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How can I get my mother to acknowledge that she has Alzheimer's?

51 answers | Last updated: Jul 23, 2014
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Q
A fellow caregiver asked...
My 82-year-old mother clearly has Alzheimer's, but she's oblivious to it. Should I make an effort to get her to acknowledge her condition?
 

Answers
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Geri R. Hall is an advanced practice nurse who works in the department of neurology at the University of Iowa College of Medicine and...
97% helpful
answered...

It depends. Getting your mother to admit she has Alzheimer's disease isn't necessarily as important as helping her understand and cope with issues related to her memory loss. See also:
What's the best way to handle criticism about the Alzheimer's care I'm giving my mom?

See all 929 questions about Alzheimer's and Other Dementias

She may seem oblivious, but people with Alzheimer's are generally aware that something's going on. She's not stupid. She sees that other people can still drive, for example, and she can't. The worst thing you can do when your mother asks, "What's wrong with me?" is to say, "Oh, you're OK. You're just getting older." What she needs is someone to empathize with her about the changes. It can be a relief for her to talk about her disease, as long as you broach it with care. Frame it as a discussion about the life issues she's facing.

Researchers have found that families who don't discuss the disease with the afflicted person see an increase in the individual's paranoia. Reassure her that it's a fairly common brain illness but not the end of the world. Tell her that there's nothing she could've done to prevent this, but there are things that can slow the disease a little bit and you will do your best to help.

The biggest fear of people with memory loss -- and a reason they may avoid putting a label on their problems -- is fear of abandonment. Yes, they're afraid of losing their memory and of forgetting their family, but they're even more frightened that family will forget them. You have to tell your mom, "Whatever happens, we're going to get through this." This type of reassurance is critical to easing anxiety.

That said, insisting that your mother stand up and say, "I have Alzheimer's disease" can be counterproductive. Making a declaration like that can just cause agitation and frustration in some people. Approach the situation with sensitivity and a focus on providing support.

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

Everyone is different. I don't think my mother ever realized she was getting Alzheimer's, even though I mentioned it to her. The times I did mention it, she just shrugged it off and didn't seem to care. Definitely she shouldn't be forced to face what she doesn't seem to want to face.

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

Suppose Mom, who had a high degree of vanity before the dementia, insists on denial to the point of refusing medication and doctor visits, has a boyfriend who is well invested on keeping her this way ? Suppose the boyfriend plays along because mom is a widow with a large bank account and he has his fingers literally in her cash drawer ? Suppose this boyfriend has promised Mom to care for her forever and tells her that he is the only one who can and that she needs to give him her car, and she does ? Suppose concerned family members have tried contacting Elder care, their State General atty., and a local atty.,to no avail ? Suppose mom's belief that boyfriend will provide lifetime care causes her to have no resources left for herself when she one day will need a more structured care setting than boyfriend is able to provide as he can't afford to acknowlege mom's dementia ? Suppose this boyfriend meanly laughs about mom's problems with dementia to others while carrying on this charade that everything is fine and dandy with mom ? Do the family members still not acknowlege mom's dementia to her face ? And, what could be done about the boyfriend ?

 

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Windhaven answered...

My mother was diagnosed with dementia nearly 3 years ago but of course memory loss was evident prior to the diagnosis. From the earliest point I worked hard reminding her of two very important things I wanted her to remember "deep down inside". 1: She was safe, and 2: She wasn't alone. These two things seemed most critical to me for her comfort as the disease progressed. I've seen Alzheimer's patients with that wide-eyed look of panic in their eyes, that fear for their safety, and the day-to-day look of loss of those in nursing homes. It was important to me that my mother remember as best she could that she was safe and that she wouldn't be abandoned someplace to be left alone. Even now when she says she can't remember something I'll ask her what she ~does~ remember and she'll repeat those two important things along with the fact that she loves and is loved. My hope is that if she finds herself in a panic mode she may remember that she's safe and there is someone there to help her.

 

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Paula1224 answered...

My Mother was being sheltered by my siblings that live closest to her. They refused to explain her condition to her and so she became frustrated and angry. When they took her car keys away, yet left the car sitting in the driveway, she was reminded daily that she couldn't drive. When she was having a conversation and couldn't remember a word or a name, she would become frustrated and say she was going crazy. When I went to visit Mom, I sat her down and told her the truth. I explained that her forgetfulness was a result of the Alzheimer's and that she was not going crazy. I told her that the State said she couldn't drive anymore because it was unsafe and against their law for people with Alzheimer's to drive for safety reasons. I had my brother remove her car so she wouldn't have to see it everyday. After the truth was told to her, my Mom became calmer, in fact she started telling people that she had Alzheimer's and that was why she would forget things. After the car was removed from her sight, she didn't dwell on why she couldn't drive anymore. There are eight of us siblings and we still have a 5 to 3 split on how to talk to Mom. Five of us tell her the truth and answer all questions and concerns she may have, the other three still treat her deceitfully. I see when Mom is lucid and when she is what we call " On the other side of the rainbow ". Our only goal here is to treat her with love, kindness, and respect. We reassure her all the time that we love her and will always take care of her and will follow her wishes to the best of our ability.

 

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azk86314 answered...

my mom's dr&i have tried telling my mom.but she forgot everything we told her.So i would say no beacuse she will forgot what u said 10 mins down the road.No sense in saying anything 2 her

 

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Deb V answered...

My father, diagnosed several years ago, doesn't use the word Alzheimer's, but readily acknowledges that he has problems, and constantly seeks help in orienting himself, although he denies other problems, such as the cataracts that have rendered him legally blind. My mother, on the other hand, exhibits frequent forgetfulness in addition to denial of ANY symptoms, and refuses to accept any assertions contrary to her own beliefs. For example, having recently moved into an assisted living facility where my father is sleeping in their memory unit while spending the majority of their waking hours together, she denies having ever entered his bedroom, although I brought her there on their first night, and she spent quite a while lying with him on his bed. My attempts to remind her of this fact are met with complete refusal: clearly, I am lying. Fortunately this does not prevent her taking Namenda, which we, and her neurologist, have characterized as a protection against possible future diminished brain function. Unfortunately she does not tolerate Aricept well, and refuses to take lorazepam, which reduces her anxiety and general combativeness, because of the grogginess it also produces. The caregivers at the new assisted living facility have no doubts about her condition though, and after spending 2 years as her primary caregiver, I don't either.

I would say that providing for your mom's safety is the first priority. Admitting that she needs help with some aspects of her life is probably a good first step, without having to face what must be terrifying for her all at once. Reassurance of love and caring from her family is very important-people with dementia need to know that even when they feel most disoriented, there are people to turn to. Also develop a good relationship with her doctor(s), and go to medical appointments with her, so that you know what she's been told, and can bring up symptoms or difficulties that she may have forgotten, or not wish to mention. It's not a simple task, and you're going to need help, so find out all you can about sources of support. The earlier you can start building a network of care around her, the easier it will be, and the fewer decisions that have to be made in an atmosphere of crisis, the better.

 

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rollinshultz answered...

I have been caring for my Mother in law for about 18 months now. According to doctors who examined her, she does not have Alzheimers, but they could not say which of the 50 dementias she does have. Here is how I see it no matter what the label. The old timers were right to call it "second childhood, because in practice that is just what it is like (raising a toddler). The only differences are, they still have some capacity for reason, and they remember their fellings about conflicts even after they have forgotten what the conflict was about.

One must be prepared to have the same patience required to raise a toddler, and a calm loving approach. The most important thing you can do for your family member is reinforce their feeling they are loved. They will make mistakes and even give you a hard time on daily bathing etc., and it does not pay to get in fights about it. Compromises must be made sometimes to keep the peace. My Mother in Law refuses to shower, so we have provided a compromise in the form of wet wipes (large) and every few days I must stress that she scrub well and it seems to work okay.

Routines that are enjoyed help, like taking her to church. She can't remember what she did 30 seconds ago, but she remembers the words to the songs she sings and she gets feelings of joy and confidence from them. Again feelings are important, and they are remembered over facts.

Bottom line, labels and facts are unimportant, but love transcends all ills. P.S. studies show vaccinations which contain mercury (most ot them) have been shown to cause toxic build up in the brain and are linked to dementias. Stop vaccinating. My In laws got vaccinations every year for 20+ years, she has dementia and he died of brain tumors. You doctor gets paid to push vaccines and will likely side with pro vaccination propoganda, so be prepared to be an outcast should you choose to shun them. My Mother in Law's health and dementia have improved greatly this past year.

 

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The Caregiver's Voice answered...

I agree. It depends.

I told my father his memory loss and disorientation were due to Alzheimer's. Soon after, he forgot.

When the first edition of "Where's my shoes?" My Father's Walk through Alzheimer's was released in hardcover, I gave him a copy. As he held it in his hands and looked through the pages he commented, "This Alzheimer must be an important subject to be covered in such a thick book!"

After that, I decided it served no purpose to remind him of his diagnosis. The label was something we understood but held little meaning for him.

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

I loved Geri Hall's reply! My Mom has been told she has Alzheimers many times (in various ways)over the last 2 years. Her response has been "how do you know?" in an angry tone. It is not so much the desease as the loss of independence and/or that her secret has been discovered that makes her angry. Labeling it doesn't change it.

Geri's respone "they aren't stupid" is dead on in Mom's case. As we found out just recently, She KNEW she had issues going back several years. Her standard mode of operation had always been that family business is private. Rather than seeking help or talking to family members about her concerns at the time, she hid it and tried to handle it herself. It wasn't until we moved her to an ALF that we found a book she purchased many years ago "Improving Memory for Dummies" with her notes written in the margins. She must have been very scared for a very long time.

It is no point to re-hash how we got to this point, but ya wonder "what if" she had let someone know and we could have gotten her on meds sooner. It doesn't really matter, Alz in a horrible and incurable long term desease. Mom (and Dad) know that we know now, and I have reassured them both that Alz is predictable and that we are doing everything we can to help them every step of the way.

 

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ponderosa answered...

My wife has Alz. She would never admit it though, and resented it when I finally had to take her to a neurologist for tests and medication. We've known each other since the fourth grade so I know most of her history. A bad experience in childhood happened when she was berated for not being as smart as her brothers, by a teacher. I suspect that when she began to lose her capabilities, she thought of it as a lack of intelligence, and resented assertions that she had a "memory" problem. Her symptoms began about eight years ago and just now will acknowledge that she has difficulty. She is 70 and I am 71. She is totally dependent on me, even to the point of getting dressed. But I decided not to force the issue since it caused her much agitation. Assuring her that I love her and will take care of her, no matter what, seems the best solution to comfort her. It must be very frightening not to be in control of her own destiny.

 

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frena answered...

i'd like to raise a question: you say "Clearly she has Alzheimer's." Does that mean she hasn't had the full Alzheimer's workup? If so, she needs to get that, because most people's ideas of Alzheimer's are a) wildly wrong and b)possibly a whole range of other conditions which also cause a dementia-like behavior, at least 15 percent of which are fixable, curable or at least adjustable. No Alzheimer's diagnosis can possibly be made without the full Alzheimer's workup, which is fully paid for by Medicare. It includes MRI, CT scan, blood work, oxygen testing, and a whole bunch more tests, plus lengthy interviewing. And that so-called Mini-Mental test ONLY shows the presence of memory issues, NOT why there are memory issues.

Secondly, if your Mom's Alzheimer's has been confirmed by full medical testing, then you really don't have to prove to her that she has Alzheimer's. In fact, the reason most people resist admitting something is wrong, is because they are terrified -- of the illness AND of family members who want to "prove" they're wrong.

if you can come around your Mom with enough support, enough kindness and enough tolerance, she won't be so afraid. then possibly, she can admit she's ill.

but why is it so important to you? why isn't it enough that YOU know? i seriously suggest you consider those questions because wanting to "make" a sick family member admit they're sick is not really about the illness. It's about the state of relationship between the two of you.

i facilitate support groups and the biggest family issue around dementia arises when well family members can't deal with the ill person's illness and normal symptoms.

do join a good support group because then you'll get help, support and some good ideas from other folk who know what it's like.

 

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zapaep answered...

What great answers and comments. Is it really important have a specific name? WE need to glean all the information we can to care for our loved one and then give them the LOVE, understanding, and Care they deserve. And the needs will change so we need to be ready to reassure them of our love. Thanks for sharing and keep on keeping on. God Bless You ALL

 

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joseph.potocny answered...

My name is Joe and I sufer from AD & FTD. Diagnosed in 2004 and scans proved so in 2006. I feel that those of you who care for us really think you know what is best. You don't. You really have no idea what is taking place in our minds. Most of us know what we have, we do not need you to tell us. But we loose our freedoms and that is resentful. Yes you take us here and there, but it is not the same as us beng able to do that anylonger. No more balancing check book, putting garbage cans away, etc. All we really want from you is to be there period. Don't constantly correct us or smother us or tell us what we can and cannot do. If we are going to possibly get hurt talk to us we can here. Do not put the diapers on us before it is time to. We loose more of our world each day little by little, you try and live with that. Many of us to not tell how it is, but some of us do. We do not carry the stigma that this is mental problem within the family, God forbid that should take place. I call of the Walking Dead, because that is what we really are, get angry if you want, but the truth is the truth. Each day we die a little more and cannot stop it. Slowly sometimes a little quicker we forget things and people and do not even remember what we had for breakfast 20 mnutes ago. So do not worry about telling us what we have, it makes no difference, we know we have it and that is all that matters. I have a book out called, Living With Alzhiemers (A Conversation if You Will) it is about the journey to forgetfullness that I am on.

God Bless & Keep You Joe http://living-with-alzhiemers.blogspot.com/

 

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Cordelia answered...

Hi Joe:

Thank you for your unique perspective on this confusing subject. I have noticed quite a bit of "expert" pontificating here from some quarters regarding the disease, treatment, end-of-life, dos and don'ts, etc. Of course this is true of human nature in any setting - the struggle to control and explain and take charge. Your comments have done much to set things straight and I hope everybody reads them, and sees the truth as you tell it. Thoughts and prayers going out to you this moment. Cheers, Joe.

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

Telling your loved one and making them understand they have Alz is only important if you as the child are looking to your parent for their approval and/or justification for you taking more control of their care. Once you get thru the mental transition where the child becomes the parent, the need to explain (and have them understand) what is happening becomes less important.
Having a label for the dementia is only relevant to you as a caregiver with regard to how best to care for your loved one. With that knowledge comes the power to make informed choices about their care. Since there are no true tests to determine it is Alzheimers (short of an autopsy), if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck...it probably is. The bigger issue for our family was to have some degree of certainty that Mom's dementia is caused by Alzheimers while Dad's dementia is caused by something else (their symptoms are not the same). Once we identified the probable cause of his memory loss, the treatment and the way we communicate to each also changed. (Dad can undertand more detail and truth than Mom can). We just tell them both that there are teams of people involved with their care that are experts in aging and memory loss. We reassure Mom and Dad that their entire family, friends, and doctors are all in locked step to help them any way we can.

 

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texlas answered...

Depending on the stage your Mother is in, You may be able to lovingly suggest going to an alzheimers support group. Of course if your mother is moderate to late(severe) alz, it is a moot point. Even if you get her to agree, she will forget 5min. later. If you tell her today She won't know again tomorrow. My mother has moderate alz. She is violent when agitated. I tried to make arrangements for home care, but she wouldn't allow them in her home. I placed her in assisted living in November. She is doing really well there except when my dad visits. He triggers agitation and then she demands to be taken home, claims everyone is crazy if they tell her she is ill. Every single person with this disease is an individual, with individual problems. Telling them in the early stages may help them deal better later. Telling them later is a waste of energy that could be better used just letting them know they are loved and treasured.

 

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Karla1234 answered...

Karla Here My mother can remember that she wrote a check yesterday to the cleaning lady but got the amount wrong, I was impressed that she remembered she had written it. I whad written all except the amount, and then went home. I forgot to ask her this morning the amount, so who is the one forgetting? She remembers all social news and weather and who is doing what and where, but she can not cut with the sizzors for the scrapbooks she has made for years. She can use the sizzors, but can not cut the edges right. Today the picture was of a flower.She cut tiny little cuts and notches in the edge of the paper of the flower. I asked why she was doing that and she said because it was a flower, but she was cutting the sky over the flower. I think it is so sweet that she remembered that flowers have ruffley edges and it was important to her to get it right, so maybe I am the one who can not see it right.lol

 

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annevincent answered...

I guess I am a bit shocked by all these responses!! I came home to take care of my mom about a year ago because of her condition. She has Alzheimer's and has had it about 5 years. Regardless of whether I told my mom she had Alzheimer's or not, it would be a moot point! Her condition must be much further along than the previous responses because she could not begin to comprehend the disease........I am pretty sure that if you have Alzheimer's, you are not aware that you have it! My mom has no idea that she wets her bed, clothing.....she is sure that someone comes in and wets it.........has no idea why she doesn't drive....can hardly figure out how to get into the car, roams at night to the point where we have had to install locks on the doors to keep her inside at night, and she is violent when agitated and this can happen very quickly ... she will be OK one minute and the next ready to slap me or "knock my head off"!! She has to be reminded how to take her meds (when she will take them...always a challenge) takes napkins and covers the pictures in the house...I had to hide all the knives because she was getting sodas from the regrigerator and cutting the top off the cans.....every night she wants to "go home"..and she is at home!! I could go on and on!! Guess what I am trying to say is that in the scheme of things, does it really matter that they need to acknowledge that they have this horrible disease?? I think NOT!!! PS I am living in my childhood home with my mom (77) with Alzheimer's and my dad (92)!! My dad is hard of hearing, but basically has pretty good health, but has no clue when it comes to her disease.........still can't figure out why she doesn't cook and clean anymore.....I will never be able to make him understand..very sad!!

 

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ClaraV answered...

I read just everything and anything that comes thru from Caring.com - my only problem is I'm a novice on the computer and c annot acknowledge everything I read... I hope you all get this message

Clara V

 

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annevincent answered...

Hi Paula1224! I can relate to what you are saying, but I just wanted to tell you my experience which is similar to yours. I lived away from my parents and visited 3 or 4 times a year because of my job. Every time that I came home (which became more often after my mom got Alzheimer's) the situation continued to get worse. My mom was still driving - she is 77 and my dad also driving at 91!! Long story short, my dad rear ended a car and on that day, my brother came over and took BOTH of their vehicles!! There are 4 of us - my brother and sister live close by and my older sister and I lived away. My older sister is only 90 miles away, but seldom visits. She has a very difficult time dealing with the reality of the situation. At any rate, my mom thought that someone had stolen her car.........my dad had no idea what had happened (this was about 2 years ago). My dad is 92 and is hard of hearing, uses a walker, but basically his health is OK. At first all mama talked about was the car, but as time passed, she forgot about the car. About a year ago, my husband and I came home to live with them and care for them. We brought the car home and now use it and mama does not even realize that it is her car! Guess what I am saying that in the scheme of things, with Alzheimer's, that sadly, it really doesn't matter what you say or how you handle what you say...as times passes your loved one won't even know or even begin to comprehend any of this. My best advice is agree to disagree because there is no right or wrong answer. I remember living away and coming home and in my mind being very critical of my younger sister's way of handling things.......that was me forming an opinion, living afar..... Well, after coming home to live with my parents, I had a rude awakening and guess what??? The person that takes care of them on a daily basis have a much greater understanding of the disease than the ones living away. It is just a fact!! I found that out the hard way and I know it is a hard pill to swallow, but it is true. So, in the scheme of things, it really doesn't matter what you tell your mom.........whether it is real or fiction.......it is most important to keep them comfortable, happy, loved and cared for and for the ones that are close by taking care of the loved one....God bless them!! Support them and try not to make silly disagreements cause friction because in the long run, what you tell your mom or don't tell your mom does not really matter...only that she is loved.... it is not easy....My brother and sisters all have our opinions and they differ, but what we have found is to just try to work together - say what we want to say to our mom .....whatever helps each of us get thru this terrible disease, but mostly just work together and it will bring you all to a closeness that you have never had......at least that is what is happening to us....and...believe me...we have many differences of opinion...but in reality...none of that matters. I spend every day with my mom and dad and it is a struggle, but in doing so, I have a much greater appreciation of the times when I was not here and my brother and sister were the ones that did everything. Even though I might not agree with everything, they are the ones that have been there for them! In closing, God bless you and your family and I hope and pray that we will all be able to get thru this terrible situation. PS My mom was the strongest, most elegant, proper southern lady that you could imagine...totally selfless and the one who always did things for everyone else. She was healthy and beautiful and this awful disease has taken that all away, but sometimes deep inside, I still find her ............... and that is the moments that I live for!!

 

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ClaraV answered...

Why in this world would you burden an Alzheimer patient with the fact that they even have a disease. They forget from one moment to another (which is fact) and I feel you should keep everything on a high note - just make certain they feel secure, loved, clean, warm, and cozy.

I feel that in these last three/four years I have learned quite a bit through trial and error on how to handle my husband. We laugh at his short comings - keep things simple - and a positive attitude. Nothing is serious - if he should have a spill - we just wipe up and go on with the meal - if he should put both legs in one pant leg - we laugh about it and correct it. Incontenense problems?? Just make certain all the bed linens are protected with the proper pads - help him change to a dry depends and get back to sleep.

I may make it sound easy - believe me it's not but it's a heck of allot better than getting upset over something that cannot be helped. Just let whomever you're caring for feels the love by touching and hugging and talking in an even kind tone.

With all that said - wish me luck.... Clara V

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

I have had the same delima, my mother is 81 and I'm sure she has Alz because my 63 year old husband was dignoised 4 years ago and she is worse off than him. I took her to primary care doctor and he gave her Aricept but said she couldn't tolerate it and took her off it. She now feels she dosen't have it. I have decided not to push the issue because she gets agaited too. My husband knows but he too gets agaited when we discuss it. With my mother I just reassure her that all people have memory problems when they are older. She almost can't have a conversation because she can't think of words. I too reassure her we will always be there for her and will always take care of her. OUESTION THOUGH? HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN ITS TIME FOR THEM TO STOP DRIVING?

 

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Nanciann answered...

I agree about trying to reassure your mother that you will always be there for her but I strongly disagree with telling her that having Alzheimer's disease is not the end of the world. Just don't go there. Alzheimer's is the end of her world as she knows it and it's the end of her family's world as they know it. A neurologist told my family that my mother having Alzheimer's wasn't the end of the world when he diagnosed my mother 10 yrs ago. I was furious with this doctor then and I'm furious with him now. Alzheimer's disease was the end of the world that we knew. It is a cruel and horrible disease. Your mother doesn't need to know how horrible this disease truly is. She just needs to know that you will always be there to support her.

Let your mother know everyday how much you love her. Let her know how important she has always been to you and how important she will always be. She doesn't need to be forced to acknowledge that she has this awful disease. She just needs to be reassured that you will be there for her no matter what.

 

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bosco2blessed answered...

My Mom is a retired research RN who was in on initial studies for Alzheimers, had attended conferences and seminars on AD as well as advised our local senior centers on the condition. She recognized she herself had the disease and for many years because of her knowlege was able to mask it. Even though now that it is debilitating, she denies and insists she is fine everyone else has the problem. She has been on Aricept a little over a year the AD seems to still be progressing but her PCP feels no need to change anything as there have been no drastic changes. We kind of coax my Mom into what she should do i.e., she started getting lost driving to familiar places, the side-mirror "somehow" was knocked off the car. We "enabled" her driver's license to be lost, forcing her to go to DMV for replacement (she could not drive without driver's license in possession) at DMV we had to assist her with completing application, we checked "ID" only instead of operator's license, which clearly states "not a license to drive" on it. She accepted amicably with no discussion at all as if she were relieved of a burden. We ensured her someone would always be available to take her whereever she needed to go. It is better to hurt your loved ones feelings temporarily than to allow behaviors or routines to continue which could prove deterimental to them or others. Although we have never said the "A" word, we reitterate to my Mom that she is no longer able to do the things she once did and she raised capable daughters to pitch in for her; this usually diffuses her a while. Initialy, it was difficult to "grab the bull by the horn" as our Mom was always so very strong willed and ruled us all so the fear factor was in place. In order to safeguard her finances and her we "had" to play the heavy & just step in. She maintains a semblance of independence as she still lives alone although someone is in and out throughout the day and she attends a Day Center at the hospital from which she retired (she can go to work part-time).

 

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Karla1234 answered...

Frena, Thank you so mych for explaining this. My Mom was hospitalized yesterday. I took her as I thougth she may have had a stroke. She had your tests done. "MRI, CT scan, blood work, oxygen testing, and a whole bunch more tests, plus lengthy interviewing" except for the interviewing. At first the docs thougth she had oxygen imparement from the heart to the brain as she was hallunicating and conufused more than ever before. More testing and they decided she was overdosed on one of her meds. That is what I thought when I took her there. And to the lady who said that saying I love you and reasuring the patient that you will always be there, so they don't feel abandoned and that they are safe was such good advise and I did it! Joseph, I changed your name to St. Joseph.

 

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Karla1234 answered...

Frena, Thank you so mych for explaining this. My Mom was hospitalized yesterday. I took her as I thougth she may have had a stroke. She had your tests done. "MRI, CT scan, blood work, oxygen testing, and a whole bunch more tests, plus lengthy interviewing" except for the interviewing. At first the docs thougth she had oxygen imparement from the heart to the brain as she was hallunicating and conufused more than ever before. More testing and they decided she was overdosed on one of her meds. That is what I thought when I took her there. And to the lady who said that saying I love you and reasuring the patient that you will always be there, so they don't feel abandoned and that they are safe was such good advise and I did it!

 

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frena answered...

hey Karla, glad your Mom is getting the help she needs right now. i wanted to say earlier, but didn't, that i knew from what you described that your Mom did not really have dementia. dementia doesn't vary drastically from day to day, though it develops deeper over time. but sudden downturns mean a medical emergency, not dementia at work. a sudden worsening of dementia actually means "Get me to the doctor!" because there's a different medical issue going on. also the way you described your Mom's memory at work -- forgetful and yet, for example, remembering she wrote a check yesterday. that would never happen in alzheimer's nor most of the other regular dementias. once your Mom gets stabilized again, you might get a really good medication review done of her meds to make sure they actually do all help and not contribute to her problems. also, your Mom's adventure reminds us all that people with any memory issues shouldn't be in charge of their own meds and certainly NEVER for those with dementia. thanks for the heads-up and, Karla, your Mom is so lucky to have you!

 

texlas answered...

To Anne Vincent, My mom is in exactly the same shape, She doesn't know when she has taken meds or hasn't. Won't take them at times, I have caught her hiding them. She literally had me down on the floor beating me in the head with the phone. I had to put her in assisted living, because my father is very frail, and she had already injured him. Nothing is easy about this disease. When mom is agitated, We know now, that we have to leave, and come back at a better time. Dad has a really hard time with this and wants to talk about household problems with her, like he did when she was well. It is just too sad. Still, The only thing that helps you or your parent, is being there and being as loving as possible

 

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frena answered...

extremely agitated violent behavior is actually, in spite of popular imagination, not normal to alzheimer's. it indicates a better diagnosis may be needed, to assess if this is a) mental illness (which is often left undiagnosed in families unwilling to admit or just not realizing that a parent's issues are due to mental illness; b) if medications themselves are the issues, since many kinds of allergic reactions in elders are expressed in behaviors or if c) somethig like PTSD might be the true issues, often found in military who've been in wars and combat or in women sexually abused as children. Nothing goes away. It enters into our deepest being, sometimes only emerging in dementia. i'm not trying to diagnose anyone here, just trying to encourage doubtful caregivers to follow up on their doubts and seek further expert input. in my life working with folks with so-called alzheimer's, the ones who broke windows, piled up furniture to make barricades, heard people talking about them in the still of the night, rampsged violently around for hours, planned and carried out attacks were ALWAYS in the end found to have different issues from dementia. even a UTI (urinary tract infection) can turn a mild-mannered gentle old women into someone who throws plates against the wall. unfortunately, popular misunderstanding of what "normal" dementia even looks like has left many families struggling to manage an elder whose issue is completely different and can in fact really be helped. so i encourage anyone dealing with these behaviors in their Mom or Dad to seek further medical expertise. after all, wouldn't it be great if a frightened angry tormented old person can be helped to find peace at last from inner demons, likewise the caregiver?

 

Eagle'swing320 answered...

Try not to tell her, because sometimes it will just make her upset more. I'm willing to pray for you, why you? Really? you must be filled with patience for her I know it's not easy, that's why it needs prayers too. I have witness lots of cases like that when a family are open minded with Natural Cleansing INSIDE OUT then followed by ISOTONIX Anti-oxidant you can see how ISOTONIX formula works. I'm more than happy to share it with you where you can check it. God Bless! Love & Prayer Eagle'swings320

 

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FrankC answered...

Sometimes telling someone what they have is OUR need, not theirs, so consider whose need is being filled.

IF you mom has a particularly lucid day/moments AND if you think her personality would like to know of her condition, then maybe tell her in a gentle, kind, caring manner. If she has few/no lucid moments, it will do no good, might/will agitate her, and add stress to one and all.

 

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frena answered...

once again, i urge everyone dealing with violent over-the-top injurious behaviors in a person said to have alzheimer's to get further expert investigation. such behaviors are NOT actually normal to alzheimer's, but they could maybe indicate bipolar conditions or paranoid schizophrenia (yes, folks, even in your dear old Mom), borderline personality disorders, even allergic reactions to medications which cause behavioral symptoms.

an appointment with a psychiatrist can bring relief to everyone and much better management tools for the person. after all, obviously no-one fighting, hitting, screaming or otherwise over-reacting is a happy person. there's illness going on and the person needs help.

i've been with folks with dementia for 20 years and i can tell you that happiness, pleasure, lovingness, security, creativity, spiritual development, emotional resolving are possible for anyone who has dementia. they don't become throw-away empty people. they still have heart, soul, spirit, a capacity to love and appreciate and the ability to do arts and crafts (with guidance)and good appetites.

it's an illness, it's difficult but it's not ugly, horrible, demeaning, cruel.

it's just an illness and it asks of us that we help, respect, honor and amuse our people (or they'll be out and up the street looking for Mama, South Dakota, 1926).

i know that no-one i ever look after ever could remember my name, but i remember theirs. and i walk beside them. that's what caregiving is. it's not oppositional, it's walking beside who this person actually is now. it's about forgiving them for their illness.

 

Karla1234 answered...

Karla here: Frena, you are so kind to share with me. I am thinking of so many other things as I respond to your note of "forgetful and yet, for example, remembering she wrote a check yesterday. that would never happen in alzheimer's nor most of the other regular dementias." I will treat her so different now with other goals . A big hug. I will still keep reading this for my own case. Maybe it for me is also me y meds as I suffer from mental illness.???

 

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Cordelia answered...

Frena: That is a beautiful letter if ever I read one. I've been feeling like I landed on a whole different planet and the terrain, the people and the language are all a terrible struggle. I feel alone in this journey I am suddenly on with my mother. I feel guilty when I visit her, guilty when I have to leave her, and guilty when I'm at home and not with her at the nursing home. There are no road maps, no guide posts and nobody to ask directions. Which is okay, because nobody seems to know where they're going anyway! I just don't know how to make sense of any of it, especially the overwhelming feeling that I should be the one taking care of my mother all the time, not leaving her to cope on her own, amongst strangers. I'm sorry Mom, for not being strong enough.

 

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frena answered...

and, Cordelia, while i love your kind words to me -- how shall i say this? -- you simply might just NOT be the best person to be her caregiver. here's why. most family members are stuck in the past and can't get unstuck. they can't move into Mom-time which moves like the ocean anyway -- today maybe, yesterday for sure, who knows when or where.

see, that happens to be one of the many things i love about the people i care for -- you never know which time zone they're living in, although it's very likely to be at least five decades or more ago. now if it were my own Mom, i wouldn't be so happy. because i want to be the daughter of my Mom, not long-dead Auntie Violet who I never knew. i'd probably feel, "If my Mom really loved me, she'd remember me," instead of being able to say she's not living in today's time zone. our dear Moms and Dads become people who go all over the time zone, and we can't.

we're always here and now, wanting them back here in District Brain Sensible. and that's like wanting a cripple to run. and that's very natural. we depend upon that for happiness -- except, dear dear Cordelia, actually we too are more fluid, more inventive and more able than that.

may i make a suggestion? don't fight her memory wandering -- because you can't. she can wander, while you stay right there with her in this moment of time. try to get to know this new annoying saddening and yet, to me, vastly intriguing person who seems to be doing timer travel. hang out together and follow her leadership. when she talks about Grandma (your Great-Grandma who maybe you never met) ask questions. Really, what was she like? and maybe she'll tell you.

she's doing the work of memory that needs to be done. almost no-one seems to understand this. all people approaching the years of dying do the Great Life Review, with dementia AND with out dementia. They all do it. It's the great Soul journey, available to those with dementia and those without. people with out dementia, very often write their life story. at least, they'll tell you stories. People with dementia take you to the actual times they lived in. Wow! I always think that's so amazing.

don't think you've failed her because you aren't doing all the caring yourself. Think instead, you're sharing it with those good folks doing their job and caring for Mom. They get the least of the job -- the down and dirty details of everyday life necessary but not magnificent. believe me, here, Cordelia, I know, I do it.

You get to do the magnificent side with your Mom -- the remembering, her childhood, Mama and Daddy, the little brother who drowned. You get to wipe the tears from her eyes. You get to be the perfect mother your mother needs when you're with her.

Life is more a circle than a straight line. every babe one day, in fortunate times, becomes the mother of her mother. that's the whole of life, a circle of caring that crosses back and forth through the decades.

We've become such big ole babies about all this. i think we grow up when we take an old woman or an old man in our arms and hold them as the best mother in the world would have done.

the trouble is with all those books is that everyone behaves as if nothing happens in dementia; it's just all illness and confusion; no one is home; and therefore nothing we do can mean anything.

those lies were made up by people too darned scaredy-cat to do the job of walking with someone to the gates of death and listening with the heart. dont hold back so much.

we all (well,not me, as you can tell)behave as if mentioning the illness or condition (whatever you want to call it) was too painful to do. well, no, sweetie,what's too painful is the thought that it's all useless. well, it isn't useless but you'll only find that if you walk the walk.

i promise you, if you stop feeling guilty about not doing every single little care task for your Mom (most of which don't matter to her a bit: face it, when did you ever say "that was a lovely shower i had this morning?" see my point?). instead, by gosh, give her your quality time. bring in some old pix of byegone people, some cookies and your big arm to wrap around her shoulder and just keep breathing calmly and be right there with her wherever she goes i time -- not only will it be all right, it may become magnificent.

i have a new book out which is on amazon.com its title is "Alzheimer's 911" and it's all about the real communication under the confusions caused by the fact that straight thinking is derailed by physical brain obstacles. it's not the only book on dementia communication but i happen to think of it as one of the best, because i've been working with people with dementia for 21 years now and i never saw anyone empty, gone away or totally lost to me.

days of showers and clean clothes mean nothing. a timeless moment spend lovingly together means everything. and i'm not talking ooshy-gooshy-bunches of roses love (though that's nice, especially with chocolates). i'm talking the firm determined love that takes to the side of a wandering old lady and listening with all your heart and understanding with all your mind and knwoing that there is no greater thing than having the courage to walk with someone to the Great Gates.

After all, darling Cordelia, wouldn't we all love to be loved for who we are and not rejected for who we aren't. so be that example for your Mom and go when you can give quality time which is not time-measured but love-flowing. one minute of that can fill a human heart and heal all its ills from birth to 92 -- now, I know you know that, Cordelia.

Happy Valentine's Day to all imperfect wondering and lostly wandering caregivers -- bless us all, darlings, bless us all!!

 

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texlas answered...

Cordelia, I know what you are feeling. I live 5,000 miles from my mother. She is in assisted living. My sister visits a few times a week(she is still working)and calls me with updates. However if there is a major problem, I still have to travel there and try to make sense of what is going on, and try to deal with it. I can't help feeling like I should stay there and take care of her. Unfortunately, I have other obligations where I am. The doctor says she is much better with professional care than with me. I hope that he is correct. It still doesn't stop the feelings. If you can cling to the hope that she is getting better care than you can provide, that can help. I would like to emphasize, that alz support groups are available in almost every town, even small ones. They have truly helped me to understand better, What family can and should do, and What we simply are not able to accomplish with our loved one. they are a godsend to families dealing with this disease.

 

azk86314 answered...

i got my mom on az long term care.trying 2 find a good health care ppl 2 help her out that take it is next step.Trying 2 get help in her apt 4 now,next is find a good place 4 her when she can't live alone or starts wandering.I have tried tell her what she has but she forgets 10 mins down the road so there no seen saying anything 2 them.Or they come bk saying who told u that? or be in denial say these nothing wrong with me.She not alone saying these either i have 2 siblings that think there isn't anything wrong with our mom.Man it sometimes pisses me off big time they need 2 come and stay awhile and watch our mom then maybe it mit sink in that our mom does have this.I give up trying 2 talk with them.All siblings are bk on east coast 3,000 miles from us.They don't even call her or i ask how she doing.

 

Cordelia answered...

Hey Texlas:

I know you're right and I also know you understand the feeling of being torn between medical science - if you will - and instinct. Lately, I keep having these flashing images in my mind of Mom - younger, more vital and caring for us kids as best she could. When I leave her now, she always says: "Okay, someday you'll need me," or "I'll probably be dead when you come back." She's not making things easier, that's for sure. Nevertheless, I'm not able to simply let go and feel that I've done right. In this fantasy world I see sometimes, she's with me and we're laughing and I'm putting her to bed and caring for her and she's so happy. I know it's a fantasy, but there it is. It's surely the same for most daughters, and sons as well. That feeling that we should be stepping up and doing what needs to be done. That somehow we've failed the very person who gave us life. Sigh... obviously this never gets easier. But I thank you sharing and reaching out and it really helps to know I'm not alone.

 

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ButNot4Me answered...

My eighty-five-year-old mother just died from Alzheimers and my father will face the same fate in the future... Having our parents deal with this awful condition is difficult enough. They are no longer in their right mind, their bodies are deteriorating rapidly and they live in fear and confusion. Why would you want to add to that burden?

 

forensmith answered...

When my mother first began to have dementia, I learned she had terminal cancer. Before I could tell her about the cancer, our pastor did so. The following day, when I was there, he said, "Esther, do you remember what the doctor and I told you yesterday?" She said, "I think so." I was furious. I ordered him out into the hall and said, "You're not going to tell her again. If she remembers, fine. If she doesn't remember, so what?"

 

Elan answered...

I agree it depends on the person, My dad had ways to keep track of every day problems, but when I tried to talk with him he really wasn't interested. So what I finally did was take him to his MD, and disused why he couldn't drive the car any more. He accepted it, and I attended an elder care support group to help me keep him safe. Eventually he and my granddaughter were at the same level and interested in playing silly games together, they both had a lot of fun. Eventually I was not able to keep him safe anymore, and had to put him in small nursing home. I would pick him up to go for a ride and get ice cream. But,quickly he didn't want the activity anymore. I would visit him but he didn't recognize me anymore, and at times was annoyed if I tried to engage him in conversation. With help of others, I was able to accept the situation. It is always helpful to have a support group to guide.

 

seansmom answered...

wow..lots of information here!!... I care for my 92 year old mom...she does not have dementia but just the normal memory loss of the age and a heart condition and typical elderly issues. I tend to not give her a whole lot of information. i basically tell her in simple words a little of what might be happening....it is a very stressful situation because my mom tends to tell me the same stories over and over or forgets things I told her or better yet argues with me that what Im saying is not correct. Regardless if you tell her or not...take time for yourself. get into support groups....get out and meet up with friends. I have been doing this three years now and I had my aunt here for five months in 2006 before she died of leukemia. I live with my husband and 23 year old son in five rooms in queens so my life gets challenging but i am learning how to better deal with the stress. I as a hobby began a blogtalk radio show...I am going to add the link to my last one (i only did 4...it literally is a hobby)...i did it on friendships....caregiving is lonely and I made many friendships through my keyboard however at 51 Im seeking to do even more as my life is ticking by also....here is the link should you like to listen and please send me a comment on any info you may have on what I said...http://tobtr.com/s/1615661

 

joseph.potocny answered...

it's an illness, it's difficult but it's not ugly, horrible, demeaning, cruel.

i know that no-one i ever look after ever could remember my name, but i remember theirs. and i walk beside them. that's what caregiving is. it's not oppositional, it's walking beside who this person actually is now. it's about forgiving them for their illness.

Frena wrote the above. Well maybe if you had the disease Lady, you might just find out how ugly, horrible, deameaning, cruel and damnable it is. See I suffer from it, so do not hand me that load of crap. And i do not need yours or anyone elses forgiveness for me having this disease. Expert you are not, you do not live in this world. I and over 5 million people at present in thsi countyr of orus do.

Joseph

/this is Joe's wife, Lynn, I am surprised that he was very calm in the response to your letter. This is a disease. It is ugly and horrible. Nobody wants to loose their minds and that is what happens with Alzheimer's. I do not know of anybody that has this disease who needs to ask for forgiveness from you or anybody else. The people who have cancer which is a disease don't ask for forgiveness why should the people who have Dementia. Maybe you need to rethink your profession.

 

SandyGram answered...

One reason that you should tell your Mom she has Alzheimer's is that you will soon need to start helping her manage her affairs. She will lose the ability to pay her bills, drive, keep house, cook, take medications, bathe and dress herself, and make rational decisions about her life. Things will go much easier for everyone if you have a few legal things in place. Get an attorney to help you set up an estate plan, including a Family Trust, Power of Attorney, and a Living Will. Ask Mom to add your signature to her checking account, and discuss her financial situation. Get authorized to discuss her medical condition with the doctor. This may sound like advice from an accountant, but when the time comes for you to take over, you'll have everything set up so you can help her. Also, while your Mom is still capable of discussing this, talk about how she would like to be taken care of in her last days (Live with family? Live-in help? Move to a care center?)

I say this from experience. I have been taking care of both my mother-in-law (Alzheimer's since 1995) and my father-in-law (dementia from strokes 2000-2005) for many years.

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

I think that the message about love being the most important part of caregiving was correct. However, I disagree that dementia has anything to do with vaccinations and think it is actually dangerous to stop vaccinating as this writer suggests.

 

cbhillman answered...

As someone in my email support group said (in support of, OF COURSE, telling someone he or she has Alzheimer's disease: better the devil you know than the devil you don't know. I wish I could forward the original response to my sister who insisted our mother not be told and threatened to take me to court when I did tell (but wimped out and said "memory disease") but my mom died in 2008 and so what's the point. Nonetheless, I am SO GLAD I was relatively honest with her anyway!

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

I think the original question was written in the spirit of 'how do you get someone to acknowledge they need help' more so than whether or not they agree to label their disease. My sister and I have this issue with my mother (with shades of the question posed by the child of a parent who's been taken in by a mean-spirited and selfishly-motivated boyfriend) and it is breaking our heart because Mom is the only caregiver for our father who has advanced Parkinson's. They are too far away for either of us to be involved directly (Mom and Dad live in Washington state and we're in Kentucky), yet we've both seen on visits that she complains about him constantly for things that don't matter (and she gets tons of breaks, so it's not genuine burnout) and neglects him horribly. Some of her issues are from selfishness and some are from inarguable confusion/forgetfulness. She won't admit she has a problem. Because she was raised in the days when a wife never managed any significant financial or legal things, she has zero experience with anything, such as renting an apartment or hiring help. Now, with all that in her lap, she's a little heady with the sense of power, not to mention clumsy, but because she has early dementia, she doesn't use the power responsibly. We're both worried sick that she will bankrupt them; her financial behavior is fully in the manic-depressive realm. The additional kicker is that, by genetics, it is Dad who should have Alzheimer's, and maybe someday he will, but he has dodged the bullet so far, yet, it is Mom who has memory issues, and she seems to resent him for his relative health and punish him for it. Neither of us can get any closer to help, like to step in legally, because of a family member who happens to be an attorney and decided long ago to suck up to her for money. On top of that, or maybe related to it, we had a pretty big blow-up with Mom about a month ago (ironically, it was over sharing the link to this website) and now we've been 'banned' (calls and mail are censored and she's stated that next time we do visit, she'd rather we not start any conversations or offer any opinions because, as Mom put it, we 'have too many good ideas'. The only comfort we have is each other and that we know Dad knows we love him and that he's welcome here (we live fairly close to each other, but there's virtually zero chance Dad will ever relocate) anytime because we have told him that directly. I even told him that Mom and this other family member have lied to him, which was hard to do because I know he loves them and doesn't want to believe it. Beyond that, we seem to have no alternative other than to ignore her telling about how she does this and that that open Dad up to injuries (if something's convenient or pleasing to her, she'll choose it every time even if it is dangerous to him and he actually has had a string of falls as a result) and how she refuses to be honest or timely with doctor visits for him (she'll whine about some problem he's having because it inconveniences her, but when you say, 'well, it sounds like he needs to see the doctor for that' she'll put you off with some remark about how they already have an appointment many months down the road even though she knows full well that Parkinson's meds require an enormous amount of oversight and finetuning due to side effects), etc. The facility where they live knows about this and both my sister and I (and one of Mom's brothers) have tried to get several other relatives who live nearer to look in, but nothing comes of it - she's very manipulative. Poor Dad, and by extension, my sympathies to the many people who are in bad spots stuck in a home with someone who pretends to care, but whose actions show the opposite.

 

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ButNot4Me answered...

I have to add to Joseph Potocny's answer when he addressed Frena's statement that Alzheimers is "an illness, it's difficult but it's not ugly, horrible, demeaning, cruel." Frena is speaking from her own coping strategy, which I interpret as a loving, compassionate one. That is how she chooses to see Alzheimers and she appears to strive to treat her patients as human beings and to comfort them, not just tend to their needs in the robotic, detached way I've seen other caretakers do it. Their job is extremely difficult and deeply appreciated. Having said that, however, I too disagree. Alzheimers, what it does to patients and their loved ones, IS ugly, horrible, demeaning and cruel. My mother died in February 2011 of it - what was left of her at that time, was the depiction of every one of those words. My father, what's left of him PHYSICALLY, is now awaiting the same fate in a nursing home. Watching my father eat with his hands, popping a piece of paper in his mouth as quickly as he will pop in a piece of chicken, is heart wrenching. Seeing him wander unsteady and aimlessly down corridors because walking is all that he has left of "normal" behavior, then coming to a stop against a wall, is ugly. Listening to him utter phrases that make no sense at all, knowing that he doesn't remember me or himself, is horrible. Seeing him wither into a helpless, diaper-wearing, shrinking body is demeaning. Missing what he once was, an intelligent, problem-solving, independent man, who taught me that in life "nothing is impossible," is beyond cruel...

 

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An anonymous caregiver answered...

About when a person should stop driving: do an internet search for "when to stop driving," and you will find checklists from AARP and other elder care and car insurance organizations. This is a tough, uncomfortable issue, because of the diminished independence and overall inconvenience, but for everyone's safety family should intervene early. Be alert for stories about traffic stops, complaints about unfair tickets (or tickets in the mail if you help with bills or cleaning), and car damage. You may be able to search online for local traffic case information. Make some excuse to ride along in day and evening to see how the person is driving--if you don't want to do that, it's really time! If possible, accompany the person to a doctor's visit and provide details of what concerns you (this was one of the several times I sent my mother's doctor a letter right before I came with her so she wouldn't have to hear me tell everything, though we had already discussed it all). It took the doctor saying she should stop driving for my mother to take it seriously. In our situation, it wasn't just one talk; it was a progression of them. We started with safety concerns based on vision, hearing, range of motion, and reaction time. Then we had to get more insistent, citing how much she was unaware of traffic signals, other cars, and pedestrians. It helped that she got a traffic camera ticket in the mail, clearly showing her going through a red light at a nearby busy intersection, but we still had to say very directly how awful it would be if she hurt or killed some other innocent person. Even after she agreed, we had to remind her and warn my dad multiple times that he could not give her the keys at any time no matter how short the drive. He also took her when she insisted on getting her license renewed when she hadn't been driving for nearly a year, so we had to tell both her and my father that the DMV's renewal was not an official approval to try driving again. I was also glad I was there at her post-cataract-surgery check, when that doctor said how great her vision was now and answered that yes, she could see clear enough to drive. He was only thinking of his work, so I had to speak up and say no she couldn't because of her other issues. I definitely hate having to be the heavy; thankfully my sister-in-law and for the most part my brother (who she now lives with) agree and speak up as well. It was a clear call with my mother; not so clear and will be more inconvenience with my father and an aunt who has no other family.

About finances, I highly recommend online banking with email alerts to your email to keep on top of things, even if you live nearby. I watch and manage all my mother's accounts and bills from another state, all online. She gets the mailed statements to see that it's taken care of, but doesn't have to do anything. I had her financial power of attorney for a while, to sort out their unfiled taxes we discovered. Through that, I became aware of issues and needs, and straightened out one thing at a time, so our arrangement evolved instead of being some takeover. I keep her informed, and she calls when she has issues. She uses her credit union for cash and writing a few checks to her church and some stores; I gave up on updating her check register and just watch the balance, luckily her spending is fine. From other accounts, I transfer funds, pay her major bills, and hold some savings. She has just one credit card, and I get email alerts for high balances, charges over $100, and suspicious activity. One time I knew her wallet had been stolen (from her purse in a grocery store cart) before she did! All this works for us because she knows I'm looking out for her and don't criticize, it doesn't stress me to take care of it, and my brother and sister-in-law are glad for me to do this part. With my dad, however, it would be a constant battle because I disapprove of his excessive church contributions (50-60% of his income) and the way he ignores utility bills until they threaten to turn them off. He still lives in their house and only lets me do their joint taxes to keep the IRS away. He was angry when we moved Mom in to my brother's and more so when we separated her finances to protect her, but we all told him clearly what had been done and why (afterwards, but right afterwards). It helped me (and the overall situation) a lot when I decided to tell him things directly without tiptoeing around him to avoid his reaction. It's not what I ever would have imagined, but he's never been the easiest person for anyone to be around, so I feel good that we've developed a workable arrangement and don't worry about whether it's conventional or not.

It seems that there's always something coming up, whether medical, financial, or emotional, either with my elderly parents or with someone else in the family regarding them. Hang in there, all who are coping with symptoms or situations of elderly loved ones. It's a long journey, but not a straight road.

 

 
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