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Supporting mum through her grief after Dad’s passing

Htyl

New member
May 8, 2021
2
0
I have never posted anything on here, but have taken great comfort from reading all sorts of things, knowing that it’s not just me going through what feels like the worst thing in the world sometimes. So just to say thank you for your posts, and thank you if you are still reading on....

My precious Dad passed away on Sunday after his brave two-year fight with Myeloma. He had become very confused, now I think due to the myeloma, yet all of the health care professionals were convinced he had dementia. We had an appointment at the memory clinic next week.... That is another story which isn’t sitting quite right with me - I have started to feel that everyone is assumed to have dementia if they exhibit some form of cognitive impairment - yet there’s lots of other causes.

Anyway.... My Mum is now living alone and had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s (early stage) in November 2019. Before and during Dad’s illness Dad definitely covered for Mum. During the last 6 months Mum was reacting in the moment to the day to day things that were happening, and as Dad could do less, Mum had to do more but her way was very impatient with him sadly, and it feels as though Mum has become quite self-centred.

I’m staying with Mum but I’m finding it hard to process my own grief and I’m getting quite frustrated because she has become very quiet and keeps repeating a very limited number of stories about her childhood in great depth yet doesn’t seem very interested in anything else. I think my Dad had the patience of a saint!

I’ve tried to get mum to talk about how she feels - she says nothing more than she can’t believe it and that she doesn’t want to be on her own and asking what has she done to deserve this. When I suggest alternatives/ways to be involved with friends/family in a positive manner she says she will just have to put up with being alone, doesn’t want to impose on people in couples. She says there’s nothing wrong with her when I suggest a support call etc from a charity, so I genuinely don’t think she thinks she is diagnosed. Should I remind her??? I have suggested little tasks each day this week, but she’s not done any of them without me being there and pretty much getting the task going and saying we need to do something.

Any ideas welcomed - I’m struggling and wondering what’s going to start to happen when I step away again, which I need to do (I’m 200 miles away, but my brother with Mum’s grandchildren is 6 miles away).... I’m worried this shock and stress might progress Mum’s illness - does that actually happen?

Sorry there’s a lot of different things there but some coping strategies would be very well received please :)

Thanks
 

karaokePete

Registered User
Jul 23, 2017
6,097
0
N Ireland
Hello and welcome @Htyl

Firstly, please accept my condolences.

I'm sorry to say that your Mum sounds like an average person with dementia. They aren't self centred as such, it's just that the ability to think about the wider world can diminish. My own wife cannot hold information long enough to accept instructions so I too have to stand with her to get her involved with anything.

I wonder if a needs assessment may be an idea as it could open the possibility of help. My wife got a place at a day centre by this route.
 

Izzy

Volunteer Moderator
Aug 31, 2003
64,680
0
70
Dundee
Welcome to the forum @Htyl. I’m so sorry for your loss. It must be so difficult to support your mum just now.

It might be time helpful for you to seek some support and advice from the Admiral Nurse service. Even if there isn’t an admiral nurse in your area I know you can good support over the phone or by email -


I agree with Pete that an assessment of your mum’s needs, or a reassessment if one has already been done would be a good thing to consider just now.

I’m glad you’ve shared here and I know you will find lots of help and support from members.
 

Htyl

New member
May 8, 2021
2
0
Hello and welcome @Htyl

Firstly, please accept my condolences.

I'm sorry to say that your Mum sounds like an average person with dementia. They aren't self centred as such, it's just that the ability to think about the wider world can diminish. My own wife cannot hold information long enough to accept instructions so I too have to stand with her to get her involved with anything.

I wonder if a needs assessment may be an idea as it could open the possibility of help. My wife got a place at a day centre by this route.
Thank you for your response @karaokePete , that’s appreciated. I do have a social worker who very recently created a care plan for Dad - so that’s something we’re familiar with, so I can follow that up with her, good idea.

My Mum won’t be very open to groups I don’t think - but I am trying to get Mum back to going to mass regularly to get some interaction with people and her faith.

Thank you and I wish you and your wife all the very best. Take care.
 

silkiest

Registered User
Feb 9, 2017
288
0
Hi @Htyl, if your mum is anything like my MIL she will not attend mass or contact friends. Its typical of many with dementia that they cannot go through the steps needed to organise things. MIL was stagnating until she got 2 x 2hourly sessions weekly provided by the local council - the carer has managed to build a good relationship with her and takes her to the park and local cafe - this regular social contact has been very beneficial and she seems more alert. Could you contact the Church she used to attend and find out if they have any outreach services - regular visits from the priest or congregation members could be a good source of social contact.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
15,178
0
South coast
Hello @Htyl

Im afraid that everything that you describe is absolutely typical of dementia. Most people think that dementia just means memory loss, but it isnt - the whole thought process is affected.
Your mum will not be able to retain new information and the little tasks and things that you are trying to get her to do will simply either be forgotten, or she wont be able to work out how to do them. She now needs an actual person with her prompting and enabling her.

Think about what she is still able to do. Can she prepare a meal without prompting? Wash and dress herself? Do housework? If she needs someone to prompt her to do these things then she wont do them when you have gone home. You will need to organise people to fill those gaps - which may well be Meals on Wheels or professional carers. Your mum may also benefit from attending day care which will offer social stimulation in an understanding environment. She will probably tell you that she doesnt want to go, or that she doesnt need to go - just organise it anyway.
 

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