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What I saw in memory care yesterday
Posted: Tuesday, September 20, 2022 2:16 PM
Joined: 4/7/2019
Posts: 464

I visited Peggy in memory care yesterday. She was having a great day! And homemade cupcakes never hurt.  That was the good part.

Peggy's memory care facility is small - maybe 20 people? She and I were sitting in the back where there's a cozy little living room area. There are two big windows that look out onto trees and gardens.  It's nice.  On the other side of living room is the main hall and a couple of bedrooms.

While we were sitting there, this woman and her husband walked by. The woman greeted Peggy by name. She seemed pleasant enough. Her husband clearly lived in memory care. They went into his bedroom, and she immediately started screaming at him - "if you won't do what I keep telling you to do, I'm just going to leave!" From seeing him earlier I knew that he probably didn't understand much of what she said to him.  After about 10 minutes of her berating him, they both came out. One of the staff caregivers happened to be nearby. The woman lit into her about her husband's underwear being too tight. Maybe she had been having a day, and the memory care visit was the last straw.

Peggy was somewhat distressed by all of this (as was I), and I assured her that I'd never yell at her like that. She said "thank you".

The underwear issue needs to be dealt with, but I think the woman should have gone to the director (who was sitting in her office) with her complaint, not to a caregiver who has no power whatsoever. I sat there intentionally being like Switzerland.

It was just a troubling experience...

Posted: Tuesday, September 20, 2022 3:17 PM
Joined: 5/22/2021
Posts: 12

There are many family members (and friends) who are uneducated about dementia and have unrealistic expectations. Not everyone is patient with a person experiencing memory loss. Or as you said, they lash out at the person who is unable to retain the information or even interpret instructions because they are probably "tired" of the situation or having a bad day. It is likely the same type of people who yell at their kids because they didn't complete a task at home.

My sister lives in denial but she is also aware that "something is off with mom". She expects my mother to make decisions and give her money - denying that mom has dementia makes the ask "okay" in her book. (I have DPOA so when my mother asks me whether that is okay, I counter the request with a 'no' or limit the amount she can give without affecting her finances for the month.) Memory Care and Assisted Living is expensive and makes a huge dent in finances. I just don't get why people request financial assistance from someone in Memory Care!

Mom's friends say she is getting worse because there is no mental stimulation. Dementia doesn't have a cure; she will gradually decline despite any "mental" stimulation. I am not sure what mental stimulation they expect but that is not why she is losing her memory and cognitive function. Adapting to things she can do (eat in a restaurant, walking in a store and looking at items, Sunday drive, picnic in the park) instead of wanting her to do the finances of the state park association or ask questions of how to do something she did in the past just causes unnecessary stress.

A lot of folks do not like to see changes in family or friends. The desire to have someone return to who they were before dementia is underlining some of this behavior and ignoring that the loss is there. Unfortunately, the visits to MC end because it makes them uncomfortable, and if we are all honest, EVERYONE will experience some mental decline in elderly years.

(Oh, and if the underwear is too tight...replace it with underwear that is not... Perhaps someone should say to her, "Don't get your "panties in a wad" buy him some new briefs!")

Posted: Tuesday, September 20, 2022 6:35 PM
Joined: 2/3/2018
Posts: 1181

Ouch. That's a tough situation to witness/hear. I know there were times with my mom that I was happy no one overheard my meltdowns. I just hope the lady was having a tough day, like you said, and this isn't an oft repeated scenario. Peggy's MC sounds really great, besides the yelling! And who wouldn't have a great day with homemade cupcakes and a friendly face.
Iris L.
Posted: Tuesday, September 20, 2022 7:00 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 18346

CanyonGal wrote:

. I just don't get why people request financial assistance from someone in Memory Care!




May I offer a possible reason?  Some people are well aware that their LO is unable to say "no", they count on being able to take advantage without being too obvious about it.



Posted: Tuesday, September 20, 2022 7:12 PM
Joined: 6/20/2016
Posts: 3393

If it occurs again, it is appropriate for you to report that to a staff member, as it is inappropriate behavior toward a vulnerable person (related to the resident or not) and it is distressing to your sister, who is also a vulnerable person.

We're all our brother's keeper, you don't have to be an employee of the facility to report such damaging behavior to an employee or to the director yourself.
Posted: Wednesday, September 21, 2022 12:43 AM
Joined: 4/7/2019
Posts: 464

You are so right about that, dayn2nite2.