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Looking for ways to calm mum down

Helen10

Registered User
Jan 22, 2021
68
0
Hello

I’m new to the forum and am looking for ideas about how to calm my mum down and distract her. She has advanced dementia and has mostly lost all concept of who we all are. She calls my dad her dad and thinks I’m a cousin, friend, work colleague.
She gets very distressed and sundowns every day where we have to deal with her trying to leave and arguing with us all. Slamming doors and not recognising anyone.
Medically, her doctor believes she is on the limit of what she can be on. I am therefore looking for ideas and ways to distract and calm her down.

Any messages of support and ideas are gratefully received.

Hx


We leafed through photo albums,

A lifetime all packed neatly into books. Trying to stir some memories.

Holidays, weddings, christmases, communion, playing in the snow, grandparents, fun times.



Happy times.



“Who is that?”she said as she looked at my younger self. “I recognise the face but I can’t place it.” A photo of me as a child, a teenager, a young adult.



We tried all ages.



She couldn’t place me. “It’s our Helen”, Dad said. “Ah is that our Hel.” Then she looks up and smiles and says “it’s our Hel.”



I say “I know mum. So who am I?” She said “are you my niece?”



No mum-I’m your Hel.



Helped her to bed. Undressed her like a child and found her pyjamas. “Ah you’re a good girl”, she says. “Goodnight God bless.”



Love you Mum x
 

margherita

Registered User
May 30, 2017
2,915
0
Italy, Milan and Acqui Terme
The distraction / activity which calms my husband down is taking him out for a drive or, if it isn't too cold, for a walk.
He also likes to help me to tidy up the house.
I should suggest you don't contradict or correct your mum when she doesn't recognise you. It's a waste of time and breath for you and might be upsetting for her.
 

Izzy

Volunteer Moderator
Aug 31, 2003
63,886
0
69
Dundee
Good morning and welcome to the forum. I‘m sorry that things are tough just now. I can remember when my mum used to forget who I was - it was exactly as your experience sounds.

As @margherita says it’s best not to contradict her. I wondered if you would find this thread helpful -


I’m glad you’ve found the forum. You’ll get lots of help and support here.
 

Bikerbeth

Registered User
Feb 11, 2019
1,809
0
Bedford
I am no ideas only support.
My Mum is now in a care home but as @margherita suggests I also go along with whoever Mum thinks I am. In the 1 hr visit I am now rarely the daughter, occasionally someone she recognises but not sure who, but most often I am her sister. I frequently get asked about her parents and grandparents but I just muddle along and say they are fine or you will see them soon depending on the question.
I am sure you will receive some handy tips soon
 

Helen10

Registered User
Jan 22, 2021
68
0
Thank you all for your support and ideas. Ive read the article and it certainly has some good tips about language to use that I will near in mind.

Mum and dad are living with me at the moment as dad couldn’t cope with mum on his own. So there are 6 of us in the house including my parents, my husband and our two young kids. My husband and I have full time jobs and are both working from home at the moment. We both have very busy and demanding roles. I take a 5 minute break for a cuppa and find myself going downstairs to find mum revving up for an argument, often sitting with her coat on and threatening to leave. Often because she can’t find me or my dad.

weather is awful at the moment and she’s bad on her feet so a walk around the block often isn’t feasible. Have woken today to snow so it’ll be all 6 of us in the house together and me spending the day cooking, washing and cleaning.

sorry for moaning but find it all exhausting both physically and emotionally.

thank you for your support and any ideas gratefully received
Hx
 

lollyc

Registered User
Sep 9, 2020
166
0
What frustrates me about your situation (and mine seems to be heading in a similar direction), is the attitude of the medical profession, who seem to simply wash their hands of you. Can't do anything medically, go away and get on with it. I honestly think that they think we're making a lot of fuss over nothing. So what that your mother flies of the handle at the slightest thing, or, in my case, doesn't sleep? Is that really such a big deal? They really have no idea.
No suggestions I'm afraid, you just have my sympathy.
 

Helen10

Registered User
Jan 22, 2021
68
0
What frustrates me about your situation (and mine seems to be heading in a similar direction), is the attitude of the medical profession, who seem to simply wash their hands of you. Can't do anything medically, go away and get on with it. I honestly think that they think we're making a lot of fuss over nothing. So what that your mother flies of the handle at the slightest thing, or, in my case, doesn't sleep? Is that really such a big deal? They really have no idea.
No suggestions I'm afraid, you just have my sympathy.
Thanks for your support!! Just knowing other people are out there is helping!!

we have calls every 2 weeks with mum’s nurse and social worker. I should point out that last year mum spent 3 months under sectioning so perhaps they are more attentive because of that?! Reality is, I think medically they do have her on a lot of stuff to try and help. I picked up new meds yesterday as they are tweaking them again to try and help. They have offered a place in a nursing led care home but dad doesn’t want that. It’s the same place she went into last year and ending up being sectioned following her stay there. All tough stuff!
 

lollyc

Registered User
Sep 9, 2020
166
0
Thanks for your support!! Just knowing other people are out there is helping!!

we have calls every 2 weeks with mum’s nurse and social worker. I should point out that last year mum spent 3 months under sectioning so perhaps they are more attentive because of that?! Reality is, I think medically they do have her on a lot of stuff to try and help. I picked up new meds yesterday as they are tweaking them again to try and help. They have offered a place in a nursing led care home but dad doesn’t want that. It’s the same place she went into last year and ending up being sectioned following her stay there. All tough stuff!
My Mum was also sectioned, but unfortunately when released we had to move her 250 miles to live with me. It seems that your medical history doesn't entirely migrate with you, and we had to start from scratch.
 

Helen10

Registered User
Jan 22, 2021
68
0
My Mum was also sectioned, but unfortunately when released we had to move her 250 miles to live with me. It seems that your medical history doesn't entirely migrate with you, and we had to start from scratch.
Oh that’s tough! All in a 20 mile radius for us thankfully. Mum has woken in a good mood today so keeping my fingers crossed for a good day 🙏
 

Susan11

Registered User
Nov 18, 2018
2,927
0
Hello

I’m new to the forum and am looking for ideas about how to calm my mum down and distract her. She has advanced dementia and has mostly lost all concept of who we all are. She calls my dad her dad and thinks I’m a cousin, friend, work colleague.
She gets very distressed and sundowns every day where we have to deal with her trying to leave and arguing with us all. Slamming doors and not recognising anyone.
Medically, her doctor believes she is on the limit of what she can be on. I am therefore looking for ideas and ways to distract and calm her down.

Any messages of support and ideas are gratefully received.

Hx


We leafed through photo albums,

A lifetime all packed neatly into books. Trying to stir some memories.

Holidays, weddings, christmases, communion, playing in the snow, grandparents, fun times.



Happy times.



“Who is that?”she said as she looked at my younger self. “I recognise the face but I can’t place it.” A photo of me as a child, a teenager, a young adult.



We tried all ages.



She couldn’t place me. “It’s our Helen”, Dad said. “Ah is that our Hel.” Then she looks up and smiles and says “it’s our Hel.”



I say “I know mum. So who am I?” She said “are you my niece?”



No mum-I’m your Hel.



Helped her to bed. Undressed her like a child and found her pyjamas. “Ah you’re a good girl”, she says. “Goodnight God bless.”



Love you Mum x
I always used to tell Mum who was in the photos straight away. ...."look Mum There's me, Susan and you at the seaside" or wherever . Tell her who everyone on the photo is . Then you can enjoy the photos together without it being a test or challenge. She won't get upset then.
 

Helen10

Registered User
Jan 22, 2021
68
0
Thanks again for your comments. Has anyone got experience of how to calm someone down when they are looking for you but don’t recognise you? Distraction doesn’t seem to work. She is also a clever lady so for example when I say she’s out at her friends she says but she wouldn’t do that or wouldn’t be there etc etc
 

Susan11

Registered User
Nov 18, 2018
2,927
0
Thanks again for your comments. Has anyone got experience of how to calm someone down when they are looking for you but don’t recognise you? Distraction doesn’t seem to work. She is also a clever lady so for example when I say she’s out at her friends she says but she wouldn’t do that or wouldn’t be there etc etc
Perhaps you could leave the room and come back in saying something like....hello Mum it's your daughter Helen here. Just a thought .
 

silkiest

Registered User
Feb 9, 2017
235
0
Hi @Helen10 ,
my MIL got extremely agitated in the opticians as she could not cope with the tests. The manageress promptly ushered her over to sit near a woman and baby. MIL settled immediately and started cooing to the baby. The manageress told me she had read that PWD calm around babies. If you google doll therapy you will see a few articles about the use of soft, lifelike dolls which have been used to help calm PWD. This is an article from the Nursing Times https://www.nursingtimes.net/archiv...wellbeing-of-people-with-dementia-01-10-2010/
If she is the kind of person that preferred animals to children you could always try toy puppies and cats.
 

MaNaAk

Registered User
Jun 19, 2016
3,685
0
Essex
Hello

I’m new to the forum and am looking for ideas about how to calm my mum down and distract her. She has advanced dementia and has mostly lost all concept of who we all are. She calls my dad her dad and thinks I’m a cousin, friend, work colleague.
She gets very distressed and sundowns every day where we have to deal with her trying to leave and arguing with us all. Slamming doors and not recognising anyone.
Medically, her doctor believes she is on the limit of what she can be on. I am therefore looking for ideas and ways to distract and calm her down.

Any messages of support and ideas are gratefully received.

Hx


We leafed through photo albums,

A lifetime all packed neatly into books. Trying to stir some memories.

Holidays, weddings, christmases, communion, playing in the snow, grandparents, fun times.



Happy times.



“Who is that?”she said as she looked at my younger self. “I recognise the face but I can’t place it.” A photo of me as a child, a teenager, a young adult.



We tried all ages.



She couldn’t place me. “It’s our Helen”, Dad said. “Ah is that our Hel.” Then she looks up and smiles and says “it’s our Hel.”



I say “I know mum. So who am I?” She said “are you my niece?”



No mum-I’m your Hel.



Helped her to bed. Undressed her like a child and found her pyjamas. “Ah you’re a good girl”, she says. “Goodnight God bless.”



Love you Mum x
Have you tried music at all?

MaNaAk
 

Palerider

Registered User
Aug 9, 2015
2,355
0
North West
Hello

I’m new to the forum and am looking for ideas about how to calm my mum down and distract her. She has advanced dementia and has mostly lost all concept of who we all are. She calls my dad her dad and thinks I’m a cousin, friend, work colleague.
She gets very distressed and sundowns every day where we have to deal with her trying to leave and arguing with us all. Slamming doors and not recognising anyone.
Medically, her doctor believes she is on the limit of what she can be on. I am therefore looking for ideas and ways to distract and calm her down.

Any messages of support and ideas are gratefully received.

Hx


We leafed through photo albums,

A lifetime all packed neatly into books. Trying to stir some memories.

Holidays, weddings, christmases, communion, playing in the snow, grandparents, fun times.



Happy times.



“Who is that?”she said as she looked at my younger self. “I recognise the face but I can’t place it.” A photo of me as a child, a teenager, a young adult.



We tried all ages.



She couldn’t place me. “It’s our Helen”, Dad said. “Ah is that our Hel.” Then she looks up and smiles and says “it’s our Hel.”



I say “I know mum. So who am I?” She said “are you my niece?”



No mum-I’m your Hel.



Helped her to bed. Undressed her like a child and found her pyjamas. “Ah you’re a good girl”, she says. “Goodnight God bless.”



Love you Mum x

I had the same problems with my mum in the end as the dementia progressed. I personally feel its down to what commitmments you have as a carer in whether you can just say to yourself it doesn't matter anymore, I can't control this all I can do is make sure they are safe. In he end I was up all night and had to go to work on some days having not slept much, but I was on my own. But even with some small support this becomes something else -it becomes all consuming and even the patience of a saint would be tested in some instances.

I would let mum do what she needed to do and not stop her, but this also meant she would wake me to check and reasurre herself that someone was there in the night. She would pack countless plastic bags and stuff things in all the wrong places overnight. This is fine if you can stay home and deal with this, but if yourr a lone carer with a job to go to as well as be a carer you can't.

Even if you are free to care the lack of rest will take its toll, no matter how pleasant a PWD can be, we all have our limits.


When I was home I would just let mum do what she felt compelled to do because there was no stopping her in the end and I found it was best to do that as it was her own self reassurrance that drove her. Trying to console someone in that state is never a good idea, you have to let them do their thing and finally they will settle if only for a short time. Sometimes TV migh work or a cake and a hot drink, but things in terms of distraction become more difficult as they loose the abilioty to focus on TV or picures etc. Music is a good one, but this can vary as well in terms of distraction. I found the best thing was that even as she advanced she loved to go out for a drive and that somehow helped, but not always.
 

MaNaAk

Registered User
Jun 19, 2016
3,685
0
Essex
Funny you should mention that-we have spent most of the afternoon tidying up and singing 😊
Dear @HELEN 10,

A lot of our friends know that I used to play Violin at dad's old care home. The first time I did this I struggled to keep a straight face because he came and stood in front of me and tried to get me to sit down with my violin!

MaNaAk
 

Helen10

Registered User
Jan 22, 2021
68
0
Thanks all-all helpful tips. Yesterday went with relatively few arguments but keeping her occupied meant I was on the go all day. You never get a rest yourself do you? Then my 7yr old appeared at 3am because she couldn’t sleep 🤯
 

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