New Member - In Need Of Some Advice

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by Jan W, Jun 1, 2006.

  1. Jan W

    Jan W Registered User

    Jun 1, 2006
    8
    oxfordshire
    Hello everone, I am new to this forum. My mum has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimers and is starting to show early signs of the disease. I have always had a close relationship with my mum, we have been through a lot together including the break up of her marriage to my dad. Mum and dad have now become friends as both are in their 70's and both lonely people. My dad during their 30 years of marriage was a difficult person, he could be violent when drunk, he controlled my mum's life throughout their marriage so much so that she was never allowed to think for herself. All thats in the past now and mum and dad were meeting up once or twice a week to go out for a meal, or trip somewhere. During that time, they still continued to argue on occasions and of recent they have fallen out again. I think my mum has become paranoid towards my dad and on occasions, can be quite cutting with him, he in turn seems to stir things up. I have tried to explain to my dad that mum's mood swings are related to her problem, but he doesn't seem to understand and now refuses to see her. During a conversation with him where I have tried to persuade him to make friends with her (they both could do with the company) he fell out with me accusing me of always taking mums side. As a consequence, we are not speaking now either!!

    I have come to the conclusion that I am going to have to find an inner strength in me to deal with this. Sometimes I get very angry with them both and I know that being angry is not going to help. My husband is a great support and helps me with the difficult times. I am recognising that my mum is not the mum I know and love. She is still a very sweet person but I cannot take for granted anything I discuss with her will be understood or remembered. On several occasions she has "turned " on me and I have seen a side of my mum that I have never seen before. When I next speak with her she is back to her sweet self and doesn't remember any previous conversation. She attends a memory clinic every three months and is on medication (I fill her medicine management pack up each week), but I know this is the start of worse things to come. I live about 1.5 hours drive from my mum, I visit her every week and ring her at least once (sometimes twice)a day just to chat and try and stimulate her brain in conversation. She is not a sociable person and won't join a local club. She has a dog which is her lifeline and is always out walking, apparently chatting to regular dog walkers each day. Physically she is very fit. She doesn't read, but I have got her some puzzle books which she seems to enjoy doing.

    This weekend was particularly difficult with one thing and another and I have decided to leave my stressful job as I cannot deal with both. I know forums can be a useful source of information and if anyone out there can give me some tips (particularly on how to deal with my own anger and also on convincing mum on something she ought to be doing) I would be very grateful.
    Jan W
     
  2. Canadian Joanne

    Canadian Joanne Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 8, 2005
    16,108
    Toronto, Canada
    Hello Jan,

    Try to remember that it's the disease talking, not your mother, when she says something not typical.

    I think you've made a very smart decision leaving your stressful job. I had a stressful job when my mother was first diagnosed but didn't leave it for 4 years. In my defense, I had been with the firm for 18 years so I found it difficult to leave. It was the best move I ever made. I took 5 glorious months off & now work at a great place with really nice people. My boss's mother died of vascular dementia, so he's said I should just take off any time I need for my mother.

    As for convincing your mother to do things, I found it sometimes was easier if I simply said "It's time for your shower now" instead of "Do you want to take a shower?". Just like little children, I find there is a "No" phase where everything is met with a "No". It's really difficult - you'll have to keep trying different things. What works today may not work tomorrow but it might work again next week.

    In regards to your anger, are you openly angry with your mother or are you in a state of anger within yourself? Either way, she can pick up on it. It's amazing how things we wish they wouldn't understand, they understand all too clearly. So it's important for you both that you learn to quell the anger beast. It will take you some time and you will always have your slipups, because you're human and not perfect. AND THAT'S OKAY!!

    It's hard for you - you're at the beginning of this journey. You will gradually get better and better with coping. There will be your moments of despair but never give up and never give in. You will make it and you will learn to make the most of your new relationship with your mother.

    Keep coming here - sometimes we get into really silly posts & it's a lot of fun. Cultivate your senses of humour and ridiculousness. It helps.
     
  3. Lucille

    Lucille Registered User

    Sep 10, 2005
    542
    Hello Jan W

    Welcome to TP.

    Nada is right in suggesting you access as much info as you can.

    I can empathise with so many of the things you say in your post. The distance you live from your mum, the fact that you can't take for granted anything you've said to her in conversation, because you don't know whether she's retained it.

    My mum is early stages and shows very similar traits. It is frustrating for sufferer and carer alike and, from my own experience, I know that I have bad days and good days. Good days are when I'm with mum and we have what seems like 'normal' conversations; when I take her out and she shows interest in the places we visit (she loves old houses and gardens). Bad days are when she insists that she doesn't have a problem and then I get a phone call to say she's accidentally overdosed, because she doesn't know what day it is. The changes in her personality are, for me, very difficult to cope with.

    Take comfort from the support of your husband and friends and everyone here on TP. They are a great bunch and I think we all help to keep each other sane in the darker times when it seems that no-one else can truly appreciate what you're having to deal with.

    Keep posting and tell us how you are. You're amongst friends here. :)
     
  4. DickG

    DickG Registered User

    Feb 26, 2006
    558
    Stow-on-the-Wold
    Hi Jan

    Welcome. Some time ago someone on TP (I forget who) recommended that I read "Learning to Speak Alzheimer's" by Joanne Koenig Coste, this as been my constant companion and saviour in many situations. It deals not only with the "No" questions but has so many strategies to cope with many situations I have encountered.

    You will find the inner strength you need, it won't be easy but you will find that strength from the support you get from many and unexpected quarters.

    Keep in touch.

    Hugs

    Dick
     
  5. Tender Face

    Tender Face Account Closed

    Mar 14, 2006
    5,379
    NW England
    You will!!!!!!

    You already have!

    Welcome! Karen. x
     
  6. Jan W

    Jan W Registered User

    Jun 1, 2006
    8
    oxfordshire
    Thank you everyone for your helpful comments and supportive messages. I must admit I have had a little cry today, not only reading your responses but reading some of the other threads as well.

    I have printed out the replies and will carry them around to read when times do get tough. I'm so pleased to have joined TP.

    Thank you. :)
     
  7. Amy

    Amy Registered User

    Jan 4, 2006
    3,453
    Hiya Jan,
    We keep asking someone to patent waterproof keyboards for TP members - till then have to keep on using large freezer bags!
    Welcome to TP.
    Amy
     
  8. Margarita

    Margarita Registered User

    Feb 17, 2006
    10,824
    london
    Welcome


    I found that I still cry & its 4 years on ,they do say crying does release tension, but it does get easier learning about AD , what tip could I give that I would of loved to have got when my mum was first diagnosed as emotional hard it may get , when you mum gets angry or says any cruel remake do not take it personnel ,it’s to do with nerve cell tissue, Plaques, abnormal clusters of protein fragments, build up between nerve cells, So our love one our going to get a lot of confusion going on in the brain ,
    So we our going to be the ones that they are going to lash out un in tenderly , but with my mother I found after a long while on medication it got better :)
     
  9. mel

    mel Registered User

    Apr 30, 2006
    1,656
    Sheffield
    You know.... I honestly wish I COULD cry....I seem to have lost the ability to do that....If I could I think it would ease a lot of the tension but I just can't...:(
     
  10. Margarita

    Margarita Registered User

    Feb 17, 2006
    10,824
    london
    What about watching a weepy movie? Does that make you cry or how about dropping a piano on your foot :eek: Lol joking
     
  11. mel

    mel Registered User

    Apr 30, 2006
    1,656
    Sheffield
    No....not even watching a weepy movie....very strange....a few months ago I would cry at a corny advert....just can't seem to now.....however I'll try to drop a piano on my foot like you said,Margarita!!!!
     
  12. noelphobic

    noelphobic Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
    3,452
    Liverpool
    I agree with you on this and I have the same problem. I very rarely cry - I shout and swear and sulk and get really bad headaches - but I don't cry. However, I do cry at sad movies and even daft sad things in soaps.

    I shocked myself and my son the other day by crying. He told me he intended to go to Spain on holiday with his friend and last year on holiday he ended up in hospital. We ended up having a heart to heart about it and I elicited some promises from him to keep in touch and to be very careful in how he looks after himself while he's away - he has diabetes - so hopefully it did some good.

    I can't honestly say that I've ever cried over my mum's dementia. I think maybe it was because it was such a gradual thing, it almost crept up on us to the point that I don't really remember a sudden realisation that she had dementia. Also, she was in her seventies before it really took a hold on her. I think if she had been younger I would have taken it harder
     
  13. Jan W

    Jan W Registered User

    Jun 1, 2006
    8
    oxfordshire
    Hello everyone again,

    I wish sometimes I didn't cry so easily. I've been to my next door neighbour's funeral today. She was 89 Bless her, and had cancer. She had been poorly for several months and it was a happy release at the end. But as some of you know, its still a shock for the family. The funeral service was very touching, we sang the hymn, All things Bright and Beautiful, as she loved her garden.

    Whilst the family were being very brave, I was in tears as soon as I walked into church. It can be embarassing at times.

    Anyway, been to see my mum again this weekend, she informed me she took the car to go to Sainsburys (a 3 minute journey) and couldn't remember how to get there!! She drove around for 15 minutes and evetually went home. She's a great walker and has decided to walk to the shops. Obviously I will take her for the bigger items. I think it has scared her a bit. I know now I need to start to ween her off drivng all together. My husband is unsure at this stage as he thinks its her last bit of independence, but I don't think she will miss the car too much.

    As recommended on TP, I've purchased the book How to Speak Alzheimers, I also have on order The Selfish Pig's Guide to Caring, which is apparently a serious book dealing with serious issues but written in a friendly, easy to read way. I'll let you know what its like when I get it.

    I've also talked to my husband about taking mum and dog away for a few days (just the two of us - and dog) I think she would really like that and would give some mum and daughter quality time whilst she is still my mum as I know her. I haven't mentioned it to her yet until I work out a plan. I think that would be good, what do you think.

    Enjoy the TP forum, its been useful already and has brought a smile to me on occasions. Tomorrow is my husband's 60th birthday, so having some good fun and a few nice surprises for him tomorrow.

    Jan W. :)
     
  14. Amy

    Amy Registered User

    Jan 4, 2006
    3,453
    Hiya Jan,
    Church has that effect on me too sometimes- hear a hymn, and the waterworks start! Sounds a good idea taking mum away for a few days. Just be aware that you may notice more confusion when she is not in her own environment - but go for it, and enjoy it.
    Helen
     
  15. Angel

    Angel Registered User

    Apr 24, 2006
    14
    Weepies

    I have spent the last two years crying until the last month. My mother has dementia and is in a home now. A friend last month emailed me from USA and told me to try and not live in fear (of what will happen tomorrow or next week or month to my mother). As a Christian we are taught not to worry about tomorrow and I am at last trusting in God to take care of things. Also I am getting other members of my family to help out more, to take my mother back after lunch out. In this way they help share the load and therefore the emotions too.

    Anyone who has not cried and released some tensions or emotions, should watch the film The Notebook (out on video). I sobbed throughout. It is so moving and touching and lovely. It also is a reminder that all those with dementia had full lives before with first loves, marriage, jobs etc. Read Matties Poem too-a great teaching aid to carers and families and friends of dementia patients.

    Jan, if your mother gets angry at you, try and distract her by showing her a photo album or pointing out a tree or flower. It might help. This works for me when my mother is very repetitive about one topic!

    God bless you and be at your side. Love, A.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.