1. Trix

    Trix Registered User

    Apr 22, 2007
    1
    Scotland
    Hi I'm new here.
    My Mum has dementia (not yet receiving treatment - due to see consultant early June). She has extremely poor short term memory and has great difficulty 'problem solving'. She does however seem to be dealing with it fairly well - but I'm struggling.

    Where I should be the caring considerate daughter, I find myself getting annoyed that she can't remember - what's the point in saying 'you just said that Mum!' when she repeats herself - she doesn't know, but I can't seem to help it. I'm finding it difficult to come to terms with and can't find a positive way to deal with it.

    I can't even make proper conversation with her a lot of the time because she can't remember what she's just said, but rather than trying harder, I avoid it.

    I am so angry with Myself when I haven't been patient - but I suppose I just want my old Mum back. I know this clearly won't help Mum, and I need to find ways of accepting things as they are and preparing Myself for when things get worse. I want to make her happy. Anyone got any advice on coping mechanisms?
    Thanks
    T
     
  2. Canadian Joanne

    Canadian Joanne Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 8, 2005
    16,112
    Toronto, Canada
    It can take a while to develop patience, especially if you're not a very patient person to start. Keep trying and you will get there. It really is important to be as patient as you can. There are days you will lose it & yell & scream. That happens, as we are all too human.

    How much time do you spend with your mother? Maybe you need a break of a couple of days, renew your mental strength, and start again.

    Of course you want your old mum back. I do too. But we'll have to make the most of the situation we have now. Work on making happy memories, it will be the only thing you have left. Do the things now that your mother still enjoys. For me, it was very important to take her on a picnic but it took me forever to do. I did in the end & I'm grateful now because that's no longer possible.

    Good luck. Take care.

    Joanne
     
  3. DeborahBlythe

    DeborahBlythe Registered User

    Dec 1, 2006
    9,222
    Hello Trix, very sorry to hear about your struggle. You are not alone as you will very soon find out.
    When my mum used to drive me mad I would sometimes change the subject or distract her, sometimes takea break: walk away for a minute or two. You have to preserve your own sanity sometimes!!! You miss your 'old' mum but she is still there beneath it all. There are more ways of communicating than by conversation. She will appreciate your presence, your hugs or just holding her hand. And conversations do still take place now with my mum but they are shorter and less complicated. I learnt to stop myself asking her questions because it used to worry her that she couldn't recall the answer. I almost wish now that she was once more at the repetitive, driving-me-mad stage because she was at least still quite closely engaged with the world.
    Now she is calmer and says less, but strangely, what she does say is quite meaningful. I think she knows she is moving on and needs to say the big things now before it is too late.
    I have to go now but do take a look at this thread, posted by Karen. It might show you how at least one TP-er has managed to turn around a poignant situation and share some laughter with the rest of us.

    http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/talkingpoint/discuss/showthread.php?t=6206

    Finally Trix, go lightly with yourself, You can't help the way you feel but beating yourself up won't help either. Give yourself some treats and try not to get too obsessed with the dutiful daughter thing. Do you have some relatives you could share your feelings with? Do keep posting on TP. Later on, I promise you, there will be a wealth of advice and support which comes your way, and believe it or not, some laughs too. Kind regards to you and your mum.
     
  4. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    69,594
    Kent
    Hi Trix,

    This , I think is the crux of the problem. It sounds as if your mother has accepted her lot, whilst you are still having difficulty coming to terms with it.

    Try not to expect too much of yourself. Your reactions are normal and perfectly understandable. You want to do everything right for your mother, but you don`t want to be in that position in the first place.

    You can only do your best. Take care, no-one expects you to be superwoman.
     
  5. blue sea

    blue sea Registered User

    Aug 24, 2005
    270
    England
    #5 blue sea, Apr 24, 2007
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2007
    Hi Trix
    I too found it very difficult in the early days, accepting that dad had such a dreadful illness and would not get better. I think I kept feeling that if I tried harder and he tried harder, we could keep the memory and faculty loss at bay. Sadly, that's not how it works. It is irritating and lonely and the rage burns within you at times. In the end I found peace through 'going with the flow', not rushing him, keeping conversation simple, not expecting too much of him, more reacting to the rhythms of his world. I found it helped a lot not to correct him on things that really didn't matter, just to agree or distract him. I tried to find pleasure doing simpler things with him, a stroll down the garden, looking at photos, letting him help with simple tasks that he could still manage round the house, even if they took ages and needed re doing. Your mum is still there but you have to learn how to connect with her in different ways. I think it is really important to get breaks and time to talk to friends, go out etc. You will need all the support you can get as the illness progresses, though hopefully this will be at a slow pace. Letting off steam with someone you trust can help, as can posting on here.
    Blue sea
     
  6. Gromit

    Gromit Registered User

    Apr 3, 2006
    187
    Edinburgh
    Not just you!

    Hi Trix and welcome.

    Sorry to hear about your Mum. It is so difficult to deal with his disease - I think especially as the person effected can look the same, be the same physical fitness, and have the personality still there - but then start forgetting things and repeating things - and it just doesn't match up to the person we "know".

    I find it so hard with my Dad (recent diagnosis) because he still has the same daft sense of humour, looks the same as always - is amazingly fit and healthy - then he will read the same newspaper story to me over and over in the same day! That doesn't bother him because quite frankly he doesn't remember doing it - but I on the other hand at times just can't get to grips with it - it like a big contradiction between how I know my Dad and how he is acting. However, I am now learning to answer questions he asks with the same enthusiasm as the first time he asks me - this means that on the phone I can end up have a long conversation with him (v unusual I can tell you) and I really appreciate being able to talk to him for so long.

    When I am with him it can sometimes be harder - but strange as it may sound you need to be patient with yourself whilst you learn how to be patient.

    I attended a counciling session for the first time yesterday - to try and get my head into the right place. I am lucky that my work have this service - but perhaps you may also have something locally that could help you too?

    You are only human and it is because of your love and care for your Mum that you feel like this - don't beat yourself up about it - you will suprise yourself at how much you are able to cope.

    Take good care of yourself and stay in touch.

    Alison
    x
     
  7. Taffy

    Taffy Registered User

    Apr 15, 2007
    1,314
    Hello Trix,and welcome to Tp. When my mum was diagnosed with alz I was so naive, thinking ok if she forgets something I can remind her, if she loses things I can help find them. I had no idea of what lay ahead for me, quickly I realised it wasn't as black and white as that, I am so glad that you found this site even though I have only been a member for a short time, I can see how the knowledge and support here would have been an enormous help to me at the begining, but somehow I struggled through and it did help that I am a patient person but boy mum really tested my patients and at times still does. The way I personally cope is never to lose site of the fact that it is my choice to care for mum, and that mum has no control over this miserable disease and that she needs to be cared for and deserves to be cared for in a dignified way, I dont know how long I can continue to do this and guess no other carer does either but I am sure I will know when it's the right time to hand mum over to anothers care.This is a new journey for you and I wish you the very best and maybe if you joined your local support group you would find it very helpful.Take care. Taffy.
     

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