“This is supposed to be the time of my life – the nest is empty; but now Mom needs me.”
So I’m still thinking about getting something for Mom to exercise her brain. I haven’t decided whether or not a tablet is the right tool yet but I’m still going to go look at a few to get a better idea. Someone suggested getting a child’s tablet, but when I researched that online I could only find ones that had very juvenile games. I’m not looking for kids games actually, but more like memory games, quizzes, math challenges – that sort of thing.
I’ve notice more and more lately that my mom is having a hard time with simple words. I can tell it’s frustrating for her because she knows what she’s looking at when she’s talking about it but can’t get the name of it to come to her. For example, when I went over last night she said, “I can’t find my _______.” Of course my first reaction was, “Can’t find your what?” I could see that she was struggling with trying to find the word but it just wouldn’t come to her. Then the hand signals started (I’m terrible at Charades!) and I could see she was getting frustrated. And then she looks at me as if I should know what she’s talking about and says, “You know, my thingy, my ______.
Well I did finally figure out that she was talking about her cell phone. My first thought was that she flushed it down the toilet (again) but then she mentioned she heard it drop by her sofa. I did the usual first attempt at finding a lost cell phone – I called it using my cell phone. Well I didn’t hear her toilet ringing, so that was a good thing, but I couldn’t hear it ringing anywhere, which means she probably turned the volume down accidentally, as she often does.
After looking under, over, and around things, I did finally find it – so all is good! I wonder if playing ‘brain games’ will help at this stage of my mom’s life?
What I Learned: I can finally tell my husband that playing games online all these years is good for me! 🙂
I think I may have figured out why my mom goes completely berserk when there are people working in her house – sleep deprivation. And not only that, it probably has a lot to do with her OCD – her routine is completely out of whack. The last few times that we’ve had work done on the house my mom has been so out of sorts. I couldn’t figure out what was going on with her, but now I do.
If you remember my previous posts about how my mom was acting when the workmen were here, you’ll remember how bizarre it was. Well this time wasn’t any different – maybe a little more bizarre. Not only did Mom keep locking the door on them again, but this time she was hearing people knocking in her bedroom and she kept unplugging their power cord.
Not only does Mom hear and do strange things, she just seems to get really wiggy about everything. She calls my cell all day long, she keeps thinking she hears me outside her door when it’s actually the workmen talking (I guess I sound like a male Mexican), she asks about going out to eat every time I talk to her and keeps asking about it even when I tell her we won’t be going out, and then she asks me why I never tell her anything – when I actually have.
The only thing that changes when the workmen are here is the fact that she doesn’t sleep. Her normal routine is to basically sleep on and off all day – lately it’s been mostly on. I can tell that Mom is tired, and even when I try to persuade her to nap she refuses to believe that she is tired. I know if she sleeps she’ll feel so much better.
Well my theory was proved right. Today Mom slept while the workmen were here and she seems so much better. She even said to me that she feels better when she sleeps. I hate to say I told you so, but…..
What I Learned: I’m learning how to “read” Mom’s signs and figuring out a way to deal with them.
“This is supposed to be the time of my life – the nest is empty; but now Mom needs me.”
Three-thirty AM…. ring, ring. “Angel, there’s people at my door…. bring the gang down the street.” I didn’t think much about what Mom was saying at the time – my husband and I just bolted out of bed and ran next door. We were pretty sure it was another one of Mom’s hallucinations but you just never know. I’d feel terrible if there really was someone out there and I ignored it.
My husband took off around the front of the house and I headed inside to see Mom. She was lying on her sofa, not looking very upset at all. I asked if she could still hear them and she said yes. I could not. Then Mom asked when the police would arrive. I told her the police were not called. She looked at me as if I were crazy and said, “I told you to bring the gang down the street.” Oh, now I get it. The “gang’ down the street is the police – the police department is just down the street from our house.
My husband came inside and told us there was nobody around and no one on the street in either direction. We both knew it was another hallucination but there was no way we could tell Mom that – she was positive she heard them. It was hard for me to explain to her why we weren’t calling the police without telling her she was hearing things again. I tried a bunch of different tactics, none of which seemed to really help.
Unfortunately, the only thing that got Mom to calm down was me telling her that maybe we’d have to find her a different place to live if she wasn’t feeling safe and secure in the house – somewhere that had 24 hour security and people around all the time. She knew exactly what I was talking about, and although I wasn’t trying to make it sound like a threat, she was probably thinking that a home for the elderly was the last place she wanted to be.
So I spent some time comforting Mom and she seemed to calm down after a bit. She got to sleep finally – I did not.
My mind was whirling around trying to figure out what I can do with these late night calls about nothing. At least it’s not happening often. My husband and I will need to talk about this situation again – what are we going to do if it continues and becomes too difficult for us to handle?
What I Learned: Taking care of my mom may get more and more difficult for me to handle as she continues to age – I may have to make a change in the near future.
I really felt bad for Mom the other day. Her hallucinations seem to be getting worse and I’m having a hard time dealing with them. She seems to have the most hallucinations when my husband and I are away from home for most of the day. Like the other day, I stopped by Mom’s and told her I was leaving with my husband for work and I’d see her when we got home. I’ve learned from past experience that I never give my Mom an actual time that we’ll be home because she will hold me to it.
So on our way home I called our son to see how things were going with him. He just happened to be outside talking with my mom at the time and Mom was questioning when I’d be home. I told our son we’d be home in about 30 minutes, which he relayed to my mom. We did get home within 30 mins but I didn’t talk with my mom right away because we had some internet problems we had to deal with – oh boy, what a mistake.
While I was on the phone with the internet company my mom must have called through about 5 times. Since I didn’t answer she started calling our son’s phone. Finally I went over to her house and asked her what the problem was – why was she calling so frantically? She told me I wasn’t home in 30 minutes and she was worried and then she saw me get into our son’s car and leave. What?! Then she asked me how the party was. Wait…. what party?
She was so positive that I was at her house earlier telling her that we were going to a party. I’ve tried telling her that what she’s seeing and hearing is really not happening, but obviously to her it is real. She truly believes we went to a party and there’s no telling her any differently.
So…. do I go along with her hallucinations? Do I stick to my story and tell her what she saw and heard is not real? Everything I read says don’t tell them their hallucinations are not real – it will just upset them. Yup! That is true. But going along with them can lead to other problems – my mom would want to know why we didn’t take her to the party with us!
What I Learned: Hallucinations are real to the person having them and it’s impossible to convince them otherwise.
Today I realized that Mom does not do well when she is out of her element. We had workers come to the house very early this morning to move the heater in Mom’s attic and redo the venting for the air conditioning. Because it has been almost 100 degrees here lately, the workers wanted to get an early start – considering how hot it would be in the attic – understandable.
So I got Mom up at 7:00 am so she could get her morning routine out of the way before the men arrived. She is always confused in the mornings and today was not different…. well, actually it was different because she had some added stress about strange men being and working in her house. But I made sure she took her medication, got her breakfast and was all set for the men to arrive. I told her we’d been around all day and would stop in periodically to check up on her. That made her feel a bit more relaxed.
The men arrived and started the work on schedule. Mom questioned every noise she heard and wondered where they were going every time they left to get tools or supplies. I explained to her that they would be coming and going throughout the day and I would let her know when they were finished. For some reason she had a really hard time understanding that they were still working even though they kept leaving her house.
I spent all morning back and forth to Mom’s making sure she was OK. My husband ran and got breakfast for us all which Mom thoroughly enjoyed – pancakes! When the workers took their lunch break they told Mom they’d be back in 30 mins – she seemed much more relaxed when they weren’t in her house. The afternoon seemed to be a little more confusing for Mom for some reason. She wasn’t happy about the men using her bathroom and kept asking my husband to check that they had flushed. But the weirdest thing came a little later.
My husband and I were working away in our house when there was a knock at the door – it was one of the workers telling us that Mom’s door was locked. Hmmm…., that’s weird. But sure enough it was. So I unlocked it and went in to see what was up with that. When I asked Mom why she locked the door she said the workers told her they were finished (which was not so). So I explained to her that they were not finished and would be coming in and out the rest of the afternoon to finish the job.
Mom looked awfully confused. Every time one of the workers left her house with their tools she thought they were leaving for the day. And sure enough, an hour later it happened again! Another knock on our door letting us know that Mom’s door was locked. Geeze! What is going on? Again I explained to Mom the situation and she said she wouldn’t lock it again.
Well…. she did. And 2 men were still in her attic! She kept saying she was told they were done for the day and leaving. Wishful thinking on her part I guess. But we got through the day and Mom was a happy camper when the work was finished and she could get back to her normal routine. I was really surprised at how she kept locking the door after being told numerous times not to, but I suppose the mind becomes fragile when we age.
What I Learned: Keep the mind active and try to stay social.
I was visiting Mom last night and she was telling me how unhappy she is with the fact that she can’t remember things and is confused about what is going on. It usually only happens when she just wakes up, but considering she’s sleeping most of the day it happens often.
So we started that conversation again about what her options are. She obviously needs help, especially with her medication and some meals. Actually, there are really only two options – move to an assisted living facility or have a home health person come in. We both know that assisted living is the last thing Mom wants – she even said she’d probably die if she moved to one…. YIKES!
Of course my opinion of assisted living and Mom’s opinion differ greatly. I feel, for me, it would be a better situation in some ways because of the social aspect of a facility, as well as meals prepared daily, extra curricular activities, outings, and even a smaller living space to not have to worry about cleaning. Yea…. that’s what I’m all about! Mom, on the other hand, doesn’t want anything to do with socializing, hates any type of game, and is super fussy about her meals.
After talking about how she won’t go to an assisted facility we talked in more detail about having someone come in. Herein lies the problem. What days/hours would we have the home health person come and what duties would they perform? Some days are better than others for Mom but lately she’s been having confused days every day.
Unfortunately I’ve been so busy that I haven’t had a chance to call around and get information for Mom, but now I feel I have to take the time to call. It’s going to be weird for all of us having someone around all the time – we really like our space – but I have no other option at this time.
Who knows? Maybe this is exactly what we all need. Someone to help Mom with her daily activities and someone to take a little pressure off of me. And maybe even my husband and I will feel we can get away more often without feeling pressure from Mom about going away.
Hmmm… can you say Vegas?
What I Learned: You can only put things off for so long, and some changes can be for the better.
What a stressful end to my day – and everything was going so well. I slept in this morning, had a nice breakfast with my husband, got some phone calls made, did some grocery shopping, popped in to see Mom a couple of times, spent some time with our son, and had a relaxing dinner our back with a delicious frozen margarita! I decided to go see Mom for a bit, make sure her A/C was set right for the night. When I walked in her back door she was standing in her kitchen looking a little frazzled. Then she started babbling away about nobody being home and how frightened she was and how I should have told her we were going away…. what?!!
At first I was quite calm and told her we were home all day except for shopping, and reminded her that when I dropped her groceries off I mentioned I had some work to do and I’d come back later that evening to see her. She said she remembered that but why didn’t I tell her we were going away? We didn’t go away! Then she asked why she hadn’t seen anyone all day. Again, I reminded her that I had been over there a couple of times already today and this was the third time. She told me I should wake her up when I go over…. hello – you were awake!
I don’t how the conversation went where it did, but all sorts of “bad” was coming to the surface. Mom was telling me how I was supposed to be caring for her and that I should be letting her know when we are going and coming, and how I should let her know when we are home by coming outside so she can see us. Are you kidding me?!! That just pushed me a little too far. I couldn’t help myself – she was just being hurtful.
That’s when I lost it…. I basically told Mom that if she didn’t like our situation and thought she could get better care elsewhere, then maybe she should go live in a home. Yup, I went there! I was actually quite calm about it, but firm. That comment made her do a 360 right then and there. That’s one thing my mom absolutely does not want to do – go to a home. And I don’t blame her, we wouldn’t want her in a home either, but there has to be some boundaries and respect of our situation. If we lose the respect then it just won’t work.
Finally, things got calmed down and the conversation ended with a hug. Mom said she’d try to work on “boundaries”, but I’m pretty sure she’ll forget most of what we talked about in no time. Maybe that’s the upside of memory lose. And, unfortunately, I’m pretty sure Mom will eventually need more full time care. I’m not sure if she’ll have to go to a home, but she’ll definitely have to have someone come in on a daily basis. That’ll be a chore for sure – finding the right match for Mom. I may have to start a different blog just for that!
What I Learned: It can be a challenge caring for an elderly parent – it’s not for everyone, but I know we are doing what’s best for Mom.
“This is supposed to be the time of my life – the nest is empty; but now Mom needs me.”
After a lengthy conversation with my husband, which included a whole lot of “what the heck are we going to do?”, I decided I better start doing my homework on dealing with an ageing parent. I started reading a lot about dementia – Wow! Is this what Mom might be going through? Poor Mom. One thing I learned about dementia from reading WebMD is that depending on why it started it may be treatable; there may be hope for Mom.
I have a lot of mixed feelings going on – I feel really bad for my mom and I’m quite worried, but I’m also feeling guilty. We talked with Mom on more than one occasion about moving closer to family so she’s not alone, but she just doesn’t want to leave her home. Understandable – she’s comfortable there and is very familiar with her surroundings, and California is the last place she’d want to live.
So why do I feel guilty? More reading and trying to understand the process – and it’s a long one! The only thing that is keeping me together is my wonderful husband. He is so caring and helpful in so many ways – here I am falling apart and he’s picking up the pieces and putting the puzzle together. What conspires over the next few months I can honestly blame on him – and Mom should be so thankful.
What I Learned: Having emotional support is half the battle…. thank you luv!