What to do with Mom (ALZ related)

She in probably mid-late stages. In a facility but she’s wants to go out with us (her kids). OK, but what to do once I’ve picked her up? A nice lunch is almost out, she barely eats and throws half chewed food on the floor. So we do Mickey D’s or the like. She’s somewhat mobile with a walker, we have a wheel chair as well. So I pick her up, fast food, maybe the dollar store and that’s pretty much it. I can put her in the chair and walk around the mall (not many of them left) but she is quite deaf, and cannot hear me when I am behind her. And bitches about that.
It’s freaking hot as hell here in the PHX in the summer, so a trip to the park is out.
The main thing for me is her memory is gone, so she’ll ask the same question, whatever it is, about every 3 seconds or so. And that’s tiring, and then I feel like a shit. She cannot track any kind of conversation, so I know, deflect, distract, but then she’s back to the same question or comment. I can’t reply to “wow, it’s really hot today” 500 times without losing my mind. I am a bad daughter.
When I take her back to the facility she cries that she hates it, she’s bored there, there’s nothing to do. (She been there probably 10 years, and at 94, all her pals have died off) She’s willing to get in and out of the car maybe twice a trip, but still wants to go somewhere, (where?) but not get out of the car.
I am at the point where I simply don’t want to see her. And suggesting we stay at the facility and play cards or something won’t work. She wants to go, she wants out.
And of course, I beat myself up about this constantly.
Man, I am determined to smoke myself into the ground before I end up like this.

If she likes driving around in the car, why not just do that for an hour listening to music or something, maybe that way you don’t have to talk if she can’t follow the conversation.

Can’t put the radio on, it annoys her hearing aids. PIsses her off.

Don’t beat yourself up. And when you figure out how to do that, let me in on the trick. I don’t have any advise for you, but boy, can I sympathize. My Dad has been in rehab in a nusrsing home for not even 3 weeks now, and it’s excrutiating. He wants to go out every day, mostly to go back to his house and hang out. He can’t walk or get himself up off a chair, and his house has stairs, so ‘bring him home’ means that someone has to stay with him. He’s lucky in that he has a lot of family around, and we’ve been getting him out a lot (like, almost every afternoon), but he still manages to be a complete jerk about it. I left the nursing home in tears this am because he laid into me for NOT bringing him home - instead, I had made an appointment for him to check out what is a very nice assisted living place that is a ton better than where he is now. He refused to go and was a complete ass to me, so I left. Now I’m not just feeling helpless, but helpless AND angry. It’s one thing to do your best for a loved one; it’s another to be their punching bag.

I can’t even imagine dealing with ALZ on top of all that. Truly depressing and exhausting.

I’m trying to do my best to distance myself from him. It sucks and I feel like a shitty daighter, but I’m losing sleep and ruining my own health. Still, though I know that’s the right thing to do, I don’t know how to do it. How do you stop caring that someone you love is miserable?

I recently saw a thing about a women taking in a baby doll for her similar, often sad Mom, in a care home. It was such an enormous hit, and provided so much happiness and busy fussing for her Mom, she went out and bought them for every women there. They also bought realistic stuffed dogs for the males, same effect. The care home staff were blown away at the difference in the clients, it was an amazing transformation. Something to cuddle and fuss with really interrupts the boredom is my guess.

Also, you might consider making her a happy book. Go through her old photos, have one of your kids digitalization them, crop them down and enlarge to full page. Y’know, places she knows, things she’ll be happy to remember, the Cottage, home she grew up in. Where she worked, etc, etc. Put them into those plastic page covers so they don’t get ripped or messed and are easy to flip through, bind it together in a folder book thing. Then when you are parting, give her the Happy Book as a distraction. (You can easily change up the photos to kittens and babies, seasonal, etc, as needed from time to time.) I’ve used this with good results, def worth the time investment to make, in my opinion.

I know it’s a struggle, it’s great you’re thinking creatively, you’re def headed in the right direction.

Good Luck!

Appreciate your thoughts, Elbows, but all she wants is to leave the home. We have tons of photos albums and books and I’ve tried playing cards, but she wants not to be there.

Same with my mother, but the cycle is about 5 minutes as she rotates through the same questions: What time is it? How old am I? (She’s 88.) How old are you? What day is it? What time is it? (Even though we have a large digital clock with date right in front of her.) What’s for dinner? (Starting immediately after breakfast.) What did we have for dinner? (Starting immediately after dinner.)

I live in Panama, so I don’t have to deal with it all the time, but when I go home for Thanksgiving or Christmas I’m subjected to it for a week or two straight. The same thing when I call her. The first 5 minutes is taken up by "Where are you right now? Panama! What are you doing in Panama? (I’ve lived here 26 years.)

I know how difficult it is to remain patient. Sometimes I change up the answers and joke with her, like telling her she’s 123 years old. (She laughs at that.) She’s still living at home. We have 24 hour care for her, and I don’t know how her aides stand it. They are both very patient with her.

Boredom is my mother’s main complaint. It’s hard not to be bored if you can’t remember a conversation or the plot of a TV show or read a book. She does jigsaw puzzles a lot. Sometimes I think she might be less bored in a home with other people, but she’d be no more able to carry on a conversation with them, and would probably be scared and disoriented. She spends a lot of time in bed because she says she has nothing better to do, but that’s not good for her either.

My mother can get around with a walker, but she lives on the second floor of our house, and it’s a major operation to get her into the motorized chair to get her downstairs and out of the house. So she rarely gets out.

I’m can sympathize completely, but I don’t have any answers. But you shouldn’t beat yourself up about it.

Stop that. You are NOT a “bad daughter”. You are a tired and frustrated daughter, which is an entirely different thing

Unfortunately, there’s no fix for what ails your mother. The older she gets, the fewer effective work-arounds there will be. All you can do is do your best. Sure, you will feel inadequate about it sometimes (maybe even frequently) but sometimes your inadequate best is simply the best anyone can do.

Would she be happy just riding around in the car?

Then take a break. I mean, don’t abandon your mother, but take some time for YOU. Because if you don’t take care of yourself you can’t take care of anyone else.

Stop that. Dementia is a mofo, and no one has a good answer for the end stages. As I said, do what you can, take care of yourself, and that’s all anyone can do at this point.

(It would be really nice to have either a cure or an effective treatment for that shit)

I told my kids when I get like this (using my own mother as an example) to just shoot me. “Oh, we can’t do that Mom. It’s illegal, we’d end up in jail.” Good point.

So I told them to take me skiing, put me on a black diamond run, point me downhill and give me a push. They liked that.

You would not believe how often they asked me, when they were teenagers, “Hey, Mom, wanta go skiing?” First instance was at some point on the way home from the very trip where this discussion arose.

My guess is they won’t do it in the end. Best case scenario for my kids is they do enough so they don’t feel guilty because that is not what I want for my kids. My mother probably didn’t want me to feel guilty either, but I did because I was a bad daughter in many ways.

I just want to add, when my mother was in the home we had some good visits and some bad ones. But at the end of the good ones she might say, “Oh, nice to have met you,” as I was leaving. So eventually it occurred to me that a lot of the time she did not know who I was. And sometimes she would talk about me, to me, when I was right there. “Oh I have this daughter who never visits me, she doesn’t care.”

What finally occurred to me was that it really didn’t matter how often I visited her, or not. She didn’t remember. I do think the staff appreciated it. But at that place, there was new staff practically every single month.

So it finally occurred to me that whatever I was doing, I was doing for me, because it wasn’t making a dent in my mother’s consciousness.

Unfortunately, I think that’s often the case. Though there is, of course, a case to made for checking in and seeing the loved one just to verify their needs are being met and the staff aren’t falling down on the job, either because of apathy or because of being overworked and understaffed.

Alas, sometimes it’s even worse, when visits just make the patient irate and angry and volatile and no one feels better for having visited/been visited and the staff have to work even harder to calm down the patient.

Fortunately, sometimes the patient does enjoy the company, regardless if they remember who the guest is.

Maybe an arcade place like Dave and Busters? Or bowling alley. They’re big, air conditioned, and plenty of places to sit and watch.

Some animal shelters have rooms where you can visit with the cats. Go during the week when it’s less crowded.

Consider going family restaurants since they are setup to handle kids making a mess of their food.

Would it be worth setting up recurring events for other people in similar situation? Like meet at Luby’s on Tuesday night. You all get to take your parent out some place and they can socialize together with new people. You can setup a Meet-Up event so it doesn’t have to just be people from the home she’s at.

This was my first thought, too. If the radio is out, would she enjoy just a drive? I sympathize, my mom had Alzheimer’s and I remember answering the same mundane questions and circling the same conversation over and over. Don’t beat yourself up. It can be frustrating and it’s just so sad watching them fail. Hugs!

I saw the suggestion about the baby doll upthread. What about coloring books? I’m just thinking about some simple activities that might keep her interested some of the time.

Man, that’s bad. MIL and FIL were just like that. My husband, me and one of his sibs worked around the clock, with in home care. It was hard as hell. I calmed myself by saying they won’t remember any of this in 10 min.or less. My husband felt so guilty the whole time because he couldn’t relieve their suffering. It’s just not fixable. Do what you can and go home and take care of yourself. Guilt will get you no-where.

How about an art museum or just to the movies. Movie theaters have audio amplification devices and closed captioning devices for the hearing impaired.


My mother still remembers me, for now. (Except when she thinks I’m my late father, which can get exceedingly creepy. :eek:) But she doesn’t remember afterward when I call her, so sometimes I think it’s just not worth it.

But she enormously enjoys my calls while I am talking to her, even if there’s no real conversation. She just says she likes the sound of my voice.

I think you have to treat it like entertaining a baby or very young child. The baby’s not going to remember that specific experience, but still you’ve made it happy for a while. And that can be enough.

Check with the facility your mom is in. Maybe the nurses on the floor have heard her say she really wishes she could go to the zoo. Or maybe she wishes she had flowers in her room. Or there may even be some kind of social director working there, that may have ideas of places to go and things to do. If eating a meal out is a problem, maybe go out for ice cream, or a piece of pie. Or a slushy/icee drink.

My dad died about 3 years ago, with some pretty severe Alzheimers. Others have told you the truth. You are not a bad child. You have not abandoned your mom. You are entitled and allowed to be frustrated and angry with the situation. I know, it sucks. You really wish you could find the magic action that would make it at least a little bit better, for both you and your mom. Sometimes, that just isn’t possible.

My grandma was the most-visited person at her old folk’s home, did not officially have cognitive issues (sometimes she’d use the wrong noun/name, but she knew what/who she meant - it was a problem of expression, not cognition) and still complained that we didn’t visit her enough.

What is the area surrounding the home like? Is there a garden or a park nearby? I know people with different degrees of cognitive issues and crankiness who improve a surprising amount just by being able to spend some time in a place with shade trees and green growing stuff, watching people go by.

This is the same with me and my mother who is stage 4 ALZ. She lives too far away to visit frequently so I call her at least once a week. Usually I just rattle on about mundane details of my day in excessive detail. Her main complaint is feeling trapped like a prisoner because she can’t go out and leave whenever she wants, so I think I am going to try the long car ride suggestions in this thread.