My Mom, who is 94, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's last fall and has been in Memory Care in a large studio apartment since last November at a wonderful place that is beautiful, clean, caring, attentive, and keeping her safe and healthy. Her delusions, hallucinations, and paranoia all center around no one there liking her and wanting her out of there (residents, staff, nurses, etc). The bizarre stories regarding her reality are detailed and very real to her, and I do my best to reassure and redirect her. The doctor has ruled out any physical reason for my Mom to be experiencing this, other than her Alzheimer's to be advancing.
My question is to anyone who is experiencing this: how do YOU react when your loved one is desperate to leave and doesn't realize this reality has been a part of her life for months now? She is not "settling in" or happy there, but she never was happy anywhere before this, either.
My Mom wants her television to be taken out because she thinks it is playing music and the residents are screaming at her and calling her names, which we know they are not. They actually try to be friendly, but she won't talk to them or will accuse them of saying things.
We used to take her out to visit our home and for family dinners, but she gets even more upset and goes on and on about her reality to everyone, not enjoying a single minute of it. So we visit my Mom at her apartment.
I appreciate any advice or input from those of you who have experienced this with your loved one. Thank you!
My LO, who entered Memory Care at 89, was sleeping overly frequently (napping in morning, getting up for lunch, napping in the afternoon, sleeping fairly well at night), but the trade off in terms of her peace and comfort was WELL WORTH the long period of getting used to the medication.
Most of us here agree that “going out” makes AL/MC MORE difficult than staying put, especially until your mom is experiencing some periods of relative comfort in her residential environment.
When my LO was experiencing the worst of her anxiety and discomfort, we’d do WHATEVER THE MOMENT REQUIRED- if she attempted to cling to me I’d remove her hand from my arm, call an aide to distract her, and leave immediately.
I remained calm (not easy, but I LEARNED), soothed her with non specifics “Everything will be fine, I’m taking care of everything at home, your mother and sisters are all fine, being taken care of (all in reality deceased)”.
In our family experience, this is MUCH harder on the caregiver than on the resident. I would say that even with very targeted medical trials it was AT LEAST 6 months or more before my LO became relatively comfortable in residential care, but ultimately (before Covid) her life became much more pleasant.
Remind yourself CONSTANTLY that you made the decision for placement out of love and concern for your mother’s safety, and that you know that she was not overly happy even before this new life began.
Hopes you see progress ( Not necessarily PERFECTION) SOON!
Sometimes, meds can be tried that diminish delusions and paranoia. It can be a trial and error process, but your mom is so miserable, it seems like it would be worth a shot.