Mother in denial and suddenly become aggressive - now refusing all help

Misstep

Registered User
Oct 7, 2015
57
South Wales
Mum was diagnosed with mixed dementia three years ago. I made the decision not to tell her specifically at the time, just said she'd got a few memory problems due to a little stroke she seemed to have had. Her husband had just died and she was deeply distressed by any contact with the memory team. I've gone on supporting her in her own home since, and had intended to split her house and move in to half of it with my husband, but everything has suddenly changed. She started crying all the time & was clearly very lonely. I've just started back at Uni, where I'm a mature student (finally doing a degree that my mother wouldn't let me do when I was young) and therefore am around a bit less - still every day, but not the 2-3 hours I've been spending with her. I called the district nurse in, who recommended slipping in a bit of extra care. She's been having a "cleaner" two hours one day a week, and I got her to agree for the time to be spread over the 4 days I'm at college. As soon as that started, she started questioning why they were there. She got worse and worse, until I got so concerned I reverted to one day a week. She's now accusing me of plotting with my father (who she was divorced from 40 years ago) to get rid of her, is accusing me of stealing from her, is accusing the remaining carer of plotting with me and of stealing. She will now not let me help her with anything and wants her remaining carer out of there. She can't really cook for herself, the fridge is already stinking and she can't manage her medication, but is now saying she's going to sell her house and buy a flat in town. I don't think she can live on her own and I think it'll break down within weeks, meaning all the expenses of selling & buying will be lost. She's convinced there's absolutely nothing wrong with her. I tried to speak to my step-brother, who is a joint power of attorney for finance (I'm the sole one for health) but he won't believe me that she's got diagnosed dementia. I don't know what to do & I'm at my wits end. Anyone been there?
 

Delphie

Registered User
Dec 14, 2011
1,269
Anyone been there?
I've been somewhere very similar.

My mum was also convinced that nothing was wrong with her, despite a freezing cold filthy house, a fridge full of rot and a growing financial mess (no PoA, unfortunately). I tried carers but however we tried to introduce them (cleaners, friends etc) she wasn't having any of it. Accusing me of theft of some kind (teeth, slippers, house) was as regular as clockwork. And she too had unrealistic plans about moving.

I'd say that the last bit is the least of your worries. Don't facilitate it and it won't happen. Hopefully your step-brother won't step in to help... Maybe ask him to let her sort things out herself, seeing as she's dementia free.

The bad news is that in my experience as long as the person in question is judged to have capacity, nothing much will happen as far as getting outside help from professional. My mum, for example, continued to live in a freezing filthy house with rot in the fridge for quite some time. I did what I could but everything had to be done covertly and with paranoia in full flow it's very hard to be even a little bit sneaky (such as 'steal' food from fridge).

Help, of sorts, arrived for us only when things got quite desperate. When it came down to a choice of her being sectioned or conning her into a care home I was given the opportunity to chose the latter.

The good news is that, after some teething problems, this has been the best thing for her. For both of us actually.

Luckily for me, I'm an only so no brother or step-brother to negotiate decisions with, so I wish you the best of luck. Maybe direct him to this forum. Or stop doing anything at all for you mum for a while to see if he notices her dementia...
 

Bod

Registered User
Aug 30, 2013
1,210
I've been somewhere very similar.

My mum was also convinced that nothing was wrong with her, despite a freezing cold filthy house, a fridge full of rot and a growing financial mess (no PoA, unfortunately). I tried carers but however we tried to introduce them (cleaners, friends etc) she wasn't having any of it. Accusing me of theft of some kind (teeth, slippers, house) was as regular as clockwork. And she too had unrealistic plans about moving.

I'd say that the last bit is the least of your worries. Don't facilitate it and it won't happen. Hopefully your step-brother won't step in to help... Maybe ask him to let her sort things out herself, seeing as she's dementia free.

The bad news is that in my experience as long as the person in question is judged to have capacity, nothing much will happen as far as getting outside help from professional. My mum, for example, continued to live in a freezing filthy house with rot in the fridge for quite some time. I did what I could but everything had to be done covertly and with paranoia in full flow it's very hard to be even a little bit sneaky (such as 'steal' food from fridge).

Help, of sorts, arrived for us only when things got quite desperate. When it came down to a choice of her being sectioned or conning her into a care home I was given the opportunity to chose the latter.

The good news is that, after some teething problems, this has been the best thing for her. For both of us actually.

Luckily for me, I'm an only so no brother or step-brother to negotiate decisions with, so I wish you the best of luck. Maybe direct him to this forum. Or stop doing anything at all for you mum for a while to see if he notices her dementia...
Good advise.
Things need to come to a head, let others see just how she is.

Bod
 

Misstep

Registered User
Oct 7, 2015
57
South Wales
Helpful answer

I've been somewhere very similar.

My mum was also convinced that nothing was wrong with her, despite a freezing cold filthy house, a fridge full of rot and a growing financial mess (no PoA, unfortunately). I tried carers but however we tried to introduce them (cleaners, friends etc) she wasn't having any of it. Accusing me of theft of some kind (teeth, slippers, house) was as regular as clockwork. And she too had unrealistic plans about moving.

I'd say that the last bit is the least of your worries. Don't facilitate it and it won't happen. Hopefully your step-brother won't step in to help... Maybe ask him to let her sort things out herself, seeing as she's dementia free.

The bad news is that in my experience as long as the person in question is judged to have capacity, nothing much will happen as far as getting outside help from professional. My mum, for example, continued to live in a freezing filthy house with rot in the fridge for quite some time. I did what I could but everything had to be done covertly and with paranoia in full flow it's very hard to be even a little bit sneaky (such as 'steal' food from fridge).

Help, of sorts, arrived for us only when things got quite desperate. When it came down to a choice of her being sectioned or conning her into a care home I was given the opportunity to chose the latter.

The good news is that, after some teething problems, this has been the best thing for her. For both of us actually.

Luckily for me, I'm an only so no brother or step-brother to negotiate decisions with, so I wish you the best of luck. Maybe direct him to this forum. Or stop doing anything at all for you mum for a while to see if he notices her dementia...
Thank you for this. I have stood back now, which is why the fridge is now rank. It was really helpful to be reminded that she can't achieve the move without me. I'll hang on to that thought, thank you. Luckily, it's the health power of attorney that determines where she lives, so I can make the final decision about that. I just worry that he'll try to facilitate her move and leave me actively blocking it
 

Misstep

Registered User
Oct 7, 2015
57
South Wales
Thanks Bod

Good advise.
Things need to come to a head, let others see just how she is.

Bod
Thank you for saying that. I feel really bad about doing this & scared they won't recognise the problem, but just seeing you say this is supportive.
 

missmarple

Registered User
Jan 14, 2013
204
My dad also went through the paranoia and living in a filthy house, eating rotten food and with a broken boiler. He continued driving until his car was toed away by the DVLA for non payment of tax because he couldn't manage the paperwork. Any attempt to talk to him about these issues was met with resistance, hostility and even ended in screaming on several occasions. To add to it he lived with my brother who had a lifelong history of mental illness, which my father had prevented treatment for as he was in deep denial there as well. In the same year they were diagnosed with dementia (dad) and schizophrenia (bro).
Some issues i just decided to do nothing about (the driving) and let things take their course. Others I had to get involved with (psychiatric assessment and care for my bro)
For a couple of years I ran myself ragged going over there and doing the housework. Then things hit crisis, Dad was nearly sectioned after he all but punched his way out of a care home we were trying to settle him into, and a big care package was put in nearly 2 years ago. it's still there and has enabled them both to stay at home.
During crisis time i considered having Dad to live with us, but was advised not to because he would in all likelihood just demand to go home on a daily basis.I'm so glad I heeded that advice.
Sorry this is long winded, but i think in the long journey of supporting a parent with dementia you need to use your energy wisely and not try and address everything, let some things go.
I think the advice to do less for a while and let others (mum if she can, step brother, social services) come to their own realisations is good. If you try and carry the whole situation all the time you will burn out. Remember your own needs too. Good luck.
 

Bod

Registered User
Aug 30, 2013
1,210
Thank you for saying that. I feel really bad about doing this & scared they won't recognise the problem, but just seeing you say this is supportive.
If he doesn't recognise the problem, just step right back, and let him get on with it!
Totally!!
Tell him, in writing if need be, why your stepping back, and stay back.

Bod
 

Bessieb

Registered User
Jun 2, 2014
108
Hi Misstep, I've been in a very similar situation to you. Parents no insight into memory issues (or they were in denial - one or the other) and refusing help. Got a 'cleaner' in just like you which moved to be a carer once and day, twice a day etc etc.
I think you do need to get Social Services involved. I was also really anxious about doing this and their reaction to it. I was given very good advice not to be seen to be involved with the Social Services process and keep my relationship with my parents separate - so they didn't alienate me and associate me with Social Services 'interfering'. It worked well. My parents moaned about Social Services to me...but I didn't tell them that I had instigated the process. They assumed it was the Doctor and I let them think that. It meant that they thought I was still on 'their side' whilst getting the support they needed at home. And things got a lot better for me when I didn't have to shoulder the burden alone but knew that they were on the radar of SS too.
Re. the moving...I also had this. My Dad put their house on the market with about four different estate agents before forgetting each time he had done this. It was very stressful but I kept an eye on rightmove.co.uk and each time their house was advertised I phoned the relevant estate agent and explained the situation....they were very understanding and took it off the market. Soon the situation was known about and no house move possible! It sounds harsh but need must.

Good luck with it. Hard decisions. Although I so wish I had siblings to share the burden of my parents care with I know I'm lucky in some ways that I don't have to negotiate. Very tough.
 

Misstep

Registered User
Oct 7, 2015
57
South Wales
Thanks Bod

Hi Misstep, I've been in a very similar situation to you. Parents no insight into memory issues (or they were in denial - one or the other) and refusing help. Got a 'cleaner' in just like you which moved to be a carer once and day, twice a day etc etc.
I think you do need to get Social Services involved. I was also really anxious about doing this and their reaction to it. I was given very good advice not to be seen to be involved with the Social Services process and keep my relationship with my parents separate - so they didn't alienate me and associate me with Social Services 'interfering'. It worked well. My parents moaned about Social Services to me...but I didn't tell them that I had instigated the process. They assumed it was the Doctor and I let them think that. It meant that they thought I was still on 'their side' whilst getting the support they needed at home. And things got a lot better for me when I didn't have to shoulder the burden alone but knew that they were on the radar of SS too.
Re. the moving...I also had this. My Dad put their house on the market with about four different estate agents before forgetting each time he had done this. It was very stressful but I kept an eye on rightmove.co.uk and each time their house was advertised I phoned the relevant estate agent and explained the situation....they were very understanding and took it off the market. Soon the situation was known about and no house move possible! It sounds harsh but need must.

Good luck with it. Hard decisions. Although I so wish I had siblings to share the burden of my parents care with I know I'm lucky in some ways that I don't have to negotiate. Very tough.
Thank you for sharing your experiences with me. It does help
 

Misstep

Registered User
Oct 7, 2015
57
South Wales
Thanks for sharing this

My mom had the same paranoia about me and my father.

She accused me of moving her from a new place to another; moving furniture around; creating all sort of confusions to make her mad.

Sadly the closer person are the punchbag.

I advice read about compassionate communication.


Thank you for the link. It helps
 

Kerryblue

Registered User
Oct 4, 2015
42
Hang on in there

My mom had the same paranoia about me and my father.

She accused me of moving her from a new place to another; moving furniture around; creating all sort of confusions to make her mad.

Sadly the closer person are the punchbag.

I advice read about compassionate communication.


Thank you for the link. It helps
Dear Mistep
I saw you wrote on my own thread about getting my mum into a home. I just wanted to reach out to you and say you are NOT alone. I agree with what the others on her are saying but because you sound like a really kind and caring person it must be hard to step back almost to prove a point.
I know exactly what you mean when you say your mum will go BESERK if you try getting help in any shape or form. We have the same problem: " There's nothing wrong with me, I shan't let them in etc etc" and then all those old childhood fears come bubbling to the surface for me..... The answers to my posting the other day about the home and coping each day. ( well struggling through it) opened my eyes and the penny dropped. MY mum is ILL. You cannot ignore someone with a broken leg. This illness in what ever shape or form it takes had many disguises so if your other family members don't step in then you have to get help. Regardless of what she says, as a duty. If nothing else.

My mum is going to go BESERK next week when the home we just signed the papers for yesterday knock at her door to come in and visit her...... When they leave I shall hide in a cupboard or something along with all the saucepans that have suddenly become NOT hers!!! Yes, my mum now thinks most people who visit randomly turn up with pot and pans for some unknown reason.
Mistep, I think I am trying to say some people prefer not to see what is unravelling in front of their eyes. This is a progressive illness. I pretended for too long that things would be ok. Others as you know from my post refused to believe anything was amiss as my mum can still be charming and just about get away with fooling the outside works she is NORMAL, although that is now harder.
One in a home all that pressure has been taken away I think my mum will be relieved. She won't have all that anxiety of having to try to keep up act. How stressful must that be? I have just come to accept all this.
Yesterday we signed papers for my mum to go to a home. I said to my brother that my heart felt lighter but my soul was still heavy. Have we betrayed my mum? NO. Until I posted on here I would have felt yes. Now I realise we are hopefully saving her from months or years of lonely dangerous misery.
Mistep, I am no expert. I just sort of know where you are coming from. You are not alone and as a little ahead of you I can share what happens in the next two weeks wth my situation getting mum into the home through the hoops. You can always write on here. I have found it such a massive help. Look after yourself. Great you are doing a degree by the way. I did mine later too. Shame there is no degree in how to deal with this dreadful disease. This I find I have to make up as I go along! Thinking of you. Keep in touch if you can. Kerryblue.