please advise - feel helpless

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by Cathy L, Mar 1, 2007.

  1. Cathy L

    Cathy L Registered User

    Mar 1, 2007
    1
    Hi there,
    I am a new member. I really would appreciate some friendly advise.

    My Stepmother has alzheimers (my dad has said this is what it is - but I don't think the doctor has managed to actually do the official test)

    Although we have known there has been a problem for a few years, my father has always just pretended it wasn't happening.
    She has not admitted it yet.
    If she repeats the same things, we pretend we haven't heard them before.
    She believes we are against her.
    Whenever we see her we have to talk only about things that involve her, otherwise she gets agressive and thinks we are purposely excluding her. Even then, sometimes she gets cross, because she can't remember being involved in the thing we are talking about.
    My father is of the 'stiff upper lip' generation and finds it difficult to know how to ask for help.
    He has been doing all the shopping, cooking etc. for couple of years now. She would get lost going to a familiar place.
    If he does manage to go out, he leaves her a salad, (she has left things in the oven on too many occasions!)
    He is now finding more and more he can't go out. She gets into a panic and won't let him go.

    How can he get her to go to the doctor to get a proper diagnosis?
    She won't even go for 'run of the mill' health problems.
    He is starting to show signs of cracking.
    I don't know what to do.
    Can he get the doctor out for a home visit?
    I feel so helpless.
    She won't trust me as I am a 'step' daughter.
    She has no brothers/sisters or children of her own.

    Any advise would be very welcome.
     
  2. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    69,560
    Kent
    #2 Grannie G, Mar 1, 2007
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2007
    Hi Cathy, Welcome to TP.

    I`m glad you found us and am sure you will get lots of support here. I know I have.

    Firstly, can I say that if your step mother keeps repeating things, it is because she has forgotten she`s said them before and, however wearisome it is, you are quite right to pretend you haven`t heard them before.

    Secondly, from my experience with my husband, one of the first things lost, in those with any form of Dementia, are social skills. My husband is not too bad with one to one interaction, but just cannot cope even in the smallest group.

    Thirdly, your step mother probably has an idea that something is wrong, but is afraid to have a diagnosis. Your father too, probably doesn`t want to push her, because he has enough to cope with for the present.

    Step mother or not, there is nothing to stop you visiting their GP and telling him/her of your fears. Even though GPs have to respect confidentiality, and may not be willing to discuss your father or step mother with you, they will listen to what you have to say and act on your information.

    I think that is the first step. You see the GP, tell your father what you are doing. He will probably be grateful. Although your step mother may not trust you, your father does, I`m sure.

    Let us know how you get on.

    Take care
     
  3. BeckyJan

    BeckyJan Registered User

    Nov 28, 2005
    18,972
    Derbyshire
    Already you have had good advice. I find writing letters to our GP in advance of a visit very useful; giving facts and problems re your stepmother. In your case you could prepare a letter but include your Dad so that he knows what you are doing - you may then get more co-operation from the GP - we all know too well that some are much more 'flexible' than others with regard to seeing relatives. (Ours is superb and I have no problem discussing my husbands care etc.)

    Also look up your local Alz. Society organiser - they are usually wonderful at guiding you through these sort of problems.

    Good luck Beckyjan
     
  4. Skye

    Skye Registered User

    Aug 29, 2006
    17,000
    SW Scotland
    Hi Cathy

    Welcome to TP.

    Excellent advice from Sylvia and Beckyjan. You need to get Social Services involved, to get some help for your dad., and your mum's GP will give you a referral.

    You don't need to have a diagnosis before you contact your local branch of Alzheimer's Society, and they will give you lots of support.

    Love,
     
  5. Grommit

    Grommit Registered User

    Apr 26, 2006
    2,127
    Doncaster
    The breaking down of the barrier and realisation that professional help must be sought was a difficult one for me, being of the stiff upper lip and soldiering on regardless generation. My wife also resisted any attempts to get her the medical attention she obviously needed.

    Eventually, I persuaded myself that, having worked 40+ years and paid into the professional organisations which give help, it was about time I used their resources.

    Having been brought up in the "Doctor knows best" generation I did also manage to persuade my wife to attend the GP with me

    It was quite an eye opener to find out what help and understanding is available out there, from the GP to the psychiatrist who eventually diagnosed Alzheimers in my wife.

    I do sympathise with you because you are facing a whole new set of circumstances you have never come across before and can only advise persuasion by whatever means you can devise to get professional assistance
     
  6. Norfolklass

    Norfolklass Registered User

    Feb 14, 2007
    16
    Norfolk
    Hi Cathy L

    I see you have already received really good advice, which you should definitely take.

    Another thought and one perhaps you could use is to point out that there are now drugs that help with Alzheimer’s so the sooner your step mum goes to the doctors the sooner she can be diagnosed and if necessary PERHAPS put on the drugs.

    My parents are also of the stiff upper lip variety or as I put it the Dunkirk Spirit, which just means they never ever ask for blasted help!

    You need to focus on pushing your dad, as your step mum still listens to him. If you point out the advantages of seeking help to him at 'THIS EARLY STAGE' it may convince him to act now rather than leave it till things get really bad. If he wont go for it then I agree phone their doctor direct, which will probably put you in the doghouse for a while, but so what!

    I'm sure if you speak to the doctor he would make a house call.

    Try not to be too upset about your step mums reactions, try to think it as layers.

    1) Your stepmother would be aware that she is still a bit of an outsider
    2) This illness increases concerns and fears, so No 1 has therefore become multiplied, which will increase her aggression etc

    I think if you think along these lines it may help.

    My dad cant bear for my mum to be out of the house so I have a lot of sympathy, but remember there are 2 lives in this relationship, 2 standards of living etc. I push mum to go out, even if dad gets upset. We just try to minimise his distress by phoning him on the half hour, but her time for herself is very important.
     
  7. Hi Cathy

    Hi Cathy it sounds like she is in the stages i noticed with my mum she is now 52 and i tried to ignore she was repeating herself and doing odd things. Even now as mum is in a care home i still dont know all the true answers about mums problem. But as your in the position i was in talk to your're father in law as its essential you all stick together my step dad didnt do that with me and my sister and its sort of built up some resentment from me and my sister.

    Just try and talk thats all i can say and if you havnt already seek medical advice.

    God bless you

    Mark
     
  8. Hi Cathy

    Hi Cathy it sounds like she is in the stages i noticed with my mum she is now 52 and i tried to ignore she was repeating herself and doing odd things. Even now as mum is in a care home i still dont know all the true answers about mums problem. But as your in the position i was in talk to your're father as its essential you all stick together my step dad didnt do that with me and my sister and its sort of built up some resentment from me and my sister.

    Just try and talk thats all i can say and if you havnt already seek medical advice.

    God bless you

    Mark
     

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