Mum has dementia and I’m scared

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by njs2707, Oct 2, 2018.

  1. njs2707

    njs2707 New member

    Oct 2, 2018

    I’m a 43 year old male, Mum is 76. My Dad passed away in 2015 and Mum continued to live in the family home alone, working in the garden and keeping it spotless, but it all got too much for her and in June this year we put an offer for her on a lovely flat in a retirement village overlooking the sea, about 7 miles away.

    Prior to the move she was, at times, a little confused and mentioned people being in her home and arguing with her over the radio, or often children were in the house playing. She also began to struggle to do ‘normal’ tasks

    Since she moved 3 weeks ago, she has deteriorated quickly, or rather I think she has been exposed as previously living by familiarity alone.

    She struggles to use keys, can’t operate a microwave and is have problems with the most simple of tasks. She is alone most of the day and is seeing people in her flat all the time. The village does run events but mum doesn’t really join in and is lonely and confused when I or my brother visit each evening.

    I have made signs to identify all her new appliances and how to operate them but she’s struggling.

    We have a mental health appointment but it’s not until December.

    She’s scared to leave her flat as she doesn’t know the area or bus routes and is almost living like a prisoner

    Does anyone have any suggestions for her to be stimulated, or any activities she could do rather than rattle around at home? When we take her out or chat with her for a while she really becomes more “normal” but the isolation is driving her to more delusions and confusion

    I’m scared

    Thank you
  2. njs2707

    njs2707 New member

    Oct 2, 2018
    Forgot to add, she’s physically very fit and able, and that her conversation can be perfect but at times doesn’t use words for everyday objects and at other times the conversation is confusing and muddled
  3. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    It must be very frightening. Familiarity is a great comfort so I can understand her being scared in new surroundings. You don't have to wait until the mental health appointment to access help. For the delusions you could see her GP with her and for support around the house you could ask Social Services for a needs assessment.

    You could also contact Age UK or other organisations for befrienders - people who would visit her at set times and either keep her company at home or take her out for a walk or social events. A Day Centre would also be a help.

    Also, on the practical side, now would be a good time to get Lasting Power of Attorney sorted, while she can still understand the concept.
  4. karaokePete

    karaokePete Registered User

    Jul 23, 2017
    N Ireland
  5. LHS

    LHS Registered User

    Oct 5, 2018
    What you describe in terms of your mum's behaviours, struggles and feelings is almost identical to where my mum is at present. Similarly, my mum's home and garden is getting a bit much for her but I read an article on Alzheimer's last year that convinced me it was best to keep mum in her own home for absolutely as long as possible (even if that means accepting certain safety risks), as new surroundings can be bewildering for those with dementia.

    I understand however it probably made absolute sense to you that it would be easier for your mum to live in a smaller 'simpler' flat. I would suggest that you try to build up some positive experiences for your mum in her flat and in the local area, so that hopefully she may form some positive emotions and experiences. She is unlikely to do this without your help or without someone else to help her. This doesn't have to be anything extravagant - for example every Tuesday evening I go round to my mums, cook and eat tea together, have a cup of coffee and a chat afterwards which we both enjoy. On a practical level I also put out her rubbish as she gets too confused and has in the past received lovely warning notices from the council for putting the wrong items out.

    Having me or someone else there at least temporarily distracts my mum away from her normal activities on her own of wandering from room to room looking endlessly for something, rearranging things and writing another reminder note to add to the collection all round the house. Other posts have suggested looking up local support groups/activities too. If your mum has friends locally then speak with them and ask if they can proactively get in touch with your mum to meet up every now and then. If they don't fully understand her condition then they won't realise that she may not have the wherewithal to actively ring them and that it's not that she doesn't want to. Good luck and best wishes to both of you.
  6. Norfolk Cherry

    Norfolk Cherry Registered User

    Feb 17, 2018
    This is similar to what happened to us when my mum moved after the death of my dad 9 years ago. I only noticed symptoms after the move, in fact she got lost in the car on route on moving day , in a very familiar area. Later, I introduced myself to her neighbours, explained the situation and gave them my contact number in case they noticed any problems. It reassured me a lot and they have been very supportive. I also persuaded her to go to a day centre as a 'club' once a week which helped for a couple of years. I hope things settle down with time, but you will both need support as things develop.
  7. Grable

    Grable Registered User

    May 19, 2015
    Njs, yes, I'm sure you're scared - who wouldn't be in this situation? It was probably a good thing to move your mum to a flat when you did, because it will may well mean that she can live 'independently' for longer. We left it too late for our mum and so when she couldn't manage the stairs, or use the over-bath shower, we had little choice other than to move her to a home - which was awful for her and the last thing we wanted to do!

    Now that she's there, you need to find things for her to do. There may, as others have said, be day centres around. Get in touch with your local council to find out what else is available. In Mum's area (Derbyshire), there were conversation clubs, 'living at home' lunches, 'singing for the brain', armchair exercises and other things. You may find you need to employ somebody from a care agency to take her to these events if nobody from the family or her circle of friends is available. And she might join in with activities which are laid on if she's accompanied the first few times?

    Another thing which would be nice would be to arrange for some of her old friends to come for tea occasionally. You'd just need to provide sandwiches and cakes and let your mum be the hostess (with you as waiter and chief steward!). Mine could cope with four or five people at any one time at first, but later her ability to manage such groups deteriorated and it would be one or two people. Mum found this helpful, as she could move in and out of the conversation that others were having, rather than trying to keep up all the time herself.

    Lasting Power of Attorney has already been mentioned. Make sure this is done for both finance and health and social care while she is still able to make decisions - without, life will become very difficult.

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