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"Changing the locks"...again
For those who don't know, my mom has been obsessed that her former maid, who has not been in my parents house in years, has been burglarizing my parents house with her crew of 18 burglars. Of course, all of this is just in mom's imagination. Several weeks ago I had to hospitalize mom for dehydration and I took that opportunity to have her locks "changed" by my own imaginary locksmith. That made mom feel safe again for several weeks and we didn't have to hear about the former maid.
Well, I was afraid that things were going too good to last. Now mom has hallucinated that her former maid got in the house again and rearranged her whole kitchen. (And stole the manual for her refrigerator.) Of course, what really happened was that dad was looking for the manual for the refrigerator because mom pushed some buttons on it and the water and ice suddenly stopped working. Dad asked mom where the manual for the refrigerator is and mom is the one who rearranged the kitchen and they didn't find the manual, so, of course, mom blames her former maid. So I guess I'm going to have to "call the locksmith" and have him "change the locks" again.
I just hope she is not keeping dad up all night with this foolishness.
I am so sorry to hear what all of you are going through.
Is there any way she could see her doctor who might be able to prescribe medication for her hallucinations?
Thinking of you,
Peace and Hope,
Wow, your grandmother has quite the elaborate tale going on with "Linda." I thought my mom and her ex maid and the 18 burglars was something but your grandmother has definitely trumped my mom in the complexity of what all "Linda" is doing!
Well, I decided to call GE since I don't know the model number of my parents refrigerator and luckily, I had registered all the appliances when they bought them in 2006, so they had the model number and they are going to mail a copy of the manual to my father. Thanks for your suggestion. Even though I wound up going about getting the manual in a different way, what you wrote helped springboard my thinking as to how I could get a solution going without having to drive over to my parents city.
The model number is on the inside of the door on all GE refrigerators, ovens and microwaves. Just for future reference.
Oh yes, Linda is a very busy woman.
The model number is on the inside of the door on all GE refrigerators, ovens and microwaves. Just for future reference.
Ohhh MacyRose!!! My heart goes out to you.
How awful to have to deal with all these "burglars" all the time! It's so weird how they can't remember some things and other things they just get stuck on.
After reading your posts, my memory was refreshed about the "locks" in my Mom's house when she was at home. She drove me bonkers with changing the locks and the security code on the alarm system. The trouble was that these 3 girls were constantly sneaking in because I kept giving them keys (in Mom's imagination).
Wow, how quickly I have forgotten all this since she has been in a NH. I need to remember all these things when I start to second guess myself about her placement.
A year ago now I was chasing her down the street while she ran away from the imaginary girls. (Of course I was always one of them).
You have to constantly be "getting the Locksmith". One time she locked me out and I had to actually pay a locksmith.........but that is another story.
Thanks Sharkey and NoPeeps. My dad and I are working on getting the right documents in place. Mom does not have a medical POA yet and mom is currently dad's medical POA and he realizes this is a bad idea. The new attorney is supposed to Fedex a packet to my dad and whenever it finally arrives, I will go over there to keep mom entertained so dad can fill it out. During that time, we will claim that the "locksmith" came by and changed the locks. Hopefully that will make my mother chill out again in regards to her former maid, at least for a while.
Going out on a limb here, but my Mom had similiar delusions about being home invaded by a former neighbor. It was really sad, she was so afraid, even with an alarm system, safe neighborhood and double deadbolts on the doors. The only thing that ended this delusion was her announcement one day that the neighbor had been shot and killed (she said she saw it in the paper, which isn't true, probably dreamed it). But "Bruce" is gone from our lives after a hellish three years
My suggestion is this - if you can "fake" the death of the maid and show your Mom the proof, perhaps this will ease her fear. By proof, perhaps create a fake newspaper article or obit saying xxx died in a car accident or something. Then hand it to your LO and say, "what a shame, but your problems are over!."
It's a lie, but a kind lie that won't hurt anyone and perhaps can ease the fear.
Surrey, it's a good idea, but the maid is from another country and I had wanted to tell my mother that she had gone back there, however, the maid works for one of my mothers friends, so it will neither work to tell her the maid has moved away nor died.
Mom just called me 5 minutes ago wanting to call the maid and tell her to stay away from her home. Apparently when my parents were looking for the refrigerator manual, mom moved things around in the kitchen, then decided that the maid came in the house and rearranged the kitchen. In desperation, I told my mom that dad said he rearranged the kitchen and that the former maid had not been in there at all. My dad is at a doctor's appointment right now. So I left him a message on his cellphone about this. I hope he gets my message BEFORE my mom blindsides him when he gets home.
Any other ideas on how to put a stop to this mess would be greatly appreciated.
MacyRose, you're one of the most creative people on these boards when it comes to coping with delusions
you're doing a great job. I wish I had some advice for you. If I come up with anything I'll post it here.
My mom's delusions basically went away when she was placed on resperdal. She was quite druggy for a day or two, but returned to her normal self soon, without the delusions.
When she was still in her home, she was certain the kids next door had been in the house and stolen several items (which she had of course misplaced). She even placed a police report. My husband and I were about to drive down to Alabama, in January no less. to really change the locks and make sure she was safe. That took place about 9 months before we moved her and was the beginning of a very long nightmarish year.
I feel for you. The delusions are hard to take.
I hesitate to be creative with she who is a queen of creative but...
when you sit down with mom tell her that you never realized how important it is for everyone to have these documents and ask her if she would be willing to have your DPOA....it can be easily changed just like your father is going to do.
I would not discuss the change dad is going to make.
You are REALLY good at this...you know how to make her feel in control
Dear MacyRose: Your mother's delusions (rigid false beliefs) are becoming worse over time and they are affecting the quality of her life. Just imagine how terrible it is to live inside her head believing and feeling all those things. Awful.
At this point, since all lesser measures have failed to help and since she is now in distress with her delusions, it may be time for her dementia expert to assist your mother with medication.
My own mother suffered from delusions and they eventually became overwhelming and were disturbing to her and affecting her quality of life. We had consistently tried lesser measures and all without success.
Finally, I made an appointment with her Neurologist who assessed the situation and prescribed Risperdal for her. I did not take this lightly, but because of the distress and worsening delusions, we decided to move forward with the medication.
What a blessing! Within a couple of days, my mother's delusions were completely quelled and while not everything was absolutely perfect, they were SO much better. Not only did the quality of her life greatly improve, the quality of my step-dad's life also improved in a very significant way - after all, he was living with her 24/7.
Mom was fortunate not to have any side effects from the medication. In about three months she had some breakthrough behaviors and Neuro upped her very low dose of med slightly and this did the trick.
Perhaps you could find relief for your mother through her dementia expert, I was so grateful I did this.
How did you get your mother to take the risperdol? We, so far, have been unable to get mother to even take Namenda. She insists there is nothing wrong with her and that it is my father who is crazy. She blames him for being diagnosed with dementia. I don't live with her or even near enough to her that I could drop in and give her the medication (that would be a 3 - 4 hour round trip for me.)
BTW, the way we are going about getting mom to sign the MPOA is that everyone in our family is doing one - EVERYONE. So it doesn't seem like this is specifically for mom.
If one of your mother's doctors is willing to prescribe Risperdal (aka Risperidone), it can be prescribed in liquid form and added to any of your mom's favorite beverages without her knowledge, if the doctor is comfortable with that.
It is best to start with the very lowest dose the doctor recommends.
My mother also refused to take medications for years.
I was already my mother's legal guardian when I signed a release for the doctor to prescribe it. Then we added it to my mother's coffee either by me or the nurse without her knowledge. The medical staff said the release was necessary due to the risks of the medication.
I strongly hesitated to take that step of doing it without her knowledge, but finally did it and do not regret it after seeing how much it helped her.
Like Johanna experienced with her mother, the medication made a huge difference in quelling strong delusions and angry, resistant behavior in my mother. My mother was only on it for a few months.
It was completely amazing to see Mom calmer and actually smiling at me after several years of being so angry with me and everyone else.
Dear MacyRose: Well, we NEVER, ever mentioned any word related to dementia with my mother. We learned not to do that the hard way and I'm not kidding. To mention the "d" word or related word caused her to go over the top, to mistrust and to cause her delusions to flower even more. It was awful.
Basically, we enlisted the assistance of the doctor and his staff. Realizing the dynamics, the doctor went along with - "Mary, you have dreadfully high blood pressure and are in high danger of having a large stroke. This could cause paralysis or death, but fortunately there is a pill that will keep this from happening and keep you safe. Of course the "pill" was the Risperdal. (Yes, this compromised him, but he realized the stakes.) Mom was already on a blood pressure med which she did always take (the one med she would) but he told her this med had to be added to make the other work.
He never would have done this if Mom had not been so delusion driven and if her quality of life and Dad's quality of life had not been so abysmally affected by the delusional behavior. As it was, this medication enabled Mom to live at home much longer than she would have been without it. It must be said however, that of course each person is different.
Well, Mom went along with it. Once she had the Risperdal on board for a day or two, she no longer refused her medications because the Risperdal was able to turn that around along with quelling the delusions.
If you choose to take a similar route, (and it is not easy to decide to do so), hopefully your Dad can go along with this; but it will probably take your behind the scenes intervention to set this up by speaking with the doctor and getting the ball rolling. If you were able to make a trip to their home for a few days to get this all iln order behind the scenes, would this be helpful?
I wish you the very best and also your mother and father.
I don't mention dementia to my mother, but my dad has told people in front of her that she has been diagnosed with dementia.
I talked to a local eldercare manager and I like her a lot. She's an RN and really on the ball with resources and helpful advice. What I thought might help would be for us to hire a caretaker to come in every morning, make breakfast for mom and dad, and then dad could go off and do his thing and the caretaker could do some light housekeeping and keep mom company. I also wanted her to take over giving my parents their meds. But dad is really against this idea, although this would enable him to go work out again. As it is, they have breakfast every morning at Starbucks and then go out to lunch. What I thought was that dad could do his thing in the morning and then come get mom for lunch - thereby giving him a little daily respite from being mom's constant caretaker.
Right now, dinner is food that they bring home since mom thankfully is not cooking anymore. Maybe it would make more sense to have the caretaker at my parents home in the later afternoon through early evening so that she could prepare dinner and give meds then?
What I know is that my dad seems unable or unwilling to sneak meds into mom's food and I don't have any hope he would sneak Risperdol into her beverage. This is why I really think we need to get a caretaker involved. But dad seems resistant to that, even though it would help him tremendously.
What you have are two separate issues that ping-pong off one another. One is your mother and the behaviors that dementia has brought to her, and another huge issue is your father.
Your mother cannot help her delusions and behaviors, and your father can modify his approach, but he seems to be having some difficulty getting into a proactive mode and perhaps doesn't realize certain actions and in-actions are making things worse. Can you help him to understand that he can NOT bring up dementia in any way within hearing of your mother? It is counterproductive and hurtful for her.
He would benefit from more education re dementia dynamics and communication and how they affect our loved ones. Though he is trying to do what he believes is the right thing (and probably frustrated and tired) he is actually a barrier to effectively and efficiently getting your mother from Point A to Point B.
To achieve any degree of success in hiring someone, the absolute right person will have to be hired. It will take some time for your father to learn to trust an aide, but once he is able to do so, it will enable the aide to take on more assistance.
BUT - as I said, it will take just the right aide to suit Dad's sensibilities and to suite Mom's delusional needs. She will have to have had experience and a good understanding of people with dementia and be able to communicate well.
AND - there is a huge unknown having an aide dispense medication no matter what they tell you their experience has been. I have run into two different instances in my own parent's lives which still make my hair stand on end when I think of it. However, I found the perfect aide and she was awesome and could be completey trusted.
Do you have the abilitry to make a visit to interview aides for your folks? It seems that things do not settle themselves well with just the two of them. If you trust the Care Manager to interview and hire then you could try that, but I'd have a long conversation with her about the type of person you would need.
Would Dad let the doctor tell Mom he was prescribing medication for her blood pressure when it was really something like Risperdal? If so,, once she began taking the medication, it is highly likely she will no longer resist taking her medication.
None of this is easy and it must be so difficult for you being so far away. If you can get all the ducks in a row, then Mom will have much more success and Dad will have much more peace.
As for the time of day to hire someone, I'd get the person in the morning as evening always seems to take on it's own different kind of energy, and Mom may have discomfort with her evening being disrupted. One thing I've learned over the years is that it is a rare aide that can cook decently enough to satisfy the parents, so time of day would be up to Dad and you.
I so hope that things begin to move on a more positive path for your parents, hang in there.
Another thought came to mind - how will your mother accept an aide? It has not worked well in the past and as you have expressed, the prior aide is a focus for some of her delusions.
I think the key to all of this is getting your mother appropriate treatment for her delusion driven dynamics. This focus will glean success in most if not all the other issues that are on the table at this time.
Is your mother's health good or does she have occasional admissions to the hospital? Reason I ask, is that if she does have intermittant hospital admissions, then the next time she is admitted, you can immediately request an in-hospital consult from Neuro and communicate in detail to him/her and get the medication to treat her delusions while she is still hospitalized.
If she does not require time to time hospitalization, then one will have to find a way to get her to Neuro that you have spoken to in advance and get medication started; the way things stand now, you will probably have to enlist Dad in a plan utilizing therapeutic fibs.
I am so sorry for all of this, having lived thru a similar situation I understand how severely difficult this all is.
Well, this was an interesting day. I am currently working on getting POA's. Anyway, dad needed time to fill out the papers, so my husband and I went to my parents house and took my parents out to lunch then took mom to an art museum so dad could fill out the paperwork for the attorney. When we got back home, the neighbor came over and I knew there had been some kind of issue regarding his driveway because my dad was miffed about it at lunch. Well, what is wrong is that part of my parents sprinkler system is not functioning and there is a big dead place on their lawn which was obvious to me. My parents claimed that the sprinkler worked perfectly and that it had recently been serviced. Well, that's obviously not true or they totally got ripped off. The neighbor told my husband that he cleaned out my parents gutters which they had not had done in ages and also that mom calls him all the time for help around the house and also that they set the burglar alarm off accidentally about every 10 days - which explains the police officer's reaction to me when he came when I called the ambulance. He told me "Your really need to get POA." The neighbor also knows about mom's delusions about the burglars and the ex maid. Oh, boy... So anyway, my husband it going to get the sprinkler system repaired and I also noticed some damage to the eaves of the house that needs to be repaired. I got into mom's refrigerator and found stuff like ham that is 2 years old and green. I threw out as much out of date stuff as I could, but my mom was trying to stop me from doing that. "I just cleaned out the refrigerator, " she said. The bathrooms are a mess. Long story short, it is now very apparent that my parents cannot manage their home anymore.
I talked to an eldercare manager and she told me get the paperwork done first and then we can start to take action.
In regards to my parents health - it is quite good and she has not been admitted overnight to a hospital since 1972. Her last serious admission was for a kidney stone back in 1986 and that was just to the ER for the day and she passed the stone and was let out that evening. Dad has had an ongoing issue with diarhea and the doctor is sending him for additional tests. If it turns out he has colon cancer, then he would be more amenable to hiring help because he knows mom couldn't make it on her own in the house. Another issue that is going on is that mom's best friends' husband is in the hospital with pneumonia and he might not survive. I happen to know that that lady's daughter lives in my city and that she wants them to move here. I can only guess that if her mom is alone, the daughter will want her mom to move over here. Depending on what happens with dad's tests, I might be able to use mom's friend to lure my parents to move over here...maybe.
But right now, my parents are resisting all offers and suggestions of help, which is so very frustrating when they both deserve better care and a clean house and for my mom, not to be afraid of her hallucinations. The neighbor also mentioned something else that worries me - he found mom alone in the house one day with all the lights off. That's not right and further convinces me that mom cannot be left alone. I am hoping to contact dad's doctor before mom meets with him. I want him to know how deeply concerned I am about my parents and that I want them to be safe, well cared for and live in luxury.
Johanna, my expectation is that my mom will NOT accept an aide and will just raise hell about it. The elder care manager I am going to be working with told me she knows how to make it work. I am hopeful she can get this done.
Dear MacyRose: With all the new information in your last post, it brings a sudden thought to mind.
Is it possible that your father is also undergoing changes that may indicate he may have MCI or even perhaps be in the earlier stages of AD?
I am sorry to raise that question, but after reading what has been transpiring and the lack of ability to utilize good judgment and reasoning and care, it does bring that issue to mind.
Perhaps it is time to write a detailed memo to the doctor and fax it over to him outlining the issues not just with your mother, but also what has been transpiring with your father.
It would be a good idea to get a workup for him both physically and neurologically; BUT do get those papers signed first.
You and your husband are working as best can and doing a very good job with some very complex dynamics and the stress it brings. Your parents are so fortunate to have the two of you.
There is no question in my mind that my dad is showing signs of a mental decline. I don't know if it is being brought on by the exhaustion of being mom's caretaker or if it is truly some kind of dementia or what. With his age, it could be either or both. Obviously his doctor recognizes something or he would not have asked to visit with my mom.
The neighbor seemed to think my dad was being unreasonable about a year ago - the neighbor kids accidentally shot out the glass on my parents security door with a BB-gun. It is against the law to discharge a firearm (even a BB-gun) within city limits. Anyway, they apologized and dad explained the door came for XYZ company. Since the kid fessed up, dad was being nice about it and refused to press charges. He just wanted his door fixed. The kid's family said they would replace the glass and called XYZ company (where the door came from) to get an estimate on new glass, then didn't order it because apparently they decided to look around for a better price (Inappropriate considering my father could have pressed charges against her son.) After 3 days, my dad was wondering when the glass would be replaced, so he called XYZ company and they told him the family had called, but not placed the order because they said they wanted to look for a better price. So my dad called the family and the mother told my dad she couldn't order the glass because her husband was on a business trip (total cop-out, IMO.) So my dad got irate and told them to order the glass from XYZ immediately. He apparently was rather nasty in regards to this - not sure I blame him - because, if they had ordered the glass from XYZ immediately, he could have had his door repaired the next day. So I don't know if that was a sign of him having a problem or not.
But yesterday, I saw dad struggling a bit to fill out the forms for the attorneys. For example, he couldn't find mom's Social Security number. Mom has no idea what her Social Security number is. I did manage to find it for him, though.
Anyway, while I'm waiting for the legal documents to be completed, the next step is let dad's doctor see my mother and then, also, I want to find out if dad has colon cancer or not, because if he does, that is going to put my parents in a situation where they have no choice but to accept help.
My dad is a very brilliant person, but he seems to have been in denial regarding what would be needed as he and mom age. I only wish he had had the foresight to move to a retirement community near me and my husband. Things would be a lot better for ALL of us. Still, I'm going to do whatever is necessary to figure things out and help them. Even if it makes them mad.