1. Our next Q&A session is on the topic of Christmas and dementia.This time we want our Q&A to involve our resident experts, you! Share tips and advice on navigating Christmas here in this thread.

    Pop by and post your questions or if you prefer you can email your question to us at talkingpoint@alzheimers.org.uk and we'll be happy to ask them on your behalf.
  1. MrsTerryN

    MrsTerryN Registered User

    Dec 17, 2012
    769
    *giggles* spamar. . I am recovering from freezing yesterday at Rochester, Charles Dickens event,... loads of fun just very cold.
    Ann the differences with the funding sound most odd but hopefully all sorted now.
    Hope every one have sorted various Xmas gifts.
    Being an only child and having an ,currently, unmarried son my list is rather small for Xmas gifts.
    Did have fun when he was little and my friends all had small children.
    Now my two closest (best ) friends both have grandchildren so their Xmas list is large again.
    Have to confess though I might have bought one or two (or six ) outfits for my sons closest female friend. We have have known her since she was 8 and she just this year had her 1st child. So have splurge there.
    OK Spamar I rambled too :)
     
  2. Spamar

    Spamar Registered User

    Oct 5, 2013
    6,992
    Suffolk
    I burbled, you rambled, the next one will.....?
    Hmmm this is like learning Latin, all together now, amo, amas, amant......must be the damson gin! I'm blaming Izzy!
     
  3. jugglingmum

    jugglingmum Registered User

    Jan 5, 2014
    5,323
    Female
    Chester
    Have you got Damson gin - and you're not sharing? We've got amaretto flavoured stuff - Aldi version, cheap, but less alcohol than wine - very nice as a night cap. English heritage do some very nice flavoured gins.

    Always takes me ages to post on here - I write too much.

    Ann - sorry to hear of funding maze - sounds so complicated.

    Son had a fencing tournament yesterday, he came 2nd so really pleased with himself. Dau still not fully recovered from virus so didn't go to Welsh cyclocross champs, but rode here.

    I came down with virus again on Fri/Sat and really fed up with not being out on bike, but got out today for a couple of hours in Cold sunshine.

    Got behind with washing when not well last weekend, caught up with that and ironing. So might even tackle some paperwork tomorrow.
     
  4. Slugsta

    Slugsta Registered User

    Evening all,

    (((JM))) sorry that you are unwell again :( Congratulations to your son!

    Spamar, you sound well organised :)

    Mrs Terry, I am also an only child with an unmarried son. Hubby is one of 7 but has decreed that we will not buy them presents this year (most of them stopped some years ago), so I don't have much to buy either, especially as I stopped the stockings last year.

    Our tree is 'up' thanks to hubby but is still nekid :eek:
     
  5. Ann Mac

    Ann Mac Registered User

    Oct 17, 2013
    3,693
    Hi everyone,

    JM, really hope you are feeling better soon - being ill on the run up to Xmas is pants, the last thing anyone needs - especially a busy Mum! Well done to your son on the fencing tournament - lol, I thought my youngest was busy with her volunteering at the swimming baths and her theatre group, but your kids make her look like a slouch! Brilliant to read of kids doing something other than sat watching the box or playing on their laptops/tablets/phones x

    Sounds like the damson gin went down nicely, Spamar :)

    Slugsta and Tery - my Xmas gift list has shrunk a fair bit over the last couple of years, but with 3 kids (two of whom have partners), OH, 2 dogs, 2 friends and their kids and Mil, I still have a fair bit to organise. I hit the internet on Wednesday and Thursday - making sure that delivery dates were very quick - on Friday I shopped locally and on Sunday I headed to Ellesmere. I now only have to pick up a handbag for oldest, a gift voucher for son's partner (also got her a small gift, but posting to her) and PJ's for a friend. And I'm done! I now have at least EIGHT large carrier bags of gifts to wrap, however - which I am NOT looking forward to! I picked up Mil a cardigan in a lovely shade of blue, some nice grey trousers - add that to a nice top, socks, CD's, hankies, and some smellies - and I've run out of idea's! Kids have tracked down Riverdance DVD's, Mrs Brown on tour DVD and more socks for her. So she will have a nice little pile to open when we see her Christmas day. I hope it will give her at least a few moments of pleasure.

    Went to vist Mil yesterday - she greeted youngest really warmly, but for the most part, she was quite distant with us. Names were mixed up, and there was a slight fixation going on about OH and what Mil perceived as his 'behaviour' towards his wife - 3 or 4 times, she jumped on quite innocent remarks he made with a quite critical response that focused on 'And what does you wife think of that? Do you think that's fair on your wife?' - Oddly (or maybe not so oddly, given the dementia) she kept forgetting that I was sat next to her, that she had actually been speaking to me, when she made these comments. After yet another 'And I bet Ann isn't happy about that' type comment, OH responded with 'Why don't you ask her', gestering towards me - Mil turned her head and was visably surprised that I was sat by her side. She said she hadn't seen me there. She had a large dressing on her arm, which she picked at several times - she said it was where she had been 'shot' :(. I did ask a memebr of staff what she had done, but all that person could tell me was that it was a skin tear, not how it had been done.

    I'm spending today with a group of young disabled students - we are filling gift bags for the homeless for Christmas - a nice way to spend the day, I think :)

    Hope you all have a good day xxxx
     
  6. MrsTerryN

    MrsTerryN Registered User

    Dec 17, 2012
    769
    Actually I just realised I have just sent off three usa friends presents. All the same as we have common interests
    I do miss that time of present buying but oh so like you Ann I loathe wrapping
    I need to work out Xmas lunch now. Usually seafood and a BBQ
     
  7. Amy in the US

    Amy in the US Registered User

    Feb 28, 2015
    4,619
    USA
    Greetings to everyone and hope you're all as well as can be.

    Apologies for missing anyone out, or missing anything important. I'm still not caught up from being out of town.

    JM, sorry to hear about the recent bout of lurgy and hope you're feeling better soon. I also hope your daughter continues to improve, physically if not generally as an adolescent. I have a friend here with an almost 16 year old daughter, whom she offers to give to me on a regular basis. Teenagers are a handful, no doubt about it.

    Also hope Grace is keeping well and that her knee is doing okay?

    There is not much to report. I've already mentioned our FANTASTIC visit to our friends and the Best Thanksgiving Ever. I think my husband and I need to not wait an entire year, for another holiday. I'm trying to figure out how I can make travel plans as soon as possible, in fact.

    One of my cousins called me last week to ask how our Thanksgiving was, and also to tell us that his was the worst ever. His father, my uncle, is having a drawn-out series of medical issues (nothing terminal, just taking a long time to resolve and lots of procedures and it's distressing) so that was the main reason, buy my cousin very sweetly said it was also because my husband and I weren't there! I didn't have the heart to say I hadn't missed either family (and their attendant drama) in the least and that I had had the Best Thanksgiving Ever. Not really tactful under the circumstances.

    I need to get stuck back into the nitty gritty of my mother's financial issues and am not motivated, I can tell you that. I guess I enjoyed my holiday too much, although it doesn't feel as overwhelming/awful as it did before our break.

    Of course Christmas is now looming. It was so awful last year, that it's hard to see how it could be worse, this year (sorry to sound pathetic, but it's true), except of course this year we have the death of my father-in-law to add to the mix, and his family stuff. DH/OH and I have been talking a bit about what we might do to have the best Christmas possible this year so I hope we'll come up with something. At least he is talking about it, which is preferable to pre-vacation DH, who wasn't talking about much of anything, and whom I was hesitant to ask.

    He is still generally more cheerful, rested, and his old easy going self, after our Thanksgiving holiday, than he was before. I am so relieved for him and myself, both.

    It's just so hard to know what to do about Christmas Day, and presents, and all that sort of thing. We are tentatively planning to take my mother to a midday dinner on Christmas Day, but to keep it shorter this year. I will talk to the restaurant and make sure we are seated in a quiet corner and that they move the service along as much as possible (they have been understanding in the past). I think my mother is well past being able to tolerate sitting at the table for very long. I am actually nervous about doing this at all, but she still generally has enough lucidity that it seems a reasonable choice. It's so hard to know what to do.

    She had more anxiety than pleasure about Christmas presents last year, as she was worried she hadn't bought us anything (a pre-dementia issue of not having enough presents as well as the dementia and memory loss being unhelpful) and couldn't be reassured, or more likely couldn't understand, that the gifts right there were what she had bought for us. She also clearly didn't understand her Christmas stocking, so I don't know whether to do that again or not. She was pleased by all the treats in it, but it was obviously not registering as Christmas or a stocking or gifts.

    All this reminds me that we need to see about a small tree for her room, if she wants it and we can find a space for it, and perhaps the Christmas wreath for her door. Last year she refused any additional decoration so I likely won't even offer this year.

    So far I've only gotten her one gift, a lightweight warm throw blanket she can use while sitting on the sofa watching telly, or on her bed. She had a favoured one that got lost/misplaced. I couldn't get the same color but it is still her favourite color, so it's the best I can do. I am stumped on other possible gift ideas, besides food items, as what I would have given her even a couple of years ago she can no longer enjoy/appreciate/understand.

    I'm sure you can relate to some or all of the above.

    Ah, the joys of Christmas. Is it too late to book tickets somewhere warm and sunny and far away from dementia and crazy relatives? Who wants to come with me?
     
  8. MrsTerryN

    MrsTerryN Registered User

    Dec 17, 2012
    769
    Warm I can assure you Sydney Australia :). I want a white Xmas next year
     
  9. Slugsta

    Slugsta Registered User

    Evening all,

    Ann, I trust that your day was as good as you anticipated? It certainly sounds like a lovely thing to do! Sorry to hear that the visit to MIL wasn't great.

    Amy, it's lovely to hear you sounding so much brighter, the vacation clearly did you both the world of good :) A desert island retreat over Christmas does sound tempting!

    I share the hope that Grace is doing well and free from harassment from the Outlaws.

    Tonight was our aquagym Christmas dinner, actually my only 'do' these days. Just a meal at a local pub but good company and we raised £75 for charity from a raffle.

    Our tree is now resplendent with lights and tinsel but still has no baubles - oh well, at least it's two steps nearer to being done. I still have a couple of gifts to get - including one for my friend's hubby and I have zero inspiration!
     
  10. Ann Mac

    Ann Mac Registered User

    Oct 17, 2013
    3,693
    Morning all,

    Amy, even though I can only read your written words, the fact that you feel so rested and less stressed comes across really clearly - I am so, so pleased :D Lovely to hear that your DH is feeling much better too. Please don't let the stress of Christmas wear you out again - and I know, thats easier said than done! Its taken a few posts from the lovely folk on here and then giving myself a stern talking to to admit that I was stressing over what I felt I should and would like for Mil this Christmas - not what she could cope with or would be able to appreciate. So, a couple of practical pressies by wayof a new top, cardie and trousers - useful, and handy just in case she somehow dredges up the memory that she always, always liked to have a new outfit for Christmas day - socks to keep her tootsies warm, smellies that will be used, and as music and films can sometimes hold her attention for a short time and divert her from agitation, a couple of DVD's and CD's. And I am betting the present she will love the most is the small pack of chocolate coins that I have for her. As for taking her out, either bringing her here or out to lunch - that's me wishing we could, rather than me really thinking of what's best for her - she couldn't cope. I've wittered, but I guess I am saying try not to fall into the trap that I did, of stressing about giving your Mum the Christmas you would like to give her, rather than the Christmas that she can cope with xxxx.

    Terry, more chance of rain than snow, round here at Christmas :D The idea of it is nice - but only if you can sit indoors in the warmth, looking out at it - actually going out in it, having to travel in snow, is no fun at all :)

    Glad you had a good time at your Aquagym Christmas do, Slugsta. Our tree is also up, fully decked out, and the fireplace is also all 'christmassyfied' too - need to get the small dining room tree up, and the two girls are planning to raid the 'penny jar' and hit the shops for more decs, as they do every Christmas, when oldest arrives home on the 18th or 19th :)

    Yesterday was fab - this is the sort of thing that most of my job will consist of (I hope) now I have the training done and I've started to build up connections with various organisations in the area. A bunch of really lovely young students, who got stuck into filling 20 bags full of things like thermal hats and gloves, toiletries, cereal bars and various other odds and ends, to be donated to a local homeless shelter. They put an equal ammount of effort into designing and crafting 20 individual gift tags to go with the bags too - 'so its nice and personal' they said :) All had a ball, and most have now decided to become involved with a longer term project with me - which is great, as its going to be lovely to work with that bunch - and they spent most of the session buzzing with ideas over what they would like to do. So satisfying and great to see them so engaged and enthusiastic - one of those days when job satisfaction shoots off the scale :D

    Lots of admin to do today - and tomorrow - so another busy day here today. Same tomorrow, though I also want to squeeze in a visit to Mil then too.

    Hope you all have a peaceful day xxxxx
     
  11. Amy in the US

    Amy in the US Registered User

    Feb 28, 2015
    4,619
    USA
    Ann, thank you. I'm going to have a think about what my mother can handle for Christmas, and talk to the nurses and staff about this as well. Maybe we need to find a restaurant closer to her care home, or take the meal to her at the care home. I've been worried about how she will handle a longer outing so it's worth considering. Or maybe we forge ahead but with the understanding that it might not work out. Regardless of what we decide, your post is helpful and reassuring. Thank you.
     
  12. Slugsta

    Slugsta Registered User

    Afternoon,

    Ann, I echo your words about Amy :) But it's equally lovely to hear you so happy and enthusiastic about your job :) I'm sure the satisfaction that yesterday brought will help you through the tedium of the admin.

    Ann and Amy, your PWDs are further along the path than Mum but I am already learning that I have to change my ideas, because she cannot. I recognise how hard it is for both of you to accept that the day you would like to have simply might not be possible :( (((Huggs))) to you both - and others in your situation.

    Quiet day for me thus far, choir in about 90 minutes. On the way home I have to go and feed friend's cats - and give a pill to one of them. I might not return in 1 piece :eek:
     
  13. Silverfoxice

    Silverfoxice Registered User

    Jul 19, 2016
    7
    Should I tell my mum she has Dementia?

    Hi everyone,

    This is the first time I have sat down to compose a question. I have spent many hours reading through your own personal stories and the wonderful, kind replies and advice you have given to each other. So now it is my turn to ask for help.

    Myself and my partner had been living with my 84 year old mum for the last three years trying to save money to buy a house. About six months ago, we bought a house 5 minutes away and moved out. She seemed happy and excited for us but this is when all the trouble started.

    My mother had been frail but otherwise as sharp as a button. She was having bizarre 'dreams' at night which she would laugh about in the mornings but then they appeared to get worse (happening day and night) when we were moving out. I had put down her night time hallucinations to her medication and especially her sleeping tablets which she has taken for most of her adult life. To cut a long story short she was hospitalized for nearly a month and spent two weeks in respite care before returning to her own home.

    We her family were told while she was in hospital that she has early onset Dementia but I asked at the time that the doctors would not tell her. When she returned home she seemed to settle back into her old routine and was getting on fine. I would call to her twice a day morning and evening and enlisted the help of carers who are coming 5 days a week and twice daily also.

    Recently, she appears to be getting bad again. She is sleeping very badly because of what she calls ' her jumpy legs' and the bizarre hallucinations are back to full strength. She spends most of the time lying down or sleeping to catch up on the sleep lost at night. The most recent bizarre dreams she is repeatedly having involve going into a local bar (which she has never been in to) and seeing members of her family (some alive and some dead) who ignore her. When I talk to her about it she knows they are not real but she thinks they are real at the time. She rang me up yesterday morning at work to tell me there were a bunch of men in her room who wouldn't let her go to the toilet. She had no memory of the phone call later that evening when I mentioned it to her.

    I'm so sorry for rambling on and on but once you start talking it is hard to stop. I need to know if it is time to talk to her about it? You see even though I have three brothers they have essentially washed their hands of the situation so myself and my partner are her sole family carers/advisers. Is she better off not knowing? Would it make her deteriorate faster?

    Please tell me if you think I should talk to her about it and any advice would be appreciated.
     
  14. jugglingmum

    jugglingmum Registered User

    Jan 5, 2014
    5,323
    Female
    Chester
  15. Amy in the US

    Amy in the US Registered User

    Feb 28, 2015
    4,619
    USA
    Silverfoxice, welcome to TP. I am sorry to hear about your mother.

    I haven't time for a proper response right now, but the short answer is that I would not tell her she has dementia. It won't do any good and she likely won't comprehend it. At a guess, to explain the change you are seeing, I would say she either has an infection brewing or is now needing more company and care than she is getting.

    I doubt that's what you wanted to hear and I'm sorry.
     
  16. Ann Mac

    Ann Mac Registered User

    Oct 17, 2013
    3,693
    Hi everyone,

    Laughing my socks off at the pill advice canary - definitely dogs are easier - though JM, no way would mine just 'take a pill' - in this house, doggy pills are pushed into a small cube of cheese, and so far they have never cottoned on that the only time they get cheese is when its either worming time or when its one of the (thankfully rare) occasions that they are poorly!

    Hiya Silverfoxice - welcome to TP x I honestly don't believe that there is any point in telling your Mum that she has dementia - you must have had a good reason to ask the hospital not to tell her, perhaps you felt that it would be too frightening or upsetting for her to know? If thats the case, then nothing has really changed now for her and it may even be that if she is worried about the dreams/hallucinations/delusions, then her worries and any fears may be made much worse by the knowledge that she has dementia - that is, if as Amy says, she is even able to comprehend the news. The other reason I would be inclined to keep quiet is that my Mil was told, at the point of diagnosis - and she simply went into flat denial, tempered with a lot of anger - caused by fear. It made her very resistant to any sort of outside support, and a lot of her anger was directed at me - because I was the one who was most likely to go on medical appointments or sort out various things for her, then I became the one who was (she claimed) trying to convince everyone that she was 'mad'. Supporting your Mum is going to be very tough for you, hun - if telling her carries even the slightest chance that she may react as my Mil did, then all it will do is make it harder for you and her. Paranoia and anger at close family members sadly seems to be pretty common with dementia, and both those aspects can make caring so much more difficult.

    There is no point either in bringing up hallucinations/delusions that she forgets quickly. Very early on with Mil, she rang me one day absolutely furious because her 'dresser' had gone from the dining room. She had actually got rid of it about 19 or 20 years before, and replaced it with two corner cabinets - when I tried to tell her this on the phone, she got really angry with me, accusing me of taking the dresser to sell because (she said) I must have known she paid a lot for it and then she ended the call by telling me she would tell her husband (who had died about a year after she got rid of the dresser) what I'd done when he came in from work, and hung up on me. One of the first times I'd experienced such a strong delusion from her, made me scared and OH and I went shooting up to visit her, only to find she had absolutely no memory of the call she had made to me, or of what she had said - and it led to her accusing me of lying and getting really angry with me yet again.

    I would be tempted to tell your Mum that she ought to see the Doctor about her 'jumpy legs' and (if she is able to talk about the bad dreams/delusions) about the dreams, make the appointment but send in a letter to her GP in advance, explaining the situation, asking him/her not to mention the diagnosis but asking for help with the delusions/hallucinations. If she is on any other meds, like aricept or whatever, it may be that they are not mixing well with the sleeping tablets, so the sleeping meds may need to be changed. Or the GP may be able to prescribe something that may help her besides what she already takes. At the same time, in case it is an infection brewing - because as Amy rightly says, an infection, particularly a UTI can cause massive deterioration in a pwd - ask for the GP to check that out. And if it isn't an infection, if its not the sleeping tablets and if the GP can't prescribe anything that helps, then you know its the illness worsening and hopefully, you can begin to start to work out what the next step will be. Mil was able to stay in her own house for I think about 2 years after the delusions started - but it wasn't easy, and sadly, you have to remember that this illness can progress differently in every individual who has it - they say if you have seen one person with dementia, thats all you have seen - just one person. Its impossible to predict how anyone will be affected or how long the various phases and stages will last, and at every turn all you can do is try to react quickly to the changes.

    I hope the above helps - and I hope you keep posting too, and asking questions - TP has been my biggest source of advice and support since I found it, and I know that everyone will be glad to support you too xxxx

    I did the first 'mega-present-wrapping' session last night - Oh, how I loathe that job! But, I am determined to get stuck in this week, and have it all done by the weekend - and at the weekend I have 3 gifts to pick up, and that's me done so far as my gift buying is concerned! Then, I have to buy small gifts for all from Mil, just in case us visiting on Xmas day with gifts sends her into a spin about not having gifts for us, I will have them there for her to hand out and hopefully forestall any agitation for her.

    Hope you all have a peaceful day xxxx
     
  17. CeliaW

    CeliaW Registered User

    Jan 29, 2009
    5,643
    Hampshire
    ]"Then, I have to buy small gifts for all from Mil, just in case us visiting on Xmas day with gifts sends her into a spin about not having gifts for us, I will have them there for her to hand out and hopefully forestall any agitation for her. "[

    Ann, what a lovely, thoughtful lady you are. I hope you have a good and peaceful day xx
     
  18. RedLou

    RedLou Registered User

    Jul 30, 2014
    1,162
    Hello all - just wanted to say I've been keeping up with you all. Delighted that you had such a good thanksgiving, Amy, and as others have said, equally delighted to hear Ann's pleasure in her job and of JM's son.
    I just filled out the last forms for the memorial for my father's interment today. Another job done I was putting off. Absent sibling has said he'll go half. I'm dreading telling him the cost though, because despite him being A LOT better off than me I think he'll have a rant. I have actually gone for the cheapest option (York Stone) and done exactly the inscription he wanted (rather than what I wanted) but I'm past wanting to battle. --I find myself even now so damn angry with both my parents for the lies they told me, since uncovered, etc and I really don't want to be. Particularly at this time of year. My sister believes it is a form of grieving and in fact if I stop being angry I am reduced to tears so it may be my sub-conscious way of avoiding sadness. The human mind is a mysterious thing --- no wonder when it sickens it's so violently unpredictable!
    Silverfoxice - welcome.
    All your dilemmas, and others on TP, regarding Xmas are reminding me: my brother - and bless him for this - did the last Xmas with my father. I'd suggested he visit Dad in hospital for a few hours and then have a separate celebration with his OH and daughter. In the event, he decided to take Dad to the restaurant with them. My niece remembers it as being fraught with 'Daddy in a very bad mood.' Lol. I think my father quite enjoyed it at the time, or bits of it, but he definitely also found it an ordeal as he complained to me about sitting for 'nine hours' (it was a long meal but really not that long!) but remembered nothing else. Within days, he had a bleed from his intestine because he wasn't used to the rich food. Almost killed him. So while my brother got a sense of 'having done the right thing' and I was let free from the guilt monster (yay!) for the day, actually dementia meant a reduced Xmas would have been better for him. Remember that if the guilt monster tries to creep up on any of you this Xmas. ;-)
    Love to all. x
     
  19. Amy in the US

    Amy in the US Registered User

    Feb 28, 2015
    4,619
    USA
    RedLou, always a treat to hear from you.

    Sorry about all the unhappiness connected with the memorial stone et cetera.

    One thought, possibly unhelpful, but you never know. Would it help you to email or snail mail a copy of the invoice to you brother, rather than you calling? Might help keep it at a bit of a remove for you.

    Love and good wishes to you all.
     

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