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Struggling when I take mum out

vaana

Registered User
Jan 1, 2020
18
0
My lovely mum has always been a sociable person who likes to be the centre of attention. She is now in the mid stages of Alzheimer's and although outwardly she looks 'normal', her personality traits have become magnified and are very embarrassing as she has no etiquette/social filter any more. She begs me every day to take her out (she used to have a car before she was diagnosed with dementia and would always go out every day). Covid restrictions have given me an excuse why I can't take her out all the time, but I do try to take her to M & S or Boots once a week at the moment, but of course once lockdown is lifted I will have to take her out more.
The problem is that as soon as we go into a shop, cafe etc, she scans the room for someone to attract and then forces on them what she thinks is a witty conversation. For example, last week she saw some one in a mask and pointed her fingers ( as if they were a gun) at them and said, ' Bang, bang'. Another day she said to a stranger, 'Did you know you can't bring your gun in here'. The people concerned looked at her as if she was mad and I found myself trying to stand behind her, raising my eyes and trying to mouth that she has dementia (impossible now we have to wear masks of course). If we sit in a cafe, she clicks her fingers at the staff and tells them loudly that she thinks they've forgotten her - she has zero patience and everything has to revolve around her instantly. Or, she shouts across to people on other tables to make conversation and tries to show them pics of her dog. She constantly tries to pull her mask down so she can speak to them and I've had embarrassing moments trying to pull her mask back up constantly, whilst she fights me to pull it down. She also tells people that I'll 'smack her' if she takes her mask off (I have never said this, but she thinks it's a cheeky, fun thing to say). Or, she's obsessed with small children and say's in a creepy voice, 'I'm going to nip you'. What she really means is that she finds them cute (a bit like when we say we could eat a baby up as they're so gorgeous).
Sorry for the long post - I'm just feeling down with it all and don't know how to deal with mum. If I knew people realised she has dementia, I wouldn't be so worried when I take her out - but part of her comes across fairly 'normal' so I suspect they just think she's weird or rude. She butts in on other people's conversations and I can't get her away from them, unless I physically try to steer her away, which I must confess I have done on occasion!
Any help on how to deal with all this would be much appreciated
 

Linsac

Registered User
Aug 14, 2020
61
0
That' s a difficult situation but when you say you will have to take her out more when lock down is lifted, no you don't have to. I would try and avoid cafes etc once they re-open and just carry on as you are doing now taking her out once a week. Tell her you are unable to do more (make up a reason if so) and she will have to find someone else to go with.

Could you maybe get her a sunflower lanyard which would alert others to the fact that she has additional needs?
 

jennifer1967

Registered User
Mar 15, 2020
2,296
0
Southampton
the big supermarkets hand them out, my husband has one and a label attached about hidden disabilities. hes medically exempt from wearing a mask and wears it so he doesnt get stared at and snide remarks made. they ignore him now
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
14,632
0
South coast
Could you maybe get her a sunflower lanyard which would alert others to the fact that she has additional needs?
I like this idea, I was going to suggest that you get some buisness sized cards made up that said something like "please excuse me. I do not mean any harm, but I have dementia" and pass them discretely to people who seem alarmed or upset.
I think the sunflower lanyard is better, though.
 

Izzy

Volunteer Moderator
Aug 31, 2003
63,830
0
69
Dundee
Not sure if these would be helpful but you can get little cards from the Alzheimer’s Society shop -

 

vaana

Registered User
Jan 1, 2020
18
0
Thanks for the idea Izzie. These cards are more for people with dementia though, and not carers. My mum won't accept she has Alzheimers and so it's not possible to show anyone a card anyway 🙄
 

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
72,663
0
Kent
Hello @vaana

I would avoid crowded places with your mother, covid or not, and take her for walks in parks or other less populated areas.

The masks may be here for a long time and perhaps you could get her used to seeing them by wearing them whenever possible while you are with her.

You do not have to take her out now. Many people have been confined to the home for long periods for their own safety and the safety of others.
 

vaana

Registered User
Jan 1, 2020
18
0
That' s a difficult situation but when you say you will have to take her out more when lock down is lifted, no you don't have to. I would try and avoid cafes etc once they re-open and just carry on as you are doing now taking her out once a week. Tell her you are unable to do more (make up a reason if so) and she will have to find someone else to go with.

Could you maybe get her a sunflower lanyard which would alert others to the fact that she has additional needs?
Thank you. I do like the idea of the sunflower lanyard
 

vaana

Registered User
Jan 1, 2020
18
0
That' s a difficult situation but when you say you will have to take her out more when lock down is lifted, no you don't have to. I would try and avoid cafes etc once they re-open and just carry on as you are doing now taking her out once a week. Tell her you are unable to do more (make up a reason if so) and she will have to find someone else to go with.

Could you maybe get her a sunflower lanyard which would alert others to the fact that she has additional needs?
Thank you. I do like the idea of the sunflower lanyard
I like this idea, I was going to suggest that you get some buisness sized cards made up that said something like "please excuse me. I do not mean any harm, but I have dementia" and pass them discretely to people who seem alarmed or upset.
I think the sunflower lanyard is better, though.
The personally made up little cards sound a great idea, plus the sunflower lanyard. Thank you
 

vaana

Registered User
Jan 1, 2020
18
0
That' s a difficult situation but when you say you will have to take her out more when lock down is lifted, no you don't have to. I would try and avoid cafes etc once they re-open and just carry on as you are doing now taking her out once a week. Tell her you are unable to do more (make up a reason if so) and she will have to find someone else to go with.

Could you maybe get her a sunflower lanyard which would alert others to the fact that she has additional needs?
Thank you Linsac. The problem is that mum lives to go out every day .... its all she's ever done all her life. She really pleads with me and says if I loved her I would take her out more. I guess I have to toughen up to the guilt, which brings me to tears. I will definitely try the lanyard and see if it helps me feel less embarrassed when in public
 

vaana

Registered User
Jan 1, 2020
18
0
the big supermarkets hand them out, my husband has one and a label attached about hidden disabilities. hes medically exempt from wearing a mask and wears it so he doesnt get stared at and snide remarks made. they ignore him now
Thanks for the info Jennifer
 

vaana

Registered User
Jan 1, 2020
18
0
That' s a difficult situation but when you say you will have to take her out more when lock down is lifted, no you don't have to. I would try and avoid cafes etc once they re-open and just carry on as you are doing now taking her out once a week. Tell her you are unable to do more (make up a reason if so) and she will have to find someone else to go with.

Could you maybe get her a sunflower lanyard which would alert others to the fact that she has additional needs?
Thank you Linsac. The problem is that mum lives to go out every day .... its all she's ever done all her life. She really pleads with me and says if I loved her I would take her out more. I guess I have to toughen up to the guilt, which brings me to tears. I will definitely try the lanyard and see if it helps me feel less embarrassed when in public
Hello @vaana

I would avoid crowded places with your mother, covid or not, and take her for walks in parks or other less populated areas.

The masks may be here for a long time and perhaps you could get her used to seeing them by wearing them whenever possible while you are with her.

You do not have to take her out now. Many people have been confined to the home for long periods for their own safety and the safety of others.
 

Weasell

Registered User
Oct 21, 2019
1,061
0
When things open up again have you considered a dementia cafe?


I used to have to take out a person who had a form of Tourette’s.
He used to come out with ‘ look at that ******* fat ****’
and similar comments.
I understand the correct response is to enquire how the Tourette’s is presenting today, but instead I just used to say ‘ you are going to get our teeth kicked in ‘ and sometimes it worked !

The card idea is excellent.
It is really about picking your places.The local church runs a community cafe. When they spot someone like your mum then someone come over to chat which is just wonderful.
Another idea is a charity shop. They attract genuinely kind people. Avoid the animal charity shops, those volunteers prefer animals to people sometimes ! ( I know how they feel sometimes).
Do you have any National trust properties near you. Normally you can have a lovely long exhausting walk then on to a coffee shop again manned by volunteers, and often of a certain age that they may well have experienced people with dementia.

I once took another person on holiday to Disney world, they wanted to purchase and wear a ridiculous hat. I was worried about being accused of ‘ letting them look stupid’ in the photos, so solved the problem by also wearing an even more ridiculous hat myself. What was interesting about this was the kindness shown by the general public. People actively walked over for a chat. I am not saying wear a ridiculous hat! but they obviously communicated something ! I was actually shocked at how many people were prepared to extend kindness.

Practice your ‘ sorry what can I do ‘ face ! And slap on load of moisturiser as you need to get some rhino skin!
 

vaana

Registered User
Jan 1, 2020
18
0
The dementia cafe sounds a great idea. And yes, rhino skin is what I have to develop I guess
 

Jaded'n'faded

Registered User
Jan 23, 2019
1,226
0
High Peak
Thank you Linsac. The problem is that mum lives to go out every day .... its all she's ever done all her life. She really pleads with me and says if I loved her I would take her out more. I guess I have to toughen up to the guilt, which brings me to tears. I will definitely try the lanyard and see if it helps me feel less embarrassed when in public
That's really not fair, is it? Please recognise emotional blackmail for what it is - an empty threat. Not that it makes it any easier to deal with. Perhaps you could think of it in the way you would if talking to a child who said the same thing? (i.e. smile, shrug and not be bothered by it.) Maybe even tell her she's behaving like a toddler having a tantrum. (I know some people wouldn't be able to say that to their mum - we all have different relationships...)

I'm afraid my mum was the same. When we went to cafes she would comment loudly on the poor service (then tell them to their face when our order arrived) or talk loudly to people on other tables, interrupting their conversations. She would also loudly comment about anyone who was fat, looked forgeign or had tattoos. Any mothers with children were obviously 'benefit scroungers who shouldn't be there'. She too had a habit of cooing over babies and feeling she had a right to touch them or pregnant women. But all her good feelings changed. I will never forget the time she leaned over a pram to see a child then turned to me and said, 'My god! What an ugly baby!'

So I completely understand your embarassment. Yes, maybe people should be more understanding but at that point, mum seemed pretty normal to outsiders so she just seemed to be the rudest person in the world.
 

Banjomansmate

Registered User
Jan 13, 2019
2,555
0
Dorset
I learned to silently mouth “Sorry, dementia” to people when I took The Banjoman out. He did things like eating his meal with his fingers and, in a classy pub one time he ended up eating lunch with the small spoon from the mustard pot.
 

vaana

Registered User
Jan 1, 2020
18
0
That's really not fair, is it? Please recognise emotional blackmail for what it is - an empty threat. Not that it makes it any easier to deal with. Perhaps you could think of it in the way you would if talking to a child who said the same thing? (i.e. smile, shrug and not be bothered by it.) Maybe even tell her she's behaving like a toddler having a tantrum. (I know some people wouldn't be able to say that to their mum - we all have different relationships...)

I'm afraid my mum was the same. When we went to cafes she would comment loudly on the poor service (then tell them to their face when our order arrived) or talk loudly to people on other tables, interrupting their conversations. She would also loudly comment about anyone who was fat, looked forgeign or had tattoos. Any mothers with children were obviously 'benefit scroungers who shouldn't be there'. She too had a habit of cooing over babies and feeling she had a right to touch them or pregnant women. But all her good feelings changed. I will never forget the time she leaned over a pram to see a child then turned to me and said, 'My god! What an ugly baby!'

So I completely understand your embarassment. Yes, maybe people should be more understanding but at that point, mum seemed pretty normal to outsiders so she just seemed to be the rudest person in the world.
Crikey .... your mum sounded so similar to mine! Maybe it's more common than I realise. Such a horrible illness ... my mum has always been such a loving, bubbly, sociable person and it's such a shame that I now have to try to curtail her weird behaviour, when she thinks she's not doing anything wrong. Thank you for your comments
 

Catastrophe

Registered User
Feb 15, 2019
45
0
I learned to silently mouth “Sorry, dementia” to people when I took The Banjoman out. He did things like eating his meal with his fingers and, in a classy pub one time he ended up eating lunch with the small spoon from the mustard pot.
Had to laugh at the mustard spoon. Dad has eaten in pubs and cafes with just a knife, or a teaspoon. Added butter to his coffee instead of sugar and drank it all, then complained that their coffee was rubbish.
But have to admit that a small goodside of being in lockdown is not having to face being in public with him. What a terrible daughter. But it is mortifying for me and remembering how he used to be, I am embarrassed for him too. His filter has gone, some of the things he comments to any passing women and just general swearing. I never, ever heard him swear until dementia settled in. Now, we take him out occasionally for a short run to the beach with a flask of coffee. Much safer.