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Is it excuses, or does she actually believe the TV and computer aren't working properly?
My mom is saying she must not have paid her cable bill on time and that's why sometimes the TV goes off and she struggles to get it to come back on (there is nothing wrong with the TV). And she has stopped emailing (used to email daily) and says something is wrong with her computer and "it won't let me send links anymore and my emails don't send".
I realize this isn't true - I've checked both devices. But I'm just curious - do they make excuses or do they really think it's the devices?
Computer and TV issues were the number one (sometimes frantic) calls from my FIL to my DH in the middle dementia stages. He was convinced for the computer that it was an application causing the problem, but we checked every time and it was fine. Who knows what he was clicking on. At one point he stopped being able to double click so we switched the mouse to open things with a single click and that helped for a short while. Eventually, it was just his not being able to process how to work the computer, or TV remote (he would often hit the “input” button which would switch from cable to AV or something). Anyway, he always blamed the devices and it was almost always user error.
The second problematic issue was the thermostat. He would turn it way up or way down and made himself miserable. We ended up buying one that we could control from our house remotely and fix the temp after he would change it.
We did many things to allow him to live alone as long as he could, and safety measures like an auto cutoff for the stove. But eventually the microwave became too much and he could not heat up dinners we provided for him. He also could not remember to take his meds. That was about the time we realized he could no longer live alone.
This sounds so familiar. All of the cell phones we purchased and tried to teach Dad to use were defective. The remote control didn't work. Whenever I could get it to work, I was a genius and he wanted me to teach him how I had worked around the obviously defects in the device and gotten it to work. The computer was a piece of garbage that kept eating his emails. The violin needed to go to the shop because it was impossible to tune it without taking all of the strings off.
Yes, there is always something else or someone else to blame.
I agree with Marta - give Understanding the Dementia Experience a read if you have the time. It's been my "go to" since almost the beginning.
And yes, Jennifer, I think they truly believe the devices are to blame, not them. My sister fought with the TV all through her middle stages (she's later stage now) - "someone" always changed the channel so that she couldn't watch the tv shows she wanted to see. In reality, it was her. The next battle was the phone and her iPad - they were just way too complicated for her to navigate. It was really sad because I swear, her phone was an extension of her hand. I gave her an easy way out -- "hey Peggy, let me take them to the Apple store where I can get them fixed." "Okay", says Peggy. I just tucked them away. She hasn't mentioned either of them in two months. This is also sad, but way better than her being frustrated over things she can no longer manage.
Hi Jennifer - she really believes it.
Here is a link to the article the members recommended, and another to explain anosognosia, when our PWD LOs don’t realize what’s happening to their thinking and other changes. Sorry you are joining us on this journey. But this forum is a huge source of experience and compassion.
Electronics were a recurring challenge for my DH in the mid stages. The computer and iPhone — omg. Making a royal mess of the finances was another big one even before the tech challenges. Please look into, and secure your mom’s accounts, bills, insurance payments, credit use (abuse) and monitor spending if you haven’t already. She’s not making it up. They really need our help as skills and reasoning fail them.
Anosognosia is a real thing. This article helped me a lot. 6 Ways to Help Someone Who Doesn’t Know They’re Ill: Anosognosia in Dementia – DailyCaring
Do read this excellent article and share with interested family and friends: