Caregiving resources for every stage of the disease.
RSS Feed Print
No more denial I need help
Posted: Monday, November 13, 2017 8:48 PM
Joined: 11/13/2017
Posts: 5

I am new to this forum.  My mother age 75 has been displaying signs of memory and weight loss for the past 3 years.  I knew something was wrong but tried to convince myself that it was just my mother as she has always been stubborn at times.  However, when she continued to lose weight now at 102 pounds.  I contacted doctor personally only to find out that mom had not been in over a year even though she constantly said she was going to the doctor.  

We were referred to a neurologist which after testing confirmed Dementia and silent seizures which is adding to the dementia.  She suffers from thyroid problems, and hypertension.  She is still hiding medications pretending she is taking them.  She has had one car accident in June and this past week she set house on fire.  The fire caused extensive damage and she has had to come stay with me.  It has been a nightmare.  

She is still driving and I fear for her safety but I can't legally take her keys.  Her short term memory is non existent.  We have the same conversation over and over. I have gotten her approved for a community care program which will assist me with someone coming in to stay with her during the day while I am at work.  However, she is going to have a fit and does not want anyone coming to help her.

Her anger is so quick. Reminding her to take her medicine caused a total meltdown.  Her taste buds have been altered she wants hot sauce and black pepper on everything. She wakes up craving sugary foods. 

I am recently divorced, raising a grandchild and the only daughter.  I can't even wrap my head around the rapid decline and the changes in our lives. Any suggestions for me keeping my sanity and help with deciding what next would be appreciated. 

Posted: Monday, November 13, 2017 10:43 PM
Joined: 11/13/2017
Posts: 2

Park the car at a friends house and tell her its in the shop. Fortunately the driving issue is not something we had to really address with my grandfather, but I have been around dementia patients who should have long ago lost there driving rights, it's terrifying. Like it or not, little white lies are going to be one of the biggest tools in your tool box.
I think one of the better pieces of advice we ever got from a doctor was, as long as there are no immediate health repercussions, let him eat what he want's. Content of the diet isn't likely to kill him at this point, but a lack of one will.

You have to learn to be extremely patient. Returning the anger will make the situation worse, remain calm and be the voice of reason. You will slip from time to time though, don't get angry at yourself when you do, you're only human.

I know having a pill crusher has helped with my grandfather. Crush them and put them in pudding, applesauce, etc... and he'll it it every time. He does take a very limited number of pills though, so you may have to talk to your doctor about your mom specifically.

I can't imagine being the primary caretaker and raising a grandchild, it's frustrating enough being the backup. But it does get a little easier, try to notice the little things that make a difference, they are often like a key that opens the door. My grandfather would often refuse to get in the shower, one day I asked him to feel if the water was too hot, he was receptive to that, then it took little extra effort to get him the rest of the way in. That little trick worked 9 times out of 10.

Posted: Monday, November 13, 2017 10:54 PM
Joined: 7/12/2017
Posts: 810

HI!! My mom also is a PWD, and my daughter, her BF and my grandaughter live with my hubby and me.  So that makes 4 generations in one house.  There is NO place for me, except in my bedroom. Between my mom and my grandbaby (I baby sit about 28 hours a week or more) I am zonked.  But have been told, Hey Could Be Worse...I want to smack that person

Don't have much advice, smarter people here for that, just saying welcome to our world, much as it sucks

Get that legal stuff done ASAP, does she have any POA started, and if you have to hide thcar keys, do it...that's not "taking them"

And learn to fib...its our salvation

Posted: Tuesday, November 14, 2017 6:50 AM
Joined: 2/29/2016
Posts: 1122

Hello and welcome. You have a lot on your plate. You have made a good start by getting a diagnosis. The neurologist should write a letter to the DMV so that her driving privileges are revoked. You could have him/her, or your mother's PCP, inform her that she can no linger drive; however, it will cause anger and she will not retain the information. Better get the car 'to the shop' right away. And these days repairs take so long because they have to ship the parts all the way from China! The driving really needs to stop. If she has an accident and you are aware she is not safe to drive, you may share in the liability...and hope that property is the only thing damaged.

'Fiblets' or little white lies are a technique used with people with dementia as a way of preventing agitation. It does not come naturally to lie, but it is not lying for personal gain, it is fabricating a little for the peace of mind of the PWD. Other effective techniques include Validation, which is essentially acknowledging the feelings then moving on with a distraction to something less distressing. Look for books by Naomi Feil.

Consult an eldercare attorney ASAP for DPOA, health care proxy, etc. 

Since your mother has set the house on fire once (yikes) she is clearly in need of 24/7 supervision. The day program is a good start. You should get a bed alarm or motion detector so that you know when she gets up at night.

Many pills can be crushed; consult the pharmacist as some medications, such as timed release or gastric coated, cannot be. Applesauce, pudding,yogurt, and ice cream are good vehicles. In terms of diet, let her eat what she wants, but don't make yourself crazy preparing multiple meals at once. Taste buds may change with age; sweets in particular retain appeal when other things do not.



Mimi S.
Posted: Tuesday, November 14, 2017 9:03 AM
Joined: 11/29/2011
Posts: 6450

Hi Lovingher,

Welcome to our world. We're so glad you found us.

To be blunt, it is no longer safe for your mom to live alone.  Does she ave the financial to go to a Continuing Care Community, to begin at the Assisted Living level?  Meanwhile can you hire neighbors or an Agency to administer meds whenever. And of course, not taking the meds isn't helping to get help get her problems under control.

The car has to disappear.

Did whomever did the diagnosis determine the type of dementia? With the silent strokes, this should be determined.

Do call your County Office of the Aging to see what suggestions they have.

And, do call your local Alz office or the help line 1-800-272-3900 to get some help for yourself and your family.

Posted: Tuesday, November 14, 2017 1:34 PM
Joined: 5/30/2016
Posts: 545

The one lesson that I have learned from this journey is that you can love your LO, but taking charge and keeping them safe is possible, but due to fear of anger on the part of your LO, you relinquish control to someone who is incapable. You cannot avoid making them angry or upset. They will come up with ingenious ways to try to trick you into thinking they can still take care of themselves. How would you have felt, if your mother had gotten hurt driving the car (or someone else) or died in the fire?? You need to contact DMV to either have her tested or to inform them of her impairment; sell the car or leave it somewhere she cannot find it.

You should ask her doctor to write a letter for you regarding your mother's condition. Also the neurologist. You can take those letters and become her conservator or legal guardian. I know you have a lot going on, but your mother needs 24/7 care, whether with you or if she has the funds, in AL/MC. Keep this in mind. Your mother has dementia. Educate yourself on what is happening and what is to come. Love her enough to do the right thing, keeping her safe.

Posted: Tuesday, November 14, 2017 2:20 PM
Joined: 12/4/2011
Posts: 15328

You have a diagnosis of "dementia" but it is essential to know the cause. This will help;

until you know the cause you really can not treat and some causes are easily treatable.

Posted: Tuesday, November 14, 2017 4:24 PM
Joined: 10/21/2016
Posts: 1876

Lovingher wrote:

She is still driving and I fear for her safety but I can't legally take her keys.  Her short term memory is non existent. 


Not only can you take her keys, you MUST take her keys.  Since she is living at your house, even if she is driving her own car, YOU PERSONALLY will be sued if she injures someone while driving.   And you might be found liable since you had already stated that you know she should not be driving!!  Fear of Mom's anger is not a reason to allow her to continue driving.


Posted: Tuesday, November 14, 2017 4:42 PM
Joined: 6/12/2015
Posts: 1133

If her short term memory really is non-existent, taking her keys might be easier than you think. Get them away from her when she's away from them so she won't see it being done, and if she asks about them, you can say you "don't know where they are". My ex used to periodically lose his keys and then spend hours combing the house for them in none of the places where he actually WAS, like outside. He would look for them downstairs altho he hadn't been down there in days. Someone with a very poor memory won't realize you TOOK the keys away, so maybe not get all mad at you about it if she doesn't realize that's where they keys have gone. Either that or remove the car from where she can get it and do the standard fiblet, "It's in the shop".
Posted: Wednesday, November 15, 2017 9:46 AM
Joined: 11/13/2017
Posts: 5

Thank you for the advice.  I have been agonizing about this car all week long.  I don't want to risk her hurting someone else and me being liable.  I will take your advice and hide the keys until we get to the Dr on Monday.
Posted: Wednesday, November 15, 2017 10:00 AM
Joined: 11/13/2017
Posts: 5

Thank you. I did go ahead and get a power of attorney and her living will about 6 months ago because she was having trouble keeping up with bills and needed assistance with medical benefits paperwork. I have a community care case worker helping me find assisted living centers to start exploring as an option.
× Close Menu