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The Good, the bad and the ugly of dementia! - Page 33 - Carers UK Forum

The Good, the bad and the ugly of dementia!

For issues specific to caring for someone with dementia.
384 posts
I was born in 1952. Mum and dad kept saying "in the war.." which to me was ancient history. Now I realise that it was just 7 years since the war ended. I bore my kids with my "When we lived in Australia..stories. We came back in 1976.
I had the scariest thing happen to me today.

Mum did not recognise me. Now, I’m kind off used to her mistaking for her sister; we do look alike (That was my excuse.)

But today I offered mum a cup of tea. She looked confused, and wanted to know who I was.
It was on the tip of my tongue to tell her I was her daughter; her eldest born; and I wanted to swear and curse my head off.

But I didn’t. Some gut instinct told me to lie.

I told her, “I didn’t say Mum, I said Marm.”

Mum accepted that (and the cup of tea) but I’m in shock that mum did not recognise me.

20 – 40 minutes later (I wasn’t keeping time) she was calling me by my name.

I can handle being a daughter who isn’t a daughter but an aunty; but I can’t handle being a daughter who isn’t a daughter.

Was I wrong to lie to her?
No, I don't think so. But I know how shocked I was when mum in law, in a secure nursing home, recognised my husband as her son, but mistook me for my sister in law, her daughter. I'm 5" taller, the only real resemblance being curly hair. I think she'd forgotten that her son had married me 30 years earlier, and we'd always got on really well. I always described her as "the best mum in law in the world". I know there is a book about how to support dementia sufferers to have a happy life, by not confronting them. Maybe this is the time to read it? (Can anyone else remember the title?) Big Hug from me, it's such a cruel illness.
Mum regularly asks who I am, or thinks that I am her own mother. Yes, it was a shock the first time that she looked at me with bewilderment in her eyes and said "Im sorry - I dont know who you are" If she asks me who I am then I will tell her - "Im your daughter -----(my name) and she doesnt get upset about that, but if she thinks Im somebody else - well I dont mind that and I dont try and correct her. Sajerhar- I must say that I tell mum porkies all the time if the truth will upset her, so dont feel bad about it - its called compassionate communication. The only times I dont use this and I will correct her is if she has a fantasy that upsets her or I cant allow her to think eg - I had to tell her that no, her valued and trusted friend was not stealing from her; and I had to tell her no, the carers were not slapping her.
bowlingbun wrote: I know there is a book about how to support dementia sufferers to have a happy life, by not confronting them. Maybe this is the time to read it? (Can anyone else remember the title?)
Its called Contented Dementia Bowlingbun
http://www.contenteddementiatrust.org/2 ... ntia-book/
My MIL has vascular dementia and lives a safe and contented life in residential care home.
Since my OH finished work last year we have been fibbing to her, she asks all about his boss and his work and we just say yes that's right mum everything the same.when in actual fact he has early onset dementia himself(not vascular), It was a decision we decided was best for her! The care manager and staff Know the situation and are quite happy to go along with it. MIL is oblivious to our present life so she does not worry about her only child, so i am quite sure our "fibbing" is best for her peace of mind.
Sajehar, I got very upset about this when it first happened to me. Mum frequently thought I was her mum or her sister. However, whatever she calls you, she loves you very much and feels safe with you which is what is important. And yes, I think that playing along with her will keep her feeling secure. I used to call them "love lies"
i had to put my dad in a MH [mental health] unit on Tuesday this week.It broke my heart to leave him there.My mum has been in hospital while caring for dad she had forgot to do her insulin injections,she had a huge ulcer on her lower stomach .And had to have an emergency operation.
Dad is 80 yrs old/[Mam is 75] and has vascular dementia we only found out this week what his diagnosis was.When he was at home he was incontinent,turned all the cooker hobs on at the same time to boil the kettle,put electric kettles on the hob he had no personal hygiene....continually pacing sometimes he slept sometimes not[he had slept on the settee for the past 3 yrs]` enhanced sexual behaviour` we had to remove the family car, as he was always trying to get in it and kept asking to go home even though he was at home.
Today he has been moved from a dementia assessment ward to a functional assessment ward...Am I to blame because I was in crisis and could not look after him, the cpns and doctors make us feel so guilty?
Sorry for rambling it has been a very stressful week, me and my Sister are so grateful that we found this site.
Philip, hi - of course you're not to blame! How could you think it, and how could any professional medic or care or social worker ever have let you think so?

I also find it quite extraordinary that it seems to have taken so long for your father to be diagnosed with what surely should have been the 'first thought' by anyone reading about his symptoms and behaviour! Dementia is so common in the elderly - surely the doctors etc should have men tioned the possibility to you, even if they then went on to check out other possibilities (I know you've said elsewhere he's even had a brain scan for a possible brain tumour!). Maybe, though, there were other factors and complications that made it so delayed to get a dementia diagnosis!

The important thing now, though, is that the diagnosis is there, and about time too!

You've come under far too much pressure, and for no good reason that I can see! Straight off, please stop blaming yourself in any way whatsoever. Dementia creeps up on patients, and is intensely distressing to witness, and very wearing to cope with, and it sounds like all of you have had it 'up to here' with having to cope with your dad. He is now in the very best place for him, and you, your mother, and your sister can finally 'calm down' and have a chance to lead less stressful lives.

Wishing you all the best, Jenny

PS - if the docs and so on have been making you feel guilty, then do always remember that the 'reason' they may do this is because the simplest solution for them is to have family look after people with dementia! It's entirely in their interests that they try and avoid having to 'do something' about dementia patients, such as take them into hospital. But you, your sister, your mother and your father have ALL paid your taxes over the years, and as such you are entitled to receive the care your father needs now.
Philip, do NOT feel guilty about this.
Remember that he is safe where is now, which he wasnt before. Im also glad that you (at last) have a diagnosis, so you can all start to work out the future. Your mum can now recover from her operation without having to deal with caring duties.
See if you can have a good nights sleep then start thinking about whether your mum will need help now too.
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Today was magical… those are the only words I can use to describe it.

I’ve been for two sessions of counselling, which I was furious about as this was done behind my back (my family were worried about my mental health) but I – very BEGRUDGINGLY - went anyway.
She (the councillor) has helped me see the woods from those pesky trees that keep getting in the way.

Dad and me had a heart to heart, and mum is so much happier.

Today, for the first time ever, she wanted to go into the garden. Dad and me had being talking about how the Alum lilies had grown ballistic this year, and she wanted to see them.

So dad set her up on the front garden patio. I went to a local pub for a Sunday roast but passed local kids on bikes that mum likes looking at… she really enjoys their antics.

I asked them to ride down to her, and wave at her. They immediately agreed, and razed off.

When I got back, both dad and mum were full of how these kids riding bikes were waving to mum and how she waved back.

It made their day… actually, it made mine.

But what really made my day was when mum insisted I take her into the back garden.

She wanted to see the birds feeding, and we did.

Then she started to get cold, but didn’t want to go inside. So I threw a Tartan cardie of my dad over her shoulders, and a Tartan throw over her legs…. She was happy watching the birds feed.

Here’s a picture of my mum…. I love her to bits
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384 posts