What should I do? Suggestions Please

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by Worried Woman, Jan 7, 2006.

  1. Worried Woman

    Worried Woman Registered User

    Jan 7, 2006
    Hi, I have just found this website and hope that some of you can point me in the right direction. I will try to keep this as short as possible, but this is the situation:
    I am an only child, I live in Brazil. My mother lives on her own in Wiltshire, she is 78 and has lived alone since she was widowed in 1980. There are no other relatives who can help.
    I went to Brazil in Aug 2004. At that time she seemed OK although her house was a bit messy and she seemed to be taking less care with her appearance than she used to. Last Christmas she came to Brazil for 5 weeks, I booked the flight and made sure that she was taken from plane to plane in a wheelchair so she would not have to walk far and she would not miss her connection. She is not disabled in any way. During her stay I noticed that she did not take a shower and I had to take her clothes from her room to wash them. She also seemed to be more forgetful than before and sometimes became confused. When I mentioned her personal hygene she flew off the handle then cried. She got back home OK and we have kept in touch by telephone.

    This Christmas I told her that I was coming home to see her, she kept saying that she would tidy the house. I phoned her two days before I was due to arrive and she was cross with me because apparently I had told her, the week before, that I had invited some friends to come to her house over Christmas, she did not like my friends and was thinking of going away! I told her that this was complete nonsense, but she insisted that she remembered the phonecall in detail. This upset me and I told her so. When I arrived she looked rather disheveled and the house was very messy and dirty. She keeps newspapers, magazines, mail, old phone directories etc all over the living room. The kitchen cupboards are all full of tins and packets of food, also the worksurfaces and the floor. The fridge was full to bursting with food, some of which had been bought frozen and shoved in, some food was out of date by 6 months or so.

    I told her that I was shocked and saddened by the mess and she agreed that it needed tidying, but not that it was dirty and got offended. I said that we could tackle it together. When I tried to throw things out or clean up she made no move to help, just sat in her chair. Eventually she became stroppy with me, so I stopped after I had thrown out the rotting food and made the kitchen hygenic.
    During my stay she lost a number of things, documents for the car (she still drives, but not far), keys and money. She thinks this normal and agrees that she is a bit forgetful, but "everyone is as they get older". It seems that Mum sleeps a lot, spends her days "sorting through papers" and watching TV. She also reads the newspaper (or some of it) and does the quick crossword (and completes it). She is not interested in going out (other than to buy food) or joining any groups. She has always been quiet and does not seek out the company of others. Before I left last Thursday to return to Brazil, she had mislaid a building society book with cash folded in it which she had intended to pay in this week.

    Today I phoned her and she said that she thought the son of a friend of mine must have taken it when I "let him have a go" in her car. (I had borrowed the car to visit my friend.) I told her that she was mistaken and had never put the money in the car. She "remembers" putting it there and me telling her about my friends son liking the car. I told her that I have never even met my friend's son and he lives miles away. She was puzzled by this and insists the money was in the car. I told her that she should accept that she gets confused at times and loses things. She did not accept this, got cross and then changed the subject.
    She does not visit her GP and mistrusts doctors in general. I think I should write to the GP outlining the symptoms and ask for advice. I feel that he should know her circumstances and the fact that I am her only relative and live thousands of miles away. Other than that I have no idea what to do. I feel so guilty at being so far away, but then think that even if I lived next door there is little that I could do as she is so fiercely independant, thinks that there is nothing wrong and will let no-one over the threshold. She has one friend, a widow who lives next door and is of similar age, but is mentally and physically fine. This lovely lady tries to keep an eye on Mum and reminds her of her weekly hair appointment etc, but can't do much more and of course it's not her problem. She has my contact details and I will be ringing her regularly.
    Where do I go from here? The guilt and the worry are causing me sleepless nights. I want to do my best for her, as yet she is not in danger (apart from food poisoning) but if this is dementia or Alzheimer's (what's the difference?) then it can only get worse. Apologies for the length of this post.
  2. inmyname

    inmyname Guest

    You do indeed need to contact her GP and you need to contact the DVLA because she should not be driving they will require a form to be completed and will contact her GP ( you can send the DVLA an E Mail )

    However your Mother sounds much like mine in her attitude to interference etc and same responses when you challenge her on anything

    So far we are not talking piles of newspapers or rotting food but pretty much all the rest is the same
  3. Rosalind

    Rosalind Registered User

    Jul 2, 2005
    I've sent you a private message, as I am Wiltshire based. Hope it helps
  4. Worried Woman

    Worried Woman Registered User

    Jan 7, 2006
    Rosalind - Thanks very much, I will keep that website handy.
    I think the main problem will be getting Mum to the doctor and getting a diagnosis. I'm not sure how much can be done without the co-operation of the person concerned. I just know that she will not accept any help because she thinks there is nothing wrong with her.
    If and when she is diagnosed, I'm not sure if we will be any further forward. I'm sure that she will just not believe it.
  5. daughter

    daughter Registered User

    Mar 16, 2005
    Hi WorriedWoman and welcome to TP. I don't know the 'right' thing to do in your case but I believe that writing the letter to your Mum's doctor, as you suggested, would be a good start. You could tell her/him all the things you have said here. Getting your Mum to go will be tricky. You say that her neighbour reminds your Mum about her hair appointment - would it be too much to ask her if she could make an appointment for your Mum at her doctors for her 'annual check up, now that she's 78'. There isn't one, of course but I'm afraid a lot of us have resorted to some kind of "white lie" especially at this stage, in order to get a diagnosis and medical support. If the neighbour was willing to go with your Mum, so much the better, but perhaps that's asking too much?

    Have you seen the factsheets?


    They can be very helpful and I'm sure others on TP will be able to give you some suggestions.

    Best wishes,
  6. inmyname

    inmyname Guest

    If you contact the DVLA they will follow this through and her GP will be alerted by them too

    My Mother is exactly the same ....wont see the doctor at any price ........thinks its me , my sister and absolutely everyone else who is mad because theres nothing wrong with her

    Seems my Mother lives in her own little world of fierce independance yet everything about her is crumbling
    WE cant even find out if bills are being paid , whether she is insured , where she has hidden the EPA .........suspicous and argumentative are mild words for what she is like
  7. daughter

    daughter Registered User

    Mar 16, 2005
    "suspicous and argumentative are mild words for what she is like" - I have no idea if your Mother has always been like this - that would be different of course, but if your Mother does have dementia then those types of behaviour could very well be part of the disease and she cannot help behaving like that.

    Perhaps these fact sheets might help:



  8. Worried Woman

    Worried Woman Registered User

    Jan 7, 2006
    Thanks, those factsheets are useful and explain how to deal with some situations. I don't know if it's possible to persuade my mother that she has a problem, surely recognising that would help her make sense of some things? I don't understand why she cannot see that her house is dirty and so are her clothes. She must know that she does not shower, why does she not realise that this is not normal? Her sense of smell may not be that good but there is not much wrong with her eyesight. When I asked her why she does no housework she just shrugged her shoulders. I am trying to understand all this, but have only just realised that she is not plain lazy.
  9. inmyname

    inmyname Guest

    My Mothers behaviour now is an exageration of past behaviour

    It would not matter who or how many people told my Mother she has AD she will not believe them .........she thinks everyone else is mad

    She has always known better than anyone ......again this is now an even worse characteristic

    I am aware that its the disease talking but since she has never had any sympathy or understanding of anyone elses ill health especially my husbands or when i was so ill she can hardly expect others to be sympathetic to her beligerance

    I sadly suspect that the weird behaviour as you say is common to many sufferers of AD

    I have my own strong views of what causes AD but to date the scientists refuse to look laterally and see the wood for the trees
  10. connie

    connie Registered User

    Mar 7, 2004
    Dear worried woman, you have every need to feel distressed......... Any form of dementia is cruel, the true senses are gone.

    You now have to be her concience, her ears, her eyesight., nothing remains the same................ We are so fortunate, life has not robbed us of our senses. Together we can make sense of thr tomorrow. Look after yourself, Connie
  11. daughter

    daughter Registered User

    Mar 16, 2005
    WorriedWoman - I would guess that if you have not been able to persuade your mother that she has a problem up until now, then it would be virtually impossible to do so - and for why? Wouldn't it only cause her more distress? It may be an explanation but perhaps it's kinder for her that she does not recognise that she has a disease?

    I remember my Mum telling Dad he had a memory problem and he did not believe it either. I can only imagine what he was thinking, but perhaps he knew he could remember things, so what's the problem? (Although of course he did not know that the things he remembered were actually from many years ago).

    inmyname - If that's a characteristic of your Mother then it must be frustrating to know which is her beligerence and which is dementia, but I wonder if she could have been showing signs of dementia for many years? I know with hindsight we can pinpoint occasions when we thought Dad was acting odd from years back and now we are almost certain it was the disease starting to show.
  12. Lulu

    Lulu Registered User

    Nov 28, 2004
    Hello. When we realised Mum was having trouble, she also woulldn't go to her GP, saying there was no point. In the end she did go, following a few white lies and also to keep me quiet. Before the appointment I wrote to the GP, detailing what was happening. Perhaps your GP could call by on your Mum on some pretext, worried woman? Mum's GP wouldn't do this saying she had to approach him, but GP's are different, and your Mum's may be willing?

    Can I ask you a question, Hazel?

    I have always felt that I could pinpoint the time when Mum started with this, about 7 years ago following a series of 'faints'. When you say you thought your Dad was acting odd 'years back', how many years do you mean? I am thinking of something VERY strange which happened, though can't recall when it was. My parents were devoted to each other, Dad was very quiet and shy. Suddenly, Mum was to tell me that he had been having an affair!! I couldn't believe it, and he just simply said that this was untrue. I believed him. But this was quite a long time before the 'faints' ....yet so out of character that I now wonder.
  13. daughter

    daughter Registered User

    Mar 16, 2005
    Hi Lulu, Here's a coincidence - I have just been on a visit and found out that my Mum had a fall today (she's ok thank goodness, just a bit shaken). She told me that it reminded of a time, several years ago when she fell in the garden and Dad did not even make a comment. Dad was always a very kind man, not overly affectionate, but would normally have been concerned and Mum was naturally upset thinking he didn't care. Mum says she noticed some things happening - just isolated incidents, back about 8 years ago, but it is difficult to be exact. I cannot comment on your situation of course, but it certainly makes you wonder doesn't it?
  14. inmyname

    inmyname Guest

    I do not think theres any doubt whatever that in the years leading up to the truly noticeable loss of memory and really weird behaviour that there are incidents which are shrugged off by medics etc as just age

    5 yrs ago my Mother drove out of a side road and smashed into a brick wall
    does not know how she did it .......police wanted to remove her licence ......wish they had

    4 yrs ago she collapsed at the Xmas Dinner table ...vomit/wet the chair etc paramedics called .......bP non existant they said ...stroke .....hospital discharged here next day ....claiming nothing wrong ...GP said forget it

    2 years ago she collapsed in the greenhouse and could not get up again so somehow inched along garden path and eventually a neighbour heard her

    Last Xmas she signed her name on cards etc but we have been playing word association all year
    She signed her name etc in Oct but still word association games and she cant tell you the name of any flower yet the doctor signed for her driving licence

    Yet come Xmas she has not signed one card and all writing is a jumble of nonsense , she has no clue where she is or what she is doing much of the time
    but you challenge her and she knows how to argue allright

    Do I think she should still be driving ........NO
  15. Lulu

    Lulu Registered User

    Nov 28, 2004
    Hazel , I do hope your Mum is Ok following her fall.
    The accusation of the 'affair' was a long time ago. It must have been 12 years, whereas the 'faints' and subsequent change in her happened 7 years ago. I was just wondering (because I read that AD sufferers can have delusions) if this could have been part of it so long ago. Dad would never have done such a thing, I am certain of that, (at the time he looked bewildered and confused by it all), and I wondered if anyone else had noticed such strange events so long before obvious symptoms.
  16. Worried Woman

    Worried Woman Registered User

    Jan 7, 2006

    Inmyname - you say that the doctor signed for your mother's driving licence. I have not seen the renewal form, but is there actually a part for the doctor to sign? My mother has just sent her form off and told me that the doctor had nothing to do with it. I thought I read somewhere that the driver just had to tick the boxes to say that they were fit to drive. Seems crazy, but I have looked on the DVLA site and can find no info.
  17. BeckyJan

    BeckyJan Registered User

    Nov 28, 2005
    This is interesting stuff. David had 'faints' during 1996/1997 finally resulting in a pacemaker as they said it was to do with heart rhythm!! During 1999 he kept losing things! and a previously very loving and trusting husband starting getting cross when I went out! He started to drive irrationally although previously quite a perfect driver. After diagnosis of AD and following mild stroke our second grandchild was born. I went to visit the day following his birth (having arranged a friend to sit) - on arrival home after showing off photos of newborn etc he accused me of an affair because I spent the day away!!!!
    His diagnosis did not come until June 2004 - but maybe it was on its way from 1997. I now get confused about how far along the line we are. I guess around Stage 5/6 on the site 7 scale. BeckyJan
  18. inmyname

    inmyname Guest

    Well I understood the doctor had to sign my Mothers forms because it was only renewed for 1 year the previous time

    Mind you getting truth from fiction out of my Mother is impossible

    She has made so many wild accusations and is so changeable from one day to the next you cant tell whats going on

    Theres no way she will allow us to help her with finances etc ......so if she has not signed Xmas Cards guess she is also not signing cheques

    Her behaviour now is an extreme form of how she has always been ........Difficult
  19. Norman

    Norman Registered User

    Oct 9, 2003
    Birmingham Hades
    #19 Norman, Jan 8, 2006
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2006
    I understand the form has to be signed by a responsible person,you know the usual list Dr,nurse,JP etc etc
    when a diagnosis of AD has not been made.
  20. Worried Woman

    Worried Woman Registered User

    Jan 7, 2006
    Surely a "responsible person" would not be able to certify that someone is fit to drive? What would a JP know about it?

    No-one signed my Mother's form other than her. Mind you, she may well have been mistaken in thinking that this was OK, and maybe the form will come back to her. That is if she remembered to post it..................

    I don't even want to think about her forging the doctor's signature - surely not?? How would they check? She is on renewals every 3 years (over 70).

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