyrim Registered User

    Jun 19, 2015
    Again and again, thank you all!!

    I took everyones advice and tried to dig into the MILs story.
    We didn't know exactly what she had done,
    Amazed, and so proud of her. I got her to talk by letting her play on the iPad, so shes started making a film about her war history... Turns out it was something like radio op and she won't go much further, as yet,just letting some of it out seemed to relieve her anxiety
    Yes, I took advice and disconnected the TV,

    Thanks to all your help and advice, she is so much more cheerful.

    Things do work well sometimes

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