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Mom's Alzheimer's Has Me Spinning
Posted: Wednesday, December 28, 2022 5:18 PM
Joined: 12/21/2022
Posts: 1

So, I thought I'd try this out, this is my first time reaching out.  My mom has Alzheimer's, was diagnosed in August 2021.  I met with her, along with my estranged brother (whom she lives with) and my uncle, my mother's brother, in March of 2022 to go over her accounts at her bank.  At that time, she was still lucid, recognized me and was able to interact with me.  It is December 28, 2022 and on December 12 my brother called me to inform me that my mother had been in the hospital for three weeks.  Why didn't I know before then?  Well, for the last several years, my mother wasn't so good about answering her phone or returning calls.  I don't know why, but I am the same way.  So, not talking with my mother for a few weeks, even a couple of months, isn't unusual.  So, now my brother is calling to tell me she had an accident due to incontinence, she didn't tell anyone right away, she sat in it, sat on the edge of her seat (or sofa) which caused her back pains and when she went to stand, she ended up falling and injuring her ankle. But the reason the ambulance was called was because she was confused, didn't know where she was, etc.  Come to find out she was malnourished, and dehydrated.  She apparently hadn't been eating or drinking water and my brother didn't know how bad it had gotten. So, on the day I was going to visit her in the hospital, she was transferred to a rehab facility, and the next day I went to see her.  Seeing her, so small and frail looking, was bad, but shortly after interacting with her for a few minutes I realized that she had no idea who I was. I had to talk to her as if I was talking to a stranger.  She kept crying, saying she's worried about her babies, I thought she meant her cats.  But it turns out she was talking about her kids, her babies!  That's when it hit me that in her mind, she is a young mother worrying about her kids, worrying because my father was an abusive alcoholic, who beat her. She was also wondering why her mama hadn't been by to see her.  Her mother passed away several years ago due to Alzheimer's.  I tried to calm her by telling her that her mama was taking case of her babies and that's why she hasn't been by to see her. She's been in the rehab facility for about a week and a half and seems a little better, she eating some and drinking her water when prompted but she still doesn't know who I am. 

I know I'm not the first to go through this, and won't be the last, but I am on the verge of a breakdown. Not only dealing with my mother's Alzheimer's and how far and fast it has progressed but also dealing with the fact that I am looking at my future.  I am looking at myself going through this.  How does one keep from losing their mind, from completing breaking down. I just want to completely shut down.  How do I keep going? 

Posted: Wednesday, December 28, 2022 5:35 PM
Joined: 12/25/2022
Posts: 6

How do you deal with it? You took the first step by joining this group. Great job telling your mom that her mom was taking care of the babies. It is hard, but you live in their world as much as is safe to do so.

Invest in a certified elder care lawyer for yourself. They will guide you to the necessary paperwork, trusts, POAs, living wills, etc. for *yourself* since you are concerned about your family history of Alz. I hope some of this is helpful to you. 

Posted: Wednesday, December 28, 2022 6:05 PM
Joined: 10/29/2020
Posts: 234

Welcome colonized-native.  You’ve found a safe place to be able to express yourself and feel a variety of emotions. It’s normal to have highs and lows along the way.
Posted: Thursday, December 29, 2022 10:32 AM
Joined: 12/17/2022
Posts: 62

Wow, C_N, your mother's situation is nearly entirely like my own LOs. Diagnosis of mild-to-moderate dementia around August 2021 (lucid, highly verbal, knew my name & who I am); then Oct 2022, had her first "stranger danger" episode where she didn't recognize me as anyone she knew; stuck in her timeline of about 40 years ago. Exit seeking (leading to agitation) because she thinks her children are home alone. The confusion quickly escalated to peak in mid-November. 

She entered ED-to-geri-psych. mid-Nov, and is still there awaiting discharge to LTC placement. Where before, she occassionally got things confused about her life and current reality (conflating memories/facts), she now understands virtually nothing about her reality. Moreover, she has no awareness about her surroundings by context clues. She has thought the geri-pscy was a hotel, school, teachers conference, church retreat, Disney.  [I'm now trying to figure out how to explain the (pending) SNF environment to her. Guess it will depend on 'her reality' on the day.]

I've been absolutely floored by the sudden turn and rapid progressive in a year-and-a-half. (That, given I've been lurking on ALZConnect and reading copious amounts of whitepapers for 2 years.)

I wish that I had suggestions or even hope to offer. But, I'm in the same boat as you, and can only commisserate. Hoping for the best, for us all. 

Posted: Saturday, January 14, 2023 7:55 AM
Joined: 4/17/2018
Posts: 1193

Hi CN welcome to the forum. I must say your response to your mother and her babies was pro, like you've been doing this for years and I mean that sincerely.

I don't have any advice about your future, sunnymaes advice is good. 

How do any of us do it? One day, one hr, one minute at a time, one foot in front of the other. You will learn lots of new things some maybe helpful and others discouraging. You are very intuitive about care, keep up the good work.


Posted: Monday, January 23, 2023 3:58 PM
Joined: 7/17/2020
Posts: 325

My wife was diagnosed in July 2016 and is now in stage 6. She's still at home and I take care of her and do everything for her. I keep going because I'm the only one who can do it. I've had a few meltdowns over the years, but I get over them and keep doing what I have to do. I always tell people, "It's amazing what you can do when you have no choice."
Posted: Tuesday, January 24, 2023 3:36 PM
Joined: 12/25/2015
Posts: 19

My mother has been in the advanced segment of stage 6 for the past 7-8 years. She still lives at home and I am her primary caregiver but I have home health aides come in daily so I can get a break. I also have three sisters who also help out. 

It's the most frustrating, stressful ordeal I think I'll ever face ( I hope). I try to compartmentalize the stress and take full advantage of the time away from her home (I have a home in another state that I get to one weekend per month).

Time away is critical. You can't so this alone. Deep breathing exercises and THC gummies as well as lots of outdoor activities help me A LOT. Best of luck to you, Colonized_Native. You will get thru this.

Posted: Wednesday, January 25, 2023 6:01 PM
Joined: 8/5/2022
Posts: 49

Your future's not here yet. I'm not saying to ignore it, just saying you could justify putting off thoughts about that (if you can).

Personally, if you can remember who she was with, you can always pretend to be a family friend (or even her mom) and just... reassure her. Calm her down. Show pictures of you and your brother as kids even.

There isn't a solution, just mitigation. And mitigation happens in many ways, which can weigh heavily on which you can choose from. The bright side is, it's only the first move that's the hardest. Pick a thing to do (getting a CELA for yourself, planning what to talk about your next visit, talking with your brother) and learn what sticks. See if you can recognize the mood your mother is in if she's having personality swings. See if you can double back to talking about something she wasn't receptive to when in another... mood. (You may need a diary to track all this.)

Also finding friends who can physically be there for you as well, whether it's talking or giving you a ride or helping out with shopping or cooking. This is your mother in distress, but this is also you in distress too.

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