1. Gabsgable

    Gabsgable New member

    Nov 12, 2019
    3
    Hi there - hope someone can help with some advice or pointers on here.

    My mum is 80 and has lived with my dad for the last 45 years. In recent years she started showing increasingly clear signs of dementia as described on here. Some early signs she dismissed as repercussions of a light fall a few years ago and also very obvious issues where she does not recognise people or forgets events are dismissed as normal - she saw a documentary on tv that ‘people start forgetting things in their 30s and dementia is often the label for forgetfulness in the elderly these days’.

    My dad is in hospital as of last week in critical condition unexpectedly. Dad had been taking care of mum as much as he could and at least was able to made sure she ate regularly and had a regular rhythm.

    My mum’s memory deteriorated though and so do many of her social skills - interacting with people have not been a problem but having/keeping friends has always been an issue. Issues with jealousy but also to merely commit to taking part in other people’s lives have always been an issue.

    I myself live abroad and notice things getting worse, especially personal hygiene and memory - even trivial things like what was had for lunch by dinner time are no longer available - mum comments that this is not important when prompted. I knew that mum had been depressed in recent years which is not something her generation would ever own up to. I have been suffering from the latter issue since diagnosed with 18 and am able to address the early signs, I tried to help with my mum with some non-medicine based techniques, however, she is not interested in doing these when I am not there as she is certain there is no issue.

    My mum refuses to go to the GP for anything that is not essential for her as doctors for not know anything’ and ‘are just interested in money’.

    She had been told by an old friend who used to be a doctor that medication should not be an option (ever?) as ‘all medications have side effects which differ from person to person’.

    My mum’s hoarding of found objects and piling of her clothing around rooms worsened to a point that there were mice in the flat (which have hopefully been eradicated by now). I force-tidied the flat for the sake of her own health this week. It was distressing for her but at least she trusts me to touch her personal belongings. She accuses other people of stealing, especially when looking for lost items which happens increasingly.

    I try to get her take care of her personal hygiene which is another impossible task. She is convinced that she does not sweat, has an excellent sense of smell and she says her panty liners catch all signs of urine of which she clearly smells of. It is impossible to talk sense into her as she has excuses for everything (growing up in a rural village, nobody washed themselves more than once a week, what is my issue here).

    I used my time at the flat this week to tidy and wash a lot of her clothing with antibacterial and anti-odour detergents, some of her clothing seems to have not been washed in decades.

    I sorted all types of clothing so it is easily accessible around the room instead of being in piles where she thinks she had thrown away all of her old clothing.

    It was hard to even dispose of rotten food as she makes up memories attached to the food going back to her childhood and similar when it is simply a dried lemon or mouldy bunch of lavender that cannot be kept.

    She does not eat regularly and if given food, she throws it away with various excuses when prompted.

    Suggestions or hints toward hiring a ‘cleaner’ are dismissed as they ‘would steal her things and she had seen and experienced it in the past’.

    She already accuses my sister in law and my dad’s step sister of stealing. My brother’s relationship with my mum is somewhat tense as my sister in law does not like the accusations and now reacts badly to the insults to the point of hysteria. This has placed my brother in the middle and he sides with his wife, not something that I have been able to change despite him living nearby.

    He has given up trying to talk mum into improvements to her situation which is painful to watch. I cannot really blame him as he has a business, two kids and now my dad to care about who are somewhat more receptive toward support.

    As I am not living there, I am at my wits end. The situation with my dad has been very distressing for us all, however, I do want my mum to have adequate support.

    Due to her abruptness, she does not have any friends that I could talk to and even trying to get her to search contact with the local church or other senior citizen meetings are of no interest to her - she has an excuse against everything that is being suggested, most of which are not even reasonable excuses.

    My mum is very stubborn and has been a strong woman all her life. This is now working against her from what I can see.

    Has anyone else on here experienced something similar? Any advice how to support mum without getting social services involved (hoarding, mice, issues with personal hygiene). I want her to be comfortable but also have a good quality of life. Apologies if there is a similar thread - if you can point me there, I’d be real grateful.
     
  2. karaokePete

    karaokePete Registered User

    Jul 23, 2017
    5,022
    N Ireland
    Hello @Gabsgable you are welcome here and I hope you find the forum to be a friendly and supportive place.

    What you describe is, unfortunately, all too common. It is important to get a diagnosis as that may open up medication and care that you will all need if this continues for long.

    When it comes to getting a parent to the GP it is sometimes useful to contact the Dr with details of all concerns and behaviours and then collude with the GP about getting your mother called in on the pretext of a check-up of some sort. Sometimes the older generation will obey the GP, even when family are being refused. Of course, it's always possible that something other than dementia is causing the issues and a cure may be available for that.

    Apart from that, do take a good look around the site as it is a goldmine for information. When I first joined I read old threads for information but then found the AS Publications list and the page where a post code search can be done to check for support services in one's own area. If you are interested in these, clicking the following links will take you there.

    https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/get-support/publications-factsheets-full-list

    https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/find-support-near-you

    You will see that there are Factsheets that will help with things like getting care needs assessments, deciding the level of care required and sorting out useful things like Wills, Power of Attorney etc., if any of that hasn't already been done. There is also a Dementia Guide in the list..

    Now that you have found us I hope you will keep posting as the membership has vast collective knowledge and experience.
     
  3. Sirena

    Sirena Registered User

    Feb 27, 2018
    1,861
    Female
    As your mother is so completely resistant to seeing a doctor I can't see a way of getting her there. Normally we suggest saying it's for an over 70s or well woman check but that is not going to wash with your mother. She is also completely resistant to anyone helping her (unless it's you, when she allows it under protest) so involving social services is unlikely to help - if she refuses to engage with them and they believe she has the capacity to make her own decisions, they will leave her to it.

    It doesn't seem much to ask that she is comfortable and hygienic, but other members will tell you it can be very hard to achieve that for a PWD (person with dementia). It sounds like the solution would be to find someone she will accept 'interfering' and get them to go round regularly, and as she seems to have alienated family and will not accept any kind of 'stranger', even a cleaner, I realise that may be very difficult.

    You may have to wait for a crisis, like a fall, which leads to her going into hospital. At that point you can involve social services will get involved and if she is not deemed to have capacity they may move her to a care home.

    Unfortunately we can't always get them to accept even the basics of the life we'd like them to have, which is very difficult.
     
  4. Gabsgable

    Gabsgable New member

    Nov 12, 2019
    3
    Thank you so much for the kind and heartfelt reply. As I only came across the site following a sleepless night, I was not even aware of all the sections and information available. The link with all the factsheets is invaluable as it seems to almost be an encyclopaedia of all things concerning the condition and complications that come with it. I have shared the link with my brother so we can both read through the relevant sections. It really helps to know that others have similar challenges. It is all so new since the family jumped on the bandwagon of denial with my parents. At this stage something needs to be done though to at least start planning.

    Thanks again and I will keep visiting the site now I have found it!
     
  5. Gabsgable

    Gabsgable New member

    Nov 12, 2019
    3
    Thank you ever so much for your reply which is direct but unfortunately hits the nail on the head. It seems like we have to wait until something drastic happens for her allow some help and support into her life. It feels good to have at least washed clothes and tidied the flat after what I can only describe as years of neglect.

    The last sentence about acceptance of my mum’s reality which does not fit in with the basics that we would like her to have rings so true. It is just very reassuring that we are not alone with this experience.

    Thanks again!
     
  6. charlie10

    charlie10 Registered User

    Dec 20, 2018
    375
    Hi @Gabsga....welcome to the forum and I do sympathise with your frustration and worry, your mum sounds like a female version of my FiL. We also live abroad, and my BiL visits his dad (who lives alone) twice a week or so with shopping and to do chores.....there is also a carer visit in the morning to help him with personal care. FiL only has a 'diagnosis'from the Memory doc of age related memory impairment, but we know it's more than that. From my reading on the forum I think he would be better (and happier) in a CH.....or at least have more care visits, but he is totally resistant and BiL cannot overcome his instinct to respect his dad's wishes.

    At the moment FiL is in hospital after a fall....thankfully no damage but they are 'rebalancing' him for dehydration, anaemia and probably not eating. I quite expect them to discharge him back home in the next couple of days, unless they have discovered something we don't know about. He can still have a fairly normal conversation, it's more his somewhat bizarre behaviour plus worsening memory that makes us think it is more than just old age (91). However, I think he will be considered to have capacity still, and therefore we won't be able to override his obstinacy.

    This 'waiting for the crisis' seems so wrong, but there doesn't seem to be any other way.....but bear in mind that even if there is a hospital visit after the crisis, it is still dependent on capacity, which seems to have very mobile goalposts! Good luck, this forum is brilliant for support,information and empathy, I hope you will find that too
     
  7. TNJJ

    TNJJ Registered User

    May 7, 2019
    769
    Female
    cornwall
    Yes "capacIty" especially " fluctuating capacIty "drives a fair few of us mad! My dad has it.Doesn't know days of the week or various other things but can decide he can be home alone for 15 hours overnight.Even though he is immobile..
     

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