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Struggling to cope

Janeyjo

New member
Nov 20, 2020
4
Hi everyone I wonder if I can get some advice as I am struggling to deal with my mum. She was diagnosed about 6 weeks ago with mixed dementia and took this badly.

She spent a month being quite aggressive and angry. Two weeks ago she became very low, always crying. She tried to end her life, thankfully unsuccessfully.

Later that day it transpired she had a UTI and we got antibiotics from Dr. Last couple of days she has started improving physically and we are now back to the aggressive stage.

I've always been the peacemaker & could calm her down but today she is throwing things at me, physically & mentally and threatening to walk out the house.

I'm sitting on stairs giving her some space but I don't know if that is the answer. What should I say to her when she is telling me we are taking over her life and her decisions? She is saying she won't take her pills but some will have serious side effects if stopped. I feel so helpless 😢
 

Shedrech

Volunteer Moderator
Dec 15, 2012
9,435
Yorkshire
hello @Janeyjo
a warm welcome to DTP

at the moment I think you are wise to stay out of the way for a while ... let your mum settle in her own time, as long as she is not actually doing harm

you may want to literally talk to someone, the Support Line are understanding and helpful

if you are concerned for your and/or your mum's safety, call the police, they are more used to such situations than we realise and a referral from them can be a way to get more support

don't try to placate her right now, definitely don't try to discuss ... I found with dad that this just fuelled his agitation
might you play some sooghing/favourite music in another room, it may help calm her

I agree pills are important ... however, dad's consultant suggested that I don't battle about them (won't 'win') ... instead work out which are vital, when your mum is calm (not until then) offer them with her favourite drink and have a treat ready for after ... if she refuses, accept that, say 'ok, that's fine, I'll take them away' and do so, let her have her drink if she wants .... later (10 mins or so, monitor how she is) try again as though this is the first time, calmly and with a smile, maybe even ask 'I think it's time for these, have you some water?' (don't ask if she wants them, don't give her any excuse to refuse ... poss ask if she's ok to take them now or later, but prob best not to give her a way out) ... be prepared to keep repeating this, without making any fuss, it may take some time

check with your mum's GP which pills are key and what to do if your mum refuses so long she misses ons dose ... for some dad's said to just leave that one and pick up next time, and just not to worry about others ...some might come in a form ypu can hide in drinks or food but check before thinking of crushing any pills ... sometimes I hid dad's in yogurt or between small pieces of his favourite biscuit, but again check that it's acceptable to chew, as some pills should be swallowed whole

it's hard to hear what your mum is saying, it's her way of speaking out her distress ... maybe apologise, say you realise you're being pushy and will simply help in any way she wants ... sometimes this can take the stress off both of you and allow her to feel some control ... I learned to apologise for znything and everything .... offer help in a way that seems as though she's helping you eg I only have half a load, do you have some clothes to make up to a full load / I have a coupon for some shopping but won't spend that much so do you want anything so I can get the discount ....just be a bit creative

I know this would add more meds, but do have a chat with her GP about her moods , agitation and aggression as there are meds that may help

if your mum leaves the house, offer her her coat if possible ... maybe even suggest a walk as exercise can help with mood ... if she goes on her own and you are concerned, follow at a distance (with warm clothes if she has gone in her houxe clothes) ... if you can get around her to meet her, pretend you went out on an errand and thank her for coming to meet you .... you'll need to be flexible and even sneaky at times, which doesn't come naturally, especially with a parent

sorry for the essay .... post with anything that's on your mind, folk here understand
 
Last edited:

lemonbalm

Registered User
May 21, 2018
866
I'm sorry you are having such a hard time @Janeyjo . My mother is given to aggression and occasional violence too (now in a care home but I looked after her on my own for a couple of years). As @Shedrech has already mentioned, it is best to distance yourself for a while when faced with such aggression. Stay safe and take time to calm yourself. Your mum may well be calm too when you return and may have forgotten about the upset altogether, so best not to make any reference to it. When you go back, it might be best to suggest having a cup of tea, something to keep focused on which is routine and peaceful.

Are you living in the same house as your mum?

Your mum is probably quite scared by the diagnosis and may be lashing out because of that. It is usually those closest who bear the brunt of this. It's a very difficult time for both of you. Do you have any support from other family?

Keep posting for advice and support, and let us know how you are. Lots of us out here to listen.
 

Janeyjo

New member
Nov 20, 2020
4
Thank you @lemonbalm & @Shedrech your comments and assistance helped me immensely and are great tips for the future. Things turned a bit nasty and she started throwing items at my Dad and threatened to do him some harm.

We called an ambulance and then she called the police and between both services they managed to calm her down and she agreed to go to A&E. I've just called and they are trying to do a CT scan on her. They said she is restless & they will probably sedate her.

I hope we did the right thing. Its so difficult but I feared for Dad's safety.

I don't live with them but I do have a sister that does, its a tough gig and I thank her everyday for the care she's been giving.
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
407
Some good suggestions from @Shedrech but easier said than done. Nobody can be expected to live with a violent person and if this cannot be controlled by medication then old-fashioned coercion is going to be necessary. You can't be soft about this, she has to be forced to stop throwing things . That probably means a specialist care home that knows how to deal with the condition. There are limits to kindness and if someone else's safety is threatened those limits are reached.
 

Janeyjo

New member
Nov 20, 2020
4
I guess we just want to take care of her ourselves but today proved we're just not equipped for this. We continue to hope there is something that can done for her but realistic to see that specialist care may be our only option 😢
 

lemonbalm

Registered User
May 21, 2018
866
I am sure you did do the right thing @Janeyjo . Sometimes it takes a crisis to get the right treatment and medication. It's terribly painful to watch these things happening to people we love and I am sorry you are all going through it. Be kind to yourselves and keep us posted on how things are going.
 

Janeyjo

New member
Nov 20, 2020
4
Thank you @lemonbalm I'm feeling so incredibly guilty today. I've heard she is having 1-1 nursing in AMU mainly because her confusion and aggression is making it difficult to treat her. I hope they can see passed this aggression and realise she's a nice lady underneath. My imagination is in overdrive at the moment, just want to see her and make sure she is ok.
 

lemonbalm

Registered User
May 21, 2018
866
They will be well used to this kind of thing @Janeyjo . Your mum is where she needs to be for now and in good hands. You did well to cope with it the way you did. It's a dreadfully hard thing to deal with. I'll be thinking of you and your family today and hoping that this turns out to be a good thing in disguise. Keep posting. Lots of people on the forum will have been through similar things. We're here for you, so don't feel lonely.
 

Weasell

Registered User
Oct 21, 2019
750
Just to say if they offer to section her then I would consider it a gift.
She will go to a very well staffed environment.
There will be qualified nurses with specialist training in challenging behaviour.
There will access to doctors who can change her medication to achieve the best outcome.
I am not saying this will happen. I am just saying if it did then do not let it cause you any stress.
Wishing you well at this difficult time.
 

Shedrech

Volunteer Moderator
Dec 15, 2012
9,435
Yorkshire
oh @Janeyjo what a difficult time for you all
I'm glad you felt supported ... I was trying to give you as many options as I could think of, and sort of drip them into the post
you did well to get the emergency services involved, it's tough to do but it would be so very hard on your mum to let her continue to be so agitated
you did the right thing, though I appreciate how awful the situation feels ... it may actually be best for family not to visit so the staff can see how your mum is, monitor her and assess what will be best for her ... and your dad needs to be safe too
best wishes to you all
 

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