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Hello my name is Ellen and my mum was diagnosed with vascular dementia 2 years ago.It was a massive shock as she was always the strongest member of the family.

She collapsed at home and her heart had more or less stopped which stopped the flow of blood to the brain where the damage was done.

She is 79 my dad is still working at the moment so I stay with her all day and in the evenings with dad in the week and I stay with my hubby at weekends.We have only been married 3 years.But he had an elderly mother and has a disabled sister so fully understands.

Mum is still very active but her communication is very bad and she suffers from terrible depression,crying alot and very anxious.The elderly mental health doctor has put her on venlafaxine and mertazapine at night.Nothing for the dementia.

Im finding it very hard at the moment and Im due to go away for my anniversary this weekend for 4 days, I know my dad will cope but she can be so nasty at times but I really need this break with my husband.

She used to smoke many years ago and now she keeps pinching fags of my dad and having a sly smoke so he has to stop smoking in the house so she cant pinch them.

Another thing that keeps happening is when my dad goes to work she thinks he is going of to see a woman!!!! and its difficult to explain to her the poor man has never seen another woman in his life and would not have the time but she has this fixed in her mind but it comes and goes.

I try and put this to the back of my mind but seeing her so depressed and tearfull is heart breaking.
:(
Hello Ellen and welcome to the forum :)

I'm glad to hear that your hubby's support in all this but it must be putting a terrible strain on your relationship if you only have weekends to be together. Do you and your Dad have any other support in place ? Maybe it's time that you had a Carers' Assessment to sort out some additional support to allow you step back a little ?

My Mum had Alzheimer's and she, too, was convinced that my Dad was off with another woman (apparently living just down the street !) - the thing is that my poor old Dad had been dead for 20+ years at that point; but in her mind it was the only thing that made sense - she had 'forgotten' he had died and it was her way of explaining his absence. Like you I did try to explain and 'defend' him but she couldn't /wouldn't accept my explanations - in the end it was kinder to agree with her rather than keep on reminding her that (a) he was dead and (b) that her memory was shot to pieces.
I try and put this to the back of my mind but seeing her so depressed and tearfull is heart breaking
to a certain extent carers of people with dementia have to grow a thicker skin and I know that is easier said than done - the hardest part, emotionally, for me was when she no longer recognised me and would continually ask who I was; she knew my name but I wasn't her daughter.
Thank you Susie
Im sorry to hear about your mum.Your reply has helped me realise its not just mum making these things up its all part of the illness.

I find it hard as I have been ill my self in the past with depression and anxiety and knowing Im losing my mum is hard the tables have turned around.She calls me her sister sometimes and gets my brother name confused with my husband but thats not so bad its the mood swings and depression thats hard.

We do have nay support yet as mum is still very aware and she knows she has a problem remembering things.I could not bring in a carer unless mum was at a stage that she didnt know us.Does that make sense!!!!

She still dresses washes does her hair make up and things this is what makes it so difficult but chatting and remembering is very bad. :( xx
Hi Ellen welcome sending you all hugs.
Hi and a warm welcome to the forum. x x
I know that this kind of confusion is heartbreaking, over time it will pass but only to be replaced by other challenges; such as incontinence, fear and immobility. Unfortunately, lack of communication is is a big problem which I'm afraid will only get worse.

You could try to distract your mother by reminiscing with her, older memories tend to linger and this will help her hold on to herself for a little longer. Another trick is to play films and series that she once enjoyed over and over (although not necessarily the same day). As her dementia progresses she will part remember and part watch them a new, just make sure its something you can stand to watch over and over. I found 'I Dream of Jeannie' to be very effective with my father.

Sadly once vascular dementia is diagnosed they stop looking for anything else, so you'll probably not get a great deal of help in terms of medication but if they do offer you anything please watch out for side effects as dementia sufferers are much more vulnerable to them. No doubt they'll try to put her on a statin, but if they do please watch her like a hawk as the side effects can be devastating. I'm sure you're aware of how painful muscle cramps can be, my father suffered a lot of pain from these but was unable to rub them or communicate the fact to me.

David
Thank you for kind messages.

My mum has been on simvastatin for some time now can this cause problems?
The worse thing at the moment is she suffers from severe constipation caused by her meds she gets so bloated and the doctors keep changing her laxatives its a nightmare!!!!

She gets very agitated by it all.

I dont find the elderly mental health are much help either!!!!
Simvastatin certainly caused my father a lot of problems so its definitely something to keep an eye on. Doctors seem to put patients who suffer strokes on them as a matter of course, often without even bothering with a cholesterol check (my father certainly didn't receive one). My advice would be to check the leaflet provided and watch for the side effects, the same goes for any other medication your mother is placed on. We have to remember that dementia sufferers can't do this themselves so it is up to us to protect them, also note that just because she doesn't experience noticeable side effects now doesn't mean she won't further along; especially if they start combining different drugs.

Sometimes the drugs provided can be counter productive and even exaggerate the symptoms of dementia. It is thus important that you're aware of possible side effects, look out for them and inform the doctor of any suspicions you may have. There should be a leaflet in each box outlining possible side effects as well as plenty of information online. It is then up to you and your doctor to balance risk v reward, but I would personally always put quality of life over increased longevity.

David
Ellen wrote:The worse thing at the moment is she suffers from severe constipation caused by her meds she gets so bloated and the doctors keep changing her laxatives its a nightmare!!!!

She gets very agitated by it all.
My father also suffers from constipation, he seems to have forgotten how to push. Fortunately I find Movicol to be a very effective laxative, and as its administered in a drink so easy to give. Out of interest how much does your mother drink a day (water, tea, etc)? It is very important to keep fluid intake up as it helps with the dementia and constipation. I aim for 2000 mil a day with 1500 mil being the bare minimum. Most people don't realise how much they actually drink until they start counting it.

David
Hi Ellen and welcome.

I have no experience of caring for someone with dementia, but I do for someone with severe constipation.

Dave is so right about drinking enough and movicol, fybogel and lactulose only work if the person drinks sufficient fluids too. This can be quite a challenge.

It took a lot of experimenting before we found a meds regime that S could tolerate and that worked for him.

Melly1