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Day One and no relief
I'm so sorry. This really hurts I know. Do we forget? No, and it's all heartbreaking.
I am so sorry that you're going through this, Alzheimer's disease is just a long road of questioning, guessing, anger, sadness, and continual changes. There are some moments of laughter, some of the things they do, or say are just funny, we enjoy those moments.
But to your current situation. My mom was mid stage 5 when we put her in an assisted living. We didn't tell her until the day of the move, and we rationalized (I know, lol) it with her saying that her doctor said she needed to be there, not stay, sometimes the word you use is very important. And that her doctor would decide when she was up to leaving. We told her that he said due to her balance issues, the recent falls, and some confusion, he felt it would be best for her to be there for awhile so that medical care and rehab would be available to her 24/7, plus lots of fun activities to enjoy. She accepted that. For about 3 days. We did not have a phone put in her room, because who knew who she would call, and when. She did have her cell phone, but most days she wasn't quite sure how to use it. However, on the 4th day she called me, on her cell, to tell me that she was not staying there forever, and that she was going to call her lawyer if I thought she was! She was NOT HAPPY. However... she didn't an attorney's name or number to call, did not know how to find a name and number, and I had POA. She ended up hanging up on me.
We continued after that day as normal, visited her 2-3 times a week, just for an hour or so. I should mention that we did not visit her at all for the first 2 weeks, that seems to help with the initial adjustment. When we did visit, we always came in with some kind of little gift for her, candy, chips, ice cream, just a little fun something to start off on a good note. Lots of subjects to be avoided, I found myself thinking of what I was going to say and the ramifications of the subject before I brought it forth. Very tiring, but it does become second nature after awhile. We learned diversionary tactics very quickly and have become quite expert at it. It's been 6 years, and for the last 2 years we've moved mom in with us, I didn't like the memory care she was moved into so we brought her with us. She is now is the early stages of stage 7, and we just brought in Hospice. Not that she is bedridden, or not eating, but enough significant changes that we felt an assessment was warranted and she was approved.
We've found that trying, sometimes multiple times, to change the subject when they become agitated or angry, is usually far better than trying to explain. Or we would suggest a walk around the facility, or outside, just to change the environment. That usually worked pretty well. Or ask what she'd like us to bring for her at our next visit. My mom had a dog at home that we would occasionally bring in to visit with her. I wasn't quite sure that would actually be a good thing, but she did love seeing him when we did!
I hope it works out well for you and your mom, its never easy and is very often sad and heartbreaking. But, my mom still smiles and laughs enough that I feel we're doing our best for her, so for now we're good. Take care of yourself, too!
I would not assume that it is the disease. She might just be very angry with you because she kind of knows what is going on.
This perspective does not make it easier....sorry...you are in a tough place.
Cam, It's awful. My mom ripped into me because her doctor told her she had dementia and she claimed that me and dad and my husband had all turned against her, didn't love her. She said terrible, hateful things to me that I had to make myself forget otherwise, I would have to wonder if that was really how she had always felt about me. This went on and on for over 2 weeks and then happened intermittently over the last few years of her life. I had never been around anyone with dementia before that. Not my grandparents, or any other relatives.
Then there was the time I had an emergency appendectomy and she called me once I was out of surgery approximately every 10-15 minutes and would not stop ringing the phone although I repeatedly explained I was fine and just needed to rest. If it went to VM she would immediately dial back. I think she called me in the hospital upwards of 250 times on the night of my surgery and started up again the next morning. My father did nothing to help, took no control of her. The nurses could not wait to get me released from the hospital as the constant calls were annoying them to no end. This resulted in me getting discharged by. 7:30am! (Actually, that. part was good as once home I unplugged the phone and went to sleep.)
I was weak then and thought I needed to cater to her, keep her happy and keep my dad happy. But I learned that you cannot cater to this disease. You cannot control it nor stop it nor make the patient happy. It simply exists and all you can do is protect yourself and make sure your parent gets the care they need. Your mom is in a safe place where all of her needs are being met. If the phone has become an issue, disappear it. Keeping your mom at her house and. you sleeping on the sofa at her place is NOT a solution and I think you have all figured that out which is why your mom is now in respite. You have done the right thing. Your mother gave you life to live it. Things are not going to get better for your mom, it's a one-way ride and she will go downhill as she follows the arc of this disease and there is absolutely nothing you nor anyone else can do to stop it. All you can do is make sure she is safe and cared for and then, for her sake, take care of yourself.
So how do you forget the horrible things she has said? The guilt? The blame? You choose to. And...you take action to protect yourself from it in the future including hanging up the phone, walking away from her when she is "like that" and anything else you need to do to protect yourself. And you ALWAYS ALWAYS remember it is the disease that is talking, not your mother and it is OK to walk away from the disease.
From your library ask for a copy of any book by Naomi Feil with the word Validation in the title. It's not an easy read but worth the time. Ask if staff are trained in her Validtion method. In my opinion, all staff should be.
Adjusting will take time. Good luck.
YOU DON'T. When your heart is involved ONE day is not ENOUGH TIME . 3 MONTHS is a more realistic approach to settling in for A LOVED ONE. You need to remember that their mind is BROKEN AND BEYOND REPAIR---it will never return or be the same again.
You may have to re-asses the phone issue.