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/feels/ - Advice & Venting

Talk about relationships of all kinds, ask for advice, or just vent

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Anonymous 11141

Is anyone else here a caregiver for an adult with dementia or other loved one with special needs? It's hard watching my grandma decline, she is imagining false memories of things that didn't happen, confuses memories of things that happened to her grandchildren with her own children and vice versa, and recently and more seriously is becoming irresponsible with her money handling. Not to mention there are the physical changes of becoming unable to do daily tasks like bathe and toilet yourself unassisted. I have work experience caring for adults with disabilities but it's much harder to watch your own family members experience these changes when you remember what they used to be like.

(Sort of unrelated but I really wish the cg/l community did not use the term caregiver, it makes it harder to find support for actual caregivers on social media.)

Anonymous 11155

My mom and one of my aunts are my grandmother's caregiver. My aunt has some health problems, so my mom is the one who does more physically.

She does a lot for her: makes sure she showers, helps her wash her hair, make sure she's fed, cooks for her, make sure she's safe and not doing anything dangerous, etc.

My grandmother has done lots of dangerous/funny things before. I remember one time she decided to help the family with groceries after we came home. She hid an avocado (or a melon, can't remember) from us and to this we have NO idea where she hid it lol.
You can't leave important papers or family pictures around her… She will destroy them. This one is particularly sad because she has a big collection of pictures from the early 1920's and she's destroyed some of them, even pictures of her parents'.
There are more stories, but I don't want to tell them if I'm the only in the thread because they're too embarrassing even as Anon lol.

Anonymous 11214


My mom cared for my grandma until she was able to find an assisted living home for dementia patients. My grandma’s dementia mostly manifests in ways that make her really aggressive. I’m not sure if that’s normal, but she constantly accused family of stealing from her or taking her things, and it’s really hard having to brush off her words. Especially when she starts saying she wants to talk to or visit her mom, who’s been dead for 20 years.

My mom and I don’t know how to handle that kind of thing…do we tell her that great-grandma is dead, or do we humor her? It just hurts because I know this isn’t “her” speaking if that makes sense. I have lots of good memories of spending time with her as a child, and I can’t help but wonder if she remembers any of them.

Anonymous 11221

Aggression is actually very normal. I used to be a caregiver in a memory care facility and it was unfortunately often the case that many residents were placed there by their family because they became physically combative towards their loved ones. It's sort of like becoming a toddler again, when they become unable to communicate their needs with words they will do whatever they feel they need to do to convey that they feel upset. The most compassionate way to handle that behavior is to remember that however irrational it seems to us, it makes perfect sense to do those things in the person's own mind.

Accusing others of stealing stuff is also very common. She probably feels very upset that she continuously can't find the things she needs and doesn't understand why this is happening. When she accuses you of stealing, reassure her that you'll take care of whatever is bothering her and if you can, offer to help her look for it.

People with dementia are often soothed by a reassuring voice, a warm hand on their shoulder, and just telling them whatever they're worrying about will be taken care of. Even when their verbal understanding skills are nearly gone, what you say doesn't matter as much as emoting sympathy with your tone of voice and body language.

If you can't help her look for the object or know it's something she doesn't have anymore, you can try to redirect her with going for a walk together or a favorite food or drink. Food is a very powerful motivator she may forget about her worries when her mind is focusing on enjoying a snack.

When it comes to telling her about her mom, I think it depends on the context. It would be cruel to tell her every time she says she wants to see her mom that her mom is dead, she would be starting the grieving process over every time. I usually say things like "Your mom loves you very much and she knows you're here. You'll see her again some day." (Not a lie because they'll meet in heaven… ) If she's still unconsolable after reassuring her and is becoming increasingly agitated, then it may be time to tell her the truth that her mom passed away and comfort her while she grieves. Use your best judgment about when that is appropriate.

When you're caring for someone with dementia, it's sometimes better to step into their reality. Does she need a shower, but insist she only showers on Sundays? Today must be Sunday, because it's time for her shower! Does she keep trying to leave the house at odd hours to go to school? It's summer vacation, she doesnt have school today! This approach is usually more effective than arguing when it comes to getting the person to cooperate with essential hygiene care or redirecting inappropriate behaviors.

Anonymous 11237

My grandmother lives with my mother and I. I used to love her very much when I was a kid, but ever since she moved in with us I couldn't stand her. She was a narcissist and a control freak and emotionally abused my mother. I haven't been able to move out even though I'm an adult because I couldn't leave my mother alone with her.

She fell some time ago and started developing dementia, and she needs a lot care now, but my mother is in her 60s and it's difficult for her. I try to do as much as I can for her by cleaning and shopping and giving my grandma her medication, while my mom cooks, takes her to the toilet and washes her.

I find myself resenting taking care of her when I don't even like her instead of living my life. I have to keep reminding myself that that women that has made me and my mother miserable for so many years is not here anymore, but it's hard. I can't detach that horrible person from this frail old lady that is basically a small child now. No matter what, I am always kind and gentle with her, i never let my resentment influence how I take care of her.

It's a taboo thing to feel, but I am counting the days until she dies - I feel like that's only when I'll start living.

Anonymous 11248

Thank you for the advice. She does take a mood stabilizer which gets her to sleep through the night, so at least there's that.

Anonymous 11335

My grandma had brain cancer and lived with my family until she passed away from the cancer. She lived with us for about 4-5 years while I was in middle and high school. It was so hard sometimes but I also feel grateful that I got more time with her. I actually am in grad school now and my research focuses on caregiver well-being.

Anonymous 11701

I went to give my grandma her morning pills but she said she was still tired so I told her ill give her the pills a little later. Later my mom went to check on her and she was all pissed because nobody came to her this morning to see if she needs help. My mom told her I was there earlier abd she very angrily said I was not there, so my mom came to ask me. I told her exactly what happened and she told my grandma, but my grandma said it's not true. My mom asked if she's saying I'm lied, and my grandma said "well it's very easy to say this to me now that I forget things", implying that I was lying. My mom got very upset about this, and I'm also upset. It's the first time she's done this, so I think it might be suspicion and paranoia because of her dementia, but it's hard to accept that she said that about me when normally she knows I wouldn't ever do something like that.

Anonymous 11702


Maybe you could bring her something when you check on her, like a glass of water, tea, or a book. Just something tangible that can prove that you were there.
I've "spoken" with people when I was just woken up and had no memory of the conversation when I awoke by myself. Maybe something similar to this happened.

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