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Quick question - agree or not? - Carers UK Forum

Quick question - agree or not?

For issues specific to caring for someone with dementia.
I'm new to all this dealing with mental illness with a caree. My mum has driven me insane today, repeating herself, telling me I'm wrong when I tell her she didn't do something last night, and when I told her she had her skirt on inside out. She's gone to bed now not very happy that I'm 'treating her like a child' and that I 'just want to get rid of her in a care home'. How do you all deal with this on a daily basis??! I cannot wait until the SS assessment and I'm going to write to her GP tomorrow to request a dementia test. I'm off work till weds but then I'm back full time so that will be the real test as to whether she can cope on her own!
Tracey, sadly sometimes it is only when a person is left alone (even if that is what they insist on) and maybe there is some sort of crisis, that help is actually forthcoming. It is difficult to stand back when a parent is stubbornly determined to do their own thing, ignoring relatives trying to protect them in various ways. Should something happen, you must not under any circumstances blame yourself. It is vital that you go to work and have a life of your own. Caring has to be a balance between the needs of the carer and the needs of the caree.
I agree with BB. And it's usually best not to 'argue' with someone with dementia. Either a 'kind lie' or some kind of evasion, or temporising reply, or changing the subject etc. Their minds are 'slipping away' and we can't get them back by attempting rational discussion with them. From now on, it's about keeping them happy (and ourselves sane....).

A good care home will be skilled in handling your mum, getting her 'onside' etc etc, and knowing when it's important to insist, and when to let be. And because the staff are not emotionally involved with their residents, however nice they are to them (and I've found only lovely kind care home staff with MIL), at the end of the day the residents are not 'family' and so can't get under the skin etc, and also, the staff have never known their residents when they were the people they once were, so have no comparisons to make. Whereas family always remembers 'the person they once were' and it's upsetting to see that former person disappearing.

And, of course, at the end of the shift, the care staff go home to their own lives and families, and 'switch off' - that's something family carers find hard, or indeed impossible, to do.
Hi Tracey
I think I've read on here that some cope just by agreeing no matter how wrong the person is. E.g. so what if her skirt is on inside out, it's good she has one on at all
It's a matter of learning which battles to pick
I hope some of the more experienced dementia carers will be along soon to give you tips, It's not my area of care

Just a quick question, when the person is saying things that you know are incorrect, do you correct them or just go along with it? My mum keeps on saying that she's seen things on the TV late at night, when I know she hasn't watched TV late at night. I've been correcting her but it's tiring! Should I just agree with her?
Hi Tracey

the short answer is "yes" and quickly change the subject !

Those of us who have cared for or are caring for someone with Dementia will tell you it is pretty much useless trying to correct them ! For one thing it's frustrating for you and frightening for them (imagine if you are being continually told you're wrong about what you believe to be true ?) and secondly (to my mind anyway) it's also disrespectful. We have to learn to live in their world unless what they believe to be true would be dangerous - i.e "I never turned the gas on it must have been that strange woman who keeps letting herself in".

Have a look here: http://www.contenteddementiatrust.org/ for a different way to handle dementia. The SPECAL method has had lots of success if you're willing to give it a try.

In the greater scheme of things what does it really matter if your Mum believed she watched a late night TV programme ? If we watched programmes like "Escape to the Country" my Mum would get quite agitated as she firmly believed that we had moved to the house being viewed - we lived in the middle of a row of terraced houses with views of other terraced houses - not a green field in sight ! The only way I could calm her down was to say we were on holiday and 'going home tomorrow' !
Just let it go Tracey. As far as your Mum is concerned she DiD watch TV. I hope she enjoyed the programme. It's real to her.
My Mum kept telling me she'd seen a programme before, just recently, when I knew it was the first showing. I corrected her to start with then switched to 'Do you mind watching it again as I haven't seen it', which kept her happy. Trying to get Mum to realise that she is wrong only causes distress.
My Mum took to only watching 'gentle' TV as she told me that if she watched anything 'nasty' she started thinking it would happen or had happened to her. So Countryfile was fine but any violence was not. She even stopped watching her favourites, Emmerdale and Coronation Street. Couldn't cope with the story lines.
It's quite hard sorting out real from imagined and sometimes translating their reality back to what really happened. Maybe your Mum is having some vivid dreams or nightmares and is translating it into a TV programme as she tries to tell you about it.
Yes, I would agree, pick your battles and agreeing with her will make for an easier life, however ludicrous the argument. Took me a long time to realise that! There is a school of thought that goes further along these lines and I have attempted to follow it but be warned, it is not easy:

Hi Tracey - I'm merging this topic with your one "Quick question - agree or not?" in the Dementia section as they both relate to the same subject :)
When my MIl was still capable of sitting still and watching TV, if we watched anything with a plot at all I had to provide a running commentary explaining what was going on and who everyone was. It's the interaction with other people that someone with dementia wants/ needs. Think of the 'elder toddler' comparison - if you watched TV with a toddler you'd most likely have to explain what was happening on screen.

I also found MIL increasingly liked watching slapstick, like old Morecombe and Wise programmes. Their sense of humour also regresses to that of toddlers. It's sad, but touching as well.....

It can be, as, alas, you are finding, very, very hard to accept that someone with whom you used to have intelligent informed discussions is now 'reverting' to that of a young child (and sometimes a very stubborn and 'difficult' one at that!)