Out of Sight and Going out of my Mind

by Giselle
(Saratoga, CA)

My Mom has late stage 6 Alzheimer's and out of her grown children only two of her daughters are taking on the care of her. For several years we had her living in her own home which she loved dearly.

As the disease progressed we both seriously struggled with providing the level of care she needed and grew very concerned that she would not be able to live alone very much longer. At that point in time we were there at her home everyday and it wasn't until she was ready for bed and okay that we headed home to our families.

We are both married with husbands and children yet to raise at home so as you can see this has been hard but we were doing the best we could at the time. My older sister who never has gotten along with anyone we are pretty certain contacted the county to turn us both in for "elder neglect" and a nice gentleman showed up to the house to do a safety check on my Mom and she responded to all of his questions and he saw that the house was neat and clean as always and that she wasn't left totally alone.

Naturally, our sister has denied that she did this but she suddenly disappeared right at that time and for the next month she was not around or calling to bug us about Mom. It really hurt to think that she could not only do this to us but more importantly what she could have done to my Mom and they had decided to take her away. We
are both still in shock that our own sister could be so creepy but she clearly wants my Mom out of her own house and put away some where.

Her actions did bring about one good change and that is we hired a family friend who now stays at night with Mom so she is never alone 24/7. I don't know how much longer we can continue to do this for her as she is getting worse each passing day and suddenly hates her house and is calling it a ":dump".

She is very confused and is starting in not recognizing who we even are let alone the few people who might come to visit. She won't go out anymore and if I have to go to the store she refuses to come inside with me. I have to run a marathon to get the items and as soon as I get into my vehicle she is yelling at me as to what took so long. She is easily agitated these days and I know we are in for a tough road ahead but I love my Mom and feel this is the very least we can do for her until it gets to the point where we can't do it all anymore.

Any suggestions on how deal with the underlying anger my sister and I both feel towards our sister for turning us in like we are both some sort of criminals? I'm really disgusted that she could stoop to that level to try and make things harder on my sister and me. Any thoughts on how to cope with this issue?

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Insult that never Ends - Thank you !
by: Giselle

Just wanted to extend a thanks to you for your wonderful comment and well wishes. I think
boomers-with-elderly-parents is a Godsend for folks like us. God Bless You and Your Family.

It is the Insult that Never Ends.
by: Anonymous

I know exactly what you are having to deal with and how defeated the feelings are. My sisters (three of them) do the same thing but in different scenario. How pathetic is it to be so heartless and have no love for your own mother and sister that sister(s) don't help but to add bullying on top it.

God Bless You and the sister that is helping. It sounds like you all are taking great care of your mother.

My Dad told me this a few months ago after a brutal degrading from sister. He said.."Hun.. I know what I don't know"..."I want to be of help but I..I.." I told him I know Dad and it will be okay.

That is shameful and selfish of your sister...

Thank You-This Too Shall Pass!
by: Anonymous

Just wanted to extend a big Thank You for your kind words and helpful suggestions on how my sister and me can better cope with Mom at this point in time. It means alot to me.
God Bless You and Yours.

This too shall Pass - It's Time to get Creative!
by: Anonymous

Hi Anonymous, I can sense your feelings of 'horror'. At least that's what I'd call it looking back at my own experience. Please allow me to share with you what I did at the stage of care you and your sister are at with your mother now. Don't try to be normal with your mom right now. You may need a break!

1. If you can get a safe place to care for your mom for say, the next three months - and you don't need to communicate with people who are not involved or not going to be involved positively with her care. Take this time to recover from the stress of mom's health changes and your feeling of being unprepared for what she needs.

2. Visit her to make sure she is being safely cared for - well fed; Medicine on time; secure; clean.

3. Consider what changes you can make at home to better secure her and also provide much needed separation.

4. Mom is in your heart, but a patient is in your hand - become a care-giver/nurse. Be strict when you need to be. ie. When you need a break tell her eg. "now Mrs. Eastman, I want you to relax yourself and do ....... until I return. I won't be long". Secure her with water and crackers always, before going for your break.

5. If she in a 'HOME', As you visit her and see what they call 'the best thing for her' (institutional care), you'll soon get over the guilt of her words and your seeming unpreparedness according to 'people who watch only'- because apart from what she needs is the ever important 'who she needs' and you may realize then that the Institution can't give her that.

It is at that point or whenever thereafter or even before that you may decide to hire a caregiver or service provider of that nature to send someone to her home everyday. Don't feel bad if you need a break or separation again - I took my dad back home about 4 or 5 times. But home or not, he always had me! And they knew it! I became as bold as a Lion!

5. You may have to alternate your roll accordingly. When she does not recognize you don't worry about it, just make sure she's secure at home, re-directed her focus onto something that interests her, offer her something to drink and 'play the roll'- what ever makes her and you happy till you get your work/chores/her bath, etc. done.
My dad started forgetting who I was once a month until it eventually became every time he fell asleep and got up.

6. End your time with her by telling her who you are and this time be ready to hug her and kiss her ... answer all her questions (be honest) and tell her you love her. Always try leave in-love.

You Don't have to make long-term decisions right now. Just get some space, shut out 'the people' and focus on getting the help you need. See that word, "HELP" not 'help!' just 'HELP', whoever is not helping, you don't need to give them your strength. Take your time and make treasures that will last forever. God Bless You.

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