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Coping with elderly parents – particularly Alzheimer’s Rant

Discussion in 'Personal' started by lindenlea, Feb 2, 2012.

  1. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    I had a 1 minute 22 second call with my Mum yesterday and similarly the day before. She did not acknowledge the M D card I sent or ask how I was ( after - for me - an ‘unprecedented’ visit to the doctors - I am never sick ( touching wood :rolleyes: ).This appointment was hastily arranged on Wednesday while taking her and picking her up from a hospital thing ( laser stuff ) and then involved shopping with her / for her .... whilst there she just reminded me about her next appointment in May quickly followed up by ‘ I can get an ambulance if you can’t take me ..... ‘ Cue gun to head emoji :confused: ...

    ..... conversation on Saturday involved her moaning about something she had bought from a local bakery ... she was going to ‘ tell them ‘ next time she visited ....... did not bother to ask how I was feeling and then rang off because she was going to get ready for her lift to the local club ....

    I rang last night ( attrmpted cheery, cheery me ) while she was ‘not well,had a bad stomach and thought she had picked something up ‘ ..... ( same old, same old ) ‘ ....,asked when best for our son to drop by this week - she would not commit . Enquired after her friend’s trip to Italy and was told it was wonderful ..’ and ‘ isn’t she lucky ? ‘ Feel free to work out the subtext of this comment ;). I could not raise my game to appease / chivvy. My husband thinks it was because I did not visit on Sunday but she was very dismissive of her grandson too so I suspect she was in the default position of feeling sorry for herself ..,:mad: and I shall be over this week to shop so not as if it abandonment ....

    I have some meds to take and it’s pretty inconsequential in the grand scheme of things but it’s as if my circumstances don’t count ?? :(.

    Makes for Groundhog Day Reading but thanks anyway ......
    cissy3, emerald52 and agathamorse like this.
  2. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Oh minnie me , that is really tough.

    I do think they become less compassionate and disinterested in people the older they get. They tend to focus so much on their own little concerns and you're right, they don't acknowledge anyone else's health worries.:( Other than to have a 'dig' at you, because you can't take them somewhere/ do something for them. :rolleyes:
    I remember when m-i-l fell and broke her hip I thought I'd take my own mother in to visit to distract her from her own health worries/ issues and she was truly awful. All she did was moan about herself and showed no sympathy whatsoever for m-i-l. :rolleyes: I was so embarrassed for m-I-l who'd been a trouper over the fall and op. - well apart from insisting she couldn't possibly sleep at night in a public ward and f-i-l would have to book her into the private suite!
    I wish I could reassure you that it might get better, but somehow I doubt it will and no it won't matter whether you'd visited on the Sat or not- probably nothing will ever be enough for her.
  3. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    Ahh I know @Lara mfl 05 - appreciate your time - just helps to be a bit of a keyboard warrior on occasions - ha ! .
  4. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    .... and yes the ‘never enough ‘ thing rings absolutely true . A while back convinced she had some issue with balance she could not make it down the garden path ( cue weeping and wailing ) and now she is travelling by bus on her own to the local town . I did remind her of this a few days ago in the spirit of rejoice / be grateful ? She spends too much time comparing her life / house / heath / family ( lack of ) to others which is to my mind a recipe for disaaaaster rather than being grounded, appreciative and ‘ making the most ‘.
    cissy3 and agathamorse like this.
  5. marymoocow

    marymoocow Star commenter

    My Grandma used to play off her son and 2 daughters. If my uncle was visiting she would go on about how wonderful the daughters were to visit and take her shopping etc and never said thank you for all the times he bought and sorted a new tv or wallpapered her house. When her daughter's visited she harped on about how wonderful their brother was to decorate her house etc etc. They used to be able to laugh about it and tell each other what she had said. Sadly as she got older, she caused resentment between the siblings through the drip drip effect and my mum and her brother barely talk now.
    cissy3, agathamorse and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  6. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    That's so sad and what so often happens when dealing with our 'elderlies'. :( I know I used to remark how those last 'difficult' tears soured our relationships in those years. Fortunately, though I never thought it would happen, I can now look back and remember our relationships when they were good. :D
    marymoocow, cissy3 and agathamorse like this.
  7. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Star commenter

    My dad, who has dementia, thinks he might want to change his will. How do we explain to him kindly that he no longer has capacity? So difficult.
    emerald52 likes this.
  8. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Keep putting it off?

    • "Right, we'll make an appointment with Scallett, Dredgepole and Pompwit and get it sorted. I'll call them later."
    • "What's that? Yes, you see them a week on Friday. I'll drive you."
    • "Oh, Miss Pompwit? The appointment? I meant to tell you. Turns out she's unwell. Appointment's been postponed."
    And so on. Is it dishonest? Yes. Is it kinder than saying, "Dad, you've lost your marbles, pal. Ain't no solicitor taking your instructions." Why upset him? Would he even take any notice?
  9. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Star commenter

    Thanks GDW. I'm hoping we can manage something like you suggest, but it's amazing how persistent he can be (and what he can remember!) when he's decided it's important. He's convinced himself that his will isn't valid and wants to read it (not sure how that would help and is not an option anyway as he's so visually impaired he can no longer read...). He's going through a bit of a bad patch where he's cross with everybody and is sure they're all out to get him. All party of the disease bit it's so difficult to manage, and the staff at his home are lovely even when he's cross.
    cissy3, emerald52 and agathamorse like this.
  10. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    @Doitforfree Oh it is horrible when they get aggressive. We wouldn't let my father have his phone in hospital because he would phone my mother and be difficult in the evening. We had to keep telling him we had forgotten, but it was a long time before he forgot about it.
    Its six years tomorrow since my father died.
    agathamorse and cissy3 like this.
  11. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    I spent some time on Wednesday with my Mum. We had a bad row last week end and though I don’t regret what I said I do regret the way I said it. I have been unwell myself recently so patience was low and I lost my temper ..,So while my husband painted and gardened I busied myself ( dutiful and helpful daughter mode ) with the following ..... sent a text to the hospital confirming an appt, added an additional year to a guarantee ( new kettle ), renewed her green bin licence ( or the sky would fall in ) and showed some images of flagging / paving she may like for a forthcoming patio project ( an image is worth 1,000 words I believe ).... she has been talking about this for @ 4 years . Last night during the daily phone call she demanded to know what I had ‘done’ to her phone and her tablet as the former was showing messages from the NHS ( confirmation ) and a genetic reminder that cancelled appointments cost a lot of lost revenue - she felt it was alluding to her ..... and the latter refusing to work ‘properly ‘ ....she ranted about cookies ....... clearly all my fault. :eek:

    I was due to take her to glaucoma clinic first thing to day ( in the diary for a long time ) but the hospital asked earlier in the week if she wanted to rearrange as the doctor was ill ( nurse only available ) - yes - she said ..... the doctor will still be off she has been informed next Tuesday when she has rebooked ? When I queried the logic she said that she preferred to go to the hairdresser ( to day ) and it saved ‘messing around ‘ ... of course I shall be available to take her next Tuesday afternoon but it just makes no sense ... and I may have had something else on ( cue ‘if you can’t take me I shall go on my own ‘ ) ??:rolleyes:

    She will not listen to advice about her hair and talks about it CONSTANTLY- it is like cotton wool .I would not touch if I were the salon. She went last Friday and when I caught up with her the day after she had washed / conditioned it again and had a ‘ head ‘of rollers. There must be 5 cans of lacquer in a cupboard. She has NO TIME for the girl who is doing her hair to day as her regular woman ( owner ) is on holiday - she complains about the colour / cut / perm / condition ..... but she has still insisted on going.... again it makes no sense .... take a break I suggest ... deaf ears ...

    She struggles to come up with what food to buy so I suggested some things to try - cue - ‘I did not like any of that stuff you got (vegetable samosas and fish cakes if you must know ;) they went in the bin ‘

    Is it me ?! :confused:

    Long post - sorry ...it’s been that kind of week :(
    agathamorse, cissy3 and emerald52 like this.
  12. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Course it's not you!!! Don't be daft. She's turned into a right old misery. Or else she always was. Just because she's in her 80s (or whatever) doesn't mean she's a "lovely old lady".

    So you expressed yourself a bit intemperately. You weren't well. Don't go all "martyr" to attempt to compensate. She can dish it out. She can take it too. Give her something to BE genuinely miserable about!
  13. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    Am working on it :) !
  14. sadscientist

    sadscientist Senior commenter

    Oh @minnie me! I know what you mean with neediness and feeling emotionally blackmailed. It’s not you, hugs from me.
  15. marymoocow

    marymoocow Star commenter

    Oh dear. You could play her at her own game, so in the way that she says she will take herself to the hospital, you tell her that maybe someone should do her shopping that is better at it. Either that or keep repeating oh dear in the same way Mrs Brown in Mrs Brown's Boys says 'That's nice' and dont get drawn in to a conversation about it.
  16. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    Ha !Yes I know I sound like a broken record - the irony :D . Thanks for taking the time to read - helps to vent of course - very therapeutic :rolleyes:
  17. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Arggghhh! :( You've obviously been much more successful than me posting , and even getting on to tes in the first place today! :rolleyes:
    Sorry to hear of people's difficult times.

    Exacly and it does seem as if they become more difficult the older they become. You're a human being and will on occasion react badly. I certainly did. But as has been said no point beating yourself up about it.

    yes the 'venting' aspect was really theraputic and one reason I'm glad this thread is still going.

    Doitforfree I sympathize with the problem and you've already had excellent advice. Keep prevaricating if possible and any other distraction you can, though I have to say I was never very successful with those approaches. Just an idea but could you 'fake' a will,which you 'read out' as their eyesight isn't so good and even get a do-it yourself will and get them to sign that knowing if unwitnessed it's invalid?will
    cissy3, grumpydogwoman and Alceanne1 like this.
  18. Alceanne1

    Alceanne1 Senior commenter

    Keep on venting, Minnie Me, if it helps.

    And, again, many thanks Lara for keeping this thread going so we have a place to vent.
  19. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Just been watching a news item on tv showing a young woman Rachel Blackford, who's coping / not really coping with her mother's dementia and how her 'lifeline' Dementia Club has closed due to funding issues. You could tell the strain was telling on her.

    Just watching her with her mother, especially trying to persuade her to get into the car, brought everything flooding back and how ****** difficult it all was. :(
    agathamorse and cissy3 like this.
  20. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Professor June Andrews, an author and renowned dementia expert at the charity Dementia UK, helped to develop the puzzles.

    She said: 'A "guaranteed to fail" puzzle will likely cause you to feel annoyed, angry, dismissive, paranoid, anxious, irritated, and depressed – and these are all feelings that make life harder for a person with dementia.

    'To avoid creating those emotions for a person with dementia: don’t ask questions if you can avoid it.

    'Don’t correct things that don’t matter. Do everything in your power to avoid bringing to the attention of the person with dementia that they are failing a mental challenge, as this only makes their life harder than it needs to be.'


    Puzzles have been designed to illustrate how frustrating it must be to have dementia.

    I got this from the Mail. (Don't judge me. I check it every day along with all the other papers that aren't behind a firewall. I want to see a breadth of reporting.)
    agathamorse and Lara mfl 05 like this.

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